CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Charleston RiverDogs secured the first championship in franchise history by defeating the Down East Wood Ducks 9-2 in game five of the Low-A East Championship Series on Sunday night at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
The title is the first for a professional baseball team in the city of Charleston since 1922.
Entering the series finale, the home team had not won a game in the series. The RiverDogs changed that behind the outstanding work of starting pitcher Ben Brecht on the mound. Pitching for the second time in the series, the southpaw blanked the Wood Ducks over 6.0 innings while allowing just two hits. He was the winning pitcher in each of the appearances.
Down East starter Mason Englert held the RiverDogs off the board over the first two innings, before the RiverDogs broke through in the third. Ben Troike opened the frame with a single and went to second on a wild pitch. He was joined on base by Michael Berglund who worked a walk. Osleivis Basabe bunted the runners into scoring position. A wild pitch from Englert allowed Troike to score from third and gave the RiverDogs a 1-0 lead. With two outs, Matt Dyer drove an RBI triple off the right-field wall to double the advantage.
The home team pulled away by putting five runs on the board in the fifth inning. Troike began the rally with a double to left field. A sacrifice bunt from Michael Berglund advanced the runner to third and a walk to Basabe placed runners on the corners for Garrett Hiott. The outfielder singled home a run to make it 3-0 before Dyer walked to load the bases. Another base on balls to Beau Brundage forced in a run and increased the margin to 4-0. With the bags still full, Willy Vasquez lined a triple into center field that widened the gap to 7-0.
An RBI single from Basabe and sacrifice fly from Hiott increased the lead to 9-0 in the sixth inning. That was the score entering the final frame when Down East scored a run on an error and an RBI single by Cristian Inoa. Ian Leatherman entered the game with two on base and retired three consecutive hitters to close out the game and spark a wild celebration to the left of the mound.
The RiverDogs outhit the Wood Ducks 9-4 in the game. Basabe and Troike led the way with three hits each. Vasquez paced the team with three runs batted in, while Hiott added a pair. Randy Florentino was the only Down East player with multiple hits.
Following Brecht on the mound, Andrew Gross worked 2.0 innings and faced four batters in the ninth inning. He allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits. Leatherman struck out one while finishing the game.