By Ben Strober
In the top of the sixth, Yarmouth-Dennis starter Khal Stephen struck out a Mariner for the first out of the inning.
Although he was in no trouble, field manager Scott Pickler had to get his top starter. Pickler took the ball from Stephen, and the entire bullpen rushed to the dugout to congratulate Stephen on an exceptional five innings.
“It was awesome,” Stephen said. “I came out on strikeout too, so it was a really cool moment to look around and see the crowd and take it all in.”
Stephen’s 5.1 innings of two-run ball saw him allow just three hits, which was more than enough for seven Y-D runs to earn him his second win.
“It’s great to have a good pitching performance,” Pickler said. “It helps the batters get comfortable and come through.”
Timely hitting from the offense and phenomenal pitching from Stephen and Jason Doktorczyk shot the Red Sox to a comfortable 7-3 win over the Mariners.
Yarmouth-Dennis extended its lead over the second-place Mariners to three games in the East Division.
It took until the top of the third for any action to get going. Manny Garza led off the inning with a double before RJ Austin notched the second hit of his return to the lineup, a run-scoring single.
Harwich’s Kevin Karstetter responded with a game-tying double off Stephen in the bottom of the inning.
Stephen limited the damage well, striking out two in the frame.
Y-D struck right back in the top of the fourth with an impressive rally. Austin’s third hit of the day loaded the bases for Theo Hardy. Hardy hit a chopper to Mariner third baseman Seaver King, who threw the ball away at first.
King’s high-sailing throw brought home two runs. The next batter, Hunter Hines, ripped a knock up the middle to make it 5-1 Red Sox.
“It’s always a good thing when it happens against you,” Pickler said.
Hines’ 34 RBIs lead the Cape by a margin of ten.
With run support at his back, Stephen started cruising through the remainder of his start. Pickler pulled him after 5.1 innings of two-run, three-hit ball.
“Mixing my pitches well was key,” Stephen said. “Slider was a bit iffy at times, but I was able to make adjustments. That was good.”
In four of the five times Harwich and Y-D clashed, Stephen got the ball. Since that opening day loss, the Red Sox have rattled off four-straight wins over their division rival.
“This is the fourth time I’ve started against them, so that’s kind of nut,” Stephen said. “Just finding comfort is a good thing, and knowing what spots some of their hitters have.”
Jason Doktorczyk entered the game, hit a man, and walked another to load the bases. After an infield pop-up for the second out, Karstetter struck again, lining one up the middle for a two-run knock.
The Red Sox bats picked him up, however, coming through in the seventh. Harwich pitcher Sean Hard walked two to bring up pinch hitter Brady Day in a big spot.
Day’s grounder got flagged by Hard, but his throw to second for an attempted double play, sailed into center to bring home a run. Casey Cook then lofted a run-scoring sacrifice fly to regain Y-D’s four-run advantage.
“Cook had a big night at the plate,” Pickler said. “He’s been making the adjustments he’s needed.”
Doktorczyk settled in nicely, finishing the game’s final 3.2 innings allowing just the one earned run and striking out four.
The Red Sox head home to take on Brewster tomorrow in a makeup game.