(Photo Courtesy of Zach Foley)
By Kieran Wilson
Monday could not have turned out much better for the Y-D Red Sox. They beat Orleans 5-0 to extend their winning streak to four games, and, with Chatham’s loss to Harwich, Y-D also clinched a spot in the CCBL playoffs. The win puts Y-D’s record at 21-14-1, nine points ahead of Orleans for first in the East. With just eight games remaining in the regular season, the team looks to stick to its winning ways and lock up home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Jason Doktorczyk made his first start of the season for the Red Sox against the Firebirds; in six prior appearances, he compiled a 3.85 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 18.2 innings. He started out the game with a bang, throwing an immaculate inning in the top of the first. An immaculate inning occurs when a pitcher strikes out three consecutive batters on nine straight pitches and only 114 have been recorded in Major League Baseball, so it was quite a way to start out the ballgame for Doktorczyk and the Red Sox. After the game, he said, “I’ve never done anything like that before, it was pretty cool to be a part of.”
After going 4-5 with a home run and two RBIs in Sunday’s game, Zander Darby continued his hot hitting in the bottom of the first. With runners on first and second and only one out, he lined a base hit up the middle to score Y-D’s first run of the game. Manager Scott Pickler said Darby has “been staying with the process. Sometimes he gets out of sync, we’re trying to get him to stay with the same approach all the time, and he’s doing a pretty good job of it. It’s been fun to watch him through this.”
Y-D’s bottom of the second proved to be another fruitful inning for the offense. With two outs, Ryan Jackson hit a ball that deflected off the pitching mound and past the Orleans’ second baseman for a single. RJ Austin followed by scorching a ball down the left field line for an RBI double, putting Y-D up 2-0.
The Red Sox had another scoring threat in the third with runners on first and third after singles by Braden Montgomery and Manny Garza. Casey Cook came up to bat and hit a deep sacrifice fly to left field, plating Montgomery and extending Y-D’s lead to three runs.
Y-D scored again in the fourth, which marked the fifth straight inning in which they scored dating back to Sunday’s game. Paxton Kling led off with a single and stole second. Ryan Jackson’s sacrifice bunt moved Kling to third, and Hunter Hines drove him home with a base hit to right field. After an Orleans pitching change, Hines scored from second after Darby blooped a single over the shortstop for his second RBI of the day and push the Y-D lead out to 5-0.
Doktorczyk pitched six scoreless innings for the Red Sox, picking up the win while giving up six hits and striking out seven. Boston Mabeus out of BYU entered the game in the seventh for Y-D, and in his first appearance of the season, he threw three innings, allowing four hits and striking out four.
Pickler applauded his pitchers’ performances after the game: “That’s Boston’s first outing and he did really good, and that was as good as I’ve seen Dok look all year long. He spotted up and did what he had to do. Made some key pitches to keep them from scoring…he made big pitches in big situations.”
On this four-game winning streak, the pitching has been exceptional, never giving up more than four runs, and the offense has matched the efforts of its pitchers. If Y-D can continue to put together complete, team performances like the last few games, they will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs.
The Red Sox will take on the West Division leaders and owners of the best record in the league, the Cotuit Kettleers, on Tuesday at “Red” Wilson Field.