16 August 2007

Red Sox clinch Cape League championship

Photo by David Colantuono
Joey Railey is waiting for Falmouth’s John Wallace as Wallace tries to steal second in the opening game of the Cape Cod Baseball League finals Monday. 

By George Kostinas
The Cape Codder

Falmouth - It was all very simple. Good hitting, good pitching and good defense gave the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox their second straight Cape Cod Baseball League title and their third in the last four years. 

     The Red Sox cruised, just as they did during their 31-12-1 regular season, through the playoffs, first dispatching the Chatham A’s in two games in the first round and then sweeping the Falmouth Commodores in the championship series. 

     Tuesday night the Red Sox wrapped it up with a taut 2-0 win at Falmouth’s Guv Fuller Field. 

     It took a suicide squeeze by Nick Romero in the eighth inning to break the scoreless tie and score Buster Posey. The Red Sox got their second run when Jason Castro scored on a passed ball. 

     CCBL Manager of the year Scott Pickler had every right to be proud of his team. 

     “They’re a great group of kids. They played hard all year. It was a fun group to coach. They just went out and busted their butts. They had a good year, and now they have a chance to make it a great year,” said Pickler after Y-D won the first game at home before a large crowd at Red Wilson field, 8-2 on Monday. 

     Right-handed pitcher Brett Graffy replaced Falmouth starter Christian Friedrich in the fifth on Tuesday and was the losing pitcher for the Commodores since he was responsible for both Posey and Castro reaching base. 

     Red Sox starter Trevor Holder did more than his share keeping Falmouth off the scoreboard in dominating fashion. The righthander, who went 4-1 on the regular season with a miniscule 0.89 ERA, allowed only one base runner through six innings, Andrew Giobbi , who reached on a line drive single in the third. 

     After collecting his eighth and ninth strikeouts of the night, Holder allowed the first Commodore to reach scoring position by giving up consecutive walks in the seventh inning. He pitched himself out of the hole he had pitched himself into by striking out Jeremy Farrell. 

     Holder went eight, striking out 10 and giving up one hit and two walks. After the game Holder summed up his experience in a few simple words, “It was the best summer of my life.” 

     Falmouth fans were given a glimmer of hope when third baseman Phil Carey doubled off of closer Nick Cassavechia but they werelet down as Cassevechia struck out the side in the ninth to collect the save for Y-D. 

     In game one on Monday the Red Sox methodically dismantled the Commodores starting with a leadoff home run by Grant. H elater hit a second homer and drove in four of the eight runs. 

     “We got off to a good start, and then we played good defense. That’s what it comes down to: pitching and defense when you get this far,” said Pickler. 

     Falmouth scored a run on two wild pitches by Y-D’s Terry Doyle in the fourth inning and another run in the sixth, on a sacrifice fly. 

     Doyle had some control troubles before leaving after 6 1/3 innings. Still he earned the win, topping off a great career in the Cape League. It was the 13th win in his two-years with the Red Sox. 

     The Red Sox opened the playoffs with a tough 4-3 win over Chatham in which they trailed 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth. Collin Cowgill led off the inning with a homer to tie the game. After Green walked and Posey singled, Jason Castro drove in the go-ahead run with another single. 

     It appeared to be all over when Cassavechia, who led the league with 11 saves, came on but Chatham scored to tie the game again when Addison Johnson streaked home on a pitch in the dirt that got past Posey, the Y-D catcher. 

     Once again the Red Sox came up with the clutch hit as Matt Long, batting ninth in the order, hit a sharp grounder that took two high bounces in the infield before dropping into shallow right field and scoring Nick Romero with the winning run. 

     “These guys hit one through nine. There’s not a weak spot in the line up. There’s a threat every time we’re up,” said Pickler. 

     The second game in Chatham was a pitcher’s duel through most of the game between Y-D’s Scott Green and Chatham’s Tom Milone who finished the regular season with a 6-1 record and was named pitcher of the year. 

     Milone was tough. He gave up only four hits, but two were home runs, the first coming in the first inning as Beckham, who led the league with 9 home runs and tied for the lead in RBI with 35, hit a two-run shot over the left field fence in Chatham. 

     The second one came in the eighth inning when Romero drove the ball deep into right center and over the fence into the crowd watching the game on the hill. 

     Meanwhile Green was quietly effective, giving up only 5 hits and allowing no runs in 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory. 

     Castro hit another home run off Chatham’s Kevin Couture (USC), a laser shot that cleared the left field fence in a flash. 

CCBL intern Kevin Wolfe contributed to this report.