The 2021 Frontier League season has entered it's final stage. And for the New Jersey Jackals, it's all about trying to end what has been a disappointing season on a high note, as the team has long been eliminated from contention for the 2021 Frontier League playoffs. New Jersey entered a three game series against the Washington Wild Things with a chance to play spoiler, as Washington came into Yogi Berra Stadium with a chance to clinch the 2021 Northeast Division. Ultimately, the Jackals took two games out of three, but couldn't stop the Wild Things from clinching the division.
Jackals Comeback in Bottom of Ninth
It looked like for a while that Sept. 7 would be the day that the Washington Wild Things would clinch the 2021 Northeast Division title. The Sussex County Miners lost to the Tri-City ValleyCats that same day 6-4, so the Wild Things needed just the lone victory to lock up a ticket to the playoffs. Washington plated five runs in the top of the third to take a 6-1 lead. Justin Wylie would help get the Jackals back in it with a two-run single in the bottom of the third and a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth. However, Andrew Sohn gave the Wild-Things a much needed insurance run in the top of the ninth with a solo home run, sending the game into the bottom of the ninth with Washington up 7-4 and three outs away from the division title.
However, New Jersey would ultimately force Washington to wait another day as Nicco Toni and Demetrius Moorer hit back to back singles to bring Todd Isaacs to the plate. Isaacs ended up tying the game with a three-run home run, his 11th of the season. Two batters later, Justin Wylie doubled bringing Josh Rehwaldt to the plate, needed a single to walk it off. Instead, Rehwaldt crushed one for a walk-off, two-run home run, giving New Jersey the comeback victory 9-7.
"My bet was just to try and put the ball in play with Wylie on second," said Rehwaldt on his approach at the plate. "Just trying to do something to get him in and help the team win. Wasn't trying to do too much."
Jackals Put Up 21 in Rout
New Jersey would once again force Washington to wait another day to clinch the Northeast Division in the middle game on Sept. 8, only this time they would do it in rout-fashion. The Jackals lineup scored a whopping nine runs in the first four innings alone. Alex Kachler hit two two-run home runs, one in the bottom of the second and the other in the bottom of the third, his first homers of the season. He would go on to finish the game going 3-for-4 with five RBIs. However, Washington would bounce back in the top of the fifth, scoring seven runs to make it a 9-7 ballgame.
Dalton Combs would get the Jackals right back on track in the bottom of the sixth, launching a two-run home run, his second of the game. Combs finished the game going 3-for-4 with six RBIs. Last but not least, Justin Wylie finished going 4-for-5 with five RBIs and a solo home run, his team-leading 15th of the season, and his third straight game with a homer. New Jersey's offense went on to score 21 runs on 20 hits in this one, as they cruised to a 21-8 victory.
"It felt good," said Dalton Combs on his second two-run home run of the game to get the momentum back in his team's favor. "They put up some runs and we got back on there. I just kept the same approach and just see something up and just drive it."
Washington Clinches Northeast Division & Avoids Sweep
New Jersey would go for the sweep in the rubber game of the series on Sept. 9. As for the Washington Wild Things, this game would be meaningless for them as the Sussex County Miners lost to the Tri-City ValleyCats 13-10, giving the Wild Things the one game they needed in the standings to clinch the 2021 Northeast Division title.
As far as the game itself, New Jersey had a 4-3 lead heading into the sixth thanks to a two-run single by Josh Rehwaldt in the bottom of the first and a two-run single by Alex Kachler in the bottom of the fourth. However, Washington had no plans on letting New Jersey complete the sweep on the day they clinched a spot in the 2021 Frontier League playoffs. Washington took the lead in the top of the sixth thanks to a solo home run by Cody Young and added an insurance run in the top of the eight off a solo home run by Grant Heyman. Washington went on to win the game 6-4, denying New Jersey the series sweep.
The New Jersey Jackals stand with a record of 38-54 on the season. They'll wrap up their 2021 season with a three-game series against the New York Boulders at home starting Sept. 10 at 7:05 p.m..