The one thing that's stood out this year about Heri Quevedo to Salem pitching coach Kevin Walker has been his composure. On Saturday, that trait served him well.
Tasked with starting the opener of the Mills Cup Finals, Quevedo allowed five hits over seven scoreless innings as the Red Sox posted a 5-3 victory at Potomac.
It was an impressive performance against a team that had just swept Lynchburg and owned the league's best overall record during the regular season.
"I think across the board everyone's going to have a little bit of nervousness, some jitters, having their first playoff appearance," Walker said. "But one thing is, [Quevedo] is calm, under control, and he's been that way all year. As soon as he stepped on the mound, he was keeping his emotions in check and looking confident.
"In the second inning, he had a couple guys on and got a big double play. And after that, he just really locked in."
Quevedo issued just one walk and recorded four strikeouts after going 6-5 with a 4.18 ERA in 23 regular-season appearances, including 11 starts.
Walker said the victory in Potomac was crucial. With the last three games of the best-of-5 Carolina League Championship Series scheduled for Salem, the Red Sox were able to establish a significant advantage.
"That's huge. Playing two games on the road, the win alone guarantees us two games at home," Walker said. "For the last month or so, this team has been really relentless, resilient. They believe every day they can win a ballgame, and right now everyone's going up, doing their part and trying to help the team move one step closer to the final goal."
Red Sox No. 14 prospect Keury De La Cruz supplied the punch with a two-run homer in the seventh. Sean Coyle, Henry Ramos and Matty Johnson drove in Salem's other runs.
Blanked for eight innings, Potomac scored three times in the ninth as Francisco Soriano and Cutter Dykstra delivered RBI singles. But Matty Ott struck out Nationals No. 4 prospect Michael Taylor with two runners in scoring position to record his first postseason save.
Mike Augliera will start Game 2 for Salem on Sunday after going 9-6 with a 4.23 ERA during the regular season.
"He's a guy that's really been kind of our rock in the starting rotation," Walker said. "Leading with innings, most starts, he's a guy that's taken the ball every five days, a guy with a lot of experience. I know going into the game Mike's going to be ready to go."