Bryan Verbitsky earned the win Tuesday, pitching four hitless innings of relief, striking out eight.
By: Andrew Constant / @andrew_constant
In keeping with the trend of the early part of their season, the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox knocked off the Bourne Braves, 4-1 Tuesday at Red Wilson Field for their third win in as many tries at their home park. In three road contests so far this summer, the Red Sox are winless.
Bryan Verbitsky earned the win for Y-D after tossing four hitless innings, yielding just two base runners while striking out eight. Jonny Hoffman picked up the save by getting the final five outs.
Zak Blair led the way for the Red Sox offensively, going 2-3 with a home run and a double, while reaching base three times. Blair, who hit .369 with a homer and 37 RBI as a redshirt-junior at Mercyhurst University this spring, said he just tried to put a good swing on the ball when he clubbed his first home run of the summer.
?I just went up to the plate, looking for a pitch to drive,? Blair said. ?It was a first-pitch fastball and I just wanted to stay confident and I told myself, ?see the ball hit the bat,? and I put a good stroke on it, barreled it up and it went out.?
Jake Schrader also homered for the Red Sox, blasting a solo shot way over the scoreboard in left field in the bottom of the seventh to extend the Red Sox? lead to 4-1.
But it was the pitching that kept Y-D in front, led by Verbitsky, a sophomore at Hofstra, who entered the game in the top of the fourth in relief of starter Brian Gilbert. Verbitsky promptly struck out Will Allen and Kevin Jordan to end a Bourne scoring chance and keep the Red Sox in front and went on to toss four dominant innings out of the bullpen.
?I was just trying to go out there, fill up the zone, try and throw my pitches for strikes and just see what happens,? Verbitsky, who had a 1-3 record in 26.1 innings for the Pride this spring, said.
Verbitsky didn?t allow a base runner until the seventh, when he walked pinch-hitter Jordan Patterson with two outs. But he struck out John Murphy to squash any rally that Bourne had in mind. Verbitsky faced just two batters in the eighth inning before exiting in favor of Hoffman, who was making his first appearance of the year.
Hoffman, a junior from Indiana, struck out the first batter he faced, but then allowed a double, putting runners on second and third with two outs. Calmly, he induced an inning-ending groundout to first, leaving Bourne empty-handed yet again. He got three groundouts to third in the ninth to seal the win for Y-D.
The Red Sox have been considerably better on their home field so far this summer, winning all three games, while striking out 31 batters in those contests. Away from Red Wilson Field, they have looked like a different team, allowing 21 runs in three road games. Verbitsky said he expects it all to even out as the summer moves along.
?We have a real good team out here, we have a lot of talent,? he said. ?We?re a little more confident at home, but as we play more road games, we?ll get more confident and get some wins away from home.?
Y-D has Wednesday off before traveling to Brewster to take on the Whitecaps. Blair thinks he and his teammates may have found something against Bourne that they can take with them into their next game and beyond.
?We just have to keep rolling,? Blair said. ?Today, we stood behind everybody, picking everybody up and everybody was real positive in the dugout, coaches and players, and we wanted to get a team win and if we continue on with that against Brewster, we?ll be successful.?
First pitch at Stony Brook School is scheduled for 5 p.m.