De La Cruz Hits First Carolina League HR for Salem
By Salem Red Sox | September 2, 2012 6:39 PM ET
Salem, VA (September 2, 2012) - Winston led 2-0 after half an inning and rolled to an easy 6-1 win on Sunday afternoon at LewisGale Field. Chris Bassitt retired the final 15 batters he faced over five innings to earn his fifth victory, while Cyle Hankerd led the Dash offense with three hits and two RBI. Keury De La Cruz launched his first Carolina League homer in the ninth inning for the Sox to break up the shutout.
The Dash improved their minor league best record to 87-50-1, scoring two in the first, one in the fourth, one in the sixth, and two more in the eighth, handing the loss to Yeiper Castillo. Winston outhit Salem 10-4, even with league MVP Dan Black getting a day off. Hankerd went 3-for-3 with two RBI, while Daniel Wagner went 3-for-5 with one RBI and a pair of runs scored for the Dash.
Bassitt allowed the first two batters of the game to reach with a hit and a walk before setting down the next 15 Red Sox in a row. Bassitt improved to 5-4, with Brian Blough and Kevin Vance each tossing two innings of relief to close the door for the Dash.
De La Cruz' homer was the main offensive highlight for Salem. Leading off the ninth, he crushed a high fly ball that just soared to the right of the right-field foul pole, nearly a homer but instead a very loud strike. A few pitches later, he launched an even more impressive bomb of over 400 feet to straight away center, clearing the batters' eye for a mammoth solo shot. While it was his first Carolina League home run, it was his 20th dinger of the season overall.
Michael Almanzar also singled on an 0-2 count to lead off the seventh, boosting his average to .300 on the year. The Red Sox pinch hit for Almanzar in the ninth, leaving him with a .300 clip, the second best average among active qualifiers in the league for the All-Star third-baseman.
The Salem Sox wrap up their 2012 regular season with a 1:05 matinee on Monday, with Keith Couch scheduled to face Justin Collop.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.