Red Sox Catcher
After a furious storm ripped through the Roanoke Valley on Thursday evening, the first game of four between Lynchburg and Salem was postponed, forcing the Salem Red Sox to play host to a doubleheader on Friday night.
With the night highlighted around pro-wrestler Mick Foley, better known as “Mankind” inside the ring, fans got a chance to encounter the tough, one of a kind celeb who was sure to bring his robust ego to the ballpark and surprisingly, it seemed to rub-off onto the Red Sox players in game 1.
Not giving in to any kind of pressure from Lynchburg, Salem’s offense was the first-order of the day. Scoring four runs in the first four innings, the Sox were able to jump out on top of the Hillcats before they could make an effort to respond.
Hits from Cecchini, Renfroe and Johns paved the way for the Sox just before De La Cruz crushed his fourth home run of the year well over left center field to push Salem’s lead up to four.
Only playing a 7-inning game, due to the doubleheader, the Sox breezed through the final three innings, giving up only 1 run behind starting pitcher, Kyle Stroup, who was good for all 7 innings, giving up just 3 hits and recording 5 strikeouts pulling out the win for Salem by a final score of 4-1.
Game 2 began with two “first pitches”…that’s right… TWO!
Mick Foley, renowned wrestler, threw the first one and the second was thrown by Luke Hancock who is a Roanoke-native, Louisville Basketball Star and 2013 Final Four MOP (most outstanding player).
The 3,815 people in attendance blatantly favored Hancock’s pitch over Foley’s which failed to reach home plate before bouncing one too many times…Perhaps Foley should stick with wrestling and writing as opposed to pitching…just a thought.
Regardless, the Sox got off to a slow start in game 2 giving up two runs in the first inning after an absolute bomb from Lynchburg’s Robby Hefflinger, who is currently the Carolina League leader in the HR category with 18. He launched another HR in the fifth to extend their lead to 5.
Unable to find any offense in the latter half of the nights twinbill, Salem couldn’t seem to slow down the Lynchburg offense either, giving up one run in the fourth inning and four in the fifth inning.
Where that Mick Foley, robust-ego attitude from game 1 was, I don’t know?!
And neither did the Sox as they fell to the Hillcats by score of 7-0.
But, to ease the tension for fans, the grounds crew allowed kids to run the bases after the game, which seemed to be a better nightcap than a Salem win for most of the kids who chose to run.
I remember running those bases as a kid, it was like a dream come true!
The Sox have the Hillcats on the slate three more times this weekend. One Saturday night and then the final two games on Sunday as a doubleheader to close out the series beginning the All-Star Break for Salem.
Though Salem and Lynchburg split tonight’s doubleheader, 1-1, expect the Sox to be hungry for more wins throughout the weekend as Saturday will feature Beach Night along with a postgame fireworks show and Sunday will feature Bark in the Park, where fans can bring their favorite canine to the park for a simple $5.
Until Saturday night, signing off.