Hosting a double header on Thursday – thanks to Mother Nature’s extreme activity on Wednesday – the Salem Red Sox had the chance to send the Pelicans back to the beach winless in four straight games.
But they weren’t able to pull that off as the Pelicans jumped out early on game one, winning 3-2. However, the Pelicans fell short in game two as Salem ended the evening by winning 3-1.
Two seven-inning games were on the slate for the night and the Sox came out of the gates slowly during game one. Not posting a run the first four innings, they failed to put themselves in a good position to take over the game, until late… like always.
And with Tattoo Night in full effect inside the ballpark, my night was tattooed, ironically, when I got a foul ball from all the way up in the press box! This is how it happened…
The ball ricochet off the bat and flew just over the window I look out of…I heard it hit the concrete stairwell behind us so, I swiftly stepped out of the press box door and there it was…my first Salem Sox foul ball of the season (I was more excited than you’d think!).
But, despite the early start (5:33 p.m.), a legitimate crowd still stood at LewisGale Field. Regardless of the forecast but with a double-header, Tattoo Night and $1 Beer Night… I should have known there was always going to be a decent crowd.
Especially on the third base side under The Roanoke Times gazebo – it even had its own beer stand – this was easily where the majority of Sox fans were congregating during the game!
Likely a popular name with those Sox fans, first basemen, Stephan Welch, put the Sox on the board after a deep sacrifice fly to center field that scored Marrero and De La Cruz making the score 2-2 going into the sixth of seven innings.
Trailing early has been a common trend for Salem this season as they have trailed and then bounced back from early Pelican leads during their last three consecutive match-ups.
But that wasn’t the case tonight. Though the Sox forced “extra” innings (not really extra but with seven-inning games during double headers, they are considered extra), the Pelicans were able to bring in a run in the eighth and shut down the Sox on defense despite having the winning run in scoring position, winning by final score of 3-2.
During game two, pitcher Mickey Pena started by holding the Pelicans scoreless in the first two innings with only 16 total pitches. Needless to say this was the start of what was a fantastic night for Pena.
He pitched the entire game and only gave up three hits throughout the course of his night (I’m sure the double-A scouts saw this one).
Rallying behind Pena’s pitching were the Salem hitters. Bringing in two runs during the second inning was Matt Gedman and this gave Salem the unusual early lead.
Grabbing hold of the lead early, the Sox showed they had no plans of messing around in the second game of the night. And again, it was Matt Gedman who recorded yet another RBI in the fourth to stretch Salem’s lead up to three.
I will say this…as the night progressed, there was either a drastic increase of fans or the $1 beers gave Salem fans a bit of liquid courage as they began to cheer for all sorts of reasons! Anything and everything was drawing a cheer from the crowd…always a good thing!
It was when Mother Nature tried to put her damper on the night with some rain that sent a healthy portion of the Sox fans in attendance, to the exit gates.
But with Mickey Pena dealing just a two hit game going into the sixth, the Sox were able to ride out the momentum on the defensive side all the way to the end of the night, winning 3-1.
Although the Sox split 1-1 on Thursday night, they won the four-game series 3-1 and that is a very good sign from the team as the season is beginning to wind down with just a couple more months of baseball before the playoffs.
As we get closer to clutch time (the playoffs) I will be getting more player interviews and insights as to how Salem is planning to make a run this season.
But before they set their eyes on the playoffs, the Sox have to take care of business at home. Friday starts another weekend series against Potomac and with another weekend series comes even more enjoyable park promotions.
Don’t forget…Friday is Awful Night and that will feature the absolute WORST promotional efforts, EVER! Saturday is Christmas in July, which will feature anything and everything Christmas related. And lastly, Sunday will be the usual, Bark in the Park, where Sox fans can bring their doggies to the ballpark (by far and away my favorite promotion!).