Results tagged ‘ Carolina League ’

Coats’ MVP case

Jason Coats (right) is a contender to win Winston's fourth straight MVP award (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Jason Coats (right) is a contender to win Winston’s fourth straight MVP award (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Outfielder Jason Coats has earned a well-deserved promotion to Double-A Birmingham after turning in one of the best seasons by an offensive player in the Carolina League this season.

Even though he will spend his final few weeks in the Southern League, Coats is on a short list of MVP contenders here in the CL. He is likely the Dash’s best chance to continue an incredible streak. Winston-Salem has claimed the league’s Most Valuable Player award in each of the previous three seasons.

No team had accomplished this feat since Lynchburg rattled off four consecutive MVPs from 1983-86. Here is how Coats’ numbers compare to those of the last three MVPs in the Dash purple:

2011 – Ian Gac: .279, 33 HR, 96 RBIs
2012 – Dan Black: .315, 17 HR, 88 RBIs
2013 – Chris Curley: .280, 24 HR, 92 RBIs
2014 – Jason Coats: .291, 15 HR, 72 RBIs

Coats’ promotion is a huge step for a tremendous player, and it is what Minor Leagues ultimately want. However, this jump to Double-A prevents Coats from logging 20 more games in Winston-Salem. Gac, Black and Curley all started and finished their MVP seasons in High-A.

If you extrapolate Coats’ numbers out over these final 20 games, you would get 18 homers and 85 RBIs, which are both right in the range of the MVP trio listed above.

Fortunately, though, Coats is not fighting against those numbers and players. He is competing with the current crop of Carolina Leaguers. The Allen, Texas, native leaves the Carolina League while still leading the way in hits (125), doubles (35), total bases (209), and games played (115).

He is currently in the top 10 in the three triple crown categories listed above: ninth in batting average, tied for fourth in home runs and second in RBIs.

Coats has superior numbers to most players in the Carolina League. His main competition figures to come against Myrtle Beach’s Joey Gallo, who dominated this league, but only for two months. He hit .323 with 21 homers and 50 RBIs in just 58 games, leading the Pelicans to an emphatic first-half Southern Division title.

However, Coats has a tremendous case, and one that could lead Winston-Salem to history. For now, we thank the former TCU star for all he brought to the Dash. Maybe he will leave us with a parting gift in a few weeks when the MVP award is announced.

– Brian

Familiar face rejoins Winston-Salem

The newest member of the Dash summed up the news pretty well on Twitter.

Indeed, right-hander Terance Marin is back with Winston-Salem, the White Sox announced Friday morning. Originally signed by Chicago as a non-drafted free agent in 2010, Marin was in the system until April 9 when he was released from the Dash’s roster. Less than three months later, Marin is back in the system and in the Dash’s rotation. He will start for Winston in its middle match against Salem on Friday.

Marin did not give up on his professional aspirations. The Newman, Calif., native signed with the Evansville Otters of the independent Frontier League, and he dominated to the tune of a 4-1 record and a 2.05 earned run average in six starts.

His short stint in Evansville was stellar. Check out some of these numbers, courtesy of Evansville broadcaster Mike Radomski:

  • Marin took a no-hitter into the fifth inning in three of his six outings with the Otters.
  • The righty whiffed 11 batters in back-to-back outings on May 24 and May 30.
  • Marin averaged more than six and a half innings per start. His affiliated career high is 6.2 frames, though he did not start many games in the Minors.

With Marin’s addition, the Dash’s roster is at the Carolina League maximum of 25. He will be the 11th hurler to start a game for Winston-Salem this season.

Stay tuned for a full preview of Friday’s clash against Salem here on the Dash Board.

– Brian

Unlucky 15 for Dash, Keys

Trends are an important part of baseball. Managers and coaches rely on them to set up strategy, while players use them to determine their approach on the mound, in the field or at the plate.

Generally speaking, weather can be extremely unpredictable. Forecasts can change from hour-to-hour, giving meteorologists nightmares whenever their predictions are wrong. But a trend has even emerged among Mother Nature during this baseball season: the Winston-Salem Dash and Frederick Keys will have their game postponed if it is scheduled on the 15th of the month at BB&T Ballpark.

Tarp covers the field at BB&T Ballpark on Thursday, May 15.

Tarp covers the field at BB&T Ballpark on Thursday, May 15.

On Tuesday, April 15, the Dash and Keys were slated to begin a three-game series in the Triad, but rain disrupted those plans, causing a doubleheader for that Wednesday. It was the first of three times in April where weather altered Winston-Salem’s schedule.

Fast-forward to Thursday, May 15, with the Dash and Keys set to begin a four-game series at BB&T Ballpark. Once again, Mother Nature got in the way, leading to this evening’s doubleheader.

It’s purely coincidence that Frederick was the scheduled opponent on both occasions, and that both postponements were on the 15th of the month. Still, we couldn’t help but look at the remaining schedule to see if the Dash and Keys will play on the 15th during the rest of the season.

Thankfully, they don’t. All of the remaining series with Frederick occur after the All-Star Break: June 25-27 and July 19-21 in Maryland, as well as July 29-31 at BB&T Ballpark.

Even with something as volatile and unpredictable as weather, baseball has a strange and fascinating way of producing trends. Remember last year when we discovered the key to quick baseball games? Simply offer all-you-can-eat food!

Since it’s the 16th of the month, the Dash and Keys will be able to play baseball. Two games, in fact. Stay tuned later for a preview of Friday’s doubleheader.

– Dave

Game #22 Preview – Dash at Salem

Game #22 – Road Game #11
Winston-Salem Dash (7-14) at Salem Red Sox (13-9)
Sunday, April 27 – 4:05 p.m.
LewisGale Field (Salem, Va.) 


The Dash rolled to a 7-1 victory over Salem on Saturday in the opening tilt of their four-game series. Winston-Salem has now won two out of its last three contests.

Courtney Hawkins drove home a career high-tying five runs on Saturday (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Courtney Hawkins drove home a career high-tying five runs on Saturday (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).


Tim Anderson – SS
Joey DeMichele – DH
Courtney Hawkins – LF
Keon Barnum – 1B
Jason Coats – RF
Martin Medina – C
Grant Buckner – 3B
Michael Johnson – 2B
Jacob May – CF
J.B. Wendelken – RHP


  • Prior to the game, the White Sox announced that right-handed reliever Brandon Hardin has been activated off the disabled list. Hardin has made four appearances thus far with Winston-Salem. He has allowed just one run on three hits in three and a third innings. He is eligible to play in Sunday’s game.
  • Outfielder Courtney Hawkins tied a career-high with five RBIs in Saturday’s contest. It’s the third time he has reached that mark in his career (all at Salem). The 20-year-old also drove in five against the Red Sox on April 8 in a 12-11 defeat.
  • With his five-RBI performance Saturday, Hawkins reclaimed the Carolina League’s lead for RBIs. He now has 25 this season, three more than Myrtle Beach’s Joey Gallo. His total is tied for second in all of Minor League Baseball. Hawkins ranks second in the circuit to Gallo in home runs, with six (Gallo has nine).
  • Hawkins has tormented Salem this season. In eight games against the Red Sox, the former first-round draft pick is batting .303 with four home runs and 17 RBIs. He has driven in 39.5% of the 43 runs the Dash have scored against Salem in 2014.
  • With his seventh-inning single on Saturday, outfielder Adam Heisler now has at least one hit in all six games he has played against Salem this season. The 25-year-old is batting .571 (12-for-21) against the Red Sox in 2014.
  • Shortstop Tim Anderson went 2-for-5 on Saturday, with two singles, two runs scored and a stolen base. The 20-year-old has now recorded multi-hit games in seven of 20 Dash contests this season, including two straight games.
  • The Dash are now 5-1 this season in games where they score first. Winston-Salem has tallied the opening run in each of their last three affairs.
  • Starting pitcher J.B. Wendelken will try to extend his personal winning streak to three straight decisions. During his most recent outing last Sunday against Salem at BB&T Ballpark, the 21-year-old allowed four runs and nine hits in five innings, but earned the win in a 10-8 Dash triumph. Wendelken is 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA this season.


Today’s game is available live on The Pregame Dash begins at 3:50 p.m., with the first pitch scheduled for 4:05.

– Dave

A rare sight at BB&T Ballpark

The Dash have done plenty of high-fiving at BB&T Ballpark (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

The Dash have done plenty of high-fiving at BB&T Ballpark (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Since moving into BB&T Ballpark for the 2010 season, the Dash have quickly made the downtown facility one of the most-feared destinations for opposing teams.

Winston-Salem has posted the fourth-best home record in full-season Minor League Baseball during the BB&T Ballpark era, entering tonight with a 173-115 (.601) mark. Only the Savannah Sand Gnats (Low-A, San Francisco) of the South Atlantic League (172-110, .610), the Durham Bulls (Triple-A, Tampa Bay) of the International League (181-116, .609) and the Hagerstown Suns (Low-A, Washington) of the South Atlantic League (170-112, .603) have better winning percentages at home during that span.

While all teams will have the occasional hiccups at their ballpark, the Dash have done an incredible job of bouncing back from lackluster performances. In BB&T Ballpark’s history, Winston-Salem has only been swept twice in 86 previous series!

Unfortunately, one of those sweeps just occurred this week. The Frederick Keys won three straight in the Triad, capturing both ends of Wednesday’s doubleheader, 5-3 and 2-0, before leaving town with a 7-3 victory Thursday night.

The only other sweep came at the hands of the eventual Carolina League champion Salem Red Sox on August 14-16, 2013. The Dash put up a great fight in all three games, losing 5-4 in 10 innings during the opener before being dealt consecutive 2-1 setbacks. This first sweep did not take place until the 82nd series in the facility’s history.

There have been eight other attempts to sweep Winston-Salem within their home confines, and the Dash have emerged victorious on each occasion. In those contests, Winston-Salem outscored their opponents by a 58-31 margin.

For comparison’s sake, the Dash have successfully swept their opponent 18 times at BB&T Ballpark. 18-2 is still quite a lopsided score!

The Dash will look to get back to their winning ways tonight, with the beginning of a four-game series against the Salem Red Sox. We will have a preview of tonight’s game later on the blog.

– Dave

Game #5 Preview – Dash at Salem

Game #5 – Road Game #1
Winston-Salem Dash (2-2) at Salem Red Sox (4-0)
Tuesday, April 8 – 7:05 p.m.
LewisGale Field (Salem, Va.)


The Dash earned a four-game series split with the Wilmington Blue Rocks, winning 7-1 on Sunday afternoon. Winston-Salem now hits the road for the first time this season, meeting a Red Sox team that swept four games from the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Opening Weekend. This is Salem’s home opener.


Jacob May – CF
Tim Anderson – SS
Courtney Hawkins – LF
Keon Barnum – 1B
Jason Coats – RF
Joey DeMichele – 2B
Martin Medina – C
Nick Basto – 3B
Michael Marjama – DH
Mike Recchia – RHP


  • Dash outfielder Courtney Hawkins has a four-game hitting streak to start the season. It’s his longest since August 5-10, 2013, when he hit in six straight games. Hawkins is the only Winston-Salem player to have at least one hit in all four games in 2014, and he leads the Carolina League with six RBIs.
  • Dash infielder Nick Basto tied a career-high in hits on Sunday, going 3-for-4 with two singles, a double and two RBIs. The 20-year-old achieved a three-hit day five other times in his pro career, most recently on August 3, 2013, when he was with Low-A Kannapolis against Hagerstown.
  • Last season, the Dash posted a 34-36 mark away from BB&T Ballpark. Since becoming the Dash in 2009, the franchise has a 169-176-1 (.490) all-time road record.
  • Salem boasts a 10-game regular season winning streak dating back to last year, and if you include their 2013 playoff games, the Red Sox have won 15 straight. The all-time Carolina League record for consecutive regular season victories is 16, set by the 1950 Winston-Salem Cardinals.
  • Through four games, Winston-Salem has the second-best earned run average in the Carolina League (2.50). The Dash pitching staff allowed just 10 earned runs in the opening series against Wilmington.
  • Probable starting pitcher Mike Recchia made five starts with the Dash last season, going 1-0 with a 4.88 ERA. He has made 13 starts during his affiliated minor league career (69 appearances) but led the Frontier League in innings pitched, complete games and shutouts with the independent Windy City ThunderBolts in 2012.


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

– Dave

Reflecting on a 16-game winning streak

Earl Weaver was the star of the Carolina League's best team of all time--the 1950 Winston-Salem Cardinals. He is remembered at BB&T Ballpark with this plaque.

Earl Weaver was the star of the Carolina League’s best team of all time–the 1950 Winston-Salem Cardinals. He is remembered at BB&T Ballpark with this plaque.

Tonight, the Dash begin a three-game series against the Salem Red Sox, the defending champions of the Carolina League. They are 4-0 to start the 2014 season after wrapping up last year’s regular season with victories in their last six contests.

The 10-game regular season winning streak is incredibly impressive, and if you include their playoff run to the 2013 Mills Cup Championship, the Red Sox have come out on top in 15 straight games.

The Carolina League record for consecutive regular season wins is 16, and it resides in the Triad! Today, we reflect on one of the great teams in Minor League Baseball history: the 1950 Winston-Salem Cardinals.

(NOTE: Because postseason wins are involved with this consecutive streak, we are not sure if, by the Carolina League record books, Salem’s streak is 10 games or 15 games. We have an e-mail into league president John Hopkins about this. However, our guess is that the postseason wins will not count because postseason stats are not added to a player’s overall line).

The Cardinals were the first Carolina League team to crack the century-mark for wins in a season, going 106-47 in 1950. They finished a whopping 19 games ahead of the second-place Danville Leafs. In the playoffs, the Cardinals defeated the Reidsville Luckies and Burlington Bees to complete their championship year.

While Winston-Salem’s offensive numbers weren’t eye-popping individually, they collectively led the league in runs-per-game. They also featured the best pitching in the Carolina League and tied for the league lead in fielding percentage.

During a two-week stretch in June, the Cardinals bulldozed the competition, breaking the consecutive wins record set by Burlington in 1948 (13 games). When it was all said-and-done, the 16-game winning streak became the new standard for Carolina League success.

Among players, Wilmer “Vinegar Bend” Mizell had the most successful Major League career of anyone on the Winston-Salem roster. He pitched for nine seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets, compiling a 90-88 record and 3.85 ERA.

The most famous man on that 1950 Cardinals team, however, never played a day in the Majors. Earl Weaver was Winston-Salem’s second baseman that season, hitting .276. He later rose to prominence as manager of the Baltimore Orioles, leading that squad for 17 years. During his time in Baltimore, Weaver won 1,480 games, four American League pennants and the 1970 World Series. One of the most colorful skippers in baseball history, Weaver was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1996.

Since that historic Winston-Salem winning streak was established, it has only been challenged a couple of times. The 1959 Raleigh Capitals rattled off 15 straight wins, and the 2006 Salem Avalanche won 14 in a row. But the 1950 Cardinals remain atop the mountain, and this year’s Dash squad will look to defend Winston-Salem’s honor and halt the latest challenge.

– Dave

Game #4 Preview – Dash vs. Wilmington

Game #4– Home Game #4
Winston-Salem Dash (1-2) vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (2-1)
Sunday, April 6 – 2 p.m.
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, NC) 


The Dash earned their first win of the season Saturday night, 3-2 over the Blue Rocks. Outfielder Courtney Hawkins slugged a home run for the second straight game, and also drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning. Jarrett Casey pitched two scoreless innings in relief to notch his first win of 2014.

Courtney Hawkins is 4-for-10 with five RBIs in the first three games (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Courtney Hawkins is 4-for-10 with five RBIs in the first three games (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).


Jacob May – CF
Tim Anderson – SS
Courtney Hawkins – RF
Keon Barnum – 1B
Jason Coats – RF
Martin Medina – C
Grant Buckner – DH
Nick Basto – 3B
Michael Johnson – 2B
Braulio Ortiz – RHP


  • Dash outfielder Courtney Hawkins hit a home run for the second consecutive game Saturday night. The last time he went deep in back-to-back tilts was June 3-4, 2013, when he hit three dingers in two games at Salem. Including the postseason, Hawkins has hit a homer in two straight games three times in his minor league career.
  • Shortstop Tim Anderson fell a home run short of the cycle on Saturday night, going 3-for-4. His three hits tied a career-high, which he achieved three times at Low-A Kannapolis in 2013.
  • Today marks the first day game of the season for the Dash. Last season, Winston-Salem went 13-11 in matinee contests. That includes a 7-7 record at BB&T Ballpark.
  • Winston-Salem will play its 700th regular season game as the Dash on Sunday afternoon. Since changing its nickname from Warthogs to Dash prior to the 2009 season, Winston boasts a 382-316-1 (.547) record, which is the best in the Carolina League over that span.
  • Probable starting pitcher Braulio Ortiz has the most professional starts of any man in the Dash rotation, with 23. The next-highest total among Winston-Salem starters is Tony Bucciferro, who tossed the opening pitch for the 16th time in his career Saturday night.


Today’s game is available live on, with Brian Boesch and Dave Polaski providing play-by-play. Every Dash game is also available on

– Dave

Carolina Countdown – Wilmington Blue Rocks

The Blue Rocks will host this year's All-Star Game (photo courtesy of the Wilmington Blue Rocks).

The Blue Rocks will host this year’s All-Star Game (photo courtesy of the Wilmington Blue Rocks).

Our 2014 Carolina League preview concludes with the Wilmington Blue Rocks. If you missed any of the previous Carolina Countdown entries, click here to catch up!

INTRODUCTION: The Wilmington Blue Rocks have been part of the Carolina League since 1993, but their history extends beyond that point. The franchise began play in 1976 as the Peninsula Pilots, a High-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. After a couple of name and parent club changes, the team moved to Wilmington following the 1992 season. They have won four championships in the Blue Rocks era, the most recent coming in 1999. Wilmington is under control of the Kansas City Royals.

LAST SEASON: The Blue Rocks finished 2013 in third place in the Northern Division, with a 63-77 overall record. The northern-most team in the league, Wilmington struggled on the road last season, going 29-41 away from Frawley Stadium. They posted a 34-36 home mark.

Left-hander Sam Selman was the ace of the Wilmington pitching staff last season, finishing tied for the Carolina League lead in wins (11), while tying for second in games started (27). He was third in the league in strikeouts (128) and seventh in ERA (3.28). Opponents batted a paltry .197 against Selman, which was the best mark in the league. In the bullpen, Andrew Triggs ranked fifth in the league in saves (9). Offensively, infielder Jared Schlehuber led the Blue Rocks with a .299 batting average and 59 RBI in 78 games.  Infielder Dennis Raben topped the team in home runs (12).

MANAGER: Darryl Kennedy returns to Wilmington for his second stint as manager. The 45-year-old skippered the Blue Rocks to a 69-71 record in 2008, qualifying for the Mills Cup playoffs. Kennedy, who managed the Surprise Royals in the Arizona League during each of the last four seasons, replaces Vance Wilson, who moves to the same position with Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Joining Kennedy in the Wilmington dugout this season will be longtime Blue Rocks’ pitching coach Steve Luebber, who is now in his eighth straight season with the club, as well as hitting coach Jose Castro and bench coach Justin Gemoll.

SYSTEM: The Kansas City Royals contended for an American League postseason berth until the final week of the 2013 regular season, so 2014 brings an air of expectation to the once-dormant franchise. While trades remain a possibility to get over the hump this season, the Royals prefer remaining focused on developing homegrown talent for both the present and future.

One player to watch is Raul A. Mondesi, a shortstop who played in 125 games with Low-A Lexington last season. The son of retired Major League outfielder Raul Mondesi, the 18-year-old is rated by Baseball America as the third-best prospect in the Royals’ organization.

On the mound, Miguel Almonte is a name to remember. The 20-year-old posted a 6-9 record and a 3.10 ERA in 25 starts with Low-A Lexington last season, finishing fifth in the South Atlantic League in strikeouts (132). He is ranked as the Royals’ fifth-best prospect, according to Baseball America.

sportscenter_50_50_200pxBEST PROMOTION: Wilmington is home to the California League/Carolina League All-Star Game in 2014, and this year’s Home Run Derby will be unique to players and fans alike. On Monday, June 16 at Frawley Stadium, sluggers from both leagues will be hitting from center field toward the main grandstand in a special twist to the classic contest. Bring your baseball gloves!

FUN FACT: The Blue Rocks were featured on ESPN’s SportsCenter in 2005, as part of the “50 States in 50 Days” segment. Then-ESPN personality Matt Winer reported from the third-base line concourse at Frawley Stadium, and the crowd of 7,535 for the August 19 game against Lynchburg was the largest in team history.

BLUE ROCKS IN WINSTON-SALEM: The Blue Rocks will be at BB&T Ballpark for the opening series of the 2014 season, a four-game set beginning Thursday. Wilmington will also be in town on June 9-11 and July 4-6.

– Dave

Carolina Countdown – Salem Red Sox

After a few days off, we continue our season preview with the Salem Red Sox, the defending Carolina League champions.

INTRODUCTION: The Salem Red Sox have been a part of the Carolina League since 1968. Originally known as the Salem Rebels, the team has been affiliated with the Pirates, Padres, Rangers, Rockies and Astros before coming under Red Sox control in 2009. Salem has won five league championships.

The Red Sox surged down the stretch en route to the 2013 Mills Cup.

The Red Sox surged down the stretch en route to the 2013 Mills Cup.

LAST SEASON: The Red Sox enter 2014 as the defending CL champions. They went undefeated in their postseason run to the Mills Cup, sweeping Myrtle Beach in the semifinals and taking all three games against Potomac in the finals. Salem finished the regular season in second place in the Southern Division with a 76-64 overall record.

Catcher Blake Swihart finished fifth in the Carolina League in batting average (.298) and tied for third in triples (7) in 103 games. Outfielder Keury De La Cruz ranked second in the league in RBI (89), third in doubles (36) and tied for third in extra-base hits (51). Among pitchers, Mike Augliera went 9-6 with a 4.23 ERA while leading the staff in innings (140.1), and lefty Henry Owens finished fourth in the league in strikeouts (123).

MANAGER: Carlos Febles will run things this season, replacing Billy McMillon, who moves up to Double-A Portland as their manager. Febles spent the last two seasons as manager at Low-A Greenville. The 37-year-old spent six years in the Major Leagues during his playing career, all with the Kansas City Royals. Joining Febles in 2014 will be pitching coach Kevin Walker, who returns for his fourth season in Salem, and U.L. Washington as the hitting coach. Washington coached with Febles in Greenville last year.

SYSTEM: The Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2013, using a mixture of veterans acquired through free agency and homegrown talent that is maturing at the Major League level. Even with that success, there are still some intriguing prospects worth watching for the future. In fact, the Sox have one of the top systems in baseball, especially at the upper levels.

One name to keep in mind is Trey Ball, a left-handed pitcher who was the first-round pick of the Red Sox in 2013 (#7 overall). The 19-year-old received his first taste of pro ball in the Gulf Coast League, making five starts while posting a 6.43 ERA. Given his lofty draft status, Ball may see a steady advancement through the Red Sox system.

Another player to watch for the future is Manuel Margot, a 19-year-old outfielder who spent last season with Lowell. Margot hit .270 with one home run, 21 RBIs and 18 stolen bases with the Spinners. He will likely start 2014 with Low-A Greenville.

BEST PROMOTION: On Saturday, April 12, Salem will host “Boston Red Sox Championship Night” for their game against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The 2013 World Series trophy will be in attendance at LewisGale Field, where fans will receive the opportunity to have pictures taken with it.

FUN FACT: Salem, Virginia is an important city on the college athletics landscape. It is home to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, which is the NCAA Division III annual national championship game in football. Salem also hosts the Division III national championship in men’s basketball every year.

RED SOX IN WINSTON-SALEM: The Salem Red Sox will first appear at BB&T Ballpark for a four-game series on April 18-21. The defending champions will also be in Winston-Salem on June 19-21, as well as August 19-21.

Tomorrow, our preview concludes with the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Talk to you then.

– Dave


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