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DATE - 08/19/2018

Dom Zahner’s walk off home run gives Blue Sox 4-3 win

By Bruce Hack

Lexington Blue Sox

Media Relations Director

Melrose – Dom Zaher (Chelmsford/Fisher) hit the 101st pitch of the night from Watertown starter Matt Horan and took it deep into the night for a walk-off home run giving Lexington a 4-3 win in the first game of the ICL finals.

The home run was necessary, as the Reds had tied the game in the top of the seventh. Ben Johnston doubled to start the seventh just missing a home run as the ball went over the glove of Zaher. After a walk to Will Brennan, Blue Sox closer Manny Delcarmen (Hyde Park/Boston Red Sox) got a come-backer off the bat of Logan Gillis. Delcarmen fielded the ball, turned and threw to shortstop Ross Curley (Lexington/Bentley) for the force at second, but the Sox could not turn the double play and the Reds had runners on the corners. Dan Chaisson hit a ground ball up the middle that second baseman Thomas Russo (Weston/Holy Cross) caught and kept his foot on the bag for the second out. Johnston was able to score from the third on the play and tie the game at 3-3. After an umpire discussion regarding the play at second, Gillis was confirmed that Gillis out. Delcarmen induced his third straight ground ball to end the inning.

Watertown had fallen behind 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth when Julian Alvarez (Boston/Lee) hit a two-run home run to center, his first of this postseason. He drove in pinch runner C.J. McKinnit (Concord/Holy Cross) who entered the game to run for Richie Burgos, who had singled to start the sixth.

All the scoring took place in the first two innings and the last two innings. In the middle innings Reds starter Matt Horan and his counter-part, Matt Karis held their opponents scoreless, but not off the bases.

Horan pitched the games only 1-2-3 inning in the fourth, the middle of his setting down eight straight Sox batters. In his complete game effort, Horan gave up eight hits, walked one, and struck out five. He suffered his first loss of the season after going 8-0 in the regular season and winning his first playoff start.

The Sox scored in the first inning for the first time this postseason. Jeff Vigurs (Alston/Bryant) hit a one-out double to left. After the second out moved Vigurs to third, Burgos walked on five pitches to put Sox on the corners. Dorian Rojas (Boston/Cumberland) delivered a RBI single into left. For Rojas it was his second consecutive run-scoring single at Morelli in the playoffs as he ended the 2017 season with the championship-winning hit.

Karis’ only hiccup came in the second inning, the first time an opponent had scored in the first three innings in the playoffs. Watertown loaded the bases on walks to Chaisson and Sean Callahan that were sandwiched around Jake Miller's being hit by a pitch. Swinging at the first pitch Justin Forman delivered a two-run single giving the Reds a 2-1 lead. Karis retired the next two batters on infield line drives. After an infield single by Johnston, his second of three hits, loaded the bases, Karis got a ground ball by Brennan for the fielder’s choice and the third out.

Karis pitched 4 1/3 innings and allowed five hits, walked two, and struck out three in his first playoff start. This was the 22 postseason start for the 10 year Blue Sox veteran, who is 17-3 in the postseason.

Fellow 10-year veteran Drew Brzozowski followed Karis on the mound in the fifth. He entered the game with one out and a runner at first. He struck out Logan Gillis and got Miller on a fly out to center on nice catch by Taylor Ferguson (Holden/Rollins).

Blue Notes – This was the second time this season the Blue Sox beat Watertown on a walk off home run. On July 2, Ross Curly hit a grand slam for a 9-5 win. The Sox are now 9-4 in the playoffs against Watertown. They last met in the 2013 semis that the Sox won 3-1. In 2010, the teams met in the finals that the Sox swept.

All of the Blue Sox games are viewable atwww.Pointstreak.comthrough the live scoring software used by Lexington.

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