(LITTLE FALLS, N.J.) – Starting pitcher Bo Budkevics pitched seven scoreless innings while the Rockland Boulders pounded out 12 hits in a 4-0 victory at Yogi Berra Stadium on Monday night, capturing their first ever Can-Am League Championship. It marks the first time in league history that a team has rallied from down 0-2 in the series to win the title.
After a scoreless first inning for both squads, Rockland jumped on Michael Antonini in the second. Stephen Cardullo led off the inning with a solo home run before Carlos Guzman followed with a homer of his own, giving the Boulders a 2-0 lead.
Rockland starting pitcher Bo Budkevics used that to his advantage, keeping the Jackals off balance all night. The righty only allowed three base runners through the first two innings, giving up a pair of hits and a walk. The Boulders consistently looked to add to their lead, loading the bases in the fourth, but failed to add any insurance.
Antonini was forced from the game after four innings with an apparent elbow injury, giving way to Shaun Ellis. Rockland again put runners at second and third in the fifth, but once again were unable to score.
Despite having lead off hits in both the third and fifth innings, New Jersey’s biggest threat came in the bottom of the sixth. Felix Sanchez worked a one out walk and later stole second, marking the first time a Jackal had reached scoring position. With two outs and Jose Cuevas at the plate, Budkevics induced a weak ground out to short to finish the frame.
In the top of the seventh, Rockland put runners at first and second with one out. The Jackals then turned to reliever Ty Kelley to get out of the jam, but was unable to. A wild pitch advanced both runners 90-feet and was followed by a Jerod Edmondson two-run single, making it a 4-0 game.
New Jersey made its best attempt at a rally in the bottom of the seventh. After recording the first two outs with relative ease, Budkevics gave up a walk to Tony Caldwell before Steve Nikorak singled to put runners on first and second. With a 2-2 count, Richard Arias popped a ball into foul ground on the first base side that was dropped by Edmondson. Just two pitches later, Edmondson redeemed himself by snaring a hard line drive down the line and flipping to a covering Budkevics to end the inning.
Luis Sanz would pitch a perfect eighth inning in relief for Rockland and was followed by Chad Robinson. The closer worked a 1-2-3 ninth, starting the celebration among the large contingent of Boulders fans that made the trip to New Jersey.
Budkevics tossed seven shutout innings, striking out nine batters, while giving up three hits and only two walks. Antonini was charged with two runs on six hits in only four innings of work while Ellis gave up a pair of runs on four hits in two and one-thirds innings.