Was it the freshly inked “power-S” behind home plate? The naming of the new General Manager, Ryan Shelton? Or are the Salem Sox just strictly honed in on the final playoff spot?
I think it was the perfect hybrid of all three!
Regardless of any type of superstitions that tend to float around during playoff time, the Salem Red Sox are the team to watch out for! Now three games above .500 and two games ahead of Carolina for the last playoff spot, the Sox have been firing on all cylinders in their playoff push.
Generating yet another early rally proved to be the key to beating Carolina again Tuesday in game four; winning the series three games to one.
20-year-old Mookie Betts was the man of night! You Surprised? Nope.
Betts initiated the rally with a two-run BLAST to left-center field that gave Salem a quick 3-0 lead. Nick Natoli then crossed home plate and added another run after a wild pitch from Carolina starter, Cole Cook (his night ended pretty early) and stole momentum away from them.
But that wasn’t all in the inning: Matty Johnson and Carson Blair each registered triples to produce three more runs and stretch the Salem lead up to 7-1.
The Mudcats showed some life in the top half of the third and fourth innings! They plated a total of seven runs in the two-inning display of offense that brought Carolina back well within striking distance of the Sox.
Salem’s pitching was what allowed Carolina to mount the comeback after a series of bad pitches and clutch hits from the Mudcats. The rally ended just after Carolina tied the game at 7 on a wild pitch from Nate Striz to send the Sox back to the dugout right back where they started.
It wouldn’t stay tied for long, though.
The Sox scored one run in the fourth and sixth to stretch their lead to 10-8. Guess who? Mookie Betts, obviously! Betts was the one to crank a RBI triple to break the tie. Cody Koback was able to pull through for Salem ripping an RBI single to score Gedman and extend the Salem lead to two runs, still fairly early in the game.
And in what turned out to be the longest game on the season for Salem (only 3 hours and 36 minutes), the last three innings consisted of a defensive battle where Salem “tried” to give Carolina life.
After two walks to begin the ninth inning, pitcher Nefi Ogando, locked in and gave up just one run in the inning and sealed up the win by striking out the last two batters of the night; going into the clubhouse victorious, 10-9
For the record: Salem scored 10 runs on 10 hits with no errors while Carolina scored just nine runs on 14 hits with two errors…making the most of every opportunity? I thought so! Especially after being outhit by Carolina following numerous failed attempts to tie the game. They had a runner in scoring position, to tie the game, in seven of the nine innings played!
The Red Sox will eat, hit the showers, and then board the bus en route to Myrtle Beach where they will play the Pelicans for the next three nights (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday). Salem will look to gain ground on Myrtle Beach for the crown of the second half and while they would certainly enjoy the crown, the focus is more about punching that post-season ticket.
The Sox will be back in LewisGale Field on August 28 for a six-game home stand to complete the regular season. But, before all of that, we will have updates on the Sox and their playoff contingency while they are away on the road. Also, be on the lookout for the next edition of Insider Extra!
Till next time, signing off here.