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Monday, August 5, 2013
HELLO, HOMERS: Going seven games without a home run doesn't qualify as a drought for most players. But with 6-foot-5, 270-pound David Chester, it can seem like one.
Chester halted his mini-slump in a big way Monday, smashing two solo home runs to lead the Salem Red Sox to a 5-2 victory over Wilmington in front of 2,050 at Salem Memorial Ballpark.
"It felt good," said Chester, who was a South Atlantic League All-Star at Greenville before joining Salem on July 24. I'd been struggling a little bit lately. I didn't have very many extra-base hits the past couple weeks, even in Greenville. I'd been hitting balls hard but not getting extension."
PURE POWER: Chester was drafted in the 33rd round in 2011 out of the University of Pittsburgh, where he led the Big East with 16 homers as a senior. He paced the Gulf Coast League with nine bombs that summer in his pro debut, then hit 10 more over 50 games at two levels last year.
"I try to be a complete hitter," said Chester, 24. "I'm not just trying to hit home runs. I'm trying to work counts, put good swings on balls. I'm a bigger guy, so I don't want to try to force something. I know if I can get connected with one, I've got a good chance at it. I was able to do it tonight."
Chester socked a 2-1 change-up over the wall in left in the third inning, then launched a 2-0 fastball out to right-center in the fifth. Those were his first two homers with Salem this year and 14th and 15th overall.
LOVING THE SUPPORT: Mickey Pena tossed his fifth straight quality start but improved to just 2-2 during that span - a fact that speaks to his previous lack of run support. The lefty went seven innings, allowing one run on seven hits while fanning four.
ACCOLADE CITY: For the fifth straight week, a Salem player won a Carolina League weekly award Monday. Mike Augliera garnered Pitcher of the Week honors for the second straight week and third time in the past month. Stefan Welch and Henry Owens also got nods in July.
LOOSE ENDS: Welch homered in the fourth for Salem ... Henry Ramos went 2 for 4 with a two-run triple ... Blake Swihart added two hits ... Pena picked off two runners.
ON DECK: Salem RHP William Cuevas (6-6, 5.68) takes on Wilmington RHP Leonel Santiago (2-1, 5.27) at 7:05 tonight.
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