Playing Some Fundamentally Sound Baseball in Winston-Salem

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — John Parke continued his magic trick of allowing roughly one baserunner per inning but not giving up a lot of runs, keeping the Dash in it for as long as he was in the game. The Dash — sorry, Warthogs, it was Throwback Day — are fresh off a four-game series in Salem, where they took three and racked up 51 HITS in those wins. It was a different story through the first four frames back at home, though, as Jordan George’s second-inning single was the lone Dash hit until Yeyson Yrizarri’s one-out single in the bottom of the fifth. This ended up being what some might call, an exciting inning.

The game started off at a brisk clip, with Parke (historically a quick worker) pitching around a leadoff single and opposing pitcher Nelson Hernandez also working at a Buehrle-esque pace. The dream of a two-hour game was stymied by impending dark clouds — literal ones! — and a nearby lightning strike. Wind whipped up a few Warning Track Devils, plastic wrappers and something that looked like but hopefully was not money flew through the air, and lawn furniture tumbled around the outfield seating area. I got to experience what it’s like to watch other people put a tarp on a baseball field, something new and most welcome.

After a 26-minute lightning delay and with the rains never coming, the tarp was removed, and Parke almost immediately gave up a run on a deep sacrifice fly to center, with Dedelow’s throw hitting the runner as he crossed the plate. However, that was it for the scoring on Parke, who had a final line of 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (tying his season highs in both innings and strikeouts).

John Parke, throwing baseballs and taking no names

John Parke, throwing baseballs and taking no names

Finally, the fifth inning reared its beautiful, dong-filled head. With one out, Evan Skoug drew a walk, Yrizarri singled, and Tyler Frost hit a mysterious home run to right field. The ball essentially disappeared off his bat; Mudcats right fielder Tristen Lutz (and everyone else in the park) thought he had eyes on it, but as the seconds stretched on, it became apparent that he didn’t and that the ball had probably landed by now and n o b o d y knew where. It disappeared somewhere into the night, to whatever dark and unknowable terrain lies beyond the right field fence. It was announced at 387 feet, but who really knows for sure? Frost is now 10 for his last 20 and has been one of the Dash’s hottest hitters of late. He has three multi-hit games in his last four played.

Then it was Nick Madrigal’s at-bat, and he shot a baseball 367 feet onto the left field berm for his second home run of the year and second professional home run overall, a liner that found its home about 15 feet beyond the fence. Madrigal also in this game drew a walk, stole second, and had the jump to steal third had the ball not been put in play (Walker pop out). In the field, he made one very good play and one extremely good play. If you’ve given up on him after less than one full professional season, it’s ok to re-evaluate. Not counting this game, Madrigal has stolen 14 bases, has struck out a grand total of six times, and is hitting .333 over his last ten.

This was enough for the Dash to rediscover the spark that led them to crushing the Salem Red Sox so many times over the weekend. In the sixth, Remillard led off with a walk; Jordan George also walked, then two wild pitches advanced them both and scored Remillard. The seventh started with a deep Frost double; Madrigal bunted him over, Steele Walker did both of the things in his name, Jameson Fisher walked, and a bases-loaded wild pitch scored Frost (#WildPitchOffense). Remillard doubled to score both remaining runners, Craig Dedelow drew a walk, and Evan Skoug hit one literally as high and deep as you can in this ballpark without the ball actually exiting the field of play for a double that scored Remillard. You may notice Remillard’s name popping up a lot recently; this is largely because his OBP is now at .405.

Codi “97 mph” Heuer relieved Parke in the eighth, gave up a leadoff single, then struck out two swinging and one looking around a wild pitch. This is starting to be a quintessential Heuer experience. He wrapped the ninth up cleanly, finishing on a called strikeout, sealing the Dash’s 28th win of the season. The game also featured stellar defensive work by Parke on the mound, Madrigal at second, and Fisher at first.

The team returns for game two of the series on Thursday at 7 pm.

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