The Salem Red Sox swept their way to a Carolina League championship as the Pawtucket Red Sox gear up for Game 3 of their International League championship versus the Durham Bulls.
Salem, Boston’s High-A affiliate took home the championship on Tuesday night, after sweeping all five of their Playoff games to end the season on an 11-0 tear. In the Carolina league final, the Sox squared off against the Potomac Nationals, Washington’s High-A club. The last time the Salem franchise won the Mills cup was back in 2001, when it was an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, the Championship also marked the first time that a Boston affiliate had won any High-A championship since the Winston-Salem Red Sox did so in 1973.
The Salem Championship comes despite the fact that they lost their two best players, pitcher Henry Owens and Third Baseman Garin Cecchini, to mid-season promotions. However, Checchini was replaced by the seemingly unstoppable Mookie Betts, who, combined with Second Baseman/Designated Hitter, Sean Coyle, set the Carolina league championship on fire. Betts hit a robust .412 for the series, while Coyle, inactive until just before the start of the series, hit .417. Coyle was named MVP of the series after driving in four runs in the final game and seven across the whole series.
The Pawtucket Red Sox meanwhile will not be quite so lucky in their pursuit of a second straight Governor’s cup. Pawtucket took game one thanks to a strong start from Anthony Ranaudo, who threw six solid innings to give the Paw Sox the win.
Steven Wright, however, was victimized by the Durham Bulls (AAA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays) last night, to the tune of two unearned runs across 6 2/3 innings. By all accounts a good to great start from the knuckleballer, who didn’t receive any run support from a Pawtucket offense which has suffered the losses of both Jackie Bradley Jr and Xander Bogaerts.
Pawtucket will send Matt Barnes to the mound for game three of the series on friday night at 7:05pm EST as the finals shift toPawtucket for the remainder of the best-of-five set. Game 4 will be at McCoy Saturday at 6:05pm EST and Game 5 will be Sunday at 1:05pm EST (if necessary).