The Salem High baseball team will play for the River Ridge District championship tonight at 6 pm at Christiansburg High School. Only the top two teams in the district are involved and the Blue Demons are first in the RRD while Salem is second.
Christiansburg will come in with a decided advantage on the mound. Tonight’s game is the only one this week for the Demons while Salem u
sed their ace, Trent Judd, to beat Cave Spring on Monday and the Spartans were scheduled to play a makeup game with Pulaski County on Wednesday following last Friday’s rainout.
“I’m not sure who I’m going to pitch,” said Salem coach Wes McMillan. “I’m not going to come back with Trent, we’ll need him for the region game next week.”
The Spartans are scheduled to open the region next Wednesday, May 25, at a site to be determined. Despite a 13-5 record after beating Cave Spring on Monday the Spartans aren’t guaranteed a home game among the eight teams in the Region 4D playoffs. At press time Salem, Jefferson Forest and Orange County were fighting for spots three through five, with the top four opening at home. Eight of the 11 teams in the region qualify for the tournament and many of them have very good records, topped by number one seed Western Albemarle.
“We’re in a really tough region,” said McMillan.
The Spartans swept the season series from a solid Cave Spring team on Monday at Billy Sample Field with a walk-off 6-5 win. Salem led 5-1 after four innings but the Knights put two on the board in the sixth inning with a two-run homer off Judd. Eli Bowery relieved and gave up a two-run homer in the top of the seventh as the Knights tied the game at 5-5.
Bowery walked to start the winning rally in the bottom of the seventh. Boone Fleenor ran for Eli and moved all the way to third on a bad throw to second on Caleb Furmage’s bunt and Caleb moved to second on the play. That brought up Hunter King, and he ripped one to left-center that one-hopped the wall as Fleenor cruised home with the winning run.
Bowery picked up the win in relief of Judd. King and Hunter Bayne had two hits each and King had two runs batted in for the Spartans. Both King and Bayne had two doubles apiece.