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Frontier League’s New Jersey Jackals Christen Hinchliffe Stadium With Win in Home Opener

 Matt Tallarini  |    May 22nd, 2023 7:22pm EDT

The New Jersey Jackals and Sussex County Miners faced off in the first professional baseball game at Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, N.J. since the 1940s. (Photo: Brian LoPinto/Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium)

The New Jersey Jackals of the Frontier League played the first professional baseball game in over 70 years at newly-renovated Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, New Jersey against their in-state rival, the Sussex County Miners. 

The Jackals won 10-6 over the Miners, putting a new shine on the National Historic Landmark after being tenants at Yogi Berra Stadium on the campus of Montclair State University for 24 seasons.

Professional baseball was last played at Hinchliffe Stadium in 1945, when it was home to the New York Black Yankees of the Negro National League.

Fans of all ages came out to the ballpark in Paterson, where for 26 years, Hinchliffe Stadium had not been lying derelict.

The pregame festivities brought Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh and former Major League second baseman Willie Randolph to throw out the ceremonial first pitches. 

The ballpark configurations for Hinchliffe played a big part in the outcome of the first home game for the Jackals, with both teams combining for 10 home runs.

The Miners got on the board in the first inning when the first batter of the game, Edwin Mateo, drove a solo home run over the left center field wall for the first run of the game along with the first hit at the newly-renovated park.

A few batters later, first baseman Gavin Stupienski came to the plate and belted a solo home run for the second run of the game for the Miners as they took a 2-0 lead out of the gate.

In the bottom of the first inning, the Jackals got on the board as Josh Rehwaldt drove a home run over the left field wall, scoring James Nelson as the Jackals tied the game at two. A few batters later, Nilo Rijo looped a base hit to center and Alex Toral and Alfredo Marte both came in to score to take the lead at 4-2.

During the bottom of the fourth inning, the Jackals looked to extend the lead as Keon Barnum drove a home run over the left field wall as Rehwaldt came in to score at 6-2.

The Jackals did not look back the rest of the way as they continued to pour on the runs on the way to their fourth win of the season to get their record back to .500.  The Sussex County Miners lost their second game of the season and are in first place of the eastern division in the Frontier League at 6-2.  

Jackals starting pitcher Vin Mazzaro threw four innings allowing three hits, two earned runs, walking one batter, and striking out four to earn a no-decision.

“We got a lot of big boys on our team that can hit the ball, that are very strong, and that’s going to play well in this park,” Mazzaro told World Baseball Network. “And on the other side, as a pitcher, you’ve just got to keep the ball down and pitch your game.”

Jackals relief pitcher Luke Hansen recorded his first win of the season and worked out of the bullpen through 1.2 innings allowing three hits, two earned runs, one walk, and striking out two from yesterday’s game.

Miners starting pitcher Cole Davis went three innings and allowed two earned runs, walked three, and struck out one to take the loss.

The Miners bullpen was depleted, allowing five home runs in the game through seven innings of work along with giving up six earned runs, and nine hits during the loss.

The Jackals will play their second game at Hinchliffe Stadium on Tuesday when they start the first game of their three game series against the 7-2 Evansville Otters at 10:35 a.m. EDT.

The Sussex County Miners will go on the road to take on the 3-6 Ottawa Titans on Tuesday at 11 a.m. EDT to begin their three-game series.