By DAN PAWLOWSKI
WAKEFIELD — It didn’t take long for the doubt to be lifted in Game 3 of a Twi League semifinal series last night at Moulton Park.
With a trip to the Finals on the line, the Brewers turned a 1-1 game into a 4-1 lead over the Unknowns in the 3rd inning and more or less made it official with seven more in the 4th to claim an 11-1 advantage that would end up being the final score.
Brian Millea (7IP, 8H, 1ER, 1BB, 1K) went the distance and the Brewer offense got some heavy lifting from John Halsey (3-for-4, 2RBI), Mike Fiore (2-for-3, 3RBI) and Tom Leahy (2-for-3, 2RBI) as they now get ready to meet the Slappers in the Twi Finals with Game 1 set for Sunday, 5 p.m. at Moulton.
The Brewers manufactured the initial run in the bottom of the 1st as leadoff hitter Colin Jaena was hit by a pitch and swiftly stole second. A Brendan Casey groundout sent him to 3rd and a productive Halsey groundout to short brought Jaena home for a 1-0 lead against Unknown starter Tom Caron.
The Orange got that run back with a two-out rally in the next half inning, started up by Luke Martin’s triple and followed by a Porter RBI double. Caron hit an infield single to put runners at the corners but Millea maintained the tie by getting Bryan Butt to ground out to first.
Caron got out of his own runners at the corners jam in the bottom of the 2nd and Millea put together a quick 1,2,3 inning in the top of the 3rd.
That set up the Brew Crew to take control in the bottom of the 3rd. After a one-out Brendan Casey walk, Halsey smashed a double to left and Steve Morganelli walked to load the bags. Chris Coombs followed with an RBI groundout but just as it seemed the Question Marks would escape with limited damage, Mike Fiore knocked Caron out of the game with a 2-RBI base hit up the middle. Adam Chanley entered in relief and ended the threat with the Brewers in front 4-1.
After Millea worked around a two-out single and a walk, the Brewer bats went back to work in the 4th.
Their seven-run inning began with a one-out single by Jaena. After another Casey walk, Halsey brought home Jaena, the first of five RBI hits in the inning. Morganelli’s RBI single made it 6-1 and Mike Fiore’s second RBI hit of the night made it 7-1.
After an error accounted for the 8th run, Leahy hit a laser that skipped to the fence in left-center, resulting in a 2-RBI triple. Chanley was finally chased after Betts brought home Leahy with another base hit.
Brett Maloney came on to end the inning and though he wouldn’t allow a run the rest of the way, the damage was certainly done.
The Brewers will try to repeat as Twi Champions one year after they defeated the Unknowns in four games.
This season’s Finals matchup is a rematch of the 2020 championship in which the Slappers topped the Brewers three games to two.
After this Sunday’s Game 1, the following games will be played on Monday, Wednesday and if necessary, Thursday and Sunday (Aug. 21) all at Moulton with weekday games at 5:45 p.m. and Sunday games at 5 p.m.