Playoff Perspective – Game 2
Winston-Salem rallied for a thrilling 5-4 victory over Lynchburg in Game 2 of the Mills Cup Championship Series Sunday afternoon at BB&T Ballpark. First off, hear from the man who gave the Dash their first lead in the series–catcher Kevan Smith.
Now, it’s time for our postgame analysis.
- Wow. Once again, the Dash’s collective back was against the wall in a Game 2, and this offense found a way to battle back for a narrow win. After five frustrating innings of offense, Smith, Daniel Wagner and Keenyn Walker came up with huge hits in the sixth, and Marcus Semien’s solo shot in the eighth proved to be the difference in the game. This offense, despite struggling at times in the playoffs, is so good.
- Everyone knew Dash skipper Tommy Thompson was going to be the Carolina League’s Manager of the Year, and he pushed the right button today when he submitted his lineup card. Winston’s catcher had hit in the seven hole in all four previous postseason contests, but Thompson switched Smith with Cyle Hankerd. Sure enough, Smith’s turn came around when the Dash needed a hit, and the former Pittsburgh star came through in a big way.
- As for Semien’s homer, credit the former sixth-round pick for coming up with the first run scored against Lynchburg reliever John Cornely at the High-A level. Semien is only 3-for-18 in the playoffs, but those three hits have been huge: solo homer in the first inning of Game 2 of the SDCS, game-winning two-run double in that same game and this homer today. Semien is a clutch player.
- How important has Chris Curley been to this playoff run? He is 8-for-16 with four runs scored, and the late-season acquisition made the defensive play of the game in the seventh. Curley, who was playing in on the grass, stabbed a Nick Ahmed liner and doubled off a runner at second to end the threat.
- Starter Justin Collop and reliever Taylor Thompson turned in gritty efforts Sunday, and both Max Peterson and Kevin Vance continued to pitch well out of the bullpen. All in all, a solid day for Winston’s pitching staff.
- Thank goodness Andrelton Simmons will be heading back to Atlanta tomorrow, according to multiple reports. It is incredible that this young man played in the CL last year. His ninth-inning double was one of the hardest-hit balls I’ve seen this year.
- Series tied at one game apiece. Momentum-shifting Game 3 on the horizon. Erik Johnson versus Gus Schlosser. It doesn’t get much better than that, and it’s 47 hours away.
The Dash and Hillcats have tomorrow off, but the Dash Board blog will be packed with more #Dash12 coverage in advance of Game 3 Tuesday. Talk to you then.