An Unseasonable Chill: Tyler Frost's bomb sends the Frederick Keys home in the 10th

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Dash offense showed signs of life for the first time in a few days, coming to a head in a four-run 10th inning that beat the Frederick Keys and snapped a three-game skid, 9-7.

Starter Zach Lewis ran into trouble immediately, giving up a single to the first batter of the game and hitting the next with a pitch. After getting to a full count against the third Key faced, Lewis gave up a deep triple to center, scoring both runners and quickly putting the Dash down in a 2-0 hole. The bleeding continued, momentarily staunched by a strikeout but flowing again after Yeyson Yrizarris’ 21st error of the year at third base, allowing the third run of the inning to score. Lewis hit another batter and Yrizarri added his 22nd error, but a wild double play luckily ended the inning. The batter hit one to left field that Mitch Roman initially went back on, but he then realized he was too deep and had to sprint back in, barely making the catch. The runner on third base apparently thought that that was the third out of the inning and left the bag, making the double play very easy.

Lewis kept getting into and out of trouble for most of the rest of his outing. A leadoff double in the second didn’t score; the third hit batsman (Cal Ripken, Jr.’s son Ryan) and the following single in the fourth were also stranded, thanks in part to Zach Remillard‘s excellent play at short; a single and an error at first by Jordan George combined to allow no runs to cross the plate in the fourth. The fifth was Lewis’s only three up, three down inning.

His stranding luck ran out again in the sixth as he allowed another triple, this one to right field. This was the fourth run but third earned run that Lewis gave up, allowing him to finish the inning and his outing with a quality start. This was his first quality start since his very first start of the season, April 4, when he went six and two thirds innings, allowing six hits, one run (zero earned), walking one and striking out eight. Lewis has bounced between the bullpen and starting since then, so he hasn’t always had the opportunity to stretch out in a game like this. The most encouraging takeaway from today was the lack of walks, big news for a guy with a 4.73 BB/9.

Luis Ledo came on in relief and, in the quintessential Ledo Experience, threw gas, struck some guys out, and gave up a run (unearned on Tate Blackman’s error at second base, the fourth Dash error of the game). He went two innings, taking 44 pitches to do so (26 strikes).

The Dash answered the Keys’ three first-inning runs with two of their own, a Roman single, Steele Walker walk, and Zach Remillard single loading the bases with one out. Jordan George, getting a rare start at first base, drove in Roman and Walker with a single to right field. They tied the game up at three in the third inning on the strength of Walker’s sixth home run of the year. 

They jumped ahead in the fourth — first, Evan Skoug demolished a baseball to left field, putting the Dash up 4-3, then Walker singled in Yeyson Yrizarri, who himself reached via single, to make it 5-3 Dash. They would not score for the next five innings.

Rain started to fall as the eighth inning began, and there was a delay with two outs in the bottom half. As soon as the tarp was on, the rain let up, and 20 minutes later, baseball had returned to Winston-Salem. Jose Nin came on to pitch the top of the ninth, and did so scorelessly. He also came on to pitch the top of the 10th, and things did not go the same way. A wild pitch, walk, single, and double allowed two runs to cross the plate, making it 7-5 Keys. Tyler Frost and Tate Blackman combined for a relay that caught a runner at home with plenty of time, Evan Skoug making the tag.

In the bottom of the 10th, Jordan George was automatically placed on second base as a giant hand labeled “MiLB” descended from the clouds to drop him there. Blackman led off with a single, putting runners on the corners, and Skoug hit a ground ball to drive in George, making the score 7-6. Yrizarri drew a four-pitch walk, and Frost came to the plate. 

This was Frost’s second straight game with a home run. He had three hits today, with Walker, Remillard, and George picking up two apiece. Walker also, yes, walked twice. The Dash look to start a win streak tomorrow at 7 pm with Jorgan Cavanerio on the mound.

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