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Saturday, July 13, 2013
FALSE ADVERTISING: Friday supposedly was "Awful Night" at Salem Memorial Ballpark. The first 500 fans through the gates got lousy paperweights. "Gangnam Style" blared between innings. They turned off the lights for a postgame fireworks show ... and showed a lame scoreboard video of pyrotechnics.
But despite their best promotional effort, Salem couldn't make everything awful.
Logging perhaps their most impressive defensive performance of the year, the Sox came back from a three-run deficit and defeated Potomac 4-3 in front of a crowd of 2,008.
PERSISTANCE PAYS: Three batters into the game, Potomac led 3-0. The Nationals got two singles before Michael Taylor cleared the bags with home run off starter Kyle Kraus.
The message Kraus heard from his teammates? Hold 'em right there.
"You've got to settle down and get back into it," Kraus said. "I'm a sinkerballer, and you've got to keep the ball down. That inning I got behind and fell into fastball counts, and they hit 'em."
Kraus struck out the next two batters on his way to six scoreless innings after the initial damage.
BACK ON TOP: Salem didn't wait long to mount its comeback. Matt Gedman tied the game with a three-run homer in the second, and Stefan Welch gave the Sox the lead the following inning with a solo blast.
"We've been pretty good here - in the second half especially - being down in games and just playing the full nine," said Gedman, who notched 3 RBIs for the second straight game. "They always tell us your at-bats are still at-bats, the game's still a game, so even if you're down 8-0, just play and see what can happen."
LEATHERWORKS: Salem's defense dazzled. Welch made two diving stops at third. Shortstop Deven Marrero made several sparkling plays in the hole, including a tough double play that Mookie Betts turned nicely at second. Right fielder Matty Johnson pegged a runner at third.
Gedman, the first baseman, not only made a tough grab while diving on to the tarp, but he also picked several low throws.
"The majority of the time they hit me in the chest," Gedman said, "so it only seems right when they do throw one in the dirt to catch it for 'em."
LOOSE ENDS: Virginia Tech alum Matt Price notched his fifth save. ... Welch had his fourth multihit performance in five games. ... Salem turned three double plays.
ON DECK: Salem RHP William Cuevas (4-6, 5.56) opposes Potomac LHP Matt Purke at 6:05 tonight.
Weather JournalNext system: Possible ice/snow Sat.