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Townsend Dodgers 2

Pepperell Red Sox 0

TOWNSEND — It has been said often that pitching wins championships. That proved to be true on Sunday afternoon in Townsend in the major league finale between the Townsend Dodgers and the Pepperell Red Sox.

On a day when nerve endings should have been on edge, Nick Chappas of the Red Sox and Matt Russell of the Dodgers pitched like grizzled veterans. In a game neither deserved to lose, Russell won the duel, tossing a one-hitter to key a 2-0 win. The game was a lively and fast-paced affair, taking about an hour to play.

Chappas was sensational in defeat, allowing only one earned runs and three hits over five innings. He struck out four, walked only one and would have won on most other days.

Russell was absolutely brilliant, facing only 20 batters over six innings. He allowed a single hit and one walk, and showed calm and poise in the biggest game of his life. Russell retired the final 11 hitters he faced.

Russell set the tone of the game in the top of the first by coming out and throwing strikes. He retired the first two hitters before dangerous Tom McElmury ripped a single to left, but Russell induced an inning-ending groundout to second baseman Drew Kanan, who was a defensive standout for the Dodgers.

Chappas also came out throwing strikes, working an impressive 1-2-3 bottom of the inning, including a strikeout.

After the Red Sox went down in order in the top of the second, the Dodgers drew first blood in the bottom of the inning. Abe Mughal ripped a one-out double to right center field and advanced to third base when Liam Coughlan grounded out to first on a nice defensive effort by first baseman Andrew Jenna. Ryan Zapolski then came up clutch, lining a single into center field to plate Mughal to make it 1-0.

The Red Sox got their first runner into scoring position in the top of the third when James Kasilowski walked and moved to second on a groundout, but Russell knocked down Joe Tierney’s hot shot up the middle and fired to first for the third out.

The Dodgers padded the lead with a run in the bottom of the inning. Matt Wilson led off with a walk and hustled to third when Russell reached on a two-base error. Drew Kanan scored Wilson with a single to make it 2-0. The Dodgers were poised to break the game open with two runners on an no outs, but Chappas did a great job of damage control, retiring the next three hitters to keep his team within two runs.

It wouldn’t matter because Russell never allowed another baserunner, backed by stellar defense.

In the fourth, center field Coughlan hauled down Andrew Jenna’s hard line drive in the right center field gap.

In the fifth, Chappas hit a hard ground ball up the middle that Russell deflected with his foot to second baseman Kanan, who fired to first for the out.

In the sixth, right fielder Robert Haluska made a sure-handed catch of Kasilowski’s sinking fly ball for the first out, before Russell induced a pair of groundouts to end it.

Chappas also finished strongly, setting down the Dodgers in order in both the fourth and fifth innings.

Russell was also vital to the Dodgers’ defense in the game, coming up with six assists. Billy Wilson behind the plate, and shortstop Brian Magee also excelled defensively for the Dodgers, who played errorless baseball in the game.

Turning in strong defensive efforts for the Red Sox were Jenna at first base, Jamie Breen at third base, and Tierney behind the plate.

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