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Sunday, April 14, 2013
Wild win: With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Salem Red Sox erupted for three runs to stun Myrtle Beach 7-6 on Sunday in front of 1,655 at Salem Memorial Ballpark.
Ninth inning crescendo: The decisive rally started inauspiciously. With Salem trailing 6-4, Nick Natoli drew a one-out walk before Felix Sanchez reached on a fielder’s choice for the second out.
Sean Coyle laced an RBI double down the right field line to make it 6-5, and Deven Marrero walked to put runners on first and second.
Up stepped Keury De La Cruz, a highly regarded prospect who had been held hitless in four previous trips.
“I trusted in God and was staying aggressive through the whole at-bat, from the first pitch to the last pitch,” De La Cruz said through Marrero’s translation. “I just wanted to win the ballgame.”
Follow that ball!: On a 2-2 pitch, De La Cruz fisted a soft liner toward right, which Pelicans rightfielder Preston Beck got a good jump on. Beck dove headfirst toward the infield and put a glove on it, but the ball skipped several feet away from him.
As Coyle scored the tying run and Marrero dashed toward third, De La Cruz decided to try for second. Beck’s throw was online but glanced off a sliding De La Cruz and bounded away.
Marrero alertly sprinted home for the game winner.
Catch me if you can: The Sox celebration was a bit delayed. Once the players realized they’d won the game, they rushed after De La Cruz, who ran towards center field to make them chase him.
“I just wanted to have fun with it,” De La Cruz said. “These guys like to goof around after the game, and after a win like that, I wanted to make it as fun as possible.”
Rallies galore: The Sox (4-5) had just three hits through six innings and trailed 4-0 entering the seventh. But the bottom of the order engineered a four-run uprising — keyed by RBI hits from Blake Swihart, Natoli and Coyle — that tied the game.
“That’s what we do; that’s the Red Sox philosophy,” Marrero said. “Just grind out at-bats and play hard all nine innings.
“And as the game got closer and closer, we kept having better and better at-bats.”
Myrtle Beach (4-5) scored twice in the top of the ninth with the help of two walks and two Salem errors, forcing the Sox to go in comeback mode again.
Flashing the leather: Although the game ended on an error, both teams made some stellar defensive plays. Sox centerfielder Henry Owens made a diving catch with his back to the infield to end the top of the ninth and prevent at least one more run from scoring.
In the top of the eighth, Ramos appeared to rip an RBI single before Pelicans shortstop Edwin Garcia leaped high to snag it. Garcia then fired across to double off David Renfroe at first to end the inning.
Loose ends: Last season, the Sox didn’t get their first walk-off victory until August … Salem got its second consecutive series win after getting swept at Frederick to open the season…Every spot in the Salem batting order delivered at least one hit, with Coyle and Renfroe each getting two.
On deck: Salem welcomes Potomac for the first of three games at 7:05 tonight , with Sox RHP William Cuevas (0-1, 27.00) opposing Nationals RHP Taylor Hill (1-0, 3.00).
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