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Salem Red Sox take two from Dash

salem red soxThe Salem Red Sox scored first inning runs in both games to set the tone in Monday’s doubleheader, grabbing two wins from the visiting Dash to begin a five-game, four-day series at LewisGale Field. In the opener, Salem soared to a 5-0 lead and held on for a 5-4 victory, while the Sox saw there 3-0 lead erased in game two, only to score the final three runs in a 6-3 triumph.

Garin Cecchini and Keury De La Cruz were both Salem standouts, with the latter leading the Red Sox with five RBI in the two games. Cecchini stepped in the batters box seven times and got on base every time if you include the time he reached on an error. He singled twice, walked three times, and got hit by a pitch. Nick Natoli also drove in two runs in the twin-bill, finishing 2-for-6 with a double and a hit by pitch.

In game one, Salem jumped on Winston early, with a single, HBP, and error loading the bases with nobody out. De La Cruz laced a three-run triple into the right-field corner to take a 3-0 advantage against Dash starter Jake Cose, who was making his Carolina League debut. Three innings later, the Sox added two more runs with Natoli’s RBI single and De La Cruz’ sac fly scoring David Renfroe and Matt Gedman, respectively.

Mike McCarthy tossed four scoreless innings in the opener, but ran out of gas in the fifth, with Winston scoring four runs against him to inch within one. He left with one out and the tying run on first base, but Noe Ramirez induced a 6-3 double play to escape the threat. Ramirez proceeded to dominate over the final two and two-thirds innings, retiring all seven batters he faced to slam the door and earn his second win of the season.

In game two, the Sox plated a pair in the first inning against Dash starter Jason Van Skike. Aided by three first-inning errors, the Red Sox used RBI singles from Cecchini and an RBI ground-out from Henry Ramos to grab a 2-zip lead. Cecchini’s second RBI knock made it 3-0 in the third, and Sox starter Kyle Kraus, also making his Carolina League debut, held the Dash scoreless until the fourth.

Courtney Hawkins, the 13th pick in last June’s draft, blasted a towering solo homer to lead off the fourth and inch the Dash within two, but Kraus retired the next three batters in order to complete four strong innings. Kraus permitted just one run on four hits, striking out three and walking one.

The Dash tied it up in the fifth, with Chris Curley slamming a two-run shot against Madison Younginer to even things a three. But Salem quickly countered, with De La Cruz ripping a two-out RBI double off the fence in left to score Cecchini. Ramos singled home De La Cruz to make it 5-3, and a pair of double from Blake Swihart and Natoli an inning later made it 6-3.

Despite leaving with an apparent injury after an inning and a third, Younginer earned his first Carolina League victory, while Matt Price struck out a pair in his inning and two thirds to pick up his third save.

Since Myrtle Beach lost to Potomac in 10 innings, the Red Sox crept within four and a half games of first place. Salem has 15 games remaining in the first half over the next 13 days.

On Tuesday, the Red Sox and Dash reunite at 7:05, with Mike Augliera scheduled to oppose Bryan Blough.

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