(Photo Courtesy of Zach Foley)
By Kieran Wilson
Orleans topped Y-D 4-3 in the second and final game of the Eastern Division finals to sweep the Red Sox and end their season. Y-D was resilient, battling back to tie the game twice, but just couldn’t do enough to pull out the win. Red Sox pitchers only gave up three earned runs, and the offense had multiple scoring threats, but a win was simply not in the cards for the Red Sox.
The game stayed a pitching battle until the bottom of the third, when Orleans managed to break through. The Firebirds’ Owen Carapellotti earned a one-out walk and advanced to third on a single by Jake Casey. Jo Oyama grounded a ball to the right side of the infield that was mishandled by Zander Darby and Brady Day, allowing Carapellotti to score the first run of the game. Colin Tuft batted next and laid down a bunt that Darby fielded near the first-base line. He threw to third in an effort to gun down Casey, but his throw was in the dirt and scooted away from Theo Hardy, allowing Casey to score and Orleans to go up 2-0.
The Red Sox scratched two runs across in the fifth after a leadoff single from Manny Garza. Skylar King pinch-ran for him, moving up to second on a groundout by Drew Kron, and scoring on an RBI single by Ryan Jackson. He moved up one base on a passed ball, bringing Hunter Hines stepped to the plate. He tied the score at 2-2 after muscling a RBI single up the middle.
But Orleans struck right back in the bottom of the fifth after loading the bases on two singles and a walk. With Gavin Bruni on in relief and Tuft batting, a wild pitch allowed Stahlman to score from third and give Orleans a 3-2 lead.
In the seventh, Casey Cook led off for the Red Sox with a double to right-center field. Ryan Jackson moved him to third with a sacrifice bunt, and Cook tied the game at three apiece after scoring on a wild pitch.
The Red Sox looked to be in trouble after Orleans loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning with the game still tied. Red Sox pitcher Landon Beidelschies, who was brought in with two runners on, had walked a batter to juice the bases. But the Red Sox couldn’t hold the lead, as a wild pitch got through to the backstop and gifted Orleans the winning run.
The Red Sox offense couldn’t get anything going in the ninth, putting an end to the game with a final score of 4-3. On the field afterwards, players, coaches, fans, and interns all embraced each other and reminisced on another summer gone by. While the Red Sox did not achieve their final goal of winning another championship, they did accomplish something else. Everyone who made up this team, both on and off the field, entered the season as strangers and left as a team; and there was not a dry eye to be found as the season came to a close.