The New Jersey Jackals congratulate each other on a win over the Ottawa Titans
on May 26, 2023 at Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, NJ
First Canadian Team to Play at Hinchliffe Stadium Falls to Jackals
May 27, 2023
PATERSON, N.J. – After nearly 91 years, the maple leaf finally makes its appearance on Maple Street.
Last night, the Ottawa Titans became the first Canadian franchise to play a game at Hinchliffe Stadium, and their visit to the Silk City wasn’t exactly smooth.
The New Jersey Jackals, donning their red City Connect-esque jerseys with “Silk City” across the chest, weaved their victorious narrative early en route to a 4-2 win. In the bottom of the first, leadoff hitter James Nelson was hit by a pitch, followed by left fielder Josh Rehwaldt catapulting an opposite field home run over the left-centerfield fence to give New Jersey an early 2-0 lead.
“I was just trying to come in and keep things simple,” said Rehwaldt, who hit a home run in two consecutive days. “I was struggling a little bit (lately), but today, I was just trying to put the bat on the ball and good things are happening right now.”
Good things continued to happen for the Jackals as Nelson led off the third inning with a home run to dead center field to give New Jersey’s starting pitcher Dylan Castaneda a 3-0 lead.
“Honestly, for me, I don’t think in the box,” said Nelson, who was most recently in the New York Yankees organization. “It’s see ball, hit ball. That’s what I did. Just stick to my approach, stay up the middle, and believe and trust myself.”
Ottawa tried to inch their way back in the fourth inning when Jason Dicochea hit a home run off of Castaneda, who pitched in both the Philadelphia Phillies, and Arizona Diamondbacks organizations. The Jackals added some much needed insurance by way of a Keon Barnum RBI single in the fifth.
A scary moment occurred in the bottom of the sixth inning. What appeared to be a routine fly ball to right field off the bat of Titans catcher Daniel Martins-Molinari, resulted in New Jersey right fielder Alfredo Marte colliding in an awkward manner with the concrete wall behind the home run netting in right field. After being tended to by medical staff for his back, Marte managed to stay in the game.
“It’s tough to read, because there’s not really a warning track, like a dirt warning track like normal,” said Rehwaldt of Marte’s play in right field. “I think it was the railing that kind of caught him a little bit. They ran out of a little padding there, I think if they get that covered up, it will all be good.”
“He’s always laughing and joking,” said Nelson about beloved teammate Marte. “Once I saw him smiling, I knew he was okay….as long as he’s smiling, we’re good.”
While Marte avoided serious injury, his team could have lost the game as Martins-Molinari garnered a triple during the ordeal. Ottawa’s next batter, Jacob Talamante, grounded out to the short stop, allowing Martins-Molinari to score, shortening the Jackals lead by two runs.
Pitcher Matt Vogel entered the ninth inning to close the game for the Jackals, but Titans third baseman A.J. Wright greeted Vogel with a leadoff double, followed by a single off the bat of Dicochea, which advanced Wright to third. Dicochea stole second, serving as the potential tying run.
In the face of adversity, Vogel knuckled down and struck out the next three batters to seal the victory. Game two of the weekend series continues today, first pitch 6:00 p.m.
With three home runs in last night’s game, Hinchliffe Stadium has seen 25 home runs in five games.
On Hinchliffe Stadium:
“I feel like to right, it can be a little small, but overall it’s a pretty nice stadium,” said Jackals left fielder Josh Rehwaldt. “I think it came together pretty well. In the future everything will come together well and it will be a fun stadium to play in.”
“I like it. I like it a lot. It’s a little slower than I expected” said Jackals third baseman James Nelson, in regard to the stadium’s artificial turf. “It’s a good field. I like playing here a lot.”