Alex Blandino clubbed a pair of two-run home runs, helping Y-D beat Orleans 9-0 Tuesday night.
By: Andrew Constant / @andrew_constant
Alex Blandino hit a pair of two-run home runs and Drew Bowen tossed six shutout innings, helping Yarmouth-Dennis capture the Eastern Division crown 9-0 Tuesday night at Eldredge Park.
The Red Sox victory, coupled with Wareham?s 8-6 victory over the Bourne Braves tonight, sets up a Cape League Championship Series matchup between Y-D and Wareham. Game 1 will take place Wednesday afternoon at Red Wilson Field in South Yarmouth.
Red Sox pitching allowed just three runs in the series and the two starters used by manager Scott Pickler, Game 1 starter Alex Gonzalez and Bowen, combined to toss 12.1 scoreless frames, scattering six hits over that time.
Blandino put the Red Sox up 3-0 in the top of the second inning, crushing a two-run homer over the left-center field fence. The third baseman from Stanford hit just three long balls this season and he hadn?t hit one since July 4. Y-D had gained the lead on an RBI double off the bat of Danny Diekroger. Blandino?s Stanford teammate lined a frozen rope into the left-center field gap, bringing Zak Blair, who walked to lead off the inning, around from first. The four-run inning came to an end when Wayne Taylor reached on an error by the left fielder and scored when he stole third and Max Rossiter?s throw sailed into left field.
That would be more than enough for Bowen, who yielded just four hits and struck out eight. He was in complete command from the start, facing just two over the minimum through the first three innings. Orleans put the first two batters on in the fourth, but Bowen struck out the next three Firebirds, stranding the runners. The Firebirds put two on against Bowen in the sixth, but the right-hander from Oral Roberts struck out Angelo LaBruna looking to end the threat and complete his evening.
Y-D struck for three runs in the top of the sixth, chasing Orleans starter Brandon McNitt from the ballgame. Sam Travis walked to begin the frame, forcing the Firebirds to go to their bullpen for the first time, bringing in Pat Christensen to face Robert Pehl. The Red Sox designated hitter singled past the first base bag, sending Travis to third with nobody out for Zak Blair. Y-D?s right fielder smoked a ground-rule double into the left field corner, bringing Travis in and upping the Red Sox lead to 5-0. After Diekroger flew out to left and Blandino struck out, Justin Shafer bounced a two-run single through the left side of the infield, giving the Red Sox centerfielder four RBI in two games.
Blandino capped the scoring for the Red Sox in the eighth, blasting his second two-run homer of the night, this time off Christensen. The four RBI Blandino collected on the evening matched a season-high, set in his first game on the Cape on June 21 in Brewster.
Brian Gilbert worked two innings out of the Red Sox bullpen, allowing just a leadoff walk in the seventh and Preston Hatcher retired the side in order in the ninth.