By Bruce Hack
Lexington Media Relations Director
Melrose – Ryan Leung’s two-run double in the top of the seventh broke a 4-4 tie and propelled Alibrandis to an 8-4 win over Lexington Wednesday night. The victory cut the series lead to 2-1 and sent the finals to a fourth game for the first time since 2014.
Game four will be at Morelli Field on Friday night at 7:45 P.M. as the Intercity League will take Thursday night off due to Steve Buckley’s Old Time Baseball Game played at St. Peter’s Field in Cambridge.
Leung’s heroics were set up when the Alibrandis loaded the bases with one out on two walks and a single off of Junior Pena, who started the seventh for Lexington. Manny Delcarmen entered the game at that point and battled Leung for eight pitches, six of them foul balls off Leung’s bat, a college rising sophomore at UMass-Boston, before he drove the ninth pitch into center for the tie-breaking double. The final two runs came on a Texas looper down the left field line by JP Songin that drove in a run and a wild pitch.
Game three was a tale of three different games.
It started like the first two games as again both teams scored in the first inning.
Alibrandis scored three times in the top of the first. Bobby Barrett doubled to drive in Juan Parra (walk) with the first run. Jake Miller also doubled to center driving in Teddy Dziuba (single) and Barrett and it was quickly 3-0 five batters into the game.
Lexington responded with its own crooked number tying the game at three in the bottom of the first. Aaron Barbosa and Kyle Adie walked and Barbosa scored on Ross Curley’s RBI single. Julian Alvarez singled to load the bases with no outs. After an infield popup, Ryan Beradino walked to force in Adie. Morgan Brown completed the scoring with a sacrifice fly to center for the 3-3 tie.
Matt Henriksen singled to start the Alibrandis second. A sacrifice and a single put him on third where he scored from on Michael Maguire’s single for a 4-3 lead.
After the second inning the game quieted down. Alibrandis starter Chris Costa set down 12 straight Blue Sox batters until Barbosa singled with one out in the fifth. Costa struck out the next two Sox to make it 14 out of 15 batters retired from the first through fifth innings.
Meanwhile Borja Jones-Berasaluce had replaced Sox starter Matt Karis in the third and set down eight of the nine batters he faced. He stranded Leung at second, after his first double of the game, in the third. Jake Vesling pitched the sixth for Lexington and walked one batter, but did not allow a run.
The Sox tied the game in the sixth and in the process knocked Costa from the game. Alvarez doubled to left for his second hit of the night. Anderson Jimenez entered the game as a pinch runner for Alvarez. After an infield out, Beradino doubled to center to scored Jimenez and knot the game at 4-4. It was Beradino’s second RBI of the game and fifth in the finals. James Cramphin came in for Costa and struck out the first batter he faced for the second out. Dom Zaher was intentionally walked and a wild pitch moved him and pinch runner John Barry to second and third. Nate Wolf popped out in foul territory to third and the Blue Sox could not take the lead.
Lexington had runners on first and second with two outs against Cramphin in the seventh but he closed the door on the Sox for the win. In his 1.2 innings Cramphin he allowed one hit, walked two and struck out two as he earned his first win of the playoffs.
Pena took the loss for the Blue Sox. He pitched a third of an inning, giving up a hit, two walks and three runs.
There were no errors in the game, the first errorless game of the finals. The pitchers for each team combined to throw 252 pitches (126 by each team), 142 for strikes.