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Wild Finish in Salem Yields Red Sox 6-5 Walk-Off Win

Salem LF Keury De La Cruz Crushes Triple and Scores on Error by SS Francisco Soriano in 10th
July 30, 2013

Salem, VA-The Potomac Nationals (64-41, 22-14) engaged in a wild standoff with the Salem Red Sox (52-56, 19-19) in the finale of a three-game series to wrap a seven-game road trip on Tuesday night inside Salem Memorial Ballpark at LewisGale Field. Salem LF Keury De La Cruz smacked a triple off the wall in right center field in the bottom of the 10th inning and scored to ink a 6-5 walk-off win on an error charged to SS Francisco Soriano. A relay throw from RF Caleb Ramsey brought De La Cruz to the plate as the winning run. Soriano was unable to pick the throw from Ramsey which was tossed around his knees allowing De La Cruz to burst to home plate.  

Salem became the fourth team this season to earn a walk-off victory against Potomac.

In four of the last eight half-innings, the bases were left loaded, twice by the Red Sox and twice by the Nationals.

In the game, LF Billy Burns extended his hitting streak to 23 games, the longest such streak in the Carolina League this season, and his on-base streak was stretched to 25 games. Burns finished 1-for-4 with an infield single plus a walk. Burns is two games away from tying De La Cruz's high mark of 27 contests in a row reaching base safely in '13.    

Potomac finished (5-2) on their road trip after taking three out of four from the Lynchburg Hillcats (Atlanta Braves) on the front leg, and winning this series with Salem.

Potomac RHP Paul Demny, in his second start with the Nationals in 2013, did not factor into the decision after throwing 2.0 innings in which he allowed two earned runs on three hits, while walking a trio and fanning a pair.

Salem RHP William Cuevas was perfect through 4.0 frames but ended up without a decision despite turning in a quality start after hurling a total of 6.0 stanzas. Cuevas surrendered two earned runs on four knocks while walking three, fanning seven, and serving up one home run.

The Red Sox struck with two runs in the 2nd inning via an RBI single off the bat of 1B Matt Gedman and a bases loaded walk earned by SS Nick Natoli to put Salem up 2-0.

Nationals RHP Greg Holt was terrific out of the bullpen going 3.0 scoreless innings and allowing just one base hit and one walk while striking out five.  

The Nationals returned fire with a pair of runs in the 5th to tie the contest at 2-2 as 3B Cutter Dykstra launched his third home run of the season, a two-run missile, just inside the left field foul pole.

The P-Nats plated three runs off RHP Nate Striz in the 7th to take a 5-2 advantage courtesy of a bases loaded RBI single nailed into center field by RF Caleb Ramsey, an RBI walk garnered by CF Michael Taylor, and a wild pitch unleashed by Striz to score Ramsey. Potomac left the bases loaded.

The Red Sox rallied for two runs in the home half of the 7th to make it a skinny 5-4 Potomac lead. De La Cruz ripped an RBI single up the right field chalk and De La Cruz scored on a stolen base of third and an error charged to Dykstra as he missed a catch on a ball tossed by RHP Colin Bates.

Bates went 2.0 innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits with no walks and one strikeout to his line.

The game was tied at 5-5 against RHP Rob Wort (BS 2) in the last of the 8th as RF Cody Koback punched a run scoring single into right field after 2B Mookie Betts led off with a double to the gap in left center and advanced to third base on a wild pitch. Wort walked the tightrope and escaped further damage after striking out Natoli and De La Cruz swinging to strand the bases loaded.

In the bottom of the 9th Salem mounted a huge threat as 3B Stefan Welch lifted a double off the wall in right field wall off Wort and got to third base on a wild pitch. Potomac Manager, Brian Daubach was forced to intentionally walk both C Blake Swihart and Betts to loaded the sacks and put a force out at every base including home plate. The Nationals brought Ramsey onto the right side of the infield to make up a five-man infield set and a two-man outfield alignment with Burns and Taylor stationed in the gaps. Wort got Gedman to fly out to shallow right field and Koback to line out hard to 1B Kevin Keyes which retuned Ramsey to right field. DH Carson Blair to knock into a 1-6-3 inning ending groundout to shock the Sox by allowing the Nationals to get out of the ultimate bases loaded, no one out jam, and once again strand the bases loaded.

In the top of the 10th, C Adrian Nieto sent a low line drive skip shot into right field for a single and was balked into scoring position by RHP Matt Price (5-0), the eventual winning pitcher. Soriano came into pinch run. Dykstra then drew a walk, and Keyes laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position. 2B Mike Gilmartin was intentionally walked by Salem skipper, Billy McMillon to make the bases loaded. DH Randolph Oduber then flew out harmlessly to right field to end the threat and leave the sacks jacked.

Price tossed 2.0 scoreless stanzas and allowed just one hit while walking two and fanning one.

In the fateful bottom of the 10th, Soriano went in to play shortstop because he pinch ran for Nieto. Against the losing pitcher, RHP Brian Dupra (0-4), CF Henry Ramos popped up to Dykstra at third base and Natoli skied out to right field. Then, De La Cruz stroked a high arching triple off the wall in right center field and Ramsey played the carom. Ramsey then gunned the relay throw low to Soriano, the cutoff man, and when Soriano had trouble corralling the baseball, the little hesitation allowed De La Cruz, who had stopped at third base, to take off for home plate. Soriano's throw was tardy to the dish, and a sliding De La Cruz became the winning run and was mobbed behind the batter's circle.

The Nationals will enjoy an off-day on Wednesday for the Second Annual Potomac Nationals Charity Golf Tournament at Old Hickory Golf Club in Woodbridge, VA before beginning a makeshift four-game series in three days at Pfitzner Stadium against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Texas Rangers).

Game One on Thursday to start with a 6:00pm first pitch will be the completion of a suspended game from 6/27. The Nationals are trailing 1-0 with Potomac batting in the bottom of the 3rd inning with two runners aboard and no outs. Soriano is at second base and Burns is at first base after a leadoff walk and a bunt single, respectively.

The backend ball game on Thursday night will be a seven inning game.

Pitching matchups for the makeshift Games One and Two of the series feature Potomac LHP Sammy Solis (1-0, 3.10) against Myrtle Beach LHP Victor Payano (5-6, 6.31) then Nationals RHP Blake Schwartz (8-4, 2.88) versus a to be determined Pelicans starter.

It will be Hawaiian Night and Thursday Cheers presented by: Yellow Cab and Bungalow Ale House for the first two contests against Myrtle Beach at The Pfitz.  

The Potomac Nationals Baseball Network will begin streaming Thursday evening with the P-Nats Lead-Off Show at 5:45pm in preparation for the live play-by-play broadcast beginning at 6:00pm. Broadcast coverage of Potomac Nationals Baseball is accessible by heading to www.potomacnationals.com.        

The Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League play at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia, and are the Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Washington Nationals. P-Nats 2013 season tickets and mini plans are on sale now. Sponsorship opportunities for the '13 season are now available. Plan your corporate outing now to see the future stars of the Washington Nationals at The Pfitz as the P-Nats offer discounted group rates and all-inclusive picnic options. Visit the P-Nats online at www.potomacnationals.com or call the ticket office at 703-590-2311 for more!

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