Finally! Rain lifts, Salem sweeps Potomac

salem red soxAble to play for the first time in six days, the Salem Red Sox showed few signs of rust in sweeping a twin-bill from Potomac, garnering a 6-3 victory in the opener before rallying to prevail 9-6 in the nightcap. The two wins catapulted the Red Sox right in the mix of the playoff chase, as Salem remained one game behind Carolina and moved a half-game ahead of Winston in pursuit of a postseason berth. It was Salem’s first action since last Thursday, a result of four consecutive rain-outs and an off-day.

Carlos Asuaje led the Red Sox with a dynamic offensive performance, collecting five hits, including two homers, in the two games. Reed Gragnani also reached base five times in the twin-bill, while Mario Martinez registered four hits and Jake Romanski launched his first Carolina League homer in the opener.

The Sox struck quickly in both games, bolting to a 4-0 lead in the opener. Romaski’s RBI single scored Gragnani in the second, while Asauje launched a solo homer in the third and Romanski crushed a two-run blast in the fourth, all off Nationals starter Hector Silvestre. Potomac scrapped single tallies in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, but Joe Gunkel and Kyle Martin maintained the lead, with Salem adding two more runs of insurance in the fifth and seventh frames, respectively. Matty Johnson tripled to lead off the fifth, sprinting home on a wild pitch to make it 5-1. Later, Asauje’s second homer of the game created a 6-2 score.

Gunkel picked up the victory, striking out a career-best eight Nationals over five and two-thirds innings, allowing two runs on six hits. Martin earned the save, dealing the final inning and a third and surrendering only on unearned run.

In the nightcap, the Sox plated a pair in the top of the first against Dakota Bacus, who paid the price for walking two of the first three men he faced. RBI singles from Martinez and Matt Gedman surged Salem to a 2-0 edge. One frame later, Dreily Guerrero tripled and Johnson singled him home to make it 3-0.

Salem connected for two more triples in the top of the first, with Asuaje and Gragnani collecting consecutive three-baggers with two outs to produce another run, lifting the Red Sox into a 4-1 lead with Pat Light on the hill. But the Sox righthander stumbled after a strong start. The Nationals clawed their way back with a run in the fourth, another in the fifth, and two more in the sixth to take their first lead at 5-4 when Khayyan Norfork drove in Pedro Severino.

Down by one after six innings, the Sox were down to their final out before Aneury Tavarez delivered a clutch RBI single to tie it up. Potomac’s Gilberto Mendez had blown the save, and after the score became tied, the floodgates opened, with Salem rallying for five runs all with two outs in the top of the seventh. Guerrero chipped in with an RBI single, while Asauje drove in two more runs with a bases loaded single, and the Sox led 9-5 after six and a half.

Although Jonathan Aro served up a solo homer to Stephen Perez in the final frame, the Salem Sox still held on for the 9-6 victory, with Aro earning the win. Mendez, who allowed five runs in just one inning, saw his ERA skyrocket from 2.23 to 3.30 and suffered the setback.

Salem and Potomac will reunite for another doubleheader on Thursday, with the first pitch slated for 5 PM. Simon Mercedes and Heri Quevedo are expected to make the starts for the Sox, with Quevedo making his first Carolina League appearance since dealing seven scoreless innings against the Nationals in the Mills Cup Championship Series last September.

augusta free press
augusta free press news

UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Buy here.

AFP Business

As professional consultants, Augusta Free Press LLC provides clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia and beyond with marketing and PR solutions including website design, SEO, TV/radio, video work, branding and logos, social media and overall marketing campaign design and implementation. Augusta Free Press LLC was founded in 2002.

Web Design

Augusta Free Press has designed more than 800 websites for clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia. We take care of all facets of web design – visual design, layout design, content development and SEO. Short on staff? We’ll work with you to update your AFP-designed website in a timely manner or train your staff to make changes.

Marketing/Social Media Management

Augusta Free Press manages advertising campaigns for small- and medium-sized businesses across Virginia. You don’t need to hire a full-time marketing coordinator. Bring the experience of the Augusta Free Press team to work for you – for a fraction of the cost.

Graphic Design

Augusta Free Press will help you take your vision to the next level. From branding and logos to print materials, our team will work with you to develop products to showcase your business. From brochures and rack cards to full-color magazines or print/digital ads, we’ve got you covered.

Event Planning/Fundraising

Augusta Free Press will help you plan the best event for your organization. From an open house or anniversary to a 5K or Pay Per View, we can handle it all. Looking for training for your sales staff? We can help energize your employees or board. Need ideas to raise more money? Let us help you plan a successful event. Want to hold a news conference or need help with a press release? We can do that too.

Click here for more.