Players Gonna Play: He, he walks it off, he walks it off

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Soft-throwing southpaw John Parke tossed a quality start, and it was enough to keep the Dash in the game until the seventh inning, when they showed the necessary signs of life. Those were enough to keep them in it until the 10th, when the world’s likeliest walk-off hero did his thing; the Dash took three out of four from the Fayetteville Woodpeckers.

Lackluster Dash hitting seemed like it was going to be the story of the day. Craig Dedelow gathered the team’s first hit to lead off the second inning, a bunt against the shift to third base, and barely had time to catch his breath before Jordan George grounded into a double play on the next pitch. Tyler Frost reached on an error with one out in the third and barely had time to catch his breath before getting picked off (by a right-handed pitcher, on the second attempt, before ever throwing a pitch to the next batter).

The Dash’s second hit didn’t come until the fifth inning, a loud Evan Skoug home run to the Dash’s short right field fence. Skoug has struggled mightily at the plate in his career since hitting .529 in rookie ball in 2017 (I will decline to say how many games that spans). He played 18 games for Kannapolis to start this season and did homer there, but has been struggling overall, hitting .159/.289/.293 on the year. Today was an encouraging sign for him, as he made hard contact on both his hits, the second an RBI single in the seventh.

That seventh was where the Dash started to make things interesting. Jojanse Torres came out for his second inning for the Woodpeckers; Torres came into the game having given up just one run — a solo shot — in his sixteen innings this season. He throws 98, which sounds good until it’s either wild or down the center of the plate. A Dedelow walk started it off and Tate Blackman singled him over to second after George flew out. Skoug’s sharp single scored him (3-2 Woodpeckers). Colton Shaver, Woodpeckers third baseman, made the interesting choice to try to get a non-force-out at home (I guess that’s why they call it a fielder’s choice). This did not go well, and Blackman scored easily without a tag to tie the game at three. Frost and Jameson Fisher struck out swinging for the inning’s second and third outs, sandwiching Madrigal, who reached on a fielding error.

Will Kincanon came on in relief in the seventh shone through his three full innings. He pitched around three hits, walking none and striking out two — impressive for a pitcher who, like almost everyone else on this staff, has something of a walk problem. His season ERA drops to 2.21. Zach Lewis, who has appeared in 10 games this season and started half of those, came on and shut down the Woodpeckers in the 10th. He’s only had three scoreless outings, including this one, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. 

The Dash didn’t threaten again until the 10th, when they threatened by default thanks to the runner on second rule. A Tyler Frost bunt got auto-runner Yeyson Yrizarri over to third. Nick Madrigal drew the classic no-pitch intentional walk for his third walk of the game, joining his three stolen bases. Fisher patiently worked an even more classic unintentional walk. This set the stage for Zach Remillard. Wednesday’s game went 10 innings and ended with a Remillard walk-off ground ball single. The people love an encore, and Remillard obliged, chopping one over the pitcher for the second straight 4-3 win. The shortstop is hitting .314/.394/.415 and has reached base in 23 straight.

The Dash embark on a brief weekend road trip and return to Winston next Wednesday.

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