In a late-game comeback, the Rockland Boulders Monday night defeated the Brockton Rox, 8-6, at Provident Bank Park in Pomona.
Looking like they were going to fall to the Rox before 1,375 home fames, the Boulders came from behind in the bottom of the 8th and put away Brockton in the top of the 9th to cap the win.
A few minutes after the victory, tempers flared between Brockton players, manager Bill Buckner and the game's umpires over a close call at home plate in the eighth inning. Buckner had to be held back by security officers until tempers cooled.
An 8th-inning, five-run rally was key for the Boulders.
After a bases loaded walk to Todd Jennings brought the Boulders within one, Ray Stokes smacked a line drive up the middle to bring around the tying and leading runs. Deybis Benitez followed Stokes with his first hit as a Boulder, knocking in an insurance run for the Boulders.
Brockton (14-10) got on the board first in Monday evening’s matchup. In the top of the third, Chris Valencia hit a double down the right field line to bring Shawn Williams around to score and give Brockton the 1-0 advantage.
The Boulders had Stokes standing on second base with only one away in the home half of the third, but he was thrown out trying to swipe third base. The Boulders failed to get anything going in the inning and remained behind by a run.
Reigning Can-Am Hitter of the Week, Keith Brachold started things off quickly in the top of the fourth with his seventh home run of the season, adding to the many home runs already hit into the short porch in right field. Later in the inning, Ryan Royster hit a solo shot of his own to increase Brockton’s lead to three. Valencia hit another RBI double in the top of the fifth inning to bring in the fourth run of the game for the Rox. They continued to threaten with a runner on third, but he would remain there as the Boulders recovered to limit the damage.
The Boulders rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth. With Jermel Lomack on second and Ryan Mollica on first and two outs, Vic Buttler hit a three run bomb to the flagpoles in right field to bring the Boulders within one. After Todd Jennings hit a single with one out in the bottom of the seventh, Stokes sacrificed him into scoring position. Benitez had a chance to knock him in, but struck out to strand him on second.
As Chris Grossman stood on first base for the Rox, Ryan Royster hit his second home run of the game, stretching the Brockton lead to 6-3. With time beginning to run out, Lomack led off the eighth with a triple to left field. After striking out Mollica and Sean Smith, Brockton starter Julian Sampson was pulled from the game. Lefty Reed Jackson came on to face Buttler, but gave him a base on balls.
After another pitching change, Cristobal Santana hit a double down the third base line to plate Lomack from third and put the tying run on second with Buttler standing 90 feet away. Tommy Giles was then intentionally walked to load the bases. With no place to go, Jennings walked to bring in the fifth run for the Boulders. Stokes and Benitez knocked in three more runs to give the Boulders the lead and some insurance. Closer Adrian Martin came on to close the game and earned his fifth save of the season. Buttler made an outstanding diving catch to end the game. Rockland starter Casey Hodges picked up his second win of the season, going eight innings. The Rox Travis Hughes is charged with the loss.
The Rockland Boulders (8-13) will host game two of this series with the Brockton Rox at Provident Bank Park tonight with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm. Rockland’s ace Bobby Blevins (2-0) will take the mound against Brockton’s Mike Smith (2-2), a rematch of last Thursday night’s opener.