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Date: Oct 17, 2018
By Jonah Karp
HOLYOKE, MA—Both the Waves and the Blue Sox entered the NECBL Championship Series unbeaten in the postseason. Despite Ocean State (3-1) sweeping Valley (3-0) during the regular season, the Waves dropped Game One, losing 5-3 on Wednesday at MacKenzie Stadium.
It was a pitching duel through the first two innings, but Valley broke the ice in the bottom of the third. Three walks and four hits brought four runs across against Michael Gutierrez before Joe Kelly struck out Jaylen Smith to end the frame, keeping the bases loaded.
Though the Waves dug an early hole, they responded quickly in the next inning. Grant English ripped a towering shot over the right field fence to cut the deficit to three. Ocean State would end up stranding two in that inning, with Garrett Hodges and Sonny Ulliana left on base.
The Blue Sox ended up getting that run back in the sixth. After Frankie Gregoire walked to begin the frame, Jaylen Smith singled him home to put Valley up 5-1.
The Waves made a late rally attempt in the eighth. Casey Dana singled to plate English and Hodges drove home Dana with a single to cut the Blue Sox lead to 5-3. That would be it, however, with Benny Wanger retiring Dave Chabut to again leave Hodges and Ulliana on base.
Grant English went 3-for-4 with three extra-base hits and two runs scored. Meanwhile, Joe Kelly tossed 2.1 innings of scoreless ball, allowing two hits while striking out two.
Ocean State heads back home for a win-or-go-home contest against the Blue Sox on Thursday at 6:30.