After a close Game 1 of the series, SP Matt Barnes and the PawSox opened things up in Game 2
Ryan Fox (@Spider_Fox87)
On a calm, beautiful Thursday evening when everybody was glued to their television to watch the beginning of the NFL Season, the McCoy faithful gathered to watch their beloved PawSox on their 2014 run for the Governors’ Cup. They had punched their ticket this past Sunday and now just a few days later, they’re Game 2 of the Governors’ Cup Semi-Finals. Standing between them and their 3rd consecutive trip to the promise land were their IL North divisional rivals, the Syracuse Chiefs.
The PawSox first drew blood, taking Game 1 of the 5-game series in dramatic fashion. An RBI single by 3B Garin Cecchini brought home OF Bryce Brentz in the bottom of the 10 inning for a 2-1 victory for the home team.
Now the two teams met again in Game 2 of the series on a peaceful, warm Thursday evening. Taking the mound for the PawSox was RHP Matt Barnes. In the regular season, Barnes had an 8-9 record in 23 games, an ERA of 3.95, and 103 strikeouts to boot. However in 3 games against the Chiefs this season, Barnes went 1-2 with an ERA of 7.16 and 16 strikeouts. But that was the regular season. The postseason is a brand new season as Barnes faced off against RHP Scott McGergor (1-2, 3.91) of the Chiefs.
The McCoy faithful watched as the first pitch was thrown, the national anthem was sung, and the wee ones crying out “Play ball!” Then it was in fact time to play some ball.
It was the PawSox who drew the first blow in the bottom of the first inning. A leadoff single by CF Jackie Bradley Jr. and a walk to 2B Justin Henry put men on with no outs. A pop fly to center by LF Bryce Brentz helped advanced JBJ to third where he proceeded to score on a RBI double by 1B Travis Shaw to make it 1-0. Then a sacrifice force out by C Ryan Lavarnway brought Henry home to make the score 2-0. Finally an RBI single by 3B Garin Cecchini then brought Shaw home to make the score 3-0.
From then on, it became a defensive battle for the next 4 ½ innings. Barnes kept the Chiefs under wraps with a barrage of off-speed and 90+ mph fastballs while his opposition, McGregor, kept jamming PawSox batters and forcing them to pop out. Then the bottom of the 6th inning happened.
The Chiefs started things off with a pitching change, pulling McGregor in favor of LHP Felipe Rivero. However that move proved to be costly. A leadoff walk by Shaw and then a single by Cecchini put men on base for DH Ryan Roberts. Both base runners then advanced on a balk by Rivero before proceeding to score on double by Roberts to make it 5-0. Roberts himself scored later on a single by SS Deven Marrero to make it 6-0.
Then in the following bottom 7th inning, the PawSox were able to pad their lead. A walk to Brentz started things off as he proceeded to score on a RBI triple by Cecchini to make it 7-0. Then Cecchini scored on an RBI single by, who else, Ryan Roberts as the lead was pushed to 8-0. It seemed the PawSox would cruise on to the finish.
However in the top of the 8th, things looked like they would fall apart. PawSox skipper Kevin Boles first made the pitching change, going with RHP Jon Ely in relief for Barnes. However Ely ended up giving up a single and proceeded to walk the bases loaded. He then ended up walking in Chiefs 2B Will Rhymes to make it 8-1. Boles immediately went to the bullpen to go for Miguel Celestino. However Celestino ended up walking in another run, LF Jeff Kobernus, as the PawSox lead decreased to 8-2.
But that was the last time the Chiefs would come close to scoring. Celestino blew through the next 3 Chiefs batters in the top of the 9th to seal the victory for the home team. When the final out was recorded, the score read 8-2 in favor of the PawSox.
The winning pitcher for the PawSox was none other than Matt Barnes. In a dominating performance, he threw 7 strong innings, giving up just only 3 hits and striking out 6 Chiefs batters. On the diamond, Garin Cecchini had the big bat, going a perfect 4-for-4 with 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored. Teammate Ryan Roberts also brought the wood, going 3-for-4 with a double, a run scored, and 2 RBIs.
The series then ships over to Syracuse, New York for the remaining games of the series. Taking the mound for the PawSox is LHP Henry Owens (3-1, 4.03) in his PawSox playoff debut. He’ll be squaring off against the Chiefs’ RHP Mitch Lively (5-2, 3.86). If the PawSox win, they’ll sweep the series and await the winner of the Durham Bulls/Columbus Clippers match up. Cross your fingers PawSox nation and hope for the best.
After the game, PawSox pitcher Matt Barnes had a Q & A session with the media about the game, his performance, and many other things.
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