By Ben Strober
It was the bottom of the sixth in Brewster; Yarmouth starting pitcher Finnegan Wall stood in, absolutely untouchable from the start.
On a two-strike pitch, Wall induced a grounder that second baseman Ryan Jackson scooped and threw to first to retire Wall’s sixth no-hit inning.
Wall pounded his fists into his glove with excitement as he trudged back to a dugout full of his teammates applauding his efforts. Before he could even get there, Red Sox catcher Ryan Stafford swarmed to him for a huge hug.
“That was a fun game,” Wall said. “Stafford always makes it really easy for the pitchers.”
With Y-D on the brink of elimination, Wall was nails. The UC Irvine right-hander struck out five and held a Brewster team that hit 16 times in game one to none in game two.
Wall’s efforts, coupled with an admirable three innings from Boston Mabeus, lifted the Red Sox up from a potential early grave and forced a winner-take-all game tomorrow.
“It matters the most at this time of the year,” Wall said. “There can be nerves sometimes before the game, but I figured, how often do you get to pitch in the Cape? So I just went after it and gave it all I had.”
Y-D only scored one run in innings two, three and four, but the incredible efforts on the mound were enough to hand the Red Sox a season-saving 3-1 win. Additionally, Y-D overcomes an uninspired performance in game one that put them to the brink.
“This feels a lot better than yesterday,” field manager Scott Pickler said. “We get to go home tomorrow again and play.”
Brewster and Y-D head back to Red Wilson Field tomorrow for an all-deciding game, with the winner going to the East Finals.
“This is the fun time of the season,” Pickler said. “I get at least one more fun game.”
The Red Sox looked lifeless and uninspired in game one. Suddenly, dominant pitching gave the team a new pulse.
It wasn’t an attitude change today,” Pickler said. “The guy we sent to the mound was in command all game.”
It was vital Y-D grabbed a lead early, and they had a golden chance in the second inning. Skylar King made the most of the opportunity, laying down a perfect two-out suicide-squeeze bunt to put Y-D in front.
King’s nifty bunt was his fourth bunt single in his third game on the team.
“He’s doing a good job,” Pickler said. “He’s playing a good center field and he brought some energy.”
Zander Darby added to the lead with a run-scoring grounder in the third.
Wall sent down opposing hitters all summer, and today was no different. Brewster’s Tyler Pettorini’s loud fly-out was the only hard Whitecap contact through three innings.
“I told [Wall] to go out and win the first inning, and let’s see what happens,” Pickler said.”He went out and won us six innings and didn’t let them score. That’s where the momentum came from.”
Brewster starter Brendan Walker’s first-pitch fastball to Jackson rocketed to the wall in left for a double. Two-straight wild pitches from Walker ensued, bringing in Jackson for Y-D’s third run.
The rally continued momentarily; Theo Hardy walked and advanced to third on a throwing error while trying to take second. However, for some reason, Hardy came too far off third while bluffing at the pitcher, allowing an easy back-pick to nab him. It’s even more disappointing that King’s flyball on the next pitch was plenty deep enough to bring in Hardy.
Wall couldn’t be stopped on the hill. Even after a one-out walk, the runner went nowhere, thanks to an incredible pickoff move from the right-hander.
After another 1-2-3 inning for Wall in the sixth, the right-hander exited the game. Wall struck out five while keeping the Whitecaps hitless.
“I feel like a lot of times I’m working with only one to two pitches,” Wall said. “Today, I was working with all four.”
Boston Mabeus entered from the pen and with one out, a weakly hit ball from Josh Pearson ended a potential combined no-hitter for Y-D. Mason White, the next batter, dropped in a blooper in left to bring in the runner on second. Suddenly, things were interesting.
It was interesting only at that moment. Mabeus was lights out from that moment on and sent the Whitecaps down in order in the final two innings.
With only two pitchers going for Y-D tonight, they’ll have a fresh arsenal of arms for the pivotal third game.
“It’s nice to have,” Pickler said. “We saved our bullpen cause of those guys today.”