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With some tumultuous roster changes near the end of the week, the Dash staggered their way to a 1-5 record. They are 5-13 in their last 18 games played, 20-30 in the second half, and 53-63 overall.
It’s time to be honest: Things are probably not going to get much better from here on out. With the creation of Project Birmingham, an innovative player development strategy that concentrates virtually every top White Sox prospect at one level (which one is forever a mystery), the Dash’s already-struggling roster was scythed of elite talent. Not that none still exists, but the remaining players—while still productive and having potential futures in the game—just aren’t projected to have the ceilings of a Colson Montgomery or a Bryan Ramos. Which, y’know, most people aren’t, so welcome to the club.
Promoted from the Dash to the Barons this week to re-join Oscar Colás and Yoelqui Céspedes at Prospectpalooza: starter/reliever Garrett Schoenle, starting pitcher Drew Dalquist, outfielders Luis Mieses and Duke Ellis, third baseman Bryan Ramos, catcher Adam Hackenberg, shortstop Colson Montgomery, and first baseman/catcher Tyler Osik. Reliever Alejandro Mateo was bumped up a few days prior to the Prospect Rapture and may be on a fast track to Charlotte due his age of 28.
Joining the team from the Barons above: relievers Angel Acevedo and Haylen Green and catcher Ivan González.
Joining the team from the Cannon Ballers below: outfielder James Beard, catcher Colby Smelley, and second baseman Andy Atwood.
Joining the team after signing as a free agent on Aug. 24, one day post-rapture: first baseman Riley Jepson. 25 years old, Jepson played 78 games for the Sox-affiliate-turned-indy-team Great Falls Voyagers over this and last season, batting .410/.527/.649 with eight home runs, 48 walks, 22 strikeouts, and 18 stolen bases in 21 attempts (all considered to be, “good”).
Starting pitcher Chase Solesky was also activated from the injured list, which admittedly is not the biggest news within these paragraphs, but between his return from a thankfully brief stay and Brooks Gosswein’s promotion from Kannapolis last week, the starting rotation is a bit shored up.
Top Pitching Performances:
Brooks Gosswein (August 18): 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R (0 ER), 2 BB, K, HBP (season, two levels: 91.2 IP, 92 H, 59 R (49 ER), 49 BB, 81 K, 4.81 ERA, 1.54 WHIP)
Tommy Sommer (August 19): 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 4 K (season, two levels: 101 IP, 79 H, 40 R (33 ER), 36 BB, 108 K, 2.94 ERA, 1.14 WHIP)
Nick Gallager (relief): 3.1 IP, 3 H, R, 3 BB, 4 K, HBP (season, three levels with the Sox: 25 IP, 11 H, 9 R (8 ER), 10 BB, 29 K, 2.88 ERA, 0.84 WHIP)
Cooper Bradford (relief): 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, BB, 6 K (season: 51 IP, 47 H, 25 R (20 ER), 28 BB, 53 K, 3.53 ERA, 1.47 WHIP)
Final Hitting Performances:
Duke Ellis (CF/LF): 6-for-17, 3 R, 2B, RBI, BB, 4 K, 4 SB-0 CS (Dash season: 100 games, .273/.360/.390, 17 doubles, three triples, seven HR, 27 RBI, 45 BB, 108 K, 50 SB-8 CS)
Luis Mieses (RF): 2-for-13, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, 0 BB, K, HBP (Dash season: 106 games, .281/.324/.448, 34 doubles, 12 HR, 72 RBI, 24 BB, 72 K)
Bryan Ramos (3B/DH): 3-for-15, 3 R, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K (Dash season: 99 games, .275/.350/.471, 16 doubles, one triple, 19 HR, 74 RBI, 40 BB, 71 K, 1 SB-0 CS)
Adam Hackenberg (C): 3-for-6, 2 R, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K, 2 HBP (Dash season: .231/.328/.343, 10 doubles, seven HR, 28 RBI, 32 BB, 70 K, 1 SB-1 CS)
Colson Montgomery (SS): 0-for-8, 2 RBI, 3 K, SF (Dash season: 37 games, .258/.387/.417, four doubles, one triple, five HR, 14 RBI, 26 BB, 26 K, 1 SB-0 CS)
Tyler Osik (C/DH): 2-for-11, 3 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, K (Dash season: 89 games, .310/.390/.463, 14 doubles, two triples, 10 HR, 53 RBI, 32 BB, 77 K, 3 SB-2 CS)
Welcome to High-A ball, Brooks Gosswein. The 2021 fourth-rounder made his first start at the level and pitched well, going five innings with zero earned runs, but he did give up two unearned runs on catcher Tyler Osik’s error and was thus on the losing end of a one-hitter. Everhett Hazelwood and Luis Moncada both gave up multiple runs but this one was out of reach almost from the moment it began.
There were a handful of baserunners scattered for the Dash throughout this game while it was still a no-hitter (which was most of it), but the danger of a perfect game ended with two outs in the first with a Bryan Ramos walk. Keegan Fish and Harvin Mendoza were both hit by a pitch. Alsander Womack reached on error.
The no-hitter continued until there was one out in the ninth inning, Ramos again up to the plate. Breaking up the perfect game was not enough and so Ramos singled to break up the no-no. Luis Mieses then grounded into a double play to end the game. Dash lose 7-0.
The Dash were not one-hit, but they were one-runned (the common term for a game lost by one run), falling 4-3 to the hated Crawdads. Tommy Sommer, last year’s 10th-round pick, has pitched decently since his promotion to the team on July 24, and pitched decently here. Before the sixth, he was pitching extremely well, allowing just four hits and no runs. In the sixth, he gave up two leadoff singles, struck a batter out, then found himself in a 3-0 hole after a three-run bomb.
Chase Plymell kept it close in a five-out relief stint, but Skylar Árias allowed a crucial eight-inning solo shot to give the ‘Dads the eventual winning run.
Duke Ellis singled on a bunt to open the eighth, making it to second when Ramos walked and third when Mieses was hit by a pitch. With one out, Womack hit a line out that turned into a run-scoring error, so the bases stayed loaded. Another run scored on a wild pitch, but despite Ben Norman’s walk and Adam Hackenberg being hit by another pitch, that was it.
In the ninth, Ellis doubled Osik to third after a leadoff walk, and he was able to score on Colson Montgomery’s sacrifice fly. It pulled the team within one, which mathematically was not enough. Dash lose 4-3.
Norge Vera delivered the worst outing of his young career and the Dash scraped up just four hits as they lost to the Hickory Crawdads. Vera needed 48 pitches to get four outs; he walked two in the first inning accompanied by a run-scoring single, then gave up another single before walking two more in the second. Cooper Bradford came in with the bases loaded and one out and let two of them score, one on a sacrifice fly and another on a single, before ending the inning. Vera’s line: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 3 K.
Bradford went on to allow three runs of his own, leaving the Dash in a 6-1 hole after three innings. Karan Patel kept the status quo for two innings of work, striking out four, then Ty Madrigal and Nick Gallagher each allowed one more run for eight total by the Crawdads. As a staff, Dash pitching walked 10 and struck out 14.
The Dash scored first, despite the final outcome. In a return of the Duke Ellis special, Duke Ellis singled to start the game, stole second (his 48th), stole third (his 49th), then scored on the throwing error by the catcher.
Their next run didn’t come home until the fifth, when Norman walked, Hackenberg singled him to second, and after Mendoza struck out, Caberea Weaver walked the bases loaded with one out. Ellis forced in a run by walking and Montgomery drove in another with a ground out before the inning was over.
In the seventh, Hackenberg was hit by a pitch to lead off, then Mendoza singled him to third. Weaver came through, kind of, with a forceout grounder that Hackenberg was able to score on. That was the final Dash run, final score 8-4.
Two big innings and one small one secured victory for the Dash on Sunday to salvage the series finale. They piled on four runs in the first inning. With one out, Womack walked, Ramos singled, and Mieses singled, loading the bases. Osik came through with a two-run double, then Fish grounded out and Mieses scored. Osik soon followed on a wild pitch, making it 4-0 Dash.
The last time Cristian Mena was seen, he departed due to injury shortly into his start. Clearly, the organization felt good enough about it to let him make his next start, but hopefully out of an abundance of caution, he only went two innings on 34 pitches, allowing one run along the way.
This made the score entering the fourth inning 4-1 Dash. In that inning, Jason Matthews and Ellis both singled, then executed a double steal; it was Matthews’ fifth and Ellis’s 50th stolen base. Womack walked, and then Ramos made it 6-1 with a two-run single. Not content, Mieses homered for the 12th time, clearing the bases and putting the Dash up 9-1.
Out of the bullpen, Garrett Schoenle put down two sharp innings, but after Wilber Pérez handled the fifth with no trouble, he allowed three doubles and two singles in the fifth to let the Crawdads back in it at 9-5.
Osik gave the Dash some breathing room with a solo home run in the seventh, 10-5, which only almost ended up being necessary as Luis Amaya and Hazelwood combined for three runs late. Árias entered with a runner on and retired the side for the save and the Dash victory, 10-8.
One ninth-inning run was not enough to tie or win it, so instead, the Dash lost the opener to their cellar-dwelling neighbors, the Asheville Tourists. This was the first day with many new faces, like 25-year-old Andy Atwood, who doubled in his first at-bat at the level to lead off the first. He took third on a wild pitch that also walked Norman, then the also newly-promoted Colby Smelley singled Atwood home, giving the Dash a 1-0 lead.
Which did not last. Chase Solesky was shaky in his first start back from the injured list and struggled through three innings, the most damage coming from a two-run bomb in the third. He gave up three runs and Plymell followed up by also giving up three runs, all of those in the fifth.
Mendoza went deep for the 10th time in the sixth to cut the Tourists lead to 6-2, then Weaver and Womack also hit solo bombs in the seventh to make it 6-4.
In the ninth, Weaver hit a one-out double and Atwood doubled him in, but Womack grounded out and the rally fell just short, 6-5.
Gosswein’s second Dash start was not quite as good as his first, and he settled for the loss after allowing no runs in three innings and then four runs in 4⅔ innings. Patel relieved him and contributed two more runs, putting the Dash down 6-0. Bradford held things steady with a scoreless inning and a third before Wilber Perez came in and gave up a double, a triple, and a two-run shot in the ninth.
A week that started with a one-hit shutout ended with a five-hit shutout. Womack pulled a Ramos but walking with one out in the first, then newcomer Ivan González singled to lead off the second to end any no-hit threat. Brandon Bossard walked with two outs and a passed ball put runners on second and third for James Beard, a Cannon Baller until recently, who struck out.
González had two of the team’s five hits, both singles, and Womack and Beard both singled as well. Bossard rounded out the hitting with the only extra-base hit, a double. The Dash walked four times and struck out 14 times; final score 9-0.
After the Dash finish this series against the Tourists, which they will on Sunday, they head to Greensboro for six games and then come home for a season-concluding six-game set against the Brooklyn Cyclones.