Written by: Andrew Vigliotti (@Andrew_Vig)
The Winston-Salem Dash outscored the Frederick Keys 21-0 in a 14 1/2 inning span as the bottom of the sixth approached Thursday. The Keys ended that skid with a five spot in the sixth. A three-run home run by Aaron Baker brought the Keys to within an 8-5 margin, but Frederick couldn’t complete the rally as they fell to the Dash by that same score.
After taking the first game of the series, the Keys dropped the final two including a 13-0 loss Wednesday. They head into their first road trip of the season at 3-3. There is disappointment from the team from their last two games, but know they are still in a good position moving forward.
“Everyone has their ups and downs,” Baker said. “It’s important to stay on an even keel as much as possible.”
Baker’s home run was his first of the young season. The Texas native struggled to start the year with a .231 average entering Thursday, but feels the home run helped get his bat into focus.
“Personally it was big, because I have had some tough at bats recently,” he said. “Putting the ball in play is what I am really trying to do at this point.”
Baker said over-swinging has had a lot to do with his struggles to start the season. He said he feels good again at the plate and expects to turn things around.
Manager Orlando Gomez had a tough time wrapping his head around what happened to his team the last couple nights, but is encouraged with how they finished the game.
“The first five innings tonight we were slow offensively, but at least in the sixth inning we came back in the game and had a few more chances after that inning. It was encouraging to see this team try and come back,” he said.
The Keys grounded into three double plays including a critical one in the ninth after a lead off walk to Mike Flacco.
Kyle Simon pitched 5 1/3 innings for the Keys in his second start of the season. He gave up four earned runs on eight hits, walked two and struck out three in a losing effort. Compared to his first outing on opening day, the skipper saw some improvement in the 21-year-old.
“I thought the first three innings he threw the ball a lot better,” Gomez said. “He kept pitches down, but in the fourth inning his slider got a little flat.”
The Keys will look to rebound as they travel to Wilmington to take on the Blue Rocks, who are the affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, this weekend. They come back to host the Potomac Nationals April 16-18.