If winning the first game of a baseball season is a good sign of things to come, winning the first game in a team’s first year of existence certainly seems even sweeter.
The Rockland Boulders, the new pro team based at Provident Bank Park in Pomona, scored six runs in the top of the 10th inning to defeat the Newark Bears, 11-5, in Opening Day action in Can-Am League play in Newark, NJ.
“We had a total team effort and our bullpen gave us a chance to win,” said Boulders Manager Dave LaPoint. “Everybody played a big part today.”
Leading the way offensively for the Boulders (1-0) was right fielder Tommy Giles. The Vero Beach, FL, product had four hits in the game and also started the 10th inning rally with a leadoff single.
“That 1th inning really showed what our team was made of,” Giles said. “We battled all game, and then exploded for those six runs. Our team is extremely talented and when we put it all together like we did late, we can be very dangerous.”
Timely hitting and clutch at-bats for the Boulders forced Newark to dig into their bullpen as Rockland sent 10 men up in the extra inning, getting six runs on three hits.
The Newark Bears (0-1) struck early with three runs in the bottom of the first inning off Boulders’ starter Bobby Blevins. Kyle LaMotta started the game off with a walk, and then stole second base. He later scored the first run on an RBI single from Brandon Watson. Brian Nichols drove home Watson on an RBI double of his own, and than Danny Santiesteban capped of the bottom frame with a run scoring single.
Rockland cut into the lead in the top of the second, after Giles drove in Norm Hutchins from second, but the Bears put one right back up to regain the 4-1 edge after two.
Blevins would then settle down, as he did not give up a run through his next three innings of work. The right-hander picked up the no decision, striking out three over five innings while allowing four earned runs on five hits.
In the top of the fifth, the Boulders’ bats came to life when Vic Buttler got a three-run homerun to tie the game, 4-4, which was then followed by a Hutchins solo blast to put Rockland up, 5-4.
The Bears knocked one in off Rockland’s relief pitcher Kyle Wilson to time the game, 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh, but that would be all for Newark as Michael Gardner and Adrian Martin shut the door down in the final three innings.
Gardner gets the win for Rockland, going two strong innings and striking out a pair. Anthony Pluta is charged with the loss for Newark, after giving up six runs on four hits in two innings of relief.
Left Roger Lincoln gets the start for the Boulders today, while opposing him for Newark is right-hander Jacob Wild at 11 a.m. from Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium in Newark.
The Boulders are on the road until June 16, when they are scheduled to play their first home game at Provident Bank Park.
The games can be followed live on RocklandBoulders.com, with the pregame show at 10:45 am. Rockland Boulders tickets are on sale through the Boulders’ website at RocklandBoulders.com or by calling 845-364-0009.