(Photos courtesy of Zach Foley)
By Kieran Wilson
Y-D entered Wednesday’s game against Hyannis looking to hold onto first place in the East, and a close, 5-4 win ensured that the Red Sox remained atop the division. The game remained tied 2-2 after the sixth inning, and the Harbor Hawks nearly tied the game in the ninth, but Leighton Finley managed to get a bases-loaded flyout to end the game.
The first inning started with an exciting defensive play from Casey Cook in right field. With one out and former Y-D player, Nick Mitchell, on first base, Cameron Smith hit a deep drive to right field; Mitchell was running on the play, and a hit would certainly score him. But Cook made a great diving play going to his right, got up quickly, and fired the ball to Hunter Hines at first, doubling up Mitchell and ending the inning.
With two outs in the third inning, a throwing error by shortstop, Max Viera, put Nick Mitchell on second base. Elijah Hainline hit a ground ball to Zander Darby at third base, whose throw to first took a bad hop and skipped past Hunter Hines and into the stands. The error put Hainline on second and scored Mitchell, giving the Harbor Hawks a 1-0 lead.
A few innings later, RJ Austin walked and Zander Darby hit a bloop single to start the fifth inning for Y-D. A wild pitch advanced both runners, and with no outs, the Red Sox had a great scoring opportunity. A Hunter Hines groundout to first allowed Austin to score and tie the game. With two outs, Will King lined a first-pitch single to center field, scoring Darby and giving Y-D their first lead, 2-1.
Cole Hillier came in for starter, Eric Yost, in the fifth inning and retired the side in order. But Nick Mitchell led off the sixth inning with a single, advanced to second on bunt, and scored on an RBI single by Austin Kelly, tying the game at two runs apiece.
With Hillier still on the mound an inning later, the Harbor Hawks had runners on first and second base with one out, but Jonathan Gazdar lined out to Brady Day, who made a nice play to beat the Hyannis runner back to second base and turn an unassisted double play.
Y-D broke the 2-2 tie in the seventh inning with a few timely hits. A single by Zander Darby and a walk by Max Viera brought King to the plate with one out. He made the score 3-2 after lining another RBI single into left-center field to score Darby and move Viera to third. LSU newcomer, Brady Neal, earned his first RBI of the season after he laid down a sacrifice bunt that scored Viera and extended the Red Sox lead to 4-2.
With fog rolling in, Hyannis threatened to score again in the top of the eighth. Nick Mitchell, who reached base four times, singled and moved to second after a dropped third strike. Cameron Smith hit a single that gave Hyannis runners on first and third with one out. A grounder to first scored Mitchell, and moved the Harbor Hawks to within one, but Hillier struck out Brody Donay to keep the score at 4-3.
With two outs in the bottom of the eight and RJ Austin at second base, Max Viera stepped to the plate hoping to grow Y-D’s lead. He smacked one of the hardest hits of the day into center field and scored Austin, making the score 5-3, and earning an RBI that would prove crucial.
Hector Garcia entered the game for Y-D in the top of the ninth inning, looking to close out the Harbor Hawks. He gave up a leadoff walk to Zach Erhard, and a questionable balk call put Erhard on second. Garcia struck out the next batter before giving up a weak, bloop single to Trey Lipsey which cut the lead to one run.
Leighton Finley entered the game for Garcia with a runner on first and one out; he walked the first batter he faced and got the second to ground into a fielder’s choice at second base. Finley walked the next batter to load the bases for the three-hole hitter, Cameron Smith. But he induced a flyout from Smith to earn the save and end the game with a final score of 5-4.
Postgame, manager Scott Pickler lauded the team’s ability to do the “little things” well in this game. He specifically mentioned the two-out hits, stolen bases, and Brady Neal’s RBI squeeze bunt. Pickler said, “You know, all around a really good game. We got 11 hits, you should win when you get 11 hits, and thought the pitching was good.”
All things considered, it was a very good game for the team. Will King finished with three hits and two RBIs, Zander Darby collected three hits, and Hunter Hines, Max Viera, and Brady Neal all had RBIs. Eric Yost went four scoreless, striking out three, while Cole Hillier picked up the win after pitching four innings in relief, giving up just two runs and striking out three.
Y-D’s next game comes on Friday, July 7 at 4:45 PM at “Red” Wilson Field against the Bourne Braves. Y-D will enter the game winners of six of their last ten games, while Bourne has won eight of their last ten, setting up a great matchup.