by Andrew Garda

The New Jersey Jackals got an early lead Friday night against the Essex County Miners at Yogi Berra Stadium, but let it slip away and had to fight back in extra innings to get their 4-3 win.

The winning run was driven in by first baseman Brian Burgamy in the 11th inning. According to Can-Am League rules, which mirrors international baseball rules, once the game reaches the 11th inning, the batter making the last out will start the inning on second base. On Friday, second baseman Rylan Sandoval had struck out in the 10th, so he found himself on second to start the 11th.

Burgamy had already played a big role in sending the game to extra innings, having driven center fielder Johnny Bladel home with a single in the seventh. Burgamy took a Hector Nelo pitch and drove it into the outfield, sending Sandoval home to end the game.

The Jackals’ bats were red hot throughout the evening as they totaled 14 hits through 11 innings. Bladel drove in a pair of runs on a double in the bottom of the second. Those were already his eighth and ninth RBIs of the series, and he would add one more run in Sunday’s game, which the Jackals won 7-2.

The Jackals, who won the series three games to one, were dominant offensively for most of the games, outscoring the Miners 25 runs to 18, despite being blown out on Saturday in a 9-1 loss. Prior to Saturday’s outcome, the Jackals had won three in a row and as the series wrapped up on Sunday, had won six of their last 10 games.

20 games to go

Winning the series against the Miners put some more distance between the two teams in the standings. The Jackals are now the third-place team in the league with a 45-35 record. The Miners are nine games behind the Jackals with a record of 36-41.

With 20 games left in the season, the Jackals have to stay sharp, but look well poised to be one of the four teams in the playoffs in September.