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Dash Top 10 – #5: Anderson rescues Dash with homer

The 2014 season is in the books, and there were many great moments throughout the summer. Over the next few weeks, we will count down the Dash Top 10 of 2014.

Previous moments:
#10 – Shortest MiLB game in 2014
#9 – DeMichele’s five-hit, five-run effort
#8 – Buckner’s controversial walk-off blast
#7 – Narvaez’s two-homer Dash debut
#6 – Danish tosses six no-hit innings

Moment #5 – June 2
Anderson’s walk-off blast erases late Lynchburg surge

Tim Anderson registered the Dash's first walk-off homer of 2014 (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Tim Anderson registered the Dash’s first walk-off homer of 2014 (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Winston-Salem boasted the White Sox three most recent first-round picks during the 2014 season. Courtney Hawkins was the Dash veteran, with whom the city became very familiar. Carlos Rodon was the North Carolina kid who carried NC State to unprecedented heights.

Tim Anderson did not have a connection to the state, and he was not here for very long. However, Anderson had a month-long surge that rivaled anyone in the Carolina League, and it began with one majestic blast on the second day of June.

The Dash took a 4-2 lead into the ninth inning, but Lynchburg stunned the BB&T Ballpark with three runs to thrust Winston-Salem to the brink of a very tough loss.

With that one-run lead, the Hillcats summoned Ryan Kelly, he of 20 Triple-A appearances in his Minor League career, from the bullpen. Kelly had not given up a base runner in his first four efforts with the Hillcats, and he would ultimately finish the season as a key cog in the bullpen of Double-A Mississippi.

However, Zach Voight snapped that impressive run of 5.1 hitless frames with a single to lead off the ninth, setting the stage for Anderson. The Alabama kid sat in a 2-2 count before Kelly left a pitch up in the zone.

Before this mighty swing, Anderson was hitting .284 with two homers and 14 RBIs. From that swing until his promotion to Double-A Birmingham, the Alabama native was a .323 hitter with four homers and 17 RBIs.

A Dash player may not have hit a harder ball than this bomb to dead center field, and it ultimately prevented Winston-Salem from suffering a difficult defeat.

Our fourth-best moment is a tremendous one for the organization and the community. Stay tuned for that.

- Brian

Dash Top 10 – #6: Danish tosses six no-hit innings

The 2014 season is in the books, and there were many great moments throughout the summer. Over the next few weeks, we will count down the Dash Top 10 of 2014.

Previous moments:
#10 – Shortest MiLB game in 2014
#9 – DeMichele’s five-hit, five-run effort
#8 – Buckner’s controversial walk-off blast
#7 – Narvaez’s two-homer Dash debut

Moment #6 – August 9
Danish holds Hillcats hitless over six sensational innings

Tyler Danish posted some tremendous starts, but his best came in August at Lynchburg. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

Tyler Danish posted some fantastic starts, but his best came in August against Lynchburg. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

The Dash turned in some tremendous pitching performances this season, but no hurler was as consistently dominant as right-hander Tyler Danish. In his 25 starts between Winston-Salem and Low-A Kannapolis, the 19-year-old finished 2014 with a 2.08 earned run average, which was eighth-lowest among full-season Minor League qualifiers.

Within the top 15 in that category, Danish was not only the youngest of the group. He was at least a full year younger than everyone else. Few pitchers enjoyed more success than Danish, no matter the age.

Many of his outings down the stretch were stellar, but one stands above the rest. The Dash began their first road trip of August in sole possession of first place in the Southern Division’s second half standings, with Danish winning the final game of the previous homestand.

However, Winston-Salem dropped the first four of this six-game swing to Potomac and Lynchburg. The Dash’s playoff hopes were dwindling, and the club desperately needed a momentum shift. Danish did everything he could to offer exactly that.

The former second-round pick, who became Winston’s ace after the All-Star break, buzzed through six no-hit innings. After a long fly out by Will Skinner to end the first, Lynchburg never mustered a hard-hit ball against Danish, let alone a knock.

Because of Danish’s youth, the White Sox put him on a six-inning limit during the final two months of the season, which is why he did not have a chance to continue his no-hit bid. Danish still accomplished his personal goal.

“Around the fourth or fifth inning, I looked up there and saw that I had no hits,” Danish said. “I knew I could only go six, so that was my goal–go six and give up no hits.”

Unfortunately, Danish’s departure doomed the Dash on that night. Lynchburg rallied with back-to-back two-run frames en route to a 4-1 win over Winston-Salem. It was one of the more deflating losses of the 2014 season, but a big reason for that was because Danish was so dominant.

The Dash could not come up with a big hit in this contest, but one of the biggest hits of the 2014 season is up next on our Dash Top 10. Hope you can join us for #5 on Thursday!

- Brian

Dash Top 10 – #7: Narvaez’s two-homer debut

The 2014 season is in the books, and there were many great moments throughout the summer. Over the next few weeks, we will count down the Dash Top 10 of 2014.

Previous moments:
#10 – Shortest MiLB game in 2014
#9 – DeMichele’s five-hit, five-run effort
#8 – Buckner’s controversial walk-off blast

Moment #7 – June 19
Narvaez’s monster debut sparks strong second half start

Omar Narvaez began his Dash career with a two-homer game (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Omar Narvaez began his Dash career with a two-homer effort June 19 (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

The first half was a tough one for Winston-Salem, who recorded its worst single-half record in the Dash era (30-39). However, most Minor Leagues give teams a second chance after the midway point, and the Carolina League falls in that category.

The records reset following the All-Star break, when the Dash would begin a 70-game battle with Carolina and Salem for the final Southern Division playoff spot.

The Dash’s roster also went through some changes during the three-day respite, another common trend in the Minors. Winston-Salem registered six roster moves, five of which involved players who had donned the Dash purple at some point.

The only exception was catcher Omar Narvaez, who jumped to the Dash’s roster after a solid first half in Low-A Kannapolis. Before this season, he was a member of the Rays organization.

Narvaez was, innocently enough, slotted seventh in the Dash’s order on that second half-opening Thursday at BB&T Ballpark, but he proved to be the catalyst in an emphatic Winston win over Salem.

In the second inning, Narvaez singled and scored in his first trip to the plate at the High-A level.

His second at-bat sparked the blowout. After hitting just two home runs in his first 260 Minor League games, Narvaez launched a three-run blast that gave Winston-Salem a 6-0 advantage in the third inning.

Sure enough, four innings later, the newcomer blasted a solo shot to cap the scoring in the Dash’s 12-4 shellacking of Salem in the Triad.

In his Minor League career, Narvaez has played 307 games, including his 40 with the Dash in the second half. He has only gone yard four times, with his lone two long balls of 2014 coming in his first Carolina League game.

After a frustrating, unlucky first half, the Dash could not have started half two any better.

Stay tuned for another great moment on Wednesday, when we delve into a fantastic pitching performance. We will talk to you then.

- Brian

Dash Top 10 – #8: Buckner’s walk-off heroics

The 2014 season is in the books, and there were many great moments throughout the summer. Over the next few weeks, we will count down the Dash Top 10 of 2014.

Previous moments:
#10 – Shortest MiLB game in 2014
#9 – DeMichele’s five-hit, five-run effort

Moment #8 – June 10
Buckner’s controversial blast clinches twin bill sweep

The Dash recorded three walk-off victories in 2014, and two of them belonged to Grant Buckner. His first such knock clinched a four-game split against Frederick, and it was fairly routine.

Buckner’s other walk-off hit was far from ordinary, and it was the exclamation point of the Dash’s longest winning streak of the first half. After a postponement the night prior, Winston-Salem and Wilmington battled in a mid-June doubleheader.

J.B. Wendelken tossed a complete game in the opener, an 8-2 Dash victory. In that contest, Buckner banged out three hits and drove home two runs, foreshadowing an important role in the nightcap.

The Blue Rocks, who were on the brink of postseason elimination, pushed their lead to 5-2 in the top of the sixth inning. Winston responded with a pair in the bottom half thanks to run-producing hits from Keon Barnum and Tim Anderson.

Joey DeMichele
, who was the Dash’s walk-off star of 2013, gave Winston-Salem an opportunity for a last at-bat win by forcing extra innings. His seventh-inning single knotted the score at five apiece.

Following a 1-2-3 inning from Jose Bautista, Buckner led off the bottom of the eighth inning. It had already been a long night of baseball, and a heavy shower was just a few minutes away. Knowing what we know now, this game never would have wrapped up had the score remained even because the Dash and Blue Rocks’ first-half finale was canceled due to significant rain the next night.

During a wacky night that ultimately resulted in the Dash’s winning streak hitting four, Buckner’s walk-off blast almost wasn’t. His drive to right-center field appeared to hit the railing above the home run porch, but base umpire Travis Godec originally ruled it a double.

After a brief conference with home plate umpire Ben Levin, Godec changed his call, and Buckner finished the elongated run around the bases. Take a look for yourself.

It was not your typical walk-off hit, but it still counts for Buckner, who had another strong season in the Carolina League. His great work ultimately earned him a jump to Double-A Birmingham during the second half after providing a great moment for the Dash on that long Tuesday night at BB&T Ballpark.

Stay tuned for our seventh-best moment of 2014, which also involves the long ball. Happy Monday!

- Brian

Dash Top 10 – #9: DeMichele dominates Salem

The 2014 season is in the books, and there were many great moments throughout the summer. Over the next few weeks, we will count down the Dash Top 10 of 2014.

Previous moments:
#10 – Shortest MiLB game in 2014

Moment #9 – April 27
DeMichele dazzles in blowout win at Salem

Joey DeMichele became the first player in Dash history to score five runs in one game (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Joey DeMichele became the first player in Dash history to score five runs in one game (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

With one of its youngest rosters in recent memory, Winston-Salem stumbled out of the gates in 2014. Through the season’s first three weeks, the Dash were 7-14.

One of the 2013 returnees, Joey DeMichele, also had a rough start in his second go-around in the Carolina League. In those aforementioned 21 games, DeMichele was hitting 10-for-60 (.167), a strange decline after a very solid showing in the Dash purple a year prior.

However, both DeMichele and the Dash broke out on a Sunday matinee in the Roanoke Valley. Winston-Salem blew out the Red Sox 15-9 in a game that was not as close as the six-run margin would indicate.

DeMichele led the charge in a record-setting day. He recorded a career-high five hits to become the ninth hitter in the Dash era (2009-present) to reach that mark in a single game. It had not happened since May of 2012, when All-Star Brady Shoemaker accomplished the feat at Lynchburg.

The former Arizona State star also scored five times, which had never happened since the nickname change in 2009. In fact, DeMichele was the first Winston-Salem hitter to score at least four runs in a game since 2011.

Thanks to this game alone, DeMichele raised his batting average 64 points to .231, and that mark steadily climbed throughout the rest of his time in the Triad. Ultimately, he made his first jump to Double-A in early August, and his huge game in Salem jump-started his season.

Winston-Salem also played better baseball following this 15-run output, the club’s highest of 2014. The Dash did not parlay this into a playoff spot, but this victory was a stepping stone to more sustained success.

After a break over the weekend, the Dash Top 10 rolls along with the eighth-best moment of the season, which also involved a returnee from 2013. Have a great weekend.

- Brian

Dash Top 10 – #10: Jaye, Dash sprint past P-Nats

The 2014 season is in the books, and there were many great moments throughout the summer. Over the next few weeks, we will count down the Dash Top 10 of 2014.

Moment #10 – May 28
Jaye, Dash win MiLB’s shortest nine-inning game

Myles Jaye led the charge in the Minors' fastest game in 2014 (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

Myles Jaye led the charge in the Minors’ fastest game in 2014 (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

“Wait, the game is already over?”

Many fans asked that question in the moments after the Dash’s 4-0 win over Potomac on May 28. Somehow, the Dash and P-Nats completed nine innings of baseball in one hour and 48 minutes.

108 minutes?!? That’s one half-inning every 6.4 minutes. One out every 2.1 minutes. One plate appearance every 1.7 minutes.

It was the shortest nine-inning game in the Carolina League since July of 2011, and it proved to be the quickest nine-inning game in the Minor Leagues in 2014.

The closest competitor in full-season Minor League Baseball took place on the regular season’s last day–Augusta’s 2-0 win over Charleston on September 1 in 1:54. There was a 1:51 time of game posted in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League. Still, Winston and Potomac proved to be the shortest at 1:48.

The main reason for this statistical anomaly was Winston-Salem starter Myles Jaye. He became the fourth pitcher in the Dash era (2009-present) to post a nine-inning complete game shutout.

Jaye needed only 92 pitches to cruise through those nine innings, during which the 2014 Mills Cup champions could only muster four hits.

Offensively, the Dash did most of their damage in the first inning with three runs. From there, pitching took over the contest, which featured only 13 base runners.

The game was over so quickly that the Dash kept certain areas of the ballpark open for as long as 30 minutes after the final pitch. Occasionally, the upper bound of baseball game times are challenged, but rarely do you see a game that challenges the lower limits.

BB&T Ballpark may never see a game quite like the one on that crazy-quick Wednesday night in the Triad. For this reason, along with Jaye’s fantastic effort, it begins our countdown of the Top 10 moments in 2014.

Stay tuned for our ninth-best moment of this season, which involves the number five. We’ll talk to you Friday.

- Brian

Game #139 Preview – Dash at Carolina

Game #139 – Road Game #70
Winston-Salem Dash (30-39, 60-78) at Carolina Mudcats (33-35, 62-73)
Monday, September 1 – 12 p.m.
Five County Stadium (Zebulon, NC)

GAME BACKGROUND:

The Dash suffered another heartbreaking loss on Sunday, falling 3-2 in walk-off fashion at Carolina. Winston-Salem wraps up the season this afternoon against the Mudcats.

Keon Barnum sports a .291 batting average since the All-Star Break. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

Keon Barnum sports a .291 batting average since the All-Star Break. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

STARTING LINEUP:

Adam Engel – CF
Jake Peter – 2B
Courtney Hawkins – LF
Keon Barnum – 1B
Trey Michalczewski – 3B
Omar Narvaez – C
Nick Basto – RF
Michael Marjama – DH
Zach Voight – SS
J.B. Wendelken – RHP

DASH DOTS:

• Sunday marked the 25th time the Dash lost in an opponent’s last at-bat this season. Six of those setbacks have been walk-offs.

• For just the third time in the Dash era (since 2009), Winston-Salem failed to record double-digit victories in a month. The club went 9-19 in August, with 10 of those defeats coming in the opponents’ last at-bat.

• Winston-Salem will finish 2014 with the worst record in the Carolina League for the first time since 2002. The Warthogs went 50-90 that season.

• Right-hander Tyler Danish allowed one run and four hits in six innings during his final start of the year on Sunday. The 19-year-old finished the season with a 2.08 ERA in 25 starts with Low-A Kannapolis and Winston-Salem, the seventh-best mark in full-season Minor League Baseball.

• First baseman Keon Barnum went 3-for-4 with three singles and an RBI. The 21-year-old has at least one hit in eight of his last nine games and is batting .291 in 66 games since the All-Star Break.

• The Dash have lost 13 of 19 meetings with Carolina this season, including a 3-6 mark at Five County Stadium. Winston-Salem went 9-11 against the Mudcats in 2013.

• Right-hander J.B. Wendelken will wrap up the season on the mound today. The 21-year-old pitched on Opening Day for the Dash against Wilmington on April 3. This season, the Georgia native is 6-10 with a 5.37 ERA in 26 starts.

• Wendelken is in his first season as a starter at the professional level, but the right-hander ranks fifth in the Carolina League with 140.2 innings pitched. Carolina’s Ryan Merritt leads the circuit with 160.1 innings.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Today’s game is available live on wsdash.com/broadcast. The Pregame Dash begins at 11:45 a.m., with the first pitch scheduled for 12.

- Dave

Game #138 Preview – Dash at Carolina

Game #138 – Road Game #69
Winston-Salem Dash (30-38, 60-77) at Carolina Mudcats (32-35, 61-73)
Sunday, August 31 – 6 p.m.
Five County Stadium (Zebulon, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

The Dash won a 1-0 thriller over Carolina in the series opener on Saturday night. Courtney Hawkins’ RBI single in the eighth inning plated the lone run of the contest.

Tyler Danish has the seventh-best ERA in full-season Minor League Baseball. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

Tyler Danish has the seventh-best ERA in full-season Minor League Baseball. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

STARTING LINEUP:

Adam Engel – DH
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Courtney Hawkins – LF
Keon Barnum – 1B
Trey Michalczewski – 3B
Michael Marjama – C
C.J. Beatty – RF
Zach Voight – 2B
Keenyn Walker – CF
Tyler Danish – RHP

DASH DOTS:

• The Dash played the role of spoiler on Saturday. Carolina’s loss, coupled with Salem’s doubleheader sweep of Wilmington, clinched the final Southern Division playoff spot for the Red Sox. Salem will open the postseason on Wednesday against Myrtle Beach.

• Right-hander Brandon Brennan tossed five and two-third scoreless innings in his longest outing with the Dash on Saturday. The California native scattered six hits and tied a season-high with six strikeouts.

Brad Goldberg and Zach Isler combined to throw three and one-third scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Goldberg earned his fourth win and Isler recorded his third save of the season. It was Winston-Salem’s sixth shutout victory in 2014.

• Outfielder Courtney Hawkins raised his season RBI total to 84 on Saturday, which leads the Carolina League. His closest challenger, Preston Beck of Myrtle Beach, has 76 RBIs.

• Outfielder Keenyn Walker went 2-for-3 with two singles and scored the lone run in Saturday’s contest. During his last eight games, the Utah native is batting an even .300 (9-for-30).

• The Dash snapped a five-game losing streak against Carolina on Saturday. The Mudcats still have the upper-hand in the season series, however, having won 12 of 18 meetings.

• Right-hander Tyler Danish will make his final start of the season tonight. During his most recent outing at Myrtle Beach on Tuesday, the 19-year-old allowed two runs and four hits over four innings. He struck out five and finished with a no-decision in the 7-2 setback against the Pelicans.

• Danish has the seventh-best ERA in Minor League Baseball among full-season qualifiers. The Florida native sports a combined 2.13 ERA in 24 starts this season, seven with Low-A Kannapolis and 17 with the Dash. Since his promotion to Winston-Salem in mid-May, Danish is 5-3 with a 2.73 ERA.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Tonight’s game is available live on wsdash.com/broadcast. The Pregame Dash begins at 5:45 p.m., with the first pitch scheduled for 6.

- Dave

Game #137 Preview – Dash at Carolina

Game #137 – Road Game #68
Winston-Salem Dash (29-38, 59-77) at Carolina Mudcats (32-34, 61-72)
Saturday, August 30 – 6 p.m.
Five County Stadium (Zebulon, NC)

GAME BACKGROUND:

The Dash were eliminated from postseason contention with an 8-2 loss at Myrtle Beach on Friday night. Winston-Salem begins its final series of the year at Carolina this evening.

Courtney Hawkins delivered his Carolina League-leading 83rd RBI on Friday. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

Courtney Hawkins drove in his league-leading 83rd RBI on Friday. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

STARTING LINEUP:

Adam Engel – DH
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Courtney Hawkins – LF
Keon Barnum – 1B
Trey Michalczewski – 3B
Nick Basto – RF
Jake Peter – 2B
Omar Narvaez – C
Keenyn Walker – CF
Brandon Brennan – RHP

DASH DOTS:

• The Dash could play spoilers this weekend against Carolina. The Mudcats are one game behind Salem for the final Southern Division playoff spot. The Red Sox play a doubleheader against Northern Division postseason contender Wilmington this evening.

Zach Voight went 2-for-2 with two doubles, an RBI and a run scored on Friday. The Texas native has now driven in a run in his last three games played.

• Outfielder Courtney Hawkins went 1-for-4 with a single and an RBI. The 20-year-old has at least one hit in 10 of his last 11 games and leads the Carolina League in RBIs with 83.

• Right-hander Nick Blount struggled in his first career start against Myrtle Beach, allowing five runs, five hits, a walk and a hit batter in one inning. As a result, the Georgia native’s ERA ballooned from 2.25 to 7.00 in four appearances (two starts) with the Dash.

• Former Winston-Salem pitcher Chris Bassitt has been promoted to the White Sox and will start the second game of a doubleheader against Detroit at 7:10 tonight. The 25-year-old becomes the 23rd Dash alumni to reach the Major Leagues. Read more about him here.

• The Dash have lost 12 of 17 games against Carolina this year, including seven of the last eight matchups. The Mudcats managed the first-ever four-game sweep of the Dash at BB&T Ballpark from August 22-25.

• Right-hander Brandon Brennan will make his final start of 2014 tonight. During his most recent outing against Carolina on Monday, the California native surrendered two runs and six hits in four and two-third innings. He finished with a no-decision in the 6-5 setback against the Mudcats in 12 innings.

• In five starts with the Dash, Brennan is 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 25 innings of work. The 23-year-old has not pitched beyond the sixth inning in any of his outings with Winston-Salem.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Tonight’s game is available live on wsdash.com/broadcast. The Pregame Dash begins at 5:45 p.m., with the first pitch scheduled for 6.

- Dave

Game #136 Preview – Dash at Myrtle Beach

Game #136 – Road Game #67
Winston-Salem Dash (29-37, 59-76) at Myrtle Beach Pelicans (35-31, 79-55)
Friday, August 29 – 7:05 p.m.
TicketReturn.com Field (Myrtle Beach, SC)

GAME BACKGROUND:

The Dash snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 4-1 win in 11 innings at Myrtle Beach on Thursday night. Winston-Salem will try to earn a split in the four-game series against the Pelicans.

Michael Marjama is batting .378 during his last nine games. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

Michael Marjama is batting .378 during his last nine games. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

STARTING LINEUP:

Keenyn Walker – CF
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Courtney Hawkins – LF
Keon Barnum – 1B
Nick Basto – DH
Omar Narvaez – C
Jake Peter – 2B
C.J. Beatty – RF
Zach Voight – 3B
Nick Blount – RHP

DASH DOTS:

• The Dash are at the brink of postseason elimination. With four regular season contests remaining, Winston-Salem stands four-and-a-half games behind Salem for the final Southern Division playoff spot. One Dash loss, Red Sox win or Carolina Mudcats win would end their postseason hopes.

• Catcher Michael Marjama went 2-for-5 with two singles and scored the go-ahead run in the 11th inning on Thursday. During his last nine games, the California native is batting .378 (14-for-37) with six runs scored.

• Outfielder Nick Basto’s bunt single in the eighth inning extended his hitting streak to six games. It’s the fourth time this season that the 20-year-old has recorded a hitting streak of at least six games.

• First baseman Keon Barnum tallied a double and an RBI in Thursday’s contest. The 21-year-old is now on a six-game hitting streak and has amassed at least one hit in 12 of his last 13 games.

• Right-hander Raul Fernandez tossed three scoreless innings out of the bullpen to earn the win on Thursday. The 24-year-old hasn’t allowed a run in any of his last four outings, spanning nine innings.

• The Dash won for the 11th time in their last at-bat this season and improved to 4-6 in extra-inning games. That includes a 3-2 mark away from BB&T Ballpark.

• Tonight marks the final meeting of the season between the Dash and Pelicans. Myrtle Beach captured 12 of the first 19 matchups and went 7-2 against Winston-Salem at home.

• Right-hander Nick Blount will toe the rubber for the Dash tonight. During his first High-A start against Carolina last Sunday, the Georgia native allowed two runs and five hits in four innings, finishing with a no-decision in the 7-5 setback against the Mudcats. In three appearances with the Dash, the 23-year-old has a 2.25 ERA in eight innings.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Tonight’s game is available live on wsdash.com/broadcast. The Pregame Dash begins at 6:50 p.m., with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05.

- Dave

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