Veteran southpaw Tim Dunphy retired the last sixteen batters he faced and the Chiefs took advantage of five Reading errors and rung out ten timely hits on the way to a 7-2 win over the Bulldogs at Endicott College on Thursday night. With the road win, the Chiefs now hold a 2-0 series lead with Game Three scheduled in the best of five match-up for Friday night at 8:00 PM at Maplewood Park.
The game volleyed back and for the first two innings.
The Chiefs came up with the first scoring opportunity with two outs in the top of the first inning. Juan Portes dropped in a single down the leftfield line and Peter Copa followed with a long double to the fence, pushing Portes to third. Bulldog lefty Sean Boyle got out of the inning unscathed when he got Nate Witkowski to ground sharply to Hank Oringer at third.
The Bulldogs took advantage of their scoring chance in the bottom of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. Tommy Buonopane got things started when he led off with a single to right and went to second on Oringer’s groundout. Zac Talis was next and he singled to center sending Buonopane to third. Tony Serino’s throw back to infield skipped away far enough away to allow Talis to go to second on the error. With runners at second and third and the Chiefs’ infield drawn in, Mike Taylor grounded out to Copa at first for the inning’s second out. Dante Padovani followed and beat out an infield single up the middle, scoring Buonopane with the first run of the game. Dunphy escaped further damage when he got Colin Sitarz to fly to Paul Yanakopoulos in right to end the inning.
The Chiefs came right back, capitalizing on two Reading errors, to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the second. Yanakopoulos and Mike Barbati both reached on consecutive infield errors. Mike Andre then moved them both up with a sacrifice bunt. Chad Conner, who was handling the catching duties for the Chiefs in the game, then delivered Yanakopoulos with a single to left that tied the game at 1-1. Serino followed and legged out the back end of 6-4-3 doubleplay attempt for an RBI that scored Barbati, giving the Chiefs a 2-1 lead. Boyle then got Tony Deshler to fly out to end the inning.
Reading tied the game up in the bottom of the second but could have come up with much more. Dunphy struck out Nick Conti on a low breaking ball in the dirt to start the inning. Conner recovered quickly but his throw to get Conti at first sailed into rightfield for an error. With Conti now standing on second, Brandon Bingel singled to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Paul Crehan then plated Conti with another single, tying the game up at 2-2. Buonopane sacrificed Bingel and Crehan up to second and third before Dunphy got Oringer on a comebacker for the second out. The Chiefs then opted to intentionally walk Talis to face the left-handed hitting Taylor. The strategy worked when Taylor bounced to Copa to end the inning to keep it a 2-2 contest.
The Chiefs batted around and came up with a huge four-spot in the top of the third inning, scoring all of their runs after two were out. Boyle got Portes to pop up to start the inning before Copa singled to left. Witkowski was next up and he flew to center for the second out. Yanakopoulos then came up large when he drove a Boyle pitch into deep right-center for a triple, scoring Copa for a 3-2 lead. The Chiefs then caught a break when the throw to first on Barbati’s grounder was low, allowing Yanakopoulos to score and putting Barbati at second. Barbati stole third and scored when Andre drilled a Boyle pitch to center for an RBI single and 5-2 Chiefs lead. Conner then followed with another single and Serino reached on another Bulldog error to load the bases. Deshler then picked up an RBI when he lined a single to left that scored Andre. Boyle finally put an end to the inning when he got Portes on a grounder to Oringer at third, with the bases loaded, keeping the Bulldogs within striking distance at 6-2.
Dunphy assumed complete control from that point, setting the Bulldogs down in order in third, fourth, fifth, and sixth innings. Boyle meanwhile was frustrating the Chiefs hitters as well, getting them 1-2-3 in both the fourth and fifth innings. Deshler finally broke up the consecutive out streak for both teams when he reached on a misplayed pop up to short right field with one out in the sixth. Deshler was promptly erased when he was gunned out by Crehan trying to steal second.
A little offense resurfaced when Copa led off the Chiefs’ seventh with his third hit of the night and Rob Machado came on to pinch run for him. Witkowski moved Machado to second with a perfect sacrifice bunt and he went to third on Yanakopoulos’ infield grounder. Barbati gave the Chiefs a little more breathing room when he drilled a double into the left-center field gap, scoring Machado, and opening the lead to 7-2.
In the Reading seventh, Bingle grounded out and pinch-hitter Billy Cataldo lined out to Witkowski at third for the first two outs of the inning. Dunphy ended things when he beat the speedy Darren Hartwell to the first base bag, unassisted, on a chopper between first and the mound to end the game and retire his sixteenth batter in succession.
Dunphy, allowed one earned run, struck out one, and walked one batter intentionally. Boyle surrendered ten hits and only two earned runs. He struck out three and did not issue a walk.
The Chiefs are expected to send righty Matt DiCato (5-0 in the regular season) to the mound on Friday night at Malden Catholic.
- Information from Andre Chiefs