In front of a record 6,300 fans, Norm Hutchins hit a walkoff home run to give the Rockland Boulders the 4-3 victory over the Newark Bears at Provident Bank Park on Sunday night in Can-Am League baseball action.
Hutchins, a Westchester County native, capped off a 2-for-4 evening with his seventh home run of the season and his first walkoff on the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth to break a 3-3 tie.
Former New York Met Howard Johnson made his debut with the Boulders in Sunday night’s contest. The 50-year old switch hitter went hitless in four at bats from the three-hole in the Rockland lineup, but successfully made contact in each trip to the plate.
After three scoreless innings, the Bears got on the board first in the top of the fourth. Burt Reynolds got things started with a leadoff double, and was later knocked in on Danny Santiesteban’s one-out triple. Santiesteban scored later in the inning on a passed ball to leave Newark with a 2-0 lead.
The Boulders bounced right back in the home half of the fourth with a rally of their own. With one away, three straight Rockland batters reached base to load the bases for Ryan Mollica. He then stroked a double into the gap in left field to clear the bases and give the Boulders a 3-2 lead.
Newark tied the game up at three runs apiece in the top of the seventh on Tyler Benzel’s RBI double, scoring Billy Alvino from first.
The Boulders (20-24, 39-51) take on the Newark Bears today afternoon in the season finale of their inaugural 2011 season in the Can-Am League. First pitch is slated for the special Labor Day start time of 2:05 p.m.
Jonathan Velasquez (8-5), with his 2.57 ERA at Provident Bank Park, makes his final start of the season for the Boulders today.