Beginning a seven game home stand, the Salem Red Sox were back in Salem Memorial Ballpark Wednesday evening against the Baltimore Orioles’ Advanced Class A Affiliate, the Frederick Keys. The consistent breeze that swept through the valley made for a beautiful night for those 3,995 fans on hand who witnessed a promising win from Salem that ended by a score of 13-9.
The first inning that took less than ten minutes wasn’t an accurate indicator of how the rest of the game would go. Scoring two runs in the second and another in the third, Salem was off to an early 3-0 lead and seemed to be seeing the ball very well.
But, it was the Keys who swung back at Salem in the fourth inning. They scored four runs during a two out rally that Salem probably thought they would never get out of. It was Jason Esposito’s two run bomb to left-center field that stole the lead and momentum away from the Sox rather quickly for the visitors.
Not for long, though.
As Carolina pitcher, Zach Clark, began to struggle in the fourth, the Sox had a chance to retaliate and they did so with authority!
A seven run inning was how Salem responded.
After a pitch hit the newest player on the Sox roster, David Chester, Matt Gedman and Matty Johnson laid down textbook bunts to load the bases and begin the inning for Salem. Then rallying with no outs, the next five batters managed four doubles (Marrero, Welch, Swihart, Ramos) and stretched the Salem lead to 10-4.
Easily one of the most exciting half innings of baseball I have ever seen.
Something that made it even more exciting, for fans, was the Baseball Bingo promotion during the middle of innings. Who doesn’t like to play free bingo for free Sox merchandise?
With no plans of slowing down in the fifth, Salem scored three more runs to make the score 13-4. De La Cruz, Welch and Swihart were the active bats for Salem in the inning giving the Sox a quite comfy lead.
And speaking of comfort, Sox pitcher William Cuevas appeared to be more than comfortable, firing on all cylinders, striking out ten batters in seven innings. Despite Carolina scoring four runs in the fourth inning, Cuevas posted scoreless innings six times throughout the evening!
Carolina wouldn’t go away, though. They rallied around in the seventh and scored five runs right after Salem replaced Cuevas with LHP Manuel Rivera. Carolina had his number from the start; recording four hits in this inning, the Keys gave Sox fans a reason to consider the saying “don’t speak too soon”.
But, Rivera continued to battle and sent the Sox to the dug out while fans got out of their seats for the Red Sox classic song “Sweet Caroline” (let’s just say this was an easy way to forget the previous half inning and focus on the next, for fans)
Matty Ott came in to close it out for Salem and did so efficiently in the ninth, sitting down the batters in order 1,2,3. The final score was 13-9 in Salem’s favor, taking game one of four away from Fredrick.
The Sox will be at home again until July 30, hosting both Fredrick and Potomac, just like the last time they were at home for seven days.
Be sure to check out the next edition of “Insider Extra” coming this weekend. This edition will feature Stefan Welch, the third basemen from ‘the down under’. I’m excited to get to know him but until then, stay up to date with the Salem Sox right here on the Roanoker blog.