(Photo of Leighton Finley courtesy of Zach Foley)
By Kieran Wilson
The Y-D Red Sox beat the Orleans Firebirds in a tight game at Eldredge Park on Monday by a final of 4-1. Nick Juidice, Leighton Finley, and Sawyer Hawks were lights out for the Red Sox on the mound, just allowing one run and five hits combined.
Juidice started the game, going four innings, giving up three hits, one earned run, two walks, and striking out seven Firebird batters. The only run he surrendered came in the second. Joichiro Oyama hit a leadoff single into right field and advanced to third on a ground out. Juidice struck out the next batter, but Drew Faurot singled with two outs, driving in Oyama and putting Orleans up 1-0.
The Red Sox offense was held in check by Orleans’ starter, Jake Peppers, until they finally broke through in the top of the fifth inning. With two outs, and Jonathan Gonzalez pitching in relief for the Firebirds, Jacob Jenkins-Cowart reached on an error by the first baseman. Then, Max Viera beat out a throw by the shortstop to put runners on first and second, which brought designated hitter, Anthony Martinez, to the plate. He lined a single to right field, which drove in Jenkins-Cowart, and the right fielder had trouble fielding the ball, allowing Viera to score all the way from first base.
Of his 2 RBI single, Martinez said, “It feels awesome. It was my first hit, in a big spot, so definitely feels amazing.” Martinez has been selected to participate in the 2023 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team Training Camp, with the possibility of being selected for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. He was honored by the opportunity, saying, “It’s awesome, you know. Just representing my family and everyone who has helped me get here. You can’t do it alone.”
The score remained 2-1 until the top of the 8th inning when Hunter Hines got on base with a walk. Nick Mitchell pinch ran for him, stole second, and then advanced to third after the throw skipped away from the second baseman. Then, Will King sliced a single into the outfield, scoring Mitchell. Jakob Christian ran for King and reached second base on a balk, then stole third and scored on a grounder to the shortstop, giving the Red Sox a 4-1 lead.
After Juidice’s strong outing, Leighton Finley relieved him and proceed to silence the Orleans batters. He pitched 4 ⅓ innings, only giving up two hits and one walk, while striking out four, while also earning the win. On the season, Finley has an ERA of zero to go along with five strikeouts.
Sawyer Hawks entered the game with one out and a runner on first base in the bottom of the ninth inning. He induced a flyout, then walked a batter, before he struck out Orleans’ Jake Casey to end the ballgame.
With this win, the Red Sox move to 5-2-1 on the season, having won five of their last six games, and move into first place in the East Divison. Y-D’s next game will come on Tuesday, June 20, when they take on fourth-place Chatham at 4:45 PM at “Red” Wilson Field.