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New Jersey Jackals relief pitcher Ryan Velazquez gets New York Boulders centerfielder Issac Bellony to fly out to end the top of the sixth inning at Hinchliffe Stadium on Thursday, May 9, 2024.  


Jackals Rock Boulders on Opening Day in 14-6 Route


May 10, 2024


PATERSON, N.J. – At 6:38 p.m. on May 9, 2024, all became right with the world; well, perhaps, as it pertains to Hinchliffe Stadium and baseball's return for the 2024 Frontier League season.

On a crisp evening, reminiscent of October baseball, the New Jersey Jackals and the New York Boulders embarked on their own respective journey toward a Frontier League Championship. In the top of the first inning, former Jackals right fielder Alfredo Marte doubled, then New York designated hitter David Vinsky connected for the first Maple Street blast of the season to give the Boulders an early 2-0 lead. 


New Jersey quickly answered in the home half of the first when Passaic, New Jersey native Nilo Rijo lead off with a double. Later in the inning, first baseman Hemmanuel Rosario evened the score with a two-run home run.

Jackals starting pitcher Yuhi Sako had some difficulty in the top of the second. After giving up a lead-off single, the next two batters popped up. With two outs, Boulders second baseman Steve Barmakian drove the ball to deep center field. New Jersey center fielder Arbert Cipion made a valiant attempt to catch the ball, but the Paterson native just missed as he crashed into the fence. The result was an RBI triple for Barmakian giving New York a 3-2 lead. 


The Boulders extended their lead in the top of the fourth when center fielder Issac Bellony hit a solo home run making it 4-2 in favor of the visitors. The Jackals mounted their comeback in the bottom of the fourth when Cipion, who was celebrating his 24th birthday, led off with a double. Cipion had quite the birthday as he went 3 for 5, with three runs batted in, and scored three runs. With two outs in the fourth, New Jersey rallied with back-to-back RBI singles by Frank Nigro and Trent Taylor to tie the game at four runs apiece. 


In the top of the fifth, Sako settled and retired the side. In the home half of the fifth, the Jackals took hold of the situation when Ryan Ford homered, followed by a Cipion double, and a Jordan Scott single, to give New Jersey a 6-4 lead. The Jackals kept it interesting when New Jersey's relief pitcher Ryan Velazquez gave up a lead-off double to Chris Kwitzer in the top of the sixth. Vinsky moved Kwitzer to third on a ground ball to first base, this was followed by a wild pitch allowing Kwitzer to score and narrowing the Jackals lead to 6-5.

New Jersey kept their momentum going with a lead-off walk in the bottom of the sixth, followed by a single, setting the stage for Rijo, who doubled to score Nigro for what would be the eventual go-ahead run. On the day, the Passaic, New Jersey native went 2 for 5 with one run batted in and scored two runs. The Jackals continued to pile on for a total of six runs in the sixth inning and never looked back with the final result being a 14-6 victory.


Sako was credited with the win, on the day he pitched five innings, giving up five hits, four earned runs and four strikeouts. Aaron Dona took the loss for New York. The Jackals continue this unique series in Rockland on Saturday, May 11th, as the Friday, May 10th game was postponed due to inclement weather. The Jackals return home to Hinchliffe Stadium on Wednesday, May 15th to start a five-game homestand.

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