Salem vs. Wilmington
New month..new Sox? I’m optimistic!
Now 3-1 in the month of August, the Salem Red Sox are still well in post-season contingency as they continue to spar for the final remaining spot. On game 112 of the season (game 54 at home) the Sox used a trio of solo home runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to overcome the Wilmington Blue Rocks with a final score of 5-2.
It was David Chester cranking the first bomb for the Red Sox in the third inning. This was his very first home run since he has been in the Carolina League but it wouldn’t be his last as he launched another ball over the right-center field fence in the fifth inning to give Salem a 3-1 lead.
Stefan Welch belted the second home run of the night for Salem in the fourth inning. This was Welch’s sixth home run as a member of the Red Sox following his clutch ninth inning, game-tying solo shot the other night against Lynchburg (Salem went on to win that game).
Holding Wilmington to just one run on seven hits through seven innings of play, starting pitcher AND southpaw, Mickey Pena, lead the defensive reign for the Sox. The last time Pena pitched against the Blue Rocks (June 21) he struck out seven and again only gave up one run as the Sox prevailed in a dominant 9-2 win.
After a scoreless sixth inning for Salem, they were able to make up for their lost ground in the seventh inning, adding two runs. It was Henry Ramos that hit a laser beam over the center fielders head that was good for a triple, his fifth of the season, and pushed the lead to 5-1.
Coming in for relief and fresh off the disabled list, RHP Nefi Ogando came in to begin the eighth inning. Following a series of base hits from the Blue Rocks, Ogando was in a two out, two runners on, tying run at the plate, behind in the count type of jam when he was able to get Wilmington’s Geulin Beltre to routinely ground out to SS Deven Marrero and escape the jam.
Although giving up a run in the eighth, to make the score 5-2, the Salem pitching staff decided to bring in RHP Nate Striz to close the game out in the ninth and send the Sox players, coaches and last but not least, fans home with a win under their belt to start the week.
Striz was able to do just that. He came in and got the save after he was able to get three Wilmington batters to ground out.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do interviews prior to the win because my “recorder” (my iPhone) died earlier in the day and I forgot my charger. But what I will say about that is that I am superstitious of the theory that following an interview with a member of the Sox, they hit a cold streak, so I’ll use tonight to rate the accuracy of said theory.
The Sox will be back in town tomorrow to play game two against Wilmington and Salem’s probable starting pitcher is RHP William Cuevas (6-6).
Be on the lookout for the next “Insider Extra” where I will sit down with Red Sox catcher, Blake Swihart, who is currently red hot at the plate AND behind the plate. He is riding a nine game hitting streak and as the month of August dwindles down, the Sox are going to need his same numbers from everyone else in the lineup.