Holding Off The Magic

A.J. Graffanino had the game-winning hit in Monday's victory.
A.J. Graffanino had the game-winning hit in Monday’s victory.

 

The Y-D Red Sox still had their playoff magic.

Brewster was simply undeterred.

The Whitecaps ended Y-D’s three-year reign in the Cape League with an 8-7 victory in 10 innings Monday night in game three of their East Division semifinal series.

The Red Sox had taken game one Saturday with a stunning five-run ninth inning, capped by a Carlos Cortes walk-off home run that seemed like a sure sign of the magic’s return. But Brewster – on a good streak to end the season and with a strong core in its lineup – came back in impressive fashion Sunday with a 6-1 win.

Then came Monday, with more magic brewing. Brewster led 7-5 in the ninth inning when Y-D scored two runs to tie the game. Cortes was up with the winning run on third base, but there would be no deja vu. Ryan Cyr (Kansas) induced a ground ball to first base, and the Whitecaps escaped.

In the top of the 10th, Brewster got a two-out single from Zack Gahagan (North Carolina), a second-year Whitecap who had come on as a pinch hitter. A.J. Graffanino (Washington) – another second year player in Brewster – cracked an RBI double to score the go-ahead run.

Cyr then worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the 10th and the Whitecaps celebrated.

It’s the first series win for Brewster since its league championship run in 2000. It’ll be a tough road from here, but a hot team can always do damage in the Cape League playoffs.

For Y-D, Red Wilson Field will go quiet early. For perspective on its title run, consider that the playoff MVP the last time someone other than the Red Sox won it all is now playing center field for the Cleveland Indians. Bradley Zimmer led Cotuit to the 2013 title.

It was another strong year for the Red Sox, but there won’t be a four-peat.

Orleans 3, Chatham 1

The top-seeded Firebirds brought the best – and most intact – pitching staff in the league into the playoffs, and it showed when the chips were down Monday. Ryan Rolison (Ole Miss) tossed six innings of one-hit, shutout baseball as the Firebirds edged the Anglers in game three of their East Division semifinal series. Rolison, who had a 1.92 ERA in the regular season, saved his best for the postseason. He struck out seven, walked one and didn’t allow a hit until a fifth-inning double by Fabian Pena (Manhattan). In the meantime, Orleans grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first on a Jaxx Groshans (Kansas) RBI fielder’s choice and made it 3-0 in the fourth on an RBI single by Groshans and an RBI groundout by Lars Nootbaar (USC). Chatham scored a run in the eighth off reliever Jake Wong (Grand Canyon) and threatened for more with top hitter Johnny Aiello (Wake Forest) at the plate and two men on. But Wong struck him out to end the inning. Josh Hiatt (North Carolina) then tossed a scoreless ninth to finish off the win. While Orleans moves on, the Chatham loss marked the end of a legendary career for manager John Schiffner.

What to Watch

Division finals get underway tonight. Orleans – the lone No. 1 or No. 2 seed still alive – hosts Brewster at 7 p.m. Bourne welcomes in Wareham at 6.

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One Comment

  1. Orville from Orleans says:

    Thank goodness the Firebirds survived. They deserve the title this year and it will be disappointing if one of the other three teams knocks them off.

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