It’s always fun playing at East Boston Stadium, and last night was no exception. The turf field sits essentially inside Logan Airport, so while driving to the field GPS can go to shit if you’re not careful and lead you through a labyrinth of tunnels. This time around we didn’t have any issues, and thankfully so. We were already short-handed, and one less guy would have been detrimental. Shout out to Richie Earner, who still made his way to the field despite a chandelier raining down from his ceiling and banging him up pretty good just minutes before he left for the game. That’s grit.
Everybody felt comfortable with former Duke pitcher Jay Gamboa starting on the mound against the Somerville Expos. He continued his dominance of the 2022 season through three innings, in which he gave up just one hit, walked nobody, and struck out six. There’s really not much more I could say about the guy other than he’s been the best pitcher in the league this year.
On the offensive side, we got things going early. I lead off the top half of the first with a double and Miggy Gonzales walked. We both stole, advancing to second and third, where Jake Beane hit a grounder that allowed Miggy to reach third and me to score, making it 1-0.
The top of the third rolled into town looking similar. I lead off the inning with a double and Miggy drove me home with a triple. Beanie waltzed up to bat and did his job hitting a sacrifice fly to make the game 3-0.
Things got interesting in the bottom of the fourth when Jay came out. The Expos were able to load the bases after drawing three walks and scored their first run of the game when one of their hitters was hit by a pitch. Another pitching change ensued, bringing in Paul Wydom. He came in the game with a mess of a situation. Bases loaded, one out, up by two, and no pitchers left on the bench to come in relief for him. This was it, he simply had to perform. Keep in mind, it was only the bottom of the fourth, so it’s not like he had to get two outs and call it a day. He had a long game ahead of him.
He showed titanium balls, and despite giving up some squeaker hits to the first two guys he faced, he limited the damage and escaped with two unearned runs. The score was knotted up at 3-3 and it was the boys in black and green’s turn to hit. We went quietly in the fourth and fifth, but Paul continued to come through and held the Expos at three.
In the top of the sixth, Paul showed some two-way value by drawing a lead-off walk. Jake Donahue, who is a pitcher and hadn’t picked up a bat in years, smacked a perfectly placed ground ball between the third baseman and shortstop. We now had runners on first and second with no outs in a tie game and were feelin’ good.
The Expos made a pitching change and brought in one of their best pitchers, who struck out the following two batters to quiet our dugout down a bit. Both the runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch, and it was my turn to hit with two runners in scoring position. It was crucial I make contact at the very least to give Paul a chance to score. In a 3-2 count, the pitcher dropped the first curve he’d thrown in the game, and I chopped it near the middle of the infield. Their second baseman ranged over but bobbled it a little, which was all we needed for me to be safe at first and score Paul. The Expos ended the inning after that with a strikeout, and it was a 4-3 ballgame heading into the bottom of the sixth.
The score stayed at 4-3 until the bottom of the seventh. Paul Wydom was still in the game and still pitching with prowess. He put the pressure on the Expos, striking out two despite having runners on first and second. Down to their last out, the Expos refused to go easy. Their sixth hitter tattooed a ball for a single, tying the game. Paul didn’t let it get to him and retired the next batter. We were heading to extra innings.
The top of the eighth was a two-out hit parade for ATBC. Hitters one through five all got hits, highlighted by Cam Plank’s inside-the-park homer that rolled all the way out to the soccer players in the furthest part of the stadium. The friendly soccer guys helped out the Expos center fielder by stopping Cam’s ball before it rolled into Logan, but it was so far away that it didn’t matter. We dropped a five spot on them, and that was plenty enough. Paul struck out three straight batters in the bottom of the eighth, and that was all she wrote. We caught a 9-4 W against the odds. I talked with Paul after the game about the spectacular team win.
Stats from the game: