Last night was one of my final trips to Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium for 2010. It’s becoming clear that Newark will end its season on Sept. 19 in Camden — there will be no playoffs this year.
But that didn’t stop the Bears from making things difficult for the Liberty Division-leading Bridgeport Bluefish on Wednesday night.
Newark scored first off Bluefish starter Matt Pike – former Red Sox farmhand Sandy Madera hit a first-inning home run.
Bridgeport rallied in the second, using four consecutive hits to build a four-run inning. It seems like every time I go to a game started by Derek Blacksher, he’s awful. Yet the Bears almost always manage to come back and win them.
The Bluefish added another run in the top of the third before Pike imploded and let the Bears tie up the game in the bottom half of the inning. The big hit came from former Cardinals outfielder Brian Barton, who provided a three-run homer.
Newark took a 7-5 lead in the fourth, but Bridgeport tied it up again in the top of the fifth. The Bears opened up a 10-7 lead against former Mets reliever Bartolome Fortunato in the bottom half of the fifth, and that proved to be the final score.
Relievers on both teams — including former major league closers Antonio Alfonseca and Armando Benitez — had control issues, but neither team was able to capitalize.
Woodbridge, NJ resident Matt Smith — who has apparently been dropped from the Bears’ starting rotation — was the most effective pitcher of the night. He held the Bluefish to just two hits over three innings and struck out three batters.
I plan to be on hand for the Bears’ final home game on Sept. 12, and I’m going to travel to Camden on Sept. 19 for their final game of 2010. I’m not sure how many — if any — other Bears games I will get to. It’s been an interesting year, but I’m not sure I really want to watch them play out the string.