Easiest way to spot a Red Sox fan this morning? They're the ones without any fingernails.
All that nail-biting occurred in one inning, the bottom of the 9th, as Craig Kimbrel came on to close out a game with Boston up 4-1, his task to get three outs and clinch the series against the NY Yankees.
That 4-1 lead came courtesy of a brilliant starting performance by Rick Porcello, who gave up just one run over five solid innings, and the bullpen work of Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier and yes, ace starter Chris Sale, who came on to pitch a 1-2-3 eighth, and set the stage for Kimbrel to keep a full house of Yankee fans as quiet as they had been for most of the game.
To put it mildly, it got a lot louder.
Kimbrel walked Aaron Judge, gave up a single to Didi Gregorius, and only temporarily reduced the clamor by striking out Giancarlo Stanton, who didn't win any new fans in the Big Apple in this series. Kimbrel walked another batter to load the bases and it was like watching one of those cartoon fuses making its way to a room of powder kegs marked TNT in big block letters.
Kimbrel hit the next batter, forcing in a run to make it 4-2 with still just one out, and the home run happy Gary Sanchez striding to the plate. You could see the sweat all over the Boston closer on a humid night in the Bronx, with 45,000 Yankee faithful standing and screaming, knowing their season could be extended with just one swing of the bat, and Sanchez did take a mighty hack, sending a ball deep to left field, but not quite deep enough, Andrew Benintendi making the out while a sacrifice run scored to make it 4-3, now with one out left to go.
21-year old rookie Gleyber Torres was next and he sent a slow roller to third base. Torres can run and Eduardo Rodriguez had to scoop and throw almost in the same motion, sending a somewhat off the mark throw to first. Steve Pearce stretched as far as his 35-year old body would allow and corralled the ball and Torres was called out at first, but the play was so close it was immediately challenged by video review, so the Red Sox weren't off the hook yet.
But slo-mo replay doesn't lie and Pearce's excellent stretch combined with Nunez' great fielding showed that Torres was out by a step and the Red Sox could finally mob the mound to celebrate, and Red Sox fans everywhere could finally exhale, moving on to face the Houston Astros Saturday at Fenway Park.
Catcher Christian Vazquez had the eventual game winning hit for Boston, a solo home run that made it 4-0 in the fourth and proved to be a huge insurance run as Kimbrel almost achieved total meltdown.
But the Red Sox do take the game 4-3 and the series three games to one, and they celebrated with champagne and beer spraying in the visitor's locker room to the strains of Sinatra, a little payback for Aaron Judge playing "New York New York" outside the Red Sox locker room when the Yanks won game two.
Great series between the game's greatest rivals, and the next against the defending World Series champs should be epic as well.
The Castleton Field Hockey team scored a 2-1 overtime win against Fitchburg State on a goal by Gabriella Hunt after teammate Loretta Blakeney had tied the game at one with just under five minutes left in regulation. The Spartans have now won nine in a row, the longest winning streak in program history.
In men's college soccer Daniel Pernia of Saint Michael's College scored his first collegiate goal but the Purple Knights fell to Franklin Pierce 3-1.
In New Haven, Geo Alves, Adrian Gahabka, and Joe Morrison all tallied as UVM defeated Yale 3-0.
Johnson beat Southern Vermont College, both Badger goals off the foot of Wolcott native Rob Buo-nanno.
The Johnson women's fell to the MCLA 3-1 in North Adams.