Malden – Dan Graham scored from third on Dorian Rojas’ infield out in the top of the sixth with the only run Lexington would need as the Blue Sox blanked Alibrandis 6-0 to knot their semifinal series at 1-1.
Through five innings the game was 0-0 as both teams had opportunities, but could not deliver. The teams combined for seven hits, seven walks and stranded 15 base runners through the first five innings.
Lexington starter, Drew Leenhouts, left bases loaded with two outs in the third, a runner at second in the fourth and came out in the fifth with two outs and runners on first and second. Manny Delcarmen came in out of the pen to shut down the threat. He gave up an infield single to load the bases then got the final out on a fielder’s choice.
Brian Tanguy, who started for Alibrandis, walked two batters in the first and stranded them and then did the same thing in the fifth. He gave up one hit, a Thomas Russo single in the second, through the first four innings. In the fifth singles by Jeff Vigurs and Taylor Ferguson placed Blue Sox on the corners with two out, but again Tanguy left them on base.
Graham started the sixth with a sharp single to left, that prompted Alibrandis to remove Tanguy after throwing a 109 pitches. Julian Alvarez greeted relief pitcher James Cramphin with a single up the middle and the Sox had runners at first and second. Pinch-hitter Morgan Brown delivered a sacrifice bunt that moved both runners into scoring position with one out. Graham broke for home on contact and scored what turned out to be the winning run on Rojas chopper to the right side. Dom Zaher followed with his second straight RBI single (he had one in his only at bat on Friday) to make it 2-0.
In the top of the seventh the Blue Sox loaded the bases on a double by Ferguson, a fielders choice and a walk. Alibrandis again went to the bullpen bringing in Bryan Safelle to face Brown. On an 1-0 pitch Brown drove the ball down the left field line and clanged it off the flagpole well above the fence for a grand slam home run and a 6-0 lead.
Alibrandis had at least one base runner in every inning but the first, but was unable to get the big hit as Leenhouts, Delcarmen and Nick Godfroy combined on the five hit shutout. The trio of Sox hurlers combined for eight strike outs and left nine runners stranded, included six in scoring position.
The series returns to Lexington on Sunday night with an 8:00 pm start at Lexington High School’s Center One field.