September 5, 2013, Myrtle Beach, SC – For the second straight night, the Salem Sox would not be denied! With eight straight wins and a two-game sweep of Myrtle Beach in the books, the Southern Division Champs now set their sights on the Potomac Nationals in the Mills Cup Championship Series.
The Sox advance with a pair of one-run triumphs in 10-innings, prevailing 1-0 on Wednesday and 4-3 on Thursday.
Down 3-0 after two innings, the Sox rallied back to send it to extras and scored the winning run on Matt Gedman’s sacrifice fly that scored Mookie Betts in the tenth. Matt Price, who valiantly escaped a bases loaded predicament in the ninth, steamrolled through the Pelicans trio in the last of the tenth, sending the Sox into the finals on the back of another great pitching performance.
In 20 innings in the series, the Sox held the Pelicans scoreless 19 times. Myrtle Beach scratched three runs across with the help of a Salem error in the bottom of the second on Thursday night, but the Red Sox relievers would tighten up down the stretch. Robby Scott, Matty Ott, and Matt Price all threw two scoreless innings apiece, dealing Salem toward the victory.
The Sox offense was held silent through four innings against Pelicans righthander Chi-Chi Gonzalez, but Salem finally broke through in the fifth. Gedman began the rally with a single, moving to second on David Chester’s walk. Then Nick Natoli smacked a hard grounder to deep short, which bounced off Hanser Alberto’s glove into shallow left field, scoring Gedman. Two batters later, after a wild pitch moved Chester and Natoli over to second and third, Henry Ramos ripped a hard single off the first baseman’s mitt to tie the game at three and chase Gonzalez from the game.
The game remained deadlocked into the tenth, only because Price worked out of an impossible jam in the ninth by striking out Drew Robinson and Trever Adams with the bases loaded. Betts led off the tenth by crushing Nick McBride’s first pitch into the left-center field gap for a double. He moved to third on a wild pitch and trotted home on Gedman’s deep sac fly to center. Price avoided drama in the bottom of the tenth, striking out two more in a perfect frame to complete the sweep.
Salem starter Brian Johnson went four innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits. He worked around two baserunners in both the third and fourth innings, escaping unscathed to keep the Sox within three.
The Salem Sox will now journey to northern Virginia for the first two games of the best-of-five Mills Cup Championship Series against the Potomac Nationals. The opening two contests will be at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge on Saturday and Sunday, while game three and, if necessary, games four and five would be at LewisGale Field in Salem on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.