08/15/2012 6:26 AM
Article By: Zach Leach
ORLEANS - Yarmouth-Dennis made quick work of its Eastern Division Championship series with Orleans, completing a two-game sweep with its second straight runaway victory. On Tuesday night at Eldredge Park, the visiting Red Sox crushed the Firebirds, 9-0, and now advance to the Championship Finals against Western champion Wareham, starting today at 4 p.m. at Red Wilson Field in South Yarmouth.
The Red Sox, who won Monday's opener 10-3, have now dashed the Firebirds' hopes three straight years.
Y-D got another stellar pitching performance as Drew Bowen, who had made only one start for the Red Sox this season, pitched six shutout innings, allowing only four hits, three of them singles. He struck out eight and allowed only one runner past second base. Y-D relievers Brian Gilbert and Preston Hatcher were just as dominant, with neither allowing a hit over the final three frames.
The offensive star for Y-D was Alex Blandino, who accounted for four runs with a pair of two-run blasts.
Brandon McNitt, making his playoff debut for the Firebirds, got into trouble quickly as Y-D struck for four runs in the second frame. Blandino capped the outburst with a two-run homer to left.
A pair of fantastic catches by left fielder Kevin Brown and an impressive double play assist by outfielder Cody Kulp kept the Y-D bats at bay for a while, but the visitors went back to work in the sixth inning, putting the game out of reach with three more runs to make it 7-0.
McNitt was pulled from the game following a leadoff walk. All-Star reliever Pat Christensen, who had not allowed more than one earned run in any appearances this season, followed with one of his roughest outings of the season. After a single by Robert Pehl, Red Sox outfielder Zak Blair hit a ground-rule double with men on the corners. Y-D’s Justin Shafer then plated both Pehl and Blair with a line drive hit to left-center.
Blandino lasered his second two-run homer of the day in the eighth . In total, Christensen allowed four runs on four hits in 2.2 innings.
Y-D will now be looking for its first championship since winning back-to-back titles in 2006-07.