By Ben Strober
With two gone in the bottom of the fifth, Y-D starting pitcher Gage Williams looked to end his night with the sheet clean. With a sizable lead at hand, Williams worked to reward his hitters.
Williams induced an inning-ending grounder and walked back to the dugout with a visible large grin across his face. His entire team came to congratulate the Georgia Gwinnett pitcher, who delivered them a gem when they needed it most.
Williams’ stability on the mound sparked lightning from the offense in the sixth — a three-run frame that sent the struggling Wareham Gatemen into a sour ending to their subpar season. The offense struck with vengeance from a dud at home, ending the regular season with a 10-3 win.
“It was a big win for us,” Brady Day said. “We just put our heads down and kept working.”
Bottom line, Y-D got the win they needed, and they got some help from their friends on the eastern Cape.
The Chatham Anglers defeated Orleans shortly after, crowning Y-D as Eastern Division Champions – locking them in as the one seed in the playoffs.
Williams pitched five scoreless innings in his first start, and the offense compiled 13 hits – featuring two three-spots in the fourth and sixth inning.
“Williams is an animal,” Day said. “He gave us what we needed today.”
Now crowned division champions, Y-D will host Brewster in round one of the playoffs – a team they took five of six from in the regular season. The Red Sox led the division for over a month, and a late-season slide nearly saw the division title slip away.
Y-D jumped out in front in the second inning after a defensive miscue from Wareham. With runners on the corner, Greg Bozzo dribbled a fielder’s choice to bring in Brady Day.
The Red Sox loaded the bases and couldn’t score anymore due to a controversial inning-ending double play.
Ryan Stafford hit a ball right off the plate, which he presumed was foul. Wareham’s catcher, Jedier Hernandez, intelligently scooped up the ball, stepped on home, and threw to first to complete the 2-3 double play. Pickler sprinted over from his third base coaching position and argued, to no avail.
Day took no offense to the call, as he padded Y-D’s lead in the third with an opposite-field blooper.
Williams’ first start of the summer continued to see success in the third with a 1-2-3 inning. Then, the bats exploded.
Braden Montgomery knocked in a run with a slow grounder that found the hole between first and second, then Hunter Hines crushed his 13th moonshot of the season to make it 5-0.
Williams loaded the bases with no one out in the fourth before masterfully escaping with no runs allowed.
The offense ensured a high note to end the regular season. The bottom line was Wareham couldn’t throw strikes, and the Red Sox’s patience became key.
Five free passes and a bunt single from Skylar King moved Y-D’s lead to 8-0 through sixth.
Pablo Torres took over for Williams in the sixth, and he began to struggle to find the zone. His lackluster control paved the way for two Gatemen runs.
The Red Sox continued to pave the way offensively in the seventh.
Montgomery found another hole in the infield to score two more Y-D runs, so the damage done by Wareham already dissolved.
Wareham threatened some in the late innings, but the Red Sox sealed the deal and awaited the results in Orleans.
The Red Sox open the 2023 postseason at home against Brewster on Friday, at 4:00 p.m.