SALEM, VA (WOOD DUCKS MEDIA RELATIONS) — The ninth inning in Salem on Saturday supplied as much excitement as the previous two nights did in the Wood Ducks 4-3 win over the Red Sox. Aided by four doubles plays turned, the Woodies shined in their best defensive performance to date in the young season.
To seal the victory, the defense had to go outside of the box for its fourth double play of the evening. Josh Tobias stood on second base in a 4-3 game with one out. Josh Ockimey hit a ground ball to the right side of the infield and second baseman Luis Mendez made a diving stop to his left to keep the ball from getting to the outfield.
He bobbled the ball on the way back to his feet and Red Sox manager Joe Oliver sent Tobias around third to try and score. Mendez recovered and fired to Chuck Moorman at home who made a diving tag onto Tobias for the out at home. Watching the action while rounding first base, Ockimey decided to try and stretch to second base after the diving tag from Moorman.
Chuck regained his footing and fired a perfect throw to second with Arturo Lara covering to tag out Ockimey and clinch the victory for the Wood Ducks. All four double plays featured a different combination to turn two.
Offensively, the Woodies scored in the first inning for the second consecutive night. Eduard Pinto stayed hot, driving in Ledarious Clark with a single up the middle. Pinto would score on a Mendez grounder to set the score at 2-0 after one.
Wood Ducks starter Jeffrey Springs worked out of a jam in the first aided by a Mendez double play at second in which he caught a line drive and stepped on second to catch the runner Bryan Hudson too far off the bag.
In the fourth, the Woodies took advantage of two walks before Lara knocked an RBI single to left to extend the lead to 3-0. During the next inning, Luis La O and Pinto hit back-to-back doubles to stretch it further to 4-0 and chase Red Sox starter Daniel McGrath. Little did the Wood Ducks know, it would be their last run of the night, as they would not manage a run against the Salem bullpen.
The Red Sox scored two without a ball leaving the infield. An infield single, two walks, a fielder’s choice, a controversial error, and a groundout made the score 4-2 Woodies. The controversy came with the bases loaded and a comebacker to pitcher Peter Fairbanks. He gloved the one-hopper and shoveled the ball to Moorman covering home but umpire Trevor Hanahan deemed Moorman’s foot was off the plate to allow the run to score.
In the eighth, the bases were loaded again against Richelson Pena. He allowed a fielder’s choice to Denier Lopez to bring in the only run of the inning and make it a one-run game in the ninth.
A leadoff walk allowed Tobias to reach in the ninth, then he advanced to second on a groundout by Mike Meyers. Pena induced a ground ball by Ockimey to Mendez, who made the play to save the game and end it.
The Woodies (2-1) close the series in Salem (1-2) tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. Left-hander Wes Benjamin will start for DEWD while righty Roniel Raudes rolls for the Red Sox. You can listen to every pitch of the 2017 season on Sports Talk 960 The Bull.