Story Updated 10:16AM, August 20, 2014
– Bruce Tillman, special to InsideMedford.com
The Andre Chiefs will be returning to the Intercity League’s Championship Series for the fourth consecutive season and the for the fifth time in the last six years.
Lefty Tim Dunphy assured the franchise would make yet another trip to the late summer classic with a nifty four-hitter that lifted the Chiefs to 6-2 win over the Reading Bulldogs on Monday.
A familiar dance partner will await the Chiefs on Wednesday in the best of five series in the presence of the Lexington Blue Sox. For Lexington, it will be their seventh straight trip to the finals. All of the games will be played at Morelli Field in Melrose.
The Chiefs’ franchise will be seeking their 19th championship, having won 13 as the Hosmer Chiefs from 1960-1984, and five as the Andre Chiefs from 1990-present. The last crown came in 2012 when they defeated the Blue Sox in five games.
Some fairly sloppy defense was the early theme of the Reading game.
The sloppiness began in the top of the first inning. Colby Maiola led the game off with a bouncer up the middle for a single. Ryan Wolfsberg followed and hit a hard grounder at Mike Barbati that had doubleplay written all over it after the second baseman made nice pickup of a short hop. But his throw to second base was low and skipped into leftfield with Maiola able to go to third. With runners on the corners and nobody out, the Chiefs came out of it unscathed when Dunphy got Kyle Devin to pop up, Harrison Smoske on a called third strike, and Mike Taylor to ground to Juan Portes at short.
Reading starter Sean Boyle struck out both Tony Serino and Billy Mottram to open the bottom of the first. Juan Portes followed and found himself standing on second base after right-fielder Aaron Santos misplayed his long fly ball to the rightfield fence. After the count went to 2-0 on Johnny Welch (pictured, left) the Bulldogs chose to intentionally walk him. Portes and Welch then moved up to second and third on a wild pitch before Mike Gedman legged out an infield single, scoring Portes, to give the Chiefs a 1-0 lead. Gedman stole second uncontested before Boyle got Copa on a grounder to end the inning.
Dunphy retired the Reading side in order in the top of the second.
Boyle hit Mike Andre (pictured above) with a pitch to open the Chiefs’ second but rebounded when he got Barbati to pop up and Paul Yanakopulos to bounce into a doubleplay.
Reading took advantage of some poor Chiefs’ defense to tie things up in the top of the third and should have taken the lead but ran themselves out of the inning. Bill Cataldo got things underway when he reached on an error by Welch at third. Maiola then dropped a sacrifice bunt down the first base line which Dunphy fielded and then threw the ball low and into rightfield, sending Cataldo to third. Wolfsberg was next up and he grounded out to Portes at short with Cataldo scoring on the play. Maiola then tried to advance to third and was gunned out by Copa for an unusual 6-3-5 doubleplay. Dunphy then struck out Taylor to end the inning.
The Chiefs used four hits, combined with another error, to score four times and take a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the third. Serino reached on an infield single and Mottram promptly plated him with a triple to right to make it 2-1. Portes gave the Chiefs a 3-1 lead when he drilled Boyle’s first pitch to center for an RBI single that scored Mottram. Welch followed with a single to left and Gedman moved both runners up with a two strike sacrifice bunt. That bunt paid dividends when Copa hit a sacrifice fly to shallow center to that scored Portes. Devin fielded the throw at the plate and then tried to get Welch, who was going to third, but threw the ball wildly into leftfield, allowing Welch to score and increase the lead to 5-1.
The margin went to 6-1 in the bottom of the fifth when Welch doubled to right-center and scored on Copa’s long single to left. Copa was thrown out on a close play at second trying to extend it to a double.
After an uneventful sixth, the Bulldogs scored a run in the top of the seventh on a Burton Deady double and a couple of infield grounders. Dunphy ended the night when he got Maiola on a grounder to Barbati.
For Dunphy, it was his 30th win in a Chiefs’ uniform. He struck out six and didn’t issue a walk. The former pro and Brandeis standout raised his overall record to 9-1 this season
Chiefs Chatter….The Chiefs’ roster features five Medford players. Johnny Welch, Mike Andre, Mike Burgoyne, Matt Boleski and Paul Yanakopulos. Welch, who spent seven seasons as a professional, returned to Medford this year and led the ICL with eight homers and 32 RBI. Andre, a former Merrimack College standout and nine year ICL veteran, is hitting .346 with 21 RBI…..Fans can follow the series at www.andrechiefs.com and www.intercityleaguebaseball.com.
Intercity League Championship Series
#2 Lexington Blue Sox (24-6-2) vs. #1 Andre Chiefs (25-8-0)
(Best of Five)
All Games at Morelli Field, Melrose MA
Game 1: WEDNESDAY, 8:00 PM
Game 2: THURSDAY, 8:00 PM
Game 3: FRIDAY, 8:00 PM
Game 4: SUNDAY, TBA (if nec)
Game 5: TUESDAY, 8:00 PM (if nec)
(Stats from Bruce Hack, photos Jim Valente)