By Brian Willwerth
BROCKTON, MA – The red-hot Brockton Rox are in the midst of their second-longest home winning streak in team history.
The Rox won their tenth straight game at Campanelli Stadium Tuesday night by defeating the New York State Federals, 7-4. It was a game that saw a plethora of stolen bases and two players, and a manager, get ejected.
The Rox got on the board first in the 2nd. Ryan Royster’s single to right scored Melvin Falu. Shawn Williams slid safely into third, much to the chagrin of Feds’ shortstop Alex Sumner. A few seconds later, Sumner became the first player to hit the showers early. The Rox could’ve added another run but new third baseman Sandy DeLeon made a great diving play to rob Dominic Ramos of a hit.
New York tied in the score in the next inning on Dan Barbero’s RBI single. But Brockton responded with three runs of its own in the bottom of the inning, courtesy of five singles. Mike Torres, Keith Brachold, Trey Hernandez, Falu and Chris Grossman did the honors. It was 4-1 Rox after three.
The Federals cut the deficit to two on an RBI single by DeLeon. Then with Barbero on third, Jacob Fabry struck out, but the ball sailed to the backstop, allowing Barbero to score New York’s third run.
In the 6th, Royster took extra bases away from Tom Maloney with a great leaping grab near the warning track in left. The score remained the same.
The drama picked up in the 7th. Ramos was ejected for arguing a stolen base call at second. Rox manager Bill Buckner came out to argue, but did not get tossed. At least, not this time. In the bottom of the inning, the Rox put some distance between themselves and the Feds. Chris Valencia’s fielder’s choice brought home a run without the ball leaving the infield. Then Falu hit one that did leave the infield – and then some. He crushed one over the left-field wall to make it 7-3.
In the middle of the 8th, Buckner finally did get the heave-ho. Whatever he said to the home plate umpire between innings did not make the ump too happy. The two got into a heated exchange that ended with Buckner slamming his hat down onto the field. The crowd at Campanelli Stadium loved every minute of it.
Mike Smith got the win for the Rox. He allowed three runs over six innings. James Kukucka took the loss for New York.
Brockton has won 12 of its last 13 games overall. The Rox can tie their longest home winning streak ever with a win in the series finale Wednesday night. First pitch is at 7:05.