SALEM, VA (Monday, September 3) - In a microcosm of their 2018 campaign, walks and wildness cost the Salem Red Sox Monday afternoon, as they issued seven bases on balls in a season-closing 3-2 loss to the Lynchburg Hillcats at Haley Toyota Field.
The Red Sox (31-39, 63-75) squandered a late lead, and saw their pitching betray them to end a season in which they set new Red Sox-era records for runs allowed (669), earned runs (585), walks (554) and wild pitches (145, also a franchise record). The Hillcats (42-28, 71-66) finished the regular season by winning their last two games as they prepare to take on the Potomac Nationals in the first round of the Mills Cup playoffs. With a 1-4 day, C.J. Chatham closed the season with a stellar .315 batting average; the mark is second in the Carolina League and set a new Sox-era record as it surpassed Oscar Tejeda's .307 performance in 2010.
Lynchburg opened the scoring in the top of the first, as Salem starter Kutter Crawford (ND) plunked leadoff man Dillon Persinger before walking both Mitch Longo and Nolan Jones to load the bases with nobody out. Trenton Brooks lofted a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Persinger and advancing Longo to third. Crawford walked Gavin Collins, loading the bases back up, but recovered to strike out Anthony Miller and Jose Medina, closing the inning with Salem trailing 1-0.
Salem surged ahead in the bottom of the fourth against Lynchburg starting pitcher Kirk McCarty (ND), who allowed back-to-back singles to Carlos Tovar and Chatham to put runners at first and second. A wild pitch moved the runners up to second and third, and Jerry Downs knocked them home with a single, putting Salem ahead 2-1.
The Hillcats reclaimed the lead in the top of the eighth after reliever Jared Robinson (W, 5-3) held off the Sox in the bottom of the seventh . Reliever Kevin McAvoy (BS, 1; L, 1-6) walked Longo to start the frame. Jones bounced out to first, advancing Longo to second, and McAvoy plunked Brooks and Collins, loading the bases. Miller unloaded on a fastball, doubling off the wall in right and scoring Longo and Brooks for the 3-2 lead. Josh Tobias led off the ninth with a single, but Dalbert Siri (S, 15) induced a double play from Michael Osinski, and Jake Romanski fanned to end the game.
Crawford allowed one run on one hit and a career-high five walks in 4.1 innings, whiffing five. Joan Martinez allowed two hits in 2.2 scoreless innings. McAvoy took the loss, allowing two runs on a hit and two walks while recording two outs. Yankory Pimentel recorded an out against the only batter he faced. Durbin Feltman pitched a perfect ninth inning with one strikeout for Salem.
On Thursday, the Red Sox will welcome their fans to Haley Toyota Field to help Kick the Keg. Thirsty fans will enjoy great specials on craft and bottled beers, starting at 5:00 p.m. and rolling until 9:00 p.m. Admission is free to all, and ID will be checked for all attending. For more information, call the Red Sox box office at 540-389-3333.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.