Salem earns doubleheader split
While Salem’s five-game winning streak was snapped by a 3-1 loss in Wednesday’s opener, the Sox swiped a 1-0 walk-off win in nine innings in the nightcap, with David Chester singling home Carson Blair to ignite the victory celebration. After eight and a half innings of scoreless baseball, the Sox finally delivered the knockout punch, and with Blair crossing the plate, the Sox took another large step toward their first postseason berth since 2009. Salem’s magic number to make the playoffs dropped to one, while the magic number to clinch the Southern Division is down to two.
In the opener, Michael Ohlman went 2-for-2 with two RBI to lead Frederick to a win, with southpaw starter Tim Berry permitting just one run in five and two-thirds innings. Berry departed with the bases loaded in the last of the sixth, but Jesse Beal bailed him out, stranding all three Red Sox runners. Beal proceeded to earn the save by tossing a scoreless seventh, while William Cuevas suffered the tough-luck loss, despite a quality start. Cuevas struck out nine in six innings, surrendering three runs on six hits.
In game two, Mike McCarthy dazzled in his spot start, dealing seven scoreless innings. But a pair of Frederick lefties, Ashur Tolliver and Zach Fowler, held the Sox without a run through seven innings too. Into the eighth, both teams put men in scoring position, but neither squad scored.
Madison Younginer dealt a 1-2-3 top of the ninth, and with one out in the bottom of the frame, the Sox finally struck. Blair ripped a double into the left-field corner, and Chester smacked a hard chopper off the third-baseman’s mitt and into foul territory down the left-field line. With two Frederick defenders in pursuit of the lose ball, Blair motored toward the plate, stomping on it to complete Salem’s seventh walk-off win of the season.
In the twin-bill, Mookie Betts reached in both games to extend his consecutive games on base streak to 26. He went 1-for-1 with two walks in the opener, while he went 0-for-2 with a walk in his final plate appearance in the nightcap. Betts has reached base safely in every game he’s played since August 2.
Regardless of any other teams in the league, Salem can punch its own postseason ticket with a win on Thursday night. The Sox and Keys will reunite at 7:05, with Luis Diaz making his second Carolina League start against Frederick righty Brady Wager.
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