September 17, 2023 – South Atlantic League (SAL) – Greenville Drive News Release
The Greenville Drive took a 1-0 series lead in the SAL Championship Series on Sunday afternoon, taking game one 2-0 thanks to two walked-in runs in the top of the sixth. The victory puts the Drive a win away from claiming their second SAL Championship in franchise history as the series flips to Fluor Field on Tuesday, September 19.
A pitcher’s duel marked the early going in Wappingers Falls, NY as both the Drive’s Luis Perales and Renegades’ Jackson Fristoe dealt from the mound. Perales held the Renegades hitless through three innings, allowing just one base runner on a walk before giving up a single in the fourth. He continued to shut down the Renegades through the sixth, relinquishing the lone hit while walking two and striking out four.
Fristoe shut down the Drive through four innings though the Drive had their chances to go up on the Renegades. Gilberto Jimenez led off the third with a ground-double down the right field line before a Nick Decker dropped-third strike put Jimenez at third and Decker at first. Decker stole second during the ensuing at-bat as Jimenez broke for home, but Jimenez would be caught at the plate preserving the scoreless game. Decker would be picked off at second later to end the inning. Again, the Drive seemed destined to score in the fourth as Ronald Rosario reached first on a fielder’s choice with two outs, loading the bases. But Kristian Campbell grounded into a force out to end the inning.
Greenville finally cracked open the draw in the sixth as walks to Allan Castro, Bryan Gonzalez, and Tyler Miller loaded the bases and chased reliever Baron Stuart out of the game for the Renegades. Sebastian Keane took over for Stuart and promptly walked Rosario and Campbell to bring in two Drive runs and give Greenville the 2-0 lead.
The Drive hung onto the lead, thanks in large part to a stunning diving grab from Campbell in left field as he raced into the gap and took away a hit that likely would have put Hudson Valley on the board.
Casey Cobb picked up two strike outs in the seventh while Frank German struck out three batters in a row in the eighth after walking the leadoff batter on four pitches. Felix Cepeda shut the door in the ninth, though not without a little fanfare.
Cepeda hit the Renegades’ leadoff batter Benjamin Cowles, while Jared Serna singled to put two on with no outs in the inning, bringing the winning run to the plate. Cepeda picked up a double-play however and Jimenez snagged the final out, running down a fly ball in foul territory, preserving the Drive’s 2-0 victory.
The Greenville Drive (Boston Red Sox) return to action on Tuesday, September 19 at 7:05 p.m. at Fluor Field for game two of the SAL Championship Series against the Hudson Valley Renegades (New York Yankees). The Drive lead the series, 1-0 and need one more win to claim the South Atlantic League Championship.
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