Salem Red Sox complete sweep of Lynchburg Hillcats

salem red soxNeither William Cuevas nor Heri Quevedo were ranked as top prospects coming into the season, but the duo of righties displayed their great potential on Sunday afternoon, teaming up for a one-hit shutout to lead the Salem Red Sox past the Lynchburg Hillcats 1-0 at City Stadium. Cuevas, a 22-year-old from Venezuela, permitted just one single and two walks in five scoreless innings, before Quevedo, a 22-year-old from the Dominican Republic, set down 12 of the 13 men he faced to slam the door shut and clinch Salem’s sweet series sweep.

The Sox could have easily produced multiple crooked numbers, but repeatedly missed opportunities that prevented them from gaining a comfortable lead. All together, the Sox stranded 10 baserunners, eight of which came in the first five innings. Salem mustered five hits in the game, but patiently received eight walks. Unfortunately, and somewhat improbably, none of the eight men who walked came around to score. Somehow, Salem still prevailed thanks to the great pitching.

The lone run of the afternoon came in the top of the fifth, with Deven Marrero prolonging the frame by smacking a two-out, two-strike double into right-center field. Garin Cecchini walked to put men at first and second, and Brandon Jacobs drilled an RBI single into left, scoring Marrero to put the Sox on the board. Up 1-0, Keury De La Cruz walked to load the bases, but David Renfroe’s deep fly to right-center was caught, and the Sox stranded three.

But even with the plethora of missed chances, the Hillcats never seriously threatened. No Lynchburg runner ever reached third base, and only once did the Hillcats put multiple runners on. The first two men reached against Cuevas in the fourth, with William Beckwith’s walk and Robbie Hefflinger’s well-hit single giving the Cats two on and nobody out. But Kyle Kubitza struck out, and on a 3-2 pitch, both runners took off when David Rohm flew out to shallow right-center, which became a 9-6 double play because Beckwith was off with the pitch and never returned to second.

Quevedo dazzled in his four innings on the hill, setting down the first 11 men he faced in dominant fashion. He struck out the side in the seventh and did not allow a baserunner until Beckwith drew a two-out walk in the ninth. But Hefflinger popped out in foul territory on the first pitch to end the ballgame, finishing Salem’s first shutout victory of the season.

Riding a season-best three-game winning streak, the Salem Sox return to LewisGale Field for a seven-day homestand beginning on Monday night. The Red Sox host the Kansas City Royals-affiliate from Wilmington, DE, and the opener is set for 7:05, with Mike McCarthy and Sam Selman the scheduled pitching matchup in game one.

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