By Bruce Hack
Watertown – The score was knotted at 1-1, the bases were loaded with one out in the bottom of the sixth, and the stage was set for Lexington to use one of its favorite plays – the suicide squeeze. As Julian Alvarez broke for home and batter Alex Krylov squared to bunt, the play didn’t quite happened as drawn up. Krylov didn’t get the bunt down as the pitch was high and Alvarez slid across home plate with the championship winning run.
Despite switching the game to Victory Field in Watertown, the Blue Sox were ready to win their sixth consecutive championship, the first ICL team to accomplish the feat, It was also the Sox 16th ICL title.
The inning started with Josue Feliciano singling to start the rally. Gage Gaunt got down the sacrifice bunt to move Feliciano into scoring position. Expos starter Cam Monagle intentionally walked Alvarez. Luke Hall delivered a double to left scoring Feliciano and tying the game at 1-1. Dahiandy Johnson is intentionally walked to load the bases and set the sweet championship winning play.
The starting pitchers, Monagle and Lexington’s Jake Vesling dominated the first three innings. The Blue Sox sent the minimum nine batters to the plate as Johnson, who had singled in the second, was caught stealing for the second out. Monagle struck out a Sox batter in each of the first three frames. Meanwhile Vesling had allowed two singles through the first three innings with five strike outs.
The Expos ended the scoreless streak when Andrew Mazzone took a 2-1 pitch the opposite way over the fence in left for the 1-0 lead to start the fourth. Dionys Quezada followed with a single, stole second, took third on a fielder’s choice but was stranded there as two strikeouts sandwiched around a caught stealing ended the threat.
The Blue Sox got their second base runner in the fourth when Feliciano leadoff with a single. He would get no further. In the fifth the Sox doubled their hit total with two singles by Krylov and Will Potdevin, but they were both stranded and the score stayed 1-0 Expos.
Vesling was making his first start of the postseason for Lexington. He responded with four good innings as he gave up four hits, one earned run, walked none and struck out seven.
He was followed on the mound by Borja Jones-Berasaluce who pitched two scoreless innings with two hits, no walks and 2 strikeouts to put him in to position to get the win, his first this postseason. Then closer supreme Manny Delcarmen came in to pitch the 7th and Middlesex was retired in order with two strikeouts.
This was the lowest scoring finals game since Lexington beat Reading 2-1 on August 24, 2017 for the 2017 title.
It is tied for the third lowest scoring playoff game since 2006. The lowest is a 1-0 win by Andre over Lexington on August 23, 2013.
Congratulations to the Middlesex Expos for a great first-year season in the Intercity League. They finished second in the regular season and second in the playoffs.
Since 2006 this was the eighth meeting in the finals between top two teams. The number one seed having now won five times.
Another Intercity League season has come to close. After a season away due to a global pandemic the players and their teams were ready to get back on the fields. It was a great season with four teams battling for the top three spots which gave that team a bye in the playoffs.
The race for playoff spots went down to the last week of the regular season.
As the lights go out for the final time for the 2021 season all the players, coaches and team staff want to thank the fans for their attendance and support. Everyone looks forward to seeing you in 2022.