Medford’s Andre Chiefs Take Game 1 in Playoff Series with Lexington Blue Sox
Right-hander Jared Freni tossed a twelve strikeout, four hit gem to give the Chiefs a 2-0 win and a one game to none lead in opener of the Intercity League’s best of five championship series on Tuesday night in Lexington. Game Two will be played at Maplewood Park at Malden Catholic on Wednesday at 8:00 PM.
The Chiefs gave Freni the only run he would need in the top of the first inning. Leadoff man Hal Landers drew a walk from Lexington starter Brett Fistes and went to third on Tony Deshler’s single to right. With Juan Portes at plate, Fistes threw a wild pitch as Landers scored standing to give the Chiefs a 1-0 lead. With Deshler at second, Fistes got Portes, Jeff Bercume, and Mike Andre to all ground out to end the inning.
The Blue Sox got a man in scoring position in the bottom of the first inning on Justin Wright’s single, but Freni got both Steve Gath and Dan Graham on outfield flies to keep it 1-0.
A Nick Leva two out single was all the Chiefs could generate against Fistes in the top half of the second. Lexington took advantage of walks to Jason Twomley and Jeff Vigurs to move two runners into scoring position with two outs in the bottom of the inning before Freni got Dan Capra to fly to Landers in center.
Fistes struck out Landers and Deshler to open the top of the third before Portes singled and Bercume was hit by a pitch but Fistes got Andre to fly out to Capra in left.
Wright reached base for the second time when he drew a one out walk in the Lexington third but Freni struck out Gath and Graham to send the game to the fourth inning.
Leva’s second single of the night gave the Chiefs another two out baserunner in the top of the fourth but Paul Yanakopulos flew out to end the inning. Vigurs went the same route with a two out single for Lexington in the home half of the frame but Freni got Jack Laurendeau to bounce out to Portes at short that ended the inning.
Portes gave the Chiefs their fourth straight inning with a two out single in the top of the fifth. Twomley’s nice play on a Bercume grounder to first base ended the inning as the game headed to the Blue Sox fifth. Ross Curley singled to center with one out but Freni stayed tough and got Wright to ground out and struck out Gath swinging to end the inning.
The Chiefs threatened but couldn’t push a run across in the top of the sixth. Andre got things started when he led off with a single to left and Edward Ovalle sacrificed him to second. Mike DiCato was next and reached on a Wright error at second that sent Andre to third. Fistes then got Leva to bounce back to him with Andre forced to hold at third and DiCato moving up to second. Fistes then came up with his biggest strikeout of the game when he got Yanakopulos swinging to end the inning.
Graham led off the Lexington sixth with a single to center and after two unsuccessful bunt attempts by Capra, he flew to Ovalle in right for the first out. Graham then stole second as Freni struck out Twomley for out number two. Vigurs was next and he struck out swinging on a low breaking ball that got past Leva allowing him to go to first with Graham moving to third. Freni kept the one run lead intact when he got Laurendeau to ground to Portes at short.
The Chiefs caught a break and picked up a big insurance run in the top of the seventh. After Landers and Deshler both grounded out, Portes hit his third consecutive single of the night to left and stole second. Bercume, who was hitting in the cleanup spot in the game, was next and he hit a grounder up the middle that was gloved by Gath but his throw to first was high for an error allowing Portes to score the Chiefs’ second run in unearned fashion.
Freni was immense in the bottom of the seventh striking out the side to preserve the two run lead.
Fistes allowed seven hits (Portes 3, Leva 2, Andre& Deshler 1 each) struck out five, walked one, and hit a batter. Along with his dozen K’s, Freni walked three and threw 123 pitches in his complete game effort.
- Information and photo from Andre Chiefs