It was the first walk off of the season for Salem!
Matty Johnson hit the game winner that brought Dreily Guerrero (who was pinch running for Kevin Mager) home from second base to end the game. Mager’s hit was his first since being called up from Greenville…and boy did it come in the clutch for him and his teammates!
“I fell into a bit of a funk,” explained Mager. “That first hit really takes a lot of pressure off you. You feel like the refrigerator is off of your back.”
“I’m working on a couple of things. Me and U.L. Washington are working on ironing some things out so I’m starting to feel a bit more comfortable in the box,” said Mager. “Definitely won’t forget this just because it’s been a long road to this first hit but definitely memorable.”
(Let it be known, every time I write a potential headline and get a jump on my soon-to-be story, the opposite of what I’ve written ALWAYS happens.)
Tonight was a bit more ironic, though. Through five innings, each team had registered five hits but no runs. So, I thought…Cinco de Defense. How fitting on Cinco de Mayo, right? Nope. As soon as I began typing, the Wilmington Blue Rocks scored a run off a throwing error from Salem third basemen Mario Martinez.
So, I changed the headline and just like that the game opened up much more than it had been all evening.
After Salem’s pitcher, Corey Littrell, sat down five hitters and Wilmington pitcher Sean Manaea sat down six, both in five innings pitched, it came as no surprise that the game ended 2-1. It was a game that featured late offense and precise defense…oh and a few mishaps on behalf of the umpires.
(One in which the umpires left the field in the middle of the game to discuss the call and another in which the umpire behind the plate, Drew Freed, called a foul ball after he thought the ball hit the batter after he hit the ball; needless to say, Carlos Febles was not happy about the questionable call and neither was the home crowd.)
Salem put it behind them and responded to Wilmington’s run in the top of the sixth.
It was Jayson Hernandez that recorded the RBI on his third double of the evening in which two of the hits thumped off the wall! To add to the outstanding night for Hernandez, he threw a laser down to second base to end the seventh inning by catching a Wilmington runner trying to steal.
(I must say, the percentage I’d estimate for the number of times the hometown crowd continues singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ after the music cuts off is very high. To me, it almost never fails no matter how many people show up to the ballpark. Gotta love it.)
The Sox will be back at it again against Wilmington tomorrow morning (Tuesday) at 11:05 a.m. for Brunch & Baseball!
Don’t miss the opportunity to spend the morning with the Red Sox as they look to take the series away from the Blue Rocks before Carolina comes into Salem this weekend.