PAWTUCKET – It had been 28 years since the Pawtucket Red Sox picked up a win in the Governors’ Cup Championship Series and on Tuesday night they used the arm of Steven Wright and some heavy lumber to break that slump with a 7-2 win over Charlotte in game one of the Governors’ Cup Championship Series at McCoy Stadium.
After a first inning in which the Knights put good wood on the ball and scored a run, Wright fell into a groove and proceeded to throw six scoreless innings after that, striking out six batters on the night.
“I felt good after the first inning,” said Wright. “I kind of got a little excited and a little amped up. I started rushing and once I rushed everything stays up. Once I calmed down and stayed back I was able to keep the ball down in the zone.”
Despite drawing first blood with a run in the top of the first inning, the opening frame was not kind to the Knights who lost starting pitcher Charlie Leesman after freak collision with his first baseman, Seth Loman, on the third batter he faced.
With runners on first and second and no outs, J.C. Linares hit a slow chopped to first. As Loman came in on the ball, Leesman was crossing over to cover the bag and stopped on a dime, jamming his knee. Leesman lay on the ground clutching his left knee for about five minutes before being escorted from the field, ending his night.
“They’ll do all the diagnostic stuff tomorrow,” said Charlotte manager Joel Skinner. “He broke off the mound and broke for the ball and when he stopped to avoid the collision and that’s when he hurt himself.”
The PawSox knotted the game in the bottom of the first inning on a Danny Valencia sac-fly, scoring Nate Spears. Then Valencia hit what would turn out to be the game-winning blow in the third inning, a two run homer that cleared everything in leftfield, giving the PawSox a 3-1 lead.
Pawtucket maintained a two run lead, 4-2, heading into the seventh inning, but Tony Thomas added the insurance they needed to breathe easier, a two-run homer to left to make it 6-2.
On the very next pitch J.C. Linares lines a solo shot to almost the same part of the ballpark and the PawSox cruised the rest of the way behind scoreless frames pitched by relievers Alex Wilson and Josh Fields.
“The guys swing the bats,” said Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler. “We got some good counts and got some good swings on the ball. Danny got us going early and going back-to-back was big.”
Zach Stewart will face off against Charlie Shirek (0-0, 15.43) in game two on Wednesday night, with the first pitch schedules for 7:05 p.m. at McCoy Stadium. This will be the final home game of the season for the PawSox as games 3, 4 and 5 will be played in Charlotte as needed.
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