Top 5 Moments of 2009 Season – #2 Sox Clinch Playoff Berth on Last Day of Regular Season
In what might have been the most exciting day of the 2009 season, the final day of Carolina League games had a variety of possible outcomes that would decide the fate of Salem’s playoff chances. It was a simple scenario: a Salem win at Lynchburg or a Kinston loss at Potomac would secure Salem’s spot in the first round of the playoffs against the Winston-Salem Dash, which means a Salem Red Sox start for international superstar, Daisuke Matsuzaka.
“The thing I remember the most about the last day of the regular season was being in Lynchburg to watch the game and constantly checking the Kinston/Potomac score on my phone. The Kinston game was about an inning ahead of ours and it was more likely they would finish before us so I kept hitting refresh. However, my phone was about 5 minutes slower than MiLB.com’s scoreboard so I kept making Evan (our broadcaster) text me updates every half inning.” – Dave Cawley, Director of Media Relations
“We were losing pretty early in the game, which meant that Kinston’s result became doubly important. When Kinston took an early lead, it seemed like we were doomed for a one-game playoff the next day. But somehow, midway through a tense afternoon, our fortunes shifted for the better. Potomac began to rally against the Indians, and we followed suit. While I broadcasted the action in Lynchburg, I had my computer streaming the Kinston radio call, and occasionally I’d stick a single headphone-bud into my ear to surmise the exact situation. The Sox scored five times in the final three innings to emerge victorious while Potomac simultaneously plated eight in its final three frames to give Salem a cushion. Though it had taken longer than expected, at long last the Salem Sox had clinched a playoff spot, and the ensuing celebration in the visiting clubhouse was a mightily satisfying conclusion to the regular season.” – Evan Lepler, Salem Red Sox Broadcaster
Kinston ended up losing to Potomac minutes before the Salem Sox defeated the Lynchburg Hillcats in dramatic fashion. Salem entered the 9th tied 5-5 and Ryan Dent Scored on a Brad Correll double to push the lead to 6-5 entering the bottom of the 9th. Salem closer Derrick Loop (pictured above) came in and slammed the door, which would lead Salem to one of the most dramatic playoff series in team history.