Dash Top 10: #2 – Winston Clinches MiLB’s Top Mark

Raise your hand if you played for minor league baseball’s best team in 2012!

This is the ninth 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 top moment tomorrow.

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

#8: 10-game win streak
#7: 5-run 9th sinks Salem
#6: Postseason awards
#5: First-half clinch
#4: MCCS Game 2 win
#3: SDCS-clinching victory

Moment #2 (September 2): The Dash clinch full-season minor league baseball’s best record on the regular season’s penultimate day.

When Winston-Salem kicked off a four-game series with Carolina July 23, the club was a league-best 59-40-1. The Dash had already clinched a playoff spot thanks to a first-half championship. In other words, the season was already highly successful.

The Dash then elevated their 2012 efforts to another level. From July 23 to August 17, Winston-Salem posted a mark of 20-4 to rocket toward the top of full-season minor league baseball’s standings.

A three-game losing streak in late August allowed Low-A Asheville to seize the top spot with five games remaining. The Dash responded with three straight victories to lower their magic number to one with two games to go in the regular season.

On a Sunday afternoon at LewisGale Field, Winston-Salem squared off with first-half rival Salem with a chance to finish atop the standings. The Dash cruised to victory.

Winston plated a pair of runs in the first frame and never trailed. Both Cyle Hankerd and Kevan Smith drove home two runs. Starter Chris Bassitt twirled five shutout innings en route to the victory.

It was an emphatic win to earn a distinguished honor. Sure, the Dash were not in Double-A or Triple-A, but no team was better than Winston-Salem in record. No team was better at beating opponents on an equal playing ground than Winston-Salem.

The Dash became the first American League affiliate to post the best record in full-season minor league baseball since 2005. Winston-Salem recorded its second-best record since joining the CL as a charter member in 1945.

Obviously, it did not lead to a Mills Cup that everyone in the Triad wanted; however, only three of the last eight teams to finish with the best regular season record have taken home a championship.

For five months, the Dash were the best team in the minors. Even though Lynchburg claimed the Cup, Winston-Salem was the main story of the 2012 campaign, and a Sunday afternoon in front of a small crowd in the Roanoke Valley guaranteed it.

We will have reached the end of our Top 10 countdown tomorrow when we unveil the top moment of Winston-Salem’s 2012 season. You won’t want to miss it.

– Brian


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