RUN AND GUN: Cody Koback might have been just a little too fast for his own good Saturday night.
Salem’s promising ninth inning rally hit the skids on a controversial play, as Koback was thrown out at the plate for a critical out and Winston-Salem held on for a 3-2 victory in front of 3,571 at Salem Memorial Ballpark.
LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING: The Sox trailed 3-0 heading into the ninth, but a Keury De La Cruz double and walks by Stefan Welch and David Chester loaded the bases with one out.
Koback, pinch-running for Chester at first base, was off and running when Mookie Betts laced a ball toward the gap in right-center.
“I initially thought when I was starting from first base that the ball had gotten past him,” Koback said of Dash right fielder Josh Richmond. “So I was rounding second expecting to score.”
Richmond cut the ball off, though, and fired it to the cutoff man. Koback had sped toward third so fast that he was right on the heels of Welch, who was being waved home by manager Billy McMillon.
THE OL’ COLLEGE TRY: Koback misinterpreted the sign as being for him, and by the time he realized it wasn’t, he was hung out between third and home.
“You just make a decision and go with it,” Koback said. “I was too far off the base to get back. When I looked back, he already had the ball and was looking to throw to third base. I just tried to give a fake like I was going to go back.”
Then he dashed for home and was thrown out in a close play that prompted an argument from McMillon.
“I thought I just snuck in barely, because he tagged me in the back of the shoulder,” Koback said. “I thought that my leg had gotten in there.”
As the crowd showered the umpires with boos, Matt Gedman flied out to left to end it.
LOOSE ENDS: UVa alum Cody Winiarski tossed a scoreless eighth inning for the Dash to lower his ERA to 2.91…Salem starter Mickey Pena logged his sixth straight quality start (6 IP, 1 ER) but was tagged with the loss…Jake Cose fired seven three-hit innings for Winston-Salem…Betts had Salem’s only multihit game.
ON DECK: The Sox head to Wilmington for a 5:05 p.m. game today, with Salem RHP William Cuevas (6-7, 5.59) facing Blue Rocks RHP Leonel Santiago (3-1, 3.86). – Aaron McFarling
QUOTES FROM THE CLUBHOUSES
Cody Winiarski, Winston-Salem RHP, UVa alum (link to his stats here)
ON THE INJURY THAT SIDELINED HIM ALL OF LAST YEAR:
“I had a rib taken out. There was a blood clot in my shoulder, so to make room they got rid of the first rib and had to do some rehab after that.”
ON HOW THE RIB IS RELATED TO THE SHOULDER:
“It’s just kind of in there. It doesn’t really affect you afterwards. It’s just the top rib; they say you don’t need it, it’s just there. But once they take it out you’re good to go.”
ON THE REHAB PROCESS:
“It was a lot of work. I had to go to rehab three days a week for nine months or so. I had the surgery in may. I didn’t pick up a baseball until January. That was just to make sure everything healed correctly, and it seemed to be the right move.”
ON IF HE WAS SHOCKED BY THE DIAGNOSIS:
“Yeah, a little bit. It’s something that I had never heard of before. We were in spring training when it happened, and nobody really knew what was going on. It took probably a week before we figured it out. It was a little scary, just because it was a pretty serious surgery. I think my parents were a little more scared than I was, though.”
ON WHAT THE INJURY FELT LIKE:
“I didn’t feel anything, per se. It was all visual. My right arm had swollen, and it changed colors. It was red, just because the blood wasn’t getting out of it. I’d do our workouts – our shoulder program is 1 to 2 pound weights – and it looked like I’d been doing curls for like an hour.”
ON HEALTH NOW:
“Yeah, everything feels great right now.”
ON HOW HE’S BEEN PITCHING:
“I feel good. I’ve been able to go out there in tough situations and have been able to help the team.”
ON WHETHER HE STILL KEEPS UP WITH THE WAHOOS:
“A little bit. I went and watched a game earlier in the season, when they were playing still. We had an off day and they were playing in town.”
ON HAVING ANOTHER UVA ALUM, JEREMY FARRELL, ON THE TEAM:
“I didn’t play with Jeremy, but we’ve got something in common.”
ON GETTING SAVE CHANCES (he’s tied for second in league with 10 saves)
“Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Like tonight, Brandon went out there. We have just as equal faith in him or anyone else out there. It doesn’t matter when we go out there, it’s just fun going out and getting outs for the team.”
ON THE PLAY IN THE NINTH:
“I initially thought when I was starting from first base that the ball had gotten past him. So I was rounding second expecting to score. Got to third base, and me and the runner in front of me were so close that Billy’s waving him and trying to get me to stop. As that happened, I was already past the base too far. I turned and saw the guy at second base already had the ball, and my momentum was already going toward the plate.”
ON WHETHER HE FELT HE WAS SAFE:
“I thought I just snuck in barely, because he tagged me in the back of the shoulder. I thought that my leg had gotten in there.”
MORE ON THE PLAY:
“You just make a decision and go with it. I was too far off the base to get back. When I looked back, he already had the ball and was looking to throw to third base. I just tried to give a fake like I was going to get back.”