It's been a rough past couple of weeks for the New Jersey Jackals. After a 15-9 start to the season that had them tied for first place in the Northeast Division, the Jackals have since gone 6-14. It all culminated when New Jersey once again got sweep by the Washington Wild Things in a three-game series.
Jackals Comeback Falls Short
The first game on July 16 would ultimately be decided in the top of the fourth inning, when Washington quickly loaded the bases with no outs. Washington proceeded to score five runs in the inning, three on walks, to take a 6-3 lead. New Jersey's pitching staff would allow 11 total walks in the game.
Despite being down, New Jersey's bats wouldn't quit, as they would go on to score three more runs. Nicco Toni launched his first home run of the season in the bottom of the eighth. Jason Agresti had a big game as well, going 3-for-4. Despite this, Bralin Jackson ultimately put the game away with a RBI single in the top of the eighth, and the Wild Things would go on to take this one 7-6.
"It's a long season," said Agresti. "You can't get down on one or two losses in a row. You gotta just stick to the process. It's gonna turn around at some point."
New Jersey Shutout in Rain-Split Contest
New Jersey's luck wouldn't change in the second game on the series, which began on July 17. Washington jumped in front quickly in this one, scoring four runs in the first three innings. Grant Heyman had the big blow, a two-run home run in the top of the third. After the top of the third, however, heavy rain and thunderstorms moves into the area, and the game was suspended due to the inclement weather.
The game resumed the next day on July 18 and Washington ultimately continued where they left off, immediately scoring three more runs in the top of the fourth. Justin Wylie made his fifth error since transitioning from second base to shortstop in Santiago Chirino's and Chris Carpio's absence. New Jersey's bats ultimately went silent in this one, managing only three hits, as they went on to get shutout in this one 7-0.
"It's a different side of the infield," said Wylie on playing shortstop. "So you've gotta get used to the way the ball comes off the bat and a different throw. Just gotta let my athleticism take over and my instincts and be able to deliver for my team."
Washington Completes the Sweep
Due to the rain delay, the rubber game of the series would be played the same day, less than an hour after the first one ended, as a seven-inning contest. That didn't matter to the Washington Wild Things, however, as they once again jumped out in front, taking a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning.
This would be where New Jersey made it interesting, as they loaded the bases with no outs. They would add two runs in the inning with the potential for more, but Stanley Espinal struck out looking on a pitch that just clipped the inside of the plate. Washington would ultimately go on to win the game 7-4, completing the sweep of the series.
"It's the name of independent baseball," said Jackals manager Brooks Carey. "If you can't take it, then I'll go home and sit on the couch with my dog. So I'm not gonna panic here. We'll get some of these guys back here shortly and then our team will look a lot different."
The New Jersey Jackals currently stand with a record of 21-23 on the season, which is currently last in the Northeast Division, a half a game behind the Washington Wild Things for second place and eight games behind the Sussex County Miners for first place. New Jersey will wrap up their longest homestand of the season with a three-game series against the New York Boulders. The first game of the series gets underway July 20 at 7:05 p.m. EST.