Salem sneaks past Potomac 6-5 in 10 innings
After a night of missed chances, the Salem Sox finally capitalized to produce a 6-5 walk-off victory in the bottom of the tenth against Potomac. Keury De La Cruz pounded a deep fly to the wall in right-center, which ricocheted past two outfielders allowing him to race for an easy triple. When Caleb Ramsey’s relay throw kicked off the cut-off man’s glove in shallow center, De La Cruz broke home and scored ahead of the throw to ignite the triumphant celebration. The win helped the Sox snap a four-game losing streak and bookended the homestand with victories.
De La Cruz’ dramatic delivery helped to overshadow the three previous times that Salem stranded the bases loaded on Tuesday night. The Sox left 13 on base in the first nine innings, but generated enough offense to force bonus baseball. Although the Sox were just 2-8 in extra inning games in 2013 heading into the tenth, Salem enjoyed its sixth walk-off celebration of the season.
William Cuevas authored another quality start for the Sox, dealing six superb innings with seven strikeouts. He permitted just two runs (both in the fifth) on four hits, and he started the game by firing four perfect innings. Conversely, Nationals starter Paul Demny did not make it to the third inning, but the Potomac pen brought another strong performance to keep it close.
The Sox led 2-0 after two, but the Nats tied it up in the fifth. In the top of the seventh, Potomac scored three times against Nate Striz, only to watch the Red Sox plate a pair in retaliation in the bottom half of the inning.
Down 5-4 in the eighth, Mookie Betts led off with a double and scored two batters later when Cody Koback’s RBI knock tied it up at five. A hit batter and a walk loaded the bases, but the Red Sox left them packed. It was a similar story in the ninth, with Stefan Welch narrowly missing out on a walk-off homer, sending a deep fly high off the wall for leadoff double. A wild pitch moved him to third, and back-to-back intentional walks loaded them up. But Potomac utilized a five-infielder, two-outfielder alignment to escape the threat, with a pop-up, infield lineout, and 6-3 grounder helping the Nationals send it to extras.
Potomac had its chance in the top of the frame, putting men on second and third with one out after Kevin Keyes’ sac bunt. But Matt Price escaped unscathed, setting the table for Salem’s final strike. Price earned the win to improve to 5-0 on the year, while Nationals reliever Brian Dupra fell to 0-4.
Following a day off on Wednesday, the Sox will begin a new month on Thursday night in Lynchburg. Salem returns to LewisGale Field on Monday, August 5 to open a six-game homestand against Wilmington and Winston-Salem.