The evening began with a first pitch from Utility Man followed by a second “first” pitch that turned out to be a marriage proposal from the masked catcher who ended up being the pitcher's soon-to-be fiancé (very clever in my opinion and made for a good surprise).
The evening ended in extra innings, though, after both teams mirrored each other on the scoreboard until they reached the 16th inning when the Keys snuck a run in on the Sox and came away victorious 3-2.
Both, the Sox and Keys notched two runs each on the board during the eighth.
Nick Natoli and Matty Johnson were the two to record RBI’s for Salem and yet again, we saw the bottom of the batting order picking up the slack for Salem.
This was the longest game of season throughout the entire Carolina League…16 INNINGS!
I think it’s safe to say that the meaning of “extras” was broadened Friday night as the Sox and Keys played ball for over four hours…that meant fans got to relish the presence of the renowned ballpark entertainer, Mr. Utility Man.
With stunts to hypnotize the visiting team and Mugsy, Utility Man did everything in his power to add to the ballpark synergy for the Sox but they couldn’t seem to use it on the offensive side of the ball.
Utility Man had the crowd screaming and yelling all night long! It was when he went in disguise as a phantom of the ballpark, (very odd, in my opinion), when both teams couldn’t notch a run for eighth straight frames making for a very slow game. (it’s a good thing Utility Man was walking around giving fans something to see because the teams weren’t).
As the game neared the 11th and 12th inning I began to notice how much of the crowd had deteriorated from the seats inside LewisGale Field. And though it was getting late and both teams were playing impeccable defense, both continued to hit the ball decently well but just couldn’t get a runner past the third base.
Until the top of the 16th that is!
Frederick was able to take the late lead from an RBI double shot to right-center field from DH Michael Ohlman (this really sent fans for the exits).
And although Salem had their chance to counter in the bottom of the 16th, they just couldn’t crack the Frederick defense.
With one out and two strikes, Sox first basemen David Chester crushed one out to left field that went over the fence EXCEPT, it was a foul ball…quite the tease!
I’m sure Chester would’ve liked to have that same pitch back so he could straighten it out just a bit and tie the game back up but, they’re going to have to wait until Saturday night when they will face off with Frederick in the final game of the series.