Clear Eyes, Full Swihart, Can’t Lose

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On Tuesday, the Red Sox won 5-4 amidst a spectacular sunset!

Hello again from just outside our nation’s capital,

It’s another steamy afternoon from Pfitzner Stadium, where the Red Sox play once more tonight before returning back home for basically the next two and a half weeks.

Friday is Superhero Night at LewisGale Field, but if Blake Swihart keeps hitting, he won’t need a costume. As the game notes below outline, Swihart has registered back-to-back three-hit games to bring his season average up to .287, its zenith for the season. The former first-round pick is certainly making considerable developmental strides, and it’s been fun to watch the switch-hitting catcher gain confidence as the season has progressed.

2013 Red Sox Minor League Headshots Sunday, March 10, 2013. (Brita Meng Outzen/Boston Red Sox)

RHP Madison Younginer

Salem did make another couple roster moves today, sending outfielder Kevin Heller back to extended spring training. In his place, the Sox received RHP Madison Younginer, a seventh-round pick from 2009 who has pitched with Greenville this season. Over his last five outings with the Drive, Younginer permitted just one run on three hits over seven and a third innings, with 10 strikeouts and one walk. Certainly, those recent numbers look worthy of a promotion.

Thanks to those of you who have commented on my unique opportunity to be a part of ESPN’s College Ultimate coverage over the weekend in Madison. Three hours of ultimate frisbee aired on ESPNU last night, a great achievement for an amazing sport that will gradually become more and more popular as it receives more exposure. That’s a guarantee.

Working alongside Mike Couzens, the broadcaster for the Fort Wayne Tin Caps in the Midwest League, we recorded game recaps for each of the six games we called. An example of one looks like this:

If you’re interested in watching more, here is the playlist for all the game recaps that we did: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWEnn7sfpwY&list=PLCrRvIxw-XKLc7eSnHuwlBINSIs-fpp74&index=5

Today’s Salem Sox game notes, with more details about Swihart, Garin Cecchini, and Sean Coyle, are below…

Hope you’ll tune in for the radio broadcast, kicking off at 7 PM on ESPN Radio, AM 1240 WGMN Roanoke and online right here.

Tonight’s lineup:

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No matter what sport you play, heed Coach Taylor’s wisdom,
Evan

*****

May 30, 2013 7:05 PM Salem Red Sox (21-28) vs. Potomac Nationals (27-24) Game #50

Pfitzner Stadium                     Woodbridge, VA                          Road Game #30

Probable Starters: RHP Mike Augliera (4-1, 3.44) vs RHP Blake Schwartz (4-1, 1.00)

Thursday Night Lights: The Red Sox head into Thursday night’s ballgame in search of a series split with the Nationals. After the game, the Sox will head back to the Roanoke Valley to sleep in their own beds for the final two and a half weeks of the first half. Starting on Friday night, the Red Sox will play 20 games in the next 17 days, all but four of which will be at the cozy confines of LewisGale Field. And Salem’s four road games (over three days) during this stretch will be in Lynchburg, a location that Salem commutes back-and-forth to when it plays the Hillcats. After tonight, the Sox will have played 20 home games and 30 road games this season, a fact that will be offset by 16 of the next 20 at home.

Clear Eyes, Full Swihart, Can’t Lose: Bolstered by back-to-back three-hit nights, Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart has lifted his full-season average to .287. In fact, since starting the year 2-for-18 over his first five games, Swihart is batting .315 in his last 33 games, the second-best clip in the league in this span since April 13 (trailing only teammate Garin Cecchini, .346). While Swihart hasn’t tripled since May 5, he still leads the league with five three-baggers on the year. On Wednesday night, he drove in multiple runs for the first time this season. In his last four games, Swihart has seven hits and four walks, reaching base 11 times in 16 plate appearances.

Garin-Teed: Wednesday’s two-hit performance gave Garin Cecchini 19 multi-hit games on the season, sitting his batting average at a league-best .356 heading into Thursday night. His .588 slugging percentage remains first as well, despite the fact that Cecchini has gone without an extra-base hit in his last 10 games.  His on-base percentage is also #1 in the circuit, currently at a fantastic .464 mark that is buoyed by 28 walks in 45 games, third-most in the league. On May 30, 2012, Jackie Bradley Jr. led the league with a .358 average, .484 OBP, and .537 slugging %.

A Constant Deep Threat: Since Sean Coyle only has gone yard once in his last 19 games, it can be easy to forget that he still is second in the league with 10 home runs on the year. Coyle belted nine round-trippers in his first 17 games, going deep nine times in his first 69 at-bats. After belting two home runs on May 4, Coyle endured a rough stretch, mustering just one hit in his next nine games. Since May 16, however, Coyle is batting .308 (12-for-39) over his last 10 contests. The second-baseman has also played errorless ball defensively since making his only miscue of the season on Opening Day, April 5.

Finding Paydirt: While the Sox could not score enough on Wednesday, Salem did enjoy its 68th consecutive game with at least one run. The Red Sox have not been shutout since August 12, 2012 at Wilmington. Salem is the only team in the Carolina League to score at least one run in every game so far in 2013.

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