WALK-OFF WINNERS: Kole Cottam cracked a walk-off double to right field in the bottom of ninth inning as the Salem Red Sox erased a 2-1 deficit and defeated the Myrtle Beach Pelicans 3-2 Sunday afternoon at Haley Toyota Field. The Sox completed a three-game sweep of the Pelicans and improved to 35-27, remaining in first place in the Carolina League Northern Division’s second half standings.
LATE-INNING DRAMA: With the game tied 1-1 in the top of the ninth inning, Grant Fennell smacked a go-ahead RBI double down the right field line to give the Pelicans a 2-1 lead. Myrtle Beach was unable to push anything else across, however, and held a one-run lead entering the bottom of the inning.
The Red Sox answered quickly as Ryan Fitzgerald ripped a one-out double and then scored when Devlin Granberg smacked a double to right-center in the next at-bat, tying the score at 2. After Keith Curcio was intentionally walked, Cottam drove Pelicans reliever Ethan Roberts’ pitch to the wall in right, scoring Granberg to give the Sox a walk-off win.
POLITI’S GEM: Salem’s Andrew Politi was dominant through five no-hit innings on Sunday as he struck out five and allowed just one baserunner, a walk, on 57 pitches. Politi faced the minimum number of batters possible as his walk in the first was immediately erased with a double play. It was his fourth start of the season in 32 appearances . He was tagged with a no-decision after the Pelicans got a run off Dylan Thompson in the sixth, his first inning of relief.
THE PLAYOFF PICTURE: The Sox are one game clear of the second-place Wilmington Blue Rocks. Because Wilmington won the first half division title and clinched a playoff spot, the second-place finisher will get the postseason spot if the Blue Rocks finish in first once again. So Salem’s scoreboard watching is focused on the third-place Potomac Nationals, who beat the Winston-Salem Dash, 4-0 and remain 2 ½ games behind the Sox.
ON DECK: The Red Sox will head to Winston-Salem for their final road series of the regular season. The four-game set begins on Monday at 7 p.m. LHP Jhonathan Diaz will start for Salem against a Dash pitcher to be named.