The Dash aren't rained out (for once); Play two, win two

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Dash experienced a hopefully unprecedented six straight rain-related cancellations or postponements over the weekend (doubleheaders kept being scheduled, only to be rained out). So it was good to see the team back on a baseball diamond and not sinking into the bog, never to be seen again.

It was a brutal stretch of warming up, waiting a little bit, going back to the dugout, giving up, coming back the next day, warming up, waiting a little bit, etc. etc. etc., and Dash bats were ready to go for Tuesday’s doubleheader.

And go they did! Zach Remillard has been the steadiest hitter on the Dash all season. It seems like every time he’s up with runners on, he comes through with the big hit… although, to be fair, it seems like every time he’s up at all, he comes through with a hit. Remillard’s slash line is .310/.386/.424/.809; most of that batting average comes from singles, but it’s hard to argue with an OBP hovering closer to .400 than .350. 

Jameson Fisher's hair, which deserves a higher quality picture than this

Jameson Fisher’s hair, which deserves a higher quality picture than this (Julie Brady/FutureSox)

Jameson Fisher has also been solid, both of them repeating the level (and both of them just named All-Stars!) — Fisher’s line is .275/.387/.444/.832. Invaluable is Fisher’s defense at first base, as anyone who follows me on Twitter is aware. Fisher played first in college, then was converted to the outfield as a pro; in his three seasons of White Sox minor league baseball preceding 2019, he had spent exactly two innings at first.

Now, though, he’s the Dash’s full-time first baseman, and hasn’t played elsewhere all year. Playing first in the minor leagues is no easy job; you have to deal with an infield full of talented but raw arms, and there are two million ways it can go wrong — errant throws commonly careen into the stands or the dugout, picks in the dirt are often dropped or otherwise muffed, sometimes the play just doesn’t happen.

With Fisher at first, this is much less of a problem. Fisher is perhaps the most flexible human being upon this inflexible earth, and he routinely does the full splits to corral throws from his infielders. It’s truly impressive, and I hope that someone is compiling all of them for what I’m sure will be a 20-minute-long highlight video at the end of the year. That someone is not me.

Steele Walker, last year’s second-round draft pick, has been struggling with the bat with Winston, but his eye is as good as ever and he’s drawn 25 walks to offset his 37 strikeouts. Mitch Roman started the year in Birmingham, but, like literally every prospect other than Luis Robert, didn’t perform well for the first two months of the season.

Now that Nick Madrigal is up there, Roman has been crowded out, but it’s not deterring him and his batting average was above .600 going into doubleheader game two (shut up, sample size doesn’t exist). Carlos Perez behind the plate has been having a quietly solid season, batting .271/.340/.357/.697 with three errors and five passed balls (in the low minors, this isn’t terrible!). He’s also thrown out 21 of 51 trying to steal. JJ Muno made the best of limited playing time behind Madrigal, and now he and his .296/.398/.519/.916 line have been freed from their shackles; he’s over halfway to playing every position this season, including pitching.

Alright, you’re up to date on the day’s big heroes. So many times this season, the Dash have been one- or two-hit fairly deep into the game, only to break out in the last few innings, but it was essentially the opposite today. In the second inning, Remillard hit his 13th double of the year with one out. Craig Dedelow, no slouch himself, flew out, then Perez unloaded his second home run of the season to left center field, putting the Dash up 2-0. This lead was built upon in the third; Muno drew a one-out walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and made it to third on a Roman single. In a wild turn of events, he was then caught stealing home in a double steal, with Roman safely pulling into second. Walker singled him in. Fisher followed this up with his 18th double of the year, then Remillard reached on an error that scored both Walker and Fisher. Dedelow took a HBP to keep it going, but the scoring in the third was capped at three, making it 5-0 Dash.

Steele Walker had a big day in both halves of today's doubleheader

Steele Walker had a big day in both halves of today’s doubleheader

The pattern continued in the fourth. Jordan George drew a leadoff walk and, repeating recent history, advanced to second on a wild pitch. Yeyson Yrizarri struck out, then Muno knocked in George with a single. Roman walked, Walker doubled, and Fisher struck out. With two outs, and also repeating recent history, Remillard reached on an error that scored both Roman and Walker. 9-0 Dash.

Jorgan Cavanerio continued to be a steady rotation presence since his signing in early May. He held the Salem Red Sox scoreless until the fifth inning, when he gave up the dreaded three-run dong. That was the only real blemish on his line, though, which ended up as 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, and 1 K. Kevin Escorcia finished the game up, allowing just a hit and nothing else. The final score was 9-3 Dash.

In game two, the Dash… if only there were a word for quickly running, perhaps in a short, fast sprint… anyway, the Dash burst out in front early (raced? darted? I give up). Muno led the bottom of the first off with a triple that could have easily been stand-up, but was in fact completed with a form-perfect Superman dive (who can blame him). Roman immediately responded with a double, and Walker was kind enough to single him in. Walker was caught stealing second, and a Fisher walk went nowhere as Remillard grounded into a rare double play (only his second of the year).

The third inning had the potential to be a big one, but the Dash settled for one. Travis Moniot flied out in his batting debut for the team after being called up from Kannapolis just before Rain Weekend began, then Muno singled on a bunt, something I only hate when it doesn’t work out. Roman hit his second double of the game, Walker singled him in, but then the runners were stranded on the corners.

The fourth inning picked up the slack: Dedelow hit a baseball as hard as it’s possible to hit a baseball without it being a home run, strolling into second with a double instead, then catcher Evan Skoug drew a walk. So did George, and then Moniot claimed his first High-A RBI with a fairly controversial groundout that finished with a failed double play attempt at home. Dedelow snaked his hand into the plate safely for a 4-1 Dash lead.

JJ Muno walked on a wild pitch that scored Skoug and Roman singled in George, then was thrown out trying to get his third double of the game. Skoug added a seventh run in the sixth, with a no-doubt home run that clanged off the right field foul pole, his third dinger with the Dash.

Jake Elliott made his third start of the season and 15th overall appearance for the Dash. Elliott had something of a shaky start to the year, but has pitched well enough lately to bring his ERA down to 3.66 after his one-run effort over three innings.

Codi Heuer, the string bean who throws 98, came on in relief. My theory that Heuer is a one-inning guy continues to hold true, as he mowed through his first with no issue but gave up a single and two wild pitches to score a run in his second inning of work. He did strike out three and walk a big zip, which is always welcome.

Luis Ledo, an All-Star also capable of throwing 98, put in two perfect innings. He struck out three for a 7-2 Dash victory. They have lost once in June, on the very first day of the month.

The team will attempt to play the final game of this homestand tomorrow at 7 p.m. Originally scheduled to be a six-game homestand, the maximum they will get is three. It is supposed to rain. Baseball in North Carolina!

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