By Bruce Hack
Malden – Ryan Noone raced around third toward home plate and a 6-5 win for the Chiefs Friday night at Malden Catholic to knot the semifinal series at 1-1.
Game three will be Sunday night in Lexington at 8:00 PM.
Lead off hitter Miles Reid started the rally by reaching on a throwing error. Tommy Leone sacrificed Reid to second placing the tying run in scoring position. Noone went the other way and slapped a base hit to left to drive in Reid to even the game at 5-5. An Andrew Caulfield single, his third hit of the game, moved Noone into scoring position and setting up the winning play.
There were only three innings in which runs were scored as the teams scored in the first, fifth and seventh innings. Each time Lexington scored the Chiefs answered.
The Blue Sox scored in the top of first. Gage Gaunt reached on a fielder’s choice. After the second out he went to third on a single by Julian Alvarez. Alex Voitik’s single to left brought home Gaunt for a 1-0 lead.
Reid started off the bottom of the first with a single. He moved to second on a walk to Nate Witkowski. Following the first out, Caulfield singled and Reid scored on a throwing error.
In the fifth inning the teams exchanged three run home runs. Alvarez gave Lexington a 4-1 lead with a two-out three run blast that scored Josue Feliciano and Luke Hall.
Caulfield answered with his own two-out three run home run which knotted the score at 4-4. Reid and Noone were aboard and scored ahead of Caulfield.
Lexington took the lead for the third time in the top of seventh. Gaunt doubled to left with one out to start the rally. Hall bounced what appeared to be a routine ground out only to see the throw sail over the first baseman and allow Gaunt to score for a 5-4 lead.
Jonathan Richard (1-0) started for the Chiefs and went the distance, the fourth complete game for the Chiefs in the playoffs. He gave up only four hits, but walked six of which only one scored, and struck out seven in his 124 pitch outing.
The cleanup hitters for each team showed why that occupy that spot in the batting order. The Blue Sox Alvarez had two hits, walked twice and three RBI on his home run. The Chiefs Caulfield had his own three-run home run and added two singles.
Reid set the table for the Chiefs reaching base three times and scoring each time. Noone had two hits, scored twice and drove in a run.
Pat McGowan started for Lexington and pitched 5.1 innings giving up five hits, four runs, three earned, walked three and struck out. Borja Jones-Berasaluce came in in the sixth and recorded the last two outs. Manny Delcarmen entered the game in the seventh and suffered his first loss in a Blue Sox uniform.
The teams will meet for game three Sunday night. This is the seventh time in 10 playoff series between the two rivals that the series has gone the distance. The previous six were all in the finals (best of 5) from 2011 to 2016.