In Extra Innings, Lexington Wins Third Straight ICL Championship over Reading
At Morelli Field in Melrose on Thursday night, the Reading Bulldogs faced off against the Lexington Blue Sox in the 3rd game of a best of 5 series for the Intercity League Championship. The Bulldogs needed a win to extend the series, whereas the Blue Sox were looking to end the series with a win. Both starting pitchers and bullpens pitched extremely well as the game went ten innings after being tied at 1-1 through seven. The Blue Sox’s came away with the victory after a walk-off single, making it their third consecutive year of winning the ICL Championship.
Lexington’s lead-off batter was the first run to come across in the game after reaching by error and scoring off of a double. After this lone run in the first, Reading starting pitcher Alex Mandrus looked dominant in his 4.1 innings of work. Jack Burke relieved Mandrus of his duties with the bases loaded in the 5th and got out of it unscathed.
Down 1-0 in the 6th inning, the Reading Bulldogs put together a string of great at bats to tie the game at 1. It started when Darren Hartwell singled and advanced to third on a Kevin Marciano sacrifice bunt. Mike DeDonato then hit a fielder’s choice where everyone was safe to put himself at first and Hartwell at second. Now with 2 outs and runners on 1st and 2nd, Mike Taylor came up to the plate and brought home Hartwell with a clutch RBI single.
Knotted at 1 apiece, Jack Burke finished pitching the 6th and was relieved by Jack Theriault for the 7th inning. Theriault threw three innings of 1 hit baseball with 4 strikeouts through the 9th inning. Heading into the bottom of the 10th still tied at one, JP Songin took the mound for Reading. The Blue Sox were able to get some momentum going with two straight infield singles and a sacrifice bunt which was followed by an intentional walk to load the bases with 1 out. The next batter ended the game with an RBI single to give Lexington a 2-1 win and their 13th overall Intercity League Championship.
Despite being the last seed in the playoffs and finishing with a losing record, the 2017 Reading Bulldogs proved through their play in the playoffs that they were one of best teams in the league with their dirt dog “never quit” mentality. They were the first team in Reading Bulldogs history to make it to the ICL Championship series, and look to build off that come next year.
The 2017 Reading Bulldogs season has come to an end as they finish in second place, runner up to the Lexington Blue Sox.
All photos can be found at: http://shartwell.zenfolio.com/bulldogs17