By Brian Hoffman
The Salem Red Sox are back home this week after completing their longest road trip of the season. The Sox finished an even 6-6 on the trip while the Salem Fair occupied the parking lot at the Taliaferro Complex.
The first half of the dozen game road swing went through Lynchburg and the Sox won four of those games. Then it was off to Salisbury, MD to take on the Delmarva Shorebirds and Salem got off to a good start, taking two of the first three games. However, they dropped the last three in a row, all by one run, to come out even on the trip. Salem lost 8-7 on Friday then, after getting rained out Saturday, they dropped both ends of a Sunday doubleheader, scoring just one total run in 2-1 and 1-0 losses.
The Sox wasted some good pitching Sunday. In the opener Juan Encarnacion struck out eight in four innings before leaving with the score tied at 1-1. Maceo Campbell came on in relief and struck out three in two innings but allowed a fifth inning run that proved to be the difference in the 2-1 loss.
In the nightcap Hunter Dobbins started and pitched five shutout innings for the Sox, striking out six and walking none. Gabriel Jackson pitched a scoreless sixth but didn’t record an out as the Birds scored a walk-off win in the bottom of the seventh for the 1-0 victory and doubleheader sweep.
Salem is back home this week to take on the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers, a Chicago White Sox farm team, for six games. The series started Tuesday and will run through Sunday, with weekday games at 7:05 pm, a Saturday start at 6:05 pm and a 5:05 pm getaway game Sunday.
Friday is “Marvel Super Hero Night: Villains Reign” and Saturday’s game is “Christmas in July” with a snow globe giveaway.
The Sox came into the week with a 7-8 record in the second half of the Carolina League’s split season. That put them six games behind Fredericksburg, who has gotten off to a fast second half start at 13-2.
After this week the Carolina League will take Monday through Thursday off next week during the Major League All-Star game festivities.