They say all good things must come to an end. Baseball is no exception as the New Jersey Jackals 2021 season, both the good and bad, came to a close this past weekend at Yogi Berra Stadium. The Jackals welcomed the New York Boulders for a three-game series, their last of the season. Despite losing the first two games, New Jersey was able to avoid the sweep in dominate fashion in their last game of 2021.
Outfielder Josh Rehwaldt had his best game of the season in the opening game on Sept. 10. It started in the second inning, where New York had already taken a 3-0 lead after scoring three runs in the top of the second. Rehwaldt got the Jackals right back in it, hitting one opposite field for a solo home run, his ninth of the season, to make it a 3-1 ballgame.
Fast-forward to the bottom of the sixth where the Boulders lead 7-4 after adding four more runs. Rehwaldt smoked a laser that just stayed fair and over the right field wall for his second homer of the game and 10th of the season to make it a 7-5 game. The Jackals would load the bases in the bottom of the ninth with the opportunity to tie or walk it off. However, Justin Wylie grounded out to shortstop and New Jersey fell short of the comeback victory.
The middle game on Sept. 11 began with a very emotional pregame moment of silence to honor the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that took place 20 years ago. As far as the game itself, it was all New York starting in the top of the fourth, when Ray Hernandez hit a solo shot for the Boulders first run of the game. It was also Hernandez's Frontier League leading 23rd home run of the season. He finished the game going 2-for-5 with two RBI. The Boulders went on to rout the Jackals in this one by the final of 11-3.
Then we come to the final game of the New Jersey Jackals 2021 season on Sept. 12, where New Jersey would look to avoid the sweep in their last series. They would do just that, starting in the bottom of the third when Dalton Combs knocked his eighth home run of the year, a three-run shot to give the Jackals the first runs of the game. The Jackals added two more runs in the inning before Demetrius Moorer followed those up by hammering one into the right-center field gap for a two-run triple, giving New Jersey a 7-0 lead.
That would only end up being the beginning of what would be an explosive last game for the Jackals bats. New Jersey's lineup scored 19 total runs in this game. Justin Wylie went 4-for-5, including a double in the bottom of the fourth. Dalton Combs went 3-for-5 with five RBI. Alex Kachler went 4-for-6 with three doubles and four RBI. Finally, Josh Rehwaldt went 3-for-6 with five RBI, four of those coming in the bottom of the eighth, where Rehwaldt capped of the season finale with a grand slam, his 11th home run of the season.
Last but not least, however, to go along with his two-run triple, Jackals outfielder Demetrius Moorer came to the mound to pitch in the top of the seventh inning. Moorer previously pitched one inning on the road against the Washington Wild Things on Aug. 6. This time around, Moorer pitched three full innings allowing no earned runs, closing the door on the 2021 New Jersey Jackals season with a 19-2 victory. Demetrius Moorer finished the game going 3-for-6 with two RBI at the plate, and ultimately got his first career save on the mound.
"Honestly it was a lot of fun," said Moorer on pitching. "I can't explain how much fun it was. They told me before the game there might be a chance but it had to get pretty ugly. So I'm glad that we was able to do what we had to do in the first couple of innings so I had that opportunity."
Jackals Finish Last
The New Jersey Jackals finished their first season in the Frontier League with a record of 39-56, last in the Northeast Division and the Can-Am Conference, and tied for second last in the entire league. They'll look to bounce back come summer of next year when their 2022 season kicks off. Until then, the Jackals players and coaches will have time to reflect on the relationships and bonds they formed over the course of this summer.
"There's ups and downs in life and there's good seasons and there's bad seasons," said Jackals manager Brooks Carey. "It's not just baseball. But everybody goes through life and there's ups and downs. All this does here is build a little character. When I go home, I'm just gonna think about my guys and the bond that we had and the relationship we had."