The Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox were dead in the water against Harwich.
Trailing 6-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, the Red Sox’s streak appeared finished.
The Red Sox stranded runners in the sixth, seventh and eighth. It felt like one of those nights. Yarmouth wasn’t playing poorly; they just trailed most of the night.
Instead of keeling over and accepting fate, the Red Sox fought. Yarmouth-Dennis started stringing together gritty at-bats, and they put the pressure on Harwich, sending the winning run to scoring position.
Down to its final strike, Jakob Christian walked into the box needing a knock to at least send home the tying run from third. The count worked full —then chaos ensued.
Christian grounded one hard that Harwich third baseman Kenny Levari couldn’t handle. Levari’s bobble made it evident the tying run would score, and instead of just eating it, Levari threw it away into the opposing-fan bleachers.
Levari’s blunder sent home the winning run, sending Yarmouth-Dennis to an improbable 7-6 victory, its fourth in a row.
“We don’t give up,” Christian said. “No matter the score, we’re going to play as hard as we can til the last out.”
The Red Sox trailed Harwich since the fourth inning, and every time they started nudging back, the Mariners responded.
“We made no errors today,” manager Scott Pickler said. “We out-hit them 12 to 8. We deserved to win today, but when you look at the scoreboard before the ninth, we shouldn’t have won that game.”
Parker Bard started his outing with a leadoff walk, but bounced back by picking off said runner. He allowed a bloop single and uncorked a wild pitch before striking out two, stranding the runner.
Casey Cook led off for Yarmouth-Dennis with a leadoff single and moved into scoring position with his first steal.
With two gone, Hunter Hines came up with another big knock. His RBI double became his eighth hit in 13 at-bats and put YD in front first.
Bard put himself in danger again in the second. Two walks and a hit loaded the bases before he froze Jacob Humphrey looking to preserve the lead.
Bard put a runner in scoring position in the fourth before being chased in favor of Dylan Simmons.
Bard’s outing was solid — featuring four strikeouts and two hits. However, he struggled with his control — walking five.
“Control was a problem today, but that’s going to happen,” Pickler said. “We had some guys step up for us in those late innings.”
Simmons fell behind 3-0 to Matt Scannell, and Scannell took advantage, blasting Simmons’ fastball out for a go-ahead three-run jack.
Hines notched his second-straight hit in the fourth, then was doubled off to end the inning as Ryan Stafford’s hard-hit liner rocketed to the glove of Harwich’s Kaelen Culpepper.
Simmons surrendered three-straight singles in the fifth with no one out. Simmons then fell behind Harwich’s Kennedy Jones, and on his 3-2 pitch, Jones broke the game open with his two-run double.
Collier Cranford cut into the deficit with a sac fly in the bottom half before Mariner reliever Will Pearson shut the door on a potential rally.
Harwich struck right back.
Seaver King dribbled an opposite-field single to score Eric Erato, who swiped second two pitches prior.
YD started battling in the seventh. Cook poked through an RBI single, then Will King lined another hit, loading the bases.
“There weren’t any selfish at-bats tonight,” Pickler said. “Every guy went up and tried to get the next guy up.”
Trailing 6-3, Max Viera represented the go-ahead run. However, the Mariners escaped by inducing Viera’s inning-ending grounder.
Viera got another chance in the ninth. Trailing by three and with two in scoring position, Viera took one the other way for a two-run knock.
Things had gotten interesting, and Hines stepped to the dish representing the winning run. Hines trickled a ball through the left side of the infield, moving the tying run to third.
“There’s not a lot of individuals on this team. Everyone was pulling for one another to keep us alive,” Pickler said.
Christian held the final shot in Yarmouth’s comeback and in a lengthy at-bat, the unthinkable happened.
Christian’s hard-hit grounder led to the throwing error that brought home the tying and winning run.
“I was just trying to hit something hard and put pressure on the defense,” Christian said. “I put it in play, and it happened.”
Yarmouth-Dennis heads to Bourne tomorrow winners of four straight, and holds momentum high above its head.
“Tomorrow’s another day,” Pickler said. “Let’s go play.”