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Henry Owens, Matty Ott and Matt Price combine on Salem no-hitter

salem red soxIn his final start as a 20-year-old, Henry Owens delivered perhaps the greatest performance of his young career. Joining forces with Matty Ott and Matt Price, Owens helped the Salem Red Sox no-hit the Frederick Keys on Wednesday night at Harry Grove Stadium. Owens matched a career-high with 10 strikeouts, while the trio of Red Sox hurlers punched out 14 Keys in Salem’s 6-0 shutout victory, the first no-hitter in the history of Salem Red Sox baseball, which began in 2009.

Owens tossed the first six innings, dealing 51 of his 89 pitches for strikes, holding the Keys hitless and scoreless despite four walks and a hit batter. Ott took over in the seventh, retiring six straight batters to send the suspense to the ninth. Price walked the leadoff man, but set down the next three in a row, inducing a Glynn Davis ground out that commenced the celebration for the first no-no in the Carolina League since June 22, 2012. It was the first nine-inning no-hitter in the Carolina League since Frederick’s Nathan Moreau no-hit Salem on June 30, 2010 at LewisGale Field.

While Owens deservingly earned the headline, he wasn’t the only Henry to leave a serious imprint on Wednesday night’s ballgame. Center fielder Henry Ramos belted two home runs, his 10th and 11th blasts of the season, to help the Sox create separation. Each of the top four hitters—Ramos, Deven Marrero, Stefan Welch, and Tim Roberson—collected two hits, and the quartet combined to drive in five runs.

Frederick starter Brady Wager went toe-to-toe with Owens through the first five innings, and the contest remained scoreless into the sixth. But a leadoff walk issued to Matty Johnson proved to be Wager’s undoing. Two batters later, Marrero doubled home Johnson to break the scoring seal. Two pitches after that, Welch looped an RBI single to send Marrero across and give the Sox a 2-0 edge.

Salem added three more against Wager in the seventh, with Johnson’s triple driving in Matt Gedman to make it 3-0. Ramos launched a two-run missile down the right-field line to make it 5-0, and crushed a towering solo blast to center in the top of the ninth to stretch the lead to 6-0.

For Owens, it was his 41st career appearance, his 40th start, and his final chance to pitch before he turns 21 this Sunday. He retired the first eight batters of the game before walking Sammie Starr with two outs in the third, but worked around an error to escape unscathed. The Keys put two runners aboard with nobody out in the fourth, with a hit-batter and walk giving them plenty of chances to break through. But Owens navigated out of trouble again, dazzling with his cryptic combinations of fastballs, changeups, and curveballs.

In relief, Ott picked up right where he left off after dealing four scoreless extra innings in his Double-A debut with the Portland Sea Dogs this past Friday night. Price held his foe scoreless for his ninth straight appearance to complete the premier no-hitter since the Red Sox affiliation began.

The last time Salem pro baseball recorded a no-hitter was August 7, 2002, when Rockies farmhand Kip Bouknight helped the Salem Avalanche no-hit Frederick at Harry Grove Stadium.

With a historic triumph to begin the road trip, the Salem Sox look to make it eight wins in their last 10 contest in Thursday’s day game. The Sox and Keys reunite at noon on Thursday, with Mickey Pena scheduled to pitch against Zach Davies.

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