CHIEFS SWEEP INTO FINAL FOUR AS WALSH 3-HITTER ELIMINATES READING, 6-1
Malden, MA- Evan Walsh fired a complete game three-hitter, striking out a dozen, when the Chiefs beat the Reading Bulldogs 6-1 on Monday night at Maplewood. With the win, the Chiefs sweep their first round series 2-0 and will now move on to meet the Lexington Blue Sox in the semifinal round beginning on Wednesday night in Lexington.
The Chiefs grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third. R.J. Libby started things by drawing a walk off Reading starter Anthony Sapienza and Tony Serino followed and reached on an infield error. Ben Waldrip then gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead when he doubled into the right-centerfield gap, scoring Libby and sending Serino to third. Sapienza struck out Mike Gedman for the first out before Steve Passatempo and Nate Witkowski drew back to back walks forcing home Serino for the second run of the inning. Sapienza escaped further damage when he got Kyle Dembrowski to bounce into 1-2-3 doubleplay.
The Chiefs lead doubled in the bottom of the fourth. Andrew Caulfield worked a one out walk and Libby singled to center. Serino then grounded out to Liam Merlin, forcing Libby out at second and moving Caulfield to third. An error, a Waldrip single, followed by a Gedman double, jumped the margin to 4-0.
Walsh continued his wizardry as the Bulldogs remained hitless over the first five innings.
The Chiefs loaded the bases with one out against reliever Jack Theriault in the bottom of the fifth but couldn’t add to their lead. Dembrowski reached on an error, Nick Leva singled, and Caulfield was issued a four pitch walk. The lead stayed a 4-0 when Theriault caught Libby looking and then got Serino on an inning ending grounder to Merlin at second.
The Bulldogs finally broke into the hit column when Zac Talis led off the top of the sixth with a double to left-center. Walsh stranded Talis when he got Chris Bosco to lineout to Gedman in right, and then struck out both Kyle Hawes and Mike Taylor in succession to end the inning.
The Chiefs picked up a couple of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth against Gabe Van Emon, Reading’s third pitcher of the game. Waldrip drilled his second double of the night and advanced to third on a one out wild pitch. Passatempo then walked to put runners on the corners before Witkowski singled to right scoring Waldrip. The Chiefs final run came when Leva drilled a single to right that plated Passatempo making it a 6-0 lead.
Reading averted the shutout in the top of the seventh. Mike Debenedetto led off with a double. Walsh K’d Merlin and Donovan before Darren Hartwell beat out an infield chopper to Waldrip at first. When Debeneedetto made a wide turn at third, Waldrip’s throw sailed past Gino DeSimone allowing him to score the unearned run. Passatempo then made a nice stop of a Tyler Cedeno grounder, and from his knees, threw him out at first to end the series.
Chiefs Chatter….. Wednesday’s game one in Lexington will start at 7:45….Walsh improved to an overall 3-1 against Reading this summer. The lefty has struck out 54 Bulldogs and allowed just 16 hits against them in 26.0 innings…..The #3 Wakefield Merchants won game two of their series 4-1 over the Malden Merchants. They will now move on to meet #2 Alibrandis in the ICL’s other semifinal. Game one of that series is scheduled for Wednesday at 7:30 PM at Victory Field….