By Brian Melanson
The Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox came into yesterday’s contest against the Harwich Mariners riding a two-game win streak, looking to extend it to three. Before the game, the Mariners and Red Sox were the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the East, respectfully, with Y-D looking to take first place with a win.
Consistent hitting in the middle innings coupled with great pitching throughout the game was all Y-D needed to take down the Mariners, 5-2, and secure their spot in first place in the East.
When it comes to the Red Sox’s red-hot offense lately, field manager Scott Pickler laid out his simple game plan, “You just ride the hot guys.”
Khal Stephen was on the bump for his third start of the season for the Red Sox. Coming into the game, the Purdue righty was tied for third in the league with 13 strikeouts through his first two outings. He finished with four in five shutout innings.
Scoreless after two innings, the Red Sox struck first to start the third. After RJ Austin walked and advanced to second on a balk, Will King scored him on an RBI single. That at-bat was King’s 35th of the season and he had yet to strike out all while boasting an impressive .333 batting average, seventh in the Cape Cod Baseball League.
Harwich’s Shea Sprague’s day was done after allowing the run in the third and back-to-back singles to start the fifth. Gabe Van Emon entered and immediately walked Austin to load the bases. Back at the plate, King ripped a two-RBI single to extend Y-D’s lead, 3-0.
“I just try and help my team wherever I go to give us a shot to win,” said King. “I just play my game and try to prove myself.”
Looking for a double play to end the half-inning, Van Emon intentionally walked Max Viera to load the bases again. Fortunately for him, back-to-back pop flies allowed him to escape without any more damage.
The runs continued to come for Y-D to start the sixth. With Casey Cook on second, Enzo Apodacaca singled to score Cook to increase their lead, to 4-0. Moving to third on a Brady Day single, Apodaca also scored on an Austin single that bounced over the third baseman’s glove.
Harwich finally rallied for their first run of the game in the bottom half of the sixth. With Hector Garcia in to relieve Stephen, Hunter Fitzgerald ripped an RBI double to cut into the lead. A passed ball allowed him to score from third to cut the lead, 5-2.
Afterward, Garcia settled down, pitching a scoreless three frames to close the game and secure the win for the Red Sox. He allowed just one hit in the last three innings to go with four of his five total strikeouts.
With their win streak now at three, the Red Sox improved to 8-4-1. They will be back home today to take on the Orleans Firebirds.