10-Time Cape Cod Baseball League Champions

Hunter Hines’ clutch eighth inning blast pushes Yarmouth-Dennis to first win

By Ben Strober

The bottom of the eighth initially felt deflating. The Red Sox just surrendered two runs on two errors and had relinquished a once 5-0 lead.

Shortly after, Hunter Hines stepped up with a runner on third and no one out. Hines didn’t need anything special; he just needed to put one in play.

The first-team All-SEC DH instead provided something a little more special, lofting a two-run go-ahead blast.

Hines’ blast was just enough for Yarmouth-Dennis to squeak past Brewster for its first win of the season, 8-6.

“This feels a whole lot better than the past two days,” manager Scott Pickler said. “We were shooting ourselves in the foot and we did a bit tonight, but it feels a lot better when you win.”

Yarmouth-Dennis starter Will Finnegan looked strong in his first inning, fanning the side all on offspeed pitches. 

Brady Day sent Jacob Riordan’s fastball for a ride with two gone in the bottom half, but it died into the glove of Brewster’s center fielder, who was parked at the base of the fence.

YD severely struggled to generate offense early in its first two games, but today saw an explosive resurgence for five in the second.

“Offense will come, it always does,” Pickler said. “Now they’re trying to relax a little more and get more comfortable in their approach.”

Max Viera poked the Red Sox their first hit and instantly hustled his way to third on a steal and passed ball. 

 Hines’ first hit of the summer came at an opportune time, as his double gave YD its first lead in three games.

“I wasn’t worried about him at all,” Pickler said. “He tried to do too much the first two games.”

The next batter, Jakob Christian, tomahawked Riordan’s first-pitch fastball for a two-run moonshot.

The Red Sox weren’t satisfied with the damage done to Riordan. Nick Mitchell’s opposite-field double led to Nathan Archer sending out YD’s second of the inning.

“That was a great feeling,” Archer said. “I think it was an even better feeling to get our first win though.”

Adequate run-support for Finnegan soon dwindled. Finnegan dealt a one-out walk and watched his first pitch to Will Turner sail out of the park for a two-run shot.

Brewster inched even closer in the fourth with a Brock Tibbitts RBI single. Finnegan, however, escaped the fourth with a two-run lead after his sixth strikeout.

Finnegan’s outing concluded after four innings of three-hit, three-run ball.

Archer’s stellar day at the plate continued, with an RBI infield single in the fourth, extending Yarmouth’s lead to 6-3.

“The last couple of games we’ve been stagnant early, so it helped a lot to get us all going once we did,” Archer said.

Sawyer Hawks entered the danger zone in the sixth, loading the bases with no one out. Hawks picked up a big strikeout but contently surrendered an RBI sac-fly before Enzo Apodaca laid out and caught a potential game-tying rip.

The Red Sox held a 6-4 lead after the Brewster scare in the sixth.

Blake Aita came in for the eighth and induced a grounder to himself. He fielded it cleanly, his throw, however, sailed into the bleachers.

“We were giving them the momentum because we couldn’t play catch,” Pickler said. “We had some players come up big in the end.”

The next pitch was crushed to right but another incredible Apodaca leaping catch saved a run. However, That run later scored on a run-scoring grounder from Vince Cimini, creeping Brewster into a one-run deficit.

Brewster forced runners into scoring position, so Aita was chased from the game. Another throwing error on a grounder brought home the tying run for the Whitecaps.

An intentional walk loaded the bases, but Cole Hillier froze Payton Green to keep it tied.

In a crucial bottom of the eighth, Viera led off, slicing a double into right. Viera then advanced to third with no one out on a passed ball.

Only needing any form of contact, Hines chose power and sent a clutch, a towering shot that put the Red Sox up two.

“He threw me the 3-0 slider, so I expected him to come back to it,” Hines said. “I knew I hit it well.”

Hines, who led Mississippi State in homers, found his home run swing for the first time on The Cape.

Brewster threatened with a runner on third, but another Apodaca diving grab sealed YD’s first win.

“I’m enjoying these kids, we’re going to be fine,” Pickler said.

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