By Brian Hoffman
The Salem Red Sox are home this week for the second half of a 12 game homestand. The Sox will host Fredricksburg for six games before heading on the road for a dozen while the Salem Fair fills up the parking lot.
The Sox have had a rollercoaster ride of a season of late. They swept a six game series with Columbia in Salem the first week of June, then got swept in all six games in Charleston a week later. Last week they were back home to face Delmarva, a Baltimore Orioles farm team, and the Sox won five of the six games to climb back into the thick of the Carolina League North Division race.
Through Monday Carolina led the North Division with a 34-29 record and Salem and Lynchburg were tied for second, just one game back at 33-30. This week’s opponent, Fredricksburg, was just two games out at 32-31 and Down East wasn’t far behind with a 30-33 record, four games behind first place Carolina.
Salem wrapped up last week’s homestand with an exciting win over Delmarva on Father’s Day, coming out on top in a 12-11 slugfest. Nathan Hickey singled home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth for the walk-off win, Salem’s 13th in their past 14 home games.
If you like hitting Sunday’s game was for you. The two teams combined for 29 hits, 16 by the Shorebirds and 13 for Salem. Hickey, Eddinson Paulino and Blaze Jordan had three hits each for the Sox. Paulino also walked and scored twice from his leadoff position, Hickey had a pair of two-run doubles and five runs batted in and Jordan blasted two homers for four runs batted in.
Salem held a 10-7 lead after eight innings and Luis Guerrero was called on to pitch the ninth. He gave up four runs for a blown save but ended up as the winning pitcher when Salem scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to win the game.
This week’s six game homestand with Fredricksburg will be a big one, as both teams are battling for the division lead. Weekday games are at 7:05 pm with a 6:05 pm start on Saturday and a 5:05 pm start Sunday. Saturday will be “Marvel’s Defenders of the Diamond” night.
After Sunday the Sox will hit the road for 12 straight games, with the first six in Lynchburg followed by six in Charleston, who is battling for the lead in the South Division. Charleston was 43-20 and just a game behind Myrtle Beach in the South coming into this week.