By Bruce Hack
Lexington Media Relations Director
Melrose – Lexington moved to within a win of the Intercity League Championship with a 6-2 victory over Alibrandis Tuesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the best of five finals.
For the second straight night both teams scored in the first inning, but this time it was Lexington that struck first as the teams switched home and visitor roles.
Aaron Barbosa started off the first for Lexington by reaching on an infield error. After two outs, Richie Burgos doubled to the fence in center and Barbosa came all the way around to score for a 1-0 lead.
Alibrandis quickly tied the game in the bottom of the first. Juan Parra singled through the left side to start the inning. After a strikeout by Blue Sox starter Drew Leenhouts, a walk to Teddy Dziuba and David Lightbody reached on an error to load the bases. Bobby Barrett hit a high chopper that Leenhouts fielded behind the mound. His throw to second was not in time and Parra come home on the fielder’s choice.
The home squad took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second, but it could have been more. With one out Ryan Leung reached on an error. He stole second and when Parra singled down the leftfield line Leung tried to score, but was thrown out by Blue Sox left fielder Dom Zaher on a perfect strike to catcher Nico Frelick. Parra took second on the throw to home. Michael Maguire reached on an infield single, but when second baseman Anderson Jimenez made a throwing error attempting to get Maguire, Parra was able to come home for the 2-1 lead.
The lead did not last long as for the second consecutive night Ryan Beradino gave Lexington the lead for good.
Beradino drove a pitch from starter Anthony DelPrete well over the right field fence for a two-run home run, his first in a Blue Sox uniform. Kyle Adie scored ahead of Beradino after reaching on a one-out walk.
After the second Alibrandis run, Leenhouts retired the last seven batters he faced, including 1-2-3 innings in the third and fourth. He pitched four innings and earned his first win of the 2019 playoffs. The veteran southpaw gave up three hits, two uneared runs and struck out five.
The Blue Sox bullpen took over in the fifth and shutout Alibrandis over the final three innings.
Dawy Lebron pitched the fifth and sixth innings. He got out of a bases-loaded two-outs jam in the fifth by getting Jake Miller on a called third strike. Lebron pitched a 1-2-3 sixth for the third such inning for the Blue Sox.
Bill Christopher started off the seventh and retired the first batter, Parra, on a ground out. A walk, single and hit batter loaded the bases for the Alibrandis. Christopher struck out Barrett for the second out, but was relieved by Sox skipper Rick DeAngelis who brought in closer Manny Delcarmen. Three pitches later Delcarmen got a ground ball by Miller for the final out to secure the win.
Taylor Ferguson and Morgan Brown drove in the last three Lexington runs, Brown with a two-run single through the left side to make it 6-3 in the top of the fifth.
Game three is scheduled for Wednesday night with first pitch coming at 7:45 at Morelli Field.