It wasn’t quite the ending the Sussex County Miners had envisioned in the first half of the Frontier League season, but just when they thought their playoff dreams had evaporated, a seven-game winning streak to end the regular season shoehorned them into the postseason.
But their wild card game against the New Jersey Jackals brought that dream to an end as the Miners bowed 5-0.
The Miners has been as far back as five games against the Tri-City ValleyCats, whose final week swoon opened the door for Sussex County. Both teams finished with 55-40 records but the Miners won the season series with the ValleyCats, which was the ticket to the playoffs.
“Even if we didn’t get into the playoffs, I would have still been very proud of this team,” first-year manager Chris Widger said before the wild card game. “We had our ups and downs but that was to be expected with such a young team like we had. When we needed to win, we got it done.”
Despite fielding 14 rookies, the Miners led the league in team ERA, fewest hits allowed and fewest runs allowed. But getting past their cross-state rival Jackals was a tough ask.
The Jackals swept the Miners in a three-game series in July and took three out of four in August. And while the Miners may have held ground on the mound, the Jackals led the Frontier League in batting, home runs, runs, hits, walks, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
The Jackals led the league with 195 home runs, including 19 in the nine games against the Miners. The Miners had 82 home runs for the year.
Joe Phalon, 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.