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Monday, May 27, 2024

Miners’ Playoff Hopes Hanging by a Thread

Oraj Anu has hit 17 homers for the Miners this year. Photo by Joe Phalon, 8/2023.

The Sussex County Miners saw their post-season hopes fade just a bit more after a heart-breaking loss to the Empire State Greys Aug. 13.

The Miners start a six-game road trip this week five games out from a playoff spot after having led the Easter Division of the Frontier League for more of the first half of the season.

In this past Sunday’s game, the Miners led the Greys through the fifth inning when they gave up three runs to the Greys who tied the game at four runs.

The Miners inched back with run in the bottom of the eighth to lead 5-4. But in the top of the ninth the Miners defense imploded with relief pitcher Robbie Hitt giving up back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases.

Hit came back to strike out two, the on the next batter was one strike away from winning when the Greys Luis Atiles slammed a bases-clearing double, giving the team a 7-5 lead over the Miners.

Designated hitter Oraj Anu gave the Miners a glimmer of hope in the bottom of the ninth with his 17th home run, a solo shot, but it wasn’t enough with Sussex County losing 7-6.

Oraj had three RBIs on the day with Edwin Mateo, Willie Escala and Gavin Stupienski each bringing home a run.

The Miners had a similar heartbreak at the beginning of the homestand Aug. 3 against the New Jersey Jackals, when they lost 5-3 in 10 innings. Both teams had three runs by the fifth inning after Will Zimmerman tied it for the Miners with a home run, at tie they carried into the 10th.

In the top of the 10th, the Jackals’ Josh Rehwaldt hits a two-run homer, which the Miners failed to answer in the bottom half of the inning.

The Miners then took one of three each from the Quebec Capitales and the Ottawa Titans before beginning their series with the Greys in which they split four games.

Heading for Canada Aug. 15 they play a trio of games against the Trois-Rivieres Aigles then three against the Tri-City Valleycats of the New York state capital region.

The Miners return home Aug. 22 for three more against the Aigles.

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.