If ever there was a game that might sum up a team’s half-season in seven innings, the first game of this doubleheader just might be it.
A pool-cue single opened the game, as the ball spun just over Trevor Holder’s reach and spun into the infield grass to give the runner that split second he needed to beat it out. A single to right followed, then a three-run homer that cleared the centerfield wall to put Potomac in an early 3-0 hole — and there was still nobody out.
Holder escaped further damage with back-to-back K’s and a flyout
The P-Nats got two runners on with one out in the bottom of the first. And left them on.
Holder gave up what was later changed to leadoff single in the second, then retired five straight before issuing a two-out walk in the third.
The P-Nats got a two-out double in the second, then left ‘em loaded in third, only scoring when a wild pitch sent Eury Perez home from third. A one-out walk was stranded at second in the fourth.
Holder put up goose eggs in the fourth and fifth, allowing two baserunners via an error and a single, both with two outs.
Justin Bloxom ripped a single to right-center with one out in the fifth, took second on a wild pitch, and went to third went the Salem rightfielder dropped a Souza flyball. J.P. Ramirez, who has suddenly become a walk machine (11BB in 14G in June; he had six in May, two in April), drew a walk to load the bases.
After grounding out the last time he saw the sacks full, Sandy Leon delivered the clutch hit to shallow center to drive in Bloxom. Souza ran through the stop sign and was gunned down, though the play was close and the CF had shown a weak arm previously. That hit would be the only one in 13 opportunities with runners in scoring position.
Holder issued his second walk to lead off the sixth inning to Salem’s David Mailman. The next batter singled to center, but Perez made him a dead letter with a special delivery to Bloxom, who deftly applied the tag at the very last moment.
There’s a reason why coaches call that baserunning blunder the cardinal sin, because another single followed to put runners on first and second, one that might have scored Mailman. Given a chance to work out of the jam, Holder got the double-play ball he needed, leading it himself for a 1-6-3 DP to end the inning.
Two more runners were left on in the bottom of the sixth. Holder would leave with one out in the top of the seventh, but Hector Nelo’s wildness and another error led to the last two Salem runs.
Potomac would get the tying run to the plate twice in the bottom of the seventh, but a strikeout and a popup ended it, the two runners left were nos. 12 and 13 for the game.