Chris Salvey's three-run home run lifts Winchester Royals over Front Royals Cardinals
FRONT ROYAL – Trailing 3-2, the Winchester Royals put men on first and second to lead off the eighth inning. After Samyr Santos laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance each runner 90 feet, the table was set for Dominic Peroni.
Although, he went down swinging on four pitches, marking the tenth strikeout of the game for the offense and Peroni’s third of the game. With two outs, it seemed Winchester would yet again leave runners in scoring position in a late-game situation.
That is until Chris Salvey came to the plate.
“Earlier in the game, my first three at-bats were pretty bad,” Salvey said. “The last couple games, I’ve been struggling a bit and getting outside myself.”
Salvey took a hefty hack at a 0-1 fastball and sent it out to deep left field. He stood there admiring the drive, dropped his bat near home plate and started trotting.
“I’m looking for the ball and no one is moving, and then I see (Salvey) circling bases and I was like, alright,” Royals manager Jacob Mays said.
The ball cleared the left-center field wall with ease, as Salvey’s three-run home run gave the Royals its first win of the season over the Front Royal Cardinals at Bing Crosby Stadium on Friday night, 5-3.
“I felt they were going to come at me with a fastball, so I just tried to find my swing, cut it down, keep it short and just get the bat on the ball,” Salvey said.
Evan Richardson got the ball for Winchester and threw seven innings. He was charged with three earned runs on four hits while striking out three hitters. The only glaring statistic is the six walks Richardson issued, three of which scored.
“I couldn’t ask for (Richardson) to throw a better game other than the three walks he had that score,” Mays said. “I’m very proud of him. He was someone that started in the bullpen, got an opportunity, and made the best of it tonight.”
The Royals initiated scoring in the first inning. With the bases loaded, Santos (2-for-3, 2 RBI, BB) roped a double off the left field wall to bring in two runs. The Cardinals answered in the bottom of the frame with a sac fly from Andrew Burden to cut the Winchester’s lead in half.
In the fifth, Richardson put the first two men on base with walks. A passed ball advanced them to second and third with one out. Christian Avant singled to bring the runners home, but Jordan Huntley threw a bullet from right field to gun down Avant trying to stretch it into a double. Richardson retired the next batter to keep the game at a one-run deficit.
“(Richardson) kept us in the game,” Salvey said. “Had a great start from Evan.”
After Salvey’s homer in the eighth, Front Royal threatened in the bottom half with Alex Cimaroli on first with one out. Will Guay started out the next batter, Spencer Packard, with three consecutive balls. Packard whiffed on the next two pitches and fouled off a couple more.
On the ninth pitch of the at-bat Cimaroli broke for second. Packard went down swinging and Santos fired a throw down to nail Cimaroli to complete the inning-ending double play.
“That’s huge,” Salvey said. “We had the momentum at that point already, but that was kind of the dagger to the other team. When that happened, we knew we had the advantage there.”
Guay pitched to the minimum in the ninth and finished with three strikeouts in his six-out save.
“We got the monkey off our back. The guys showed up to play tonight,” Mays said.
Winchester (1-3) travels to Central High School on Saturday to play the Woodstock River Bandits (1-4). First pitch is slated for 7 p.m.