By: Joey Raymond
Headline Photo Credit: Katie Lovell-LMS Network
SALEM, VA–What’s better than beer and baseball? 3 words for you: beer, baseball, and hockey. Well anyone who has kept up with LegacyMaker, or who’s located in Southwest Virginia and beyond knows the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs have been busy lately. The Dawgs just finished a Cinderella-type season. Gathering up a (32-19-3-2) record and earning a 4 seed in the SPHL playoffs. The Dawgs made quick work of the Evansville Thunderbolts. They won the series 2 games to none, sweeping the Bolts in the opening round. Round 2 was revenge time for the Dawgs. Last year the Peoria Rivermen won the President’s Cup in Roanoke against the Dawgs on home ice. When the Dawgs found out they were playing them in round 2? They relished the opportunity. The Dawgs beat Peoria 2 games to 1, finding their way into the President’s Cup Final for the second straight year.
The Birmingham Bulls were the opponents this time around in the final round. The Dawgs finally climbed the mountain that was the Rivermen and came into this round looking relieved and relaxed. Roanoke came out hot, winning game one in Birmingham 4 to 2, and even though they lost game 2, they came back home with hope. Winning both games 3 and 4 at home in the Berglund Center, and hoisting the President’s Cup at home in front of the fans they affectionately call “The Dawg House”. If you haven’t read those game recaps yet, I highly encourage you to.
The Dawgs began their celebration tour almost immediately after the first bottle of champagne was popped. The Dawgs were spotted in downtown Roanoke the next night at a local bar called Martin’s on karaoke night. They Serenaded the bar crowd with “We are the Champions” by Queen as they raised the President’s Cup. This brings us to tonight, Captain Mac Jansen and company head to the Salem Red Sox for “540 night”. This is the Red Sox’s way of celebrating everything in the local area. The reason is 540 is the local area code and it’s May the 4th. The force is strong in this team. As Dawgs and Sox fans fill in the seats, Mac Jansen will throw the first pitch tonight and give them a chance for the fans to see the President’s Cup up close.
As for the Red Sox, they play the Fayetteville Woodpeckers. Tonight, both offenses struggled to get going. The Woodpeckers did muster up some offense off of mistakes, and let me tell you, the Sox made a lot of them. The Red Sox committed 4 errors in this one. Fayetteville started the scoring in the game by rattling off a run in the top of the second. The Woodpeckers grab another in the fifth inning in large part due to a passed ball and an error from the Red Sox. The next action we see comes in the seventh inning when Fayetteville grabs 2 more, bringing the lead to 4 to 0. The Woodpeckers wouldn’t score again till the ninth inning when they put the pedal down scoring 3 bringing the lead to 7 to 0, which would eventually be the final score.
What is of true spectacle in this game was Fayetteville’s pitching. The Woodpeckers were truly masterful tonight, ultimately bringing a no-hitter into the ninth inning. The Red Sox wouldn’t be no-hit though as Albert Feliz hits a single to give Salem their first hit of the game. Again, mistakes from the Red Sox are kind of a theme in this game though as Feliz gets thrown out, trying to stretch an obvious single into a double. The rest of the batters are at the bottom of the ninth strikeout, bringing this wild game to an end. All in all, though, the fans and the Dawgs got a good chance to celebrate and watch a great night of baseball.
The next chance for the Dawgs and their fan base to celebrate will be Saturday, May 6th. Where they will have a parade through downtown Roanoke. They will be hosting a “block party” of sorts at their home arena, The Berglund Center. As for the Red Sox and Woodpeckers, they’ll play each other again Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of this week. Both teams are looking for a way to move up in the standings.