P-Nats win with walkoff
Despite being outhit 14-4 on the evening, Destin Hood’s RBI single off the glove of Alex Valdez with two outs in the last of the ninth gave Potomac a 6-5 walk-off win on Wednesday night at Pfitzner Stadium. The loss denied Salem a shot at its second sweep of Potomac in as many weeks.
The decisive ninth inning was a microcosm of the entire game. The Red Sox had two men on with two men gone for Miles Head, who flew out to right to end the threat. In the bottom half, Tom Ebert walked the leadoff batter, and after a failed sacrifice bunt, walked another. Ebert induced a flyout from Jeff Kobernus, but Hood smacked a single that went off the glove of Valdez and into left field. Shannon Wilkerson had a chance to throw out the runner, Jose Lozada, but his throw bounced numerous times en route to the plate, allowing Lozada to slide across safely with the winning tally.
Potomac had just four hits on the evening, but Salem pitchers issued eight walks and hit an additional three batters. All four hits for the Nationals came with runners in scoring position, thanks to the extra baserunners Sox pitching provided.
Salem jumped on the board first with a pair of runs in the top of the third. Wilkerson led off the inning with a double and later scored on an RBI single from Peter Hissey. Two batters later, Bryce Brentz laced an RBI single into center, putting Salem up 2-zip.
But Sox starter Ryan Pressly could not protect the advantage, giving up four runs to the Nationals in the last of the third. Pressly issued back-to-back walks to lead off the inning, and after a sacrifice bunt, gave up consecutive RBI singles to Jeff Kobernus and Destin Hood, tying the game at two. A hit batter loaded the bases, and Archie Gilbert singled to put the P-Nats up 3-2. Zach Walters’ sacrifice fly brought home another, doubling the Nationals lead.
In the fourth, Josue Peley drove in a run with a one out single, drawing the Sox within one. However, Salem left two in the fourth, which was a common theme on the night, as Salem stranded nine total baserunners in the game.
Salem had another opportunity in the sixth with runners at second and third and one out, but reliever Marcos Frias struck out Derrik Gibson and Alex Valdez was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a pitch that got away from catcher Sandy Leon.
In the last of the sixth, Potomac loaded the bases with nobody out against Michael Gleason, but scored just one on a fielder’s choice as Gleason induced a double play to get out of the jam.
Trailing by two after six, Salem drew even with solo shots from Brentz in the seventh and Wilkerson in the eighth. For Brentz, it was his 26th overall home run on the season and 15th in 50 games with the Salem Sox. On the other hand, Wilkerson’s solo jack was his first since June 24, and 10th on the season. Both Brentz and Wilkerson went 3-for-4 and were a triple shy of the cycle to lead the Salem offense.
Gibson and Heiker Meneses each had two base knocks for the Sox, while Kolbrin Vitek extending his hitting streak to eight games with a single in the top of the first.
The Sox return home on Thursday night to open up a four-game series with the Kinston Indians. Drake Britton will start for the Sox against the K-Tribe’s Brett Brach. First pitch in the Roanoke Valley is scheduled for 7:05 PM.