Dash avoid sweep, beat Lynchburg
The Dash offense was too much for the ‘Cats as they scored in five of nine frames. The Hillcats mounted a three-run ninth, but fell just shy of the now Carolina League best Winston-Salem Dash. Brady Shoemaker led the way with a 5-for-5 performance that saw him score three times.
The Hillcats started the scoring in the bottom of the first of the highly touted Jake Petricka. Mycal Jones started off the Hillcats offense with a poke single out to right. Nick Ahmed followed with a double down the left field line; Jones was held at third. Tommy La Stella got his first RBI of the day by grounding out to the second baseman, Carlos Sanchez. Jones scored on the play to give Lynchburg the early lead.
It was a different feel for the Dash in the top of the second, as they were able to answer back immediately. Brady Shoemaker got it going for the Dash with a single to start the inning. Shoemaker advanced on a ground out by Michael Blanke, but scored on a single by Michael Earley for the Dash’s first run of the game. Two batters later, Juan Silverio chipped some paint off the left field wall and cruised to second with a double that scored Earley. The score was now 2-1.
The Dash padded their lead in the top of the third. Sanchez and Trayce Thompson both worked walks. Then, Shoemaker hit a bloop single of La Stella’s head at second to score Sanchez and give the Dash a 3-1 lead.
A two-out rally was needed in the top of the fourth for Winston-Salem. Nick Ciolli, reached on an infield single off the glove of Edward Salcedo. Ciolli, stole second and Dan Wagner singled him home to make it 4-1. Wagner then stole second and third with Sanchez at the plate. Sanchez capitalized with a liner out to right for his first RBI of the day to extend the lead to 5-1.
The top of the fifth saw the Dash plate another run. Earley blasted a triple to dead center off Hillcats’ lefty Ronan Pacheco. Shoemaker was able to hustle home from first to give his team a five run cushion.
Wagner got in on the act again in the top of the sixth with a double. With Sanchez at the plate, Pacheco threw a wild pitch and Wagner advanced. A couple pitches later, Sanchez hit a deep fly out to right that allowed Wagner to tag up and give the Dash a 7-1 lead.
Not until the bottom of the sixth did the ‘Cats score again. Chris Garcia got his first hit of the day with a rare pull-single out to right. Salcedo followed with a line drive double off the right field wall. Early mishandled it in right and Garcia scored while Salcedo reached third. Matt Weaver hit a soft grounder to Sanchez at second and Salcedo scored to cut the deficit to 7-3.
A two out rally scored a run in the bottom of the seventh. Ahmed worked a two-out walk to put himself on for La Stella. Just three pitches later, La Stella would blast a double to right that scored Ahmed. The score moved to 7-4.
Blaine Sims entered the game in the eighth to take on the potent Dash squad. He struggled throughout his outing. First, he walked Dan Black, left a pitch hanging that was hammered by Shoemaker to leave runners at second and third, then Michael Blanke got his first RBI of the day with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Black. Earley added his third RBI with a double that scored Shoemaker open a 9-4 lead.
The ninth was anything but easy for Winston-Salem and Taylor Thompson. After two quick outs, he walked Ahmed, threw a wild pitch that Ahmed advanced on and surrendered a single to La Stella that scored Ahmed to make it 9-5. Gracia blasted his third homer of the season with a shot over the right field wall to cut it to 9-7. However, the ‘Cats couldn’t finish the deal with Thompson finally closing it out by striking out Weaver.
Jake Petricka (3-3) picked up the “W” by going 6.0 innings, scattering six hits, allowing three runs–two earned–walking one and fanning five. Aaron Northcraft (4-2) got his second loss of the season in his shortest outing of the year. He went 3.2 innings, allowed eight hits, five runs–all earned–walked three and struck out one.
Lynchburg will welcome the Wilmington Blue Rocks tomorrow for game one of their series. The game is slated for a 6:05pm start time. Cody Martin (4-3, 2.29) will get the for the Hillcats. Righty Jason Adam (1-4, 2.08) will take on Martin in the opener. Gates will open tomorrow at 5:00 pm at Lynchburg City Stadium. If you can’t make it to the park, tune in and listen live to all the action on 105.5 FM KD Country and online at lynchburg-hillcats.com starting with the Hillcats On-Deck Show coming on the air at 5:40pm with Erik Wilson and Mike Viso.