Santiago Chirino Returns as Jackals Swept by Boulders

The woes for the 2021 New Jersey Jackals continued this past week. After dropping two of three to the Sussex County Miners in a split home and road series, New Jersey began another home and road series against the New York Boulders. This time, however, the Jackals would fail to get a single win, as the Boulders took all three games of this series.

The series would open with the Jackals paying a visit to the Boulders home ballpark, Palisades Credit Union Park, for the first of two on Aug. 3. This game would also mark to return of Jackals shortstop Santiago Chirino. It was his first game since July 23 and his second since July 7. During that time Chirino was out on paternity leave as he and his wife welcomed their first child.

"It's exciting," said Santiago Chirino. "Family first. I was excited to go back home but at the same time, I was leaving the team for a couple of weeks. But now I'm back. I'm trying to do my best everyday."

The game itself turned out to be a pitcher's duel, as Chris Tessitore pitched four innings of one-run ball for the Jackals. The one run came in the bottom of the fifth inning when Marcus Mastrobuoni hit one to left that sailed over the wall for a solo home run. Tessitore would exit the game during the next at bat due to an apparent hand injury.

That would end up being the only run the Boulders needed to exit this game with a victory. Orsen Josephina pitched six strong shutout innings for New York. New Jersey's offense went silent in this one, managing only one hit, as they went on to drop this one 1-0.

The two teams stayed at Palisades Credit Union Park for the middle game of this series on Aug. 4. New York once again jumped out to an early lead in this one, starting with Ray Hernandez absolutely crushing one to left for a solo home run. Milton Smith followed that up with a two-run home run in the same inning. However, Santiago Chirino would help give the Jackals the lead back, scoring on a single by Jason Agresti in the top of the third, then drove in Josh Rehwaldt with a sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth to give New Jersey a 4-3 lead.

"I love to play baseball," said Chirino. "Being on the field again is so much fun. For me, every time I'm on the baseball field, I forget things and I'm just having fun. I'm trying to do my best every single time. Happy to be back again and trying to win some games."

However, the Jackals pitching would be unable to preserve the lead. In the bottom of the fourth Phil Capra scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Kevonte Mitchell to tie the game. The very next inning, Ryan Ramiz gave the Boulders the lead for good, hitting one that sailed over the short porch in right for a solo home run. New York would go on to win the game by a final of 5-4,

The Jackals would head back home to their home ballpark, Yogi Berra Stadium, for the rubber game on Aug. 5. Demetrius Moorer got New Jersey on the board first in the bottom of the second inning with a single to score Josh Rehwaldt. However, the rest of the game would be all Boulders, scoring 10 runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings alone. Ryan Ramiz had a big day at the plate, going 3-for-6 with five RBIs, including a two-run double in the top of the third and a two-run triple in the top of the fourth. Jack Sundberg hit the ball well as well, going 3-for-6 with four RBIs, including a three-run home run in the top of the fifth. New York went on to rout New Jersey by a final of 12-6, handing the Jackals the sweep and their 10th straight loss at home.

"I'm trying to be as positive as I can and I'm trying to help the energy in the dugout," said Santiago Chirino. "I'm trying to cheer the guys. I know for a couple of weeks I was off but I'm trying to do my best on the baseball field and in the dugout and clubhouse. Trying to get that rhythm again and trying to get those guys with the energy they need to win some games."

The New Jersey Jackals currently stand with a record of 26-34, third place in the Northeast Division. They'll head back on the road for a three game series against the Washington Wild Things on Aug. 6 before returning home for four games against the Tri-City ValleyCats starting Aug. 10.