Salem Red Sox vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans
On Wednesday night Salem Red Sox fans got to witness their first playoff game since 2009. With home field advantage and a healthy amount of momentum overflowing from the regular season, the Sox were able to nip the wings of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans; stealing the first of a three game series by score of 1-0.
It was the bottom of the tenth inning when Salem had a runner (Henry Ramos) in scoring position. Cody Koback stepped up to the plate is his FIRST at bat of the night, coming in as a defensive sub, and hit an awkward chopper to third base that caused a throwing error and allowed Ramos to advance home and end the game.
And after what was quite possibly the loudest uproar of the season following Koback's hit, it’s necessary to mention how loyal the Sox fan base has been to the team throughout the course of the season.
Despite a scoreless first nine innings, it didn't seem to bother those enthusiastic Salem fans that were inside LewisGale Field (they cheered as if they hadn’t seen a playoff game in years…oh wait).
When there was any important situation in the game, the home crowd was up making noise and clapping...and while the game got older, the clapping got louder - making for a very intense climate for both pitchers.
Speaking of pitchers, RHP Luis Fiaz for Salem, held the Pelicans to just five hits in eight innings. Thanks to some important defensive stops from Diaz' field players (Betts, Natoli and Chester), he was able to come away with the win; improving his record to three wins and zero losses.
But let’s not forget about Koback…the man of the night!
If it weren’t for him coming into the lineup, the game could’ve been much longer and had a different outcome.
Think about this for a second…you’re in the dugout all night and then come in as a sub during an overtime situation and quickly turn into the hero of the night. That’s just what happened to Koback, the 6’1, outfielder from Plover, Wis.
“I focus on what the other team is doing, what their pitcher is throwing, and whose coming into the game,” said Koback. “You have to keep an eye on what people (opposing batters) are doing while hitting too, because that’s what I came in for was defense.”
Just as Ramos crossed the plate Koback's teammates mobbed him in praise and by the time I could get down to the clubhouse, he had already received a complimentary pie to the face from his teammates as well. And although the Sox will surely enjoy their first win of the post-season, they understand there’s still work to be done and that Myrtle Beach won’t go down easy.
“It’s going to be really tough, both of us are traveling tonight, it’s the same travel but, they play really well at home and I think that’s where it helps them,” said Koback.
If Salem can pull out a win again tomorrow night, they will advance to face another team in their chase for the Mills Cup Championship!