Dash Top 10: #7 – 5-Run 9th Stuns Salem

Michael Earley recorded the walk-off hit August 14 against Salem (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

This is the fourth installment of the “Dash Top 10,” where we rehash the top 10 moments from the Dash’s historic 2012 season. Stay tuned to the Dash Board Blog for the rest of the series over the next two weeks.

Previous Top 10 Moments:
#10: Second-half clinch
#9: Hankerd’s walk-off

#8: 10-game win streak

Moment #7 (August 14): Winston-Salem scores five in the ninth to walk off with a 10-9 win over Salem.

In the first half of the season, the Dash and Salem Red Sox waged quite a battle for the Southern Division championship. Winston-Salem outlasted the Sox despite struggling against Salem in head-to-head matchups.

The second half was a much different story even though both teams endured many promotions to Double-A. Winston remained atop the circuit, while Salem sunk to the Southern Division’s basement.

With the playoffs three weeks away, these two teams played in a game that meant very little in the grand scheme of the playoff chase. Salem was mere days away from official elimination, while the Dash could only add one home game to their postseason schedule with a division crown.

Still, baseball has a way of making the ordinary extraordinary, and game 121 for the Dash proved to be special.

For eight and a half innings, Salem controlled the contest. The Red Sox led 6-0 through six innings and 9-5 entering the home half of the ninth, which is when the magic happened.

After a Juan Silverio leadoff home run, Daniel Wagner followed with a bunt single, and Keenyn Walker drew a free pass. Two batters later, Brandon Short pulled the Dash within a run thanks to a two-run double.

Following Dan Black’s well-struck fly out, Cyle Hankerd delivered a two-out double off the wall in center to push across the tying run.

On the next pitch, Michael Earley laced a single to right-center, and Hankerd rumbled around third to beat Shannon Wilkerson’s throw and complete the Dash’s most improbable comeback of 2012.

The Dash’s season featured 90 total victories, but this one was among the best. It continued Winston’s push for the minors’ top record, while Salem suffered one of its most deflating losses during a terrible second half.

We will present the Dash’s sixth-best moment from the 2012 campaign tomorrow. This is the only moment that did not technically take place on the field. Talk to you then.

– Brian


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