The Dash sent Buies Creek back out into the rain 6-5 Thursday night on Jameson Fisher’s RBI single through drizzling downpour. Fisher was one of several newcomers to arrive in Forsyth County earlier in the day, most of whom were promoted from Kannapolis, winners of the Sally League North’s first-half title. Winston-Salem was not nearly so successful in the first half, finishing dead last in the Carolina League. With a new lease on life, the Dash are now 1-0.
The home team was down early, as starter Brannon Easterling struggled but managed to give Winston five solid innings, allowing eight hits and one run apiece in the first, third, and fifth. The Astros’ lefty Framber Valdez breezed through the first three, but was driven from the game with two outs in the fourth amidst a prolonged rally aided by his own defense. After Howie Brey settled things down for the visitors, his fellow lefty Matt Bower pitched the final four, allowing the home team’s final three runs and taking the loss. Ian Hamilton blazed through two shutout innings after Easterling was lifted, but Louie Lechich and Jack Charleston struggled in the late innings. Charleston did right the ship enough to earn the win.
The Astros got their first inning run on an RBI groundout by Anthony Hermelyn following soft singles by Myles Straw and Ryne Birk. Straw was again the catalyst two innings later, leading off with a walk and scoring on Jake Rodgers’ sacrifice fly after advancing to third on another Birk single. After the Dash’s fourth inning rally gave the home team a 3-2 lead, Easterling gave it up on singles by (again) Straw, Birk, and Hermelyn. Buies Creek first baseman Spencer Johnson misplayed Fisher’s smash to begin the bottom of the fourth, and Valdez became visibly rattled, increasingly so as the inning wore on. Louis Silverio guided a single into right field, advancing Fisher to third. Brady Conlan doubled the latter in, and Johan Cruz walked, meanwhile Valdez chucked the ball into centerfield on a half-hearted pickoff attempt. Danny Mendick lined an RBI single and Valdez walked the just-promoted Joel Booker to end his night. Brey’s bases-loaded walk of Luis Basabe finished the damage, fortunately so for the Astros as the third out was recorded with the bases loaded on a long fly ball that Zack Collins just got under.
Danny Mendick homered in the sixth to put the Dash up 4-3, and Winston-Salem held on to the lead until the eighth, when Lechich surrendered a leadoff double to Hermelyn, a single to Johnson, and an RBI single to Randy César. Following a line-drive double play fashioned by the middle infield duo of the shortstop Mendick and the second baseman Cruz, Lechich was pulled in favor of Charleston, whose wild pitch allowed the go-ahead run to cross the plate. The Dash refused to bury themselves, however, Mendick doubling with two outs in the eighth (his fourth hit on the night) and scoring on Booker’s hustle single. Telvin Nash’s one-out double in the ninth dimmed the lights for Fisher’s heroics. The series continues Friday with Dane Dunning going for the Dash contra Brett Adcock for Buies Creek.