Roanoke, Virginia

Saturday, August 4, 2012 - Monday, August 6, 2012

So, that time of the year again - time for Sara and Andrew to head back to Atlanta after spending some time in the northeast with us. Instead of flying them back this year, I decided to do the drive and meet their mother halfway thing. Not sure if that is/was the best choice, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Off we went on Saturday morning, riding down Route 81 (which would be our route for most of the trip). We stopped in Harrisburg at the Lancaster Brewing Company for a bite to eat before continuing on.

Saturday night we made it as far as Salem, Virginia and we made it in enough time that we were able to go to the Salem Red Sox game! (always looking for a sports angle I am!). Nice stadium, definitely a place we will go back to if we have the chance again. Saturday overnight we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Salem. Right off of 81, adequate digs for us to spend the night.

On Sunday, we got up and had breakfast at the hotel before beginning the drive, again. Dropped the kids off in Statesville, North Carolina with their mother and then started north again. Sunday afternoon/evening we stopped in Greensboro for a baseball game. Nice stadium, nothing that made it stand out from the rest though, but we were at least able to check it off the list!

After the game, Jill found a great place called Lucky 32 where we had an awesome meal! This place is worth a revisit if we ever find ourselves near one again. Dinner finished, we drove north as far as Daleville, Virginia and stayed at the Super 8 there - the same one Andrew and I stayed at a year ago. Big rooms, great price - but next time, bring a pillow, the ones they have are hard as rocks.

Monday morning we started north for the final leg home after Jill did some work in the morning. In Staunton, Virginia we had lunch at a place called The Pampered Palate Cafe - again, my bestest gal did a great job finding an out of the way and unique place to eat! To top it off, for dessert we went to The Split Banana for some gellato and in the process found the one reason we will always make a detour off of 81 in the future! The best stuff!

On, on, north we went. We drove as far as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area and it was time for dinner! We actually ate in Duryea at a place called AuRants - another keeper!! Little out of the way hole in the wall, but well worth the detour! Dessert at Rita's and then we finally arrived at home around 9:30...whew!

Salem Red Sox 6, Wilmington Blue Rocks 5

Salem, VA (August 4, 2012) - After missing opportunities to take a lead in the eighth or to win it in the ninth, the Salem Sox finally found the one run they needed to prevail in the last of the 11th. Heiker Meneses' one-out triple prefaced three consecutive two-out walks, with Sean Coyle drawing the game-winning free pass from Antonio Cruiz, bringing home Meneses and giving Salem a 6-5 victory over Wilmington in 11 innings on Saturday night. It was Salem's first walk-off win since August 27, 2011, which also featured Meneses scoring the winning run in the 11th against the Blue Rocks. Nearly a year ago, Shannon Wilkerson's sacrifice fly finished the job, while Cruz issued the game-ending walk to Coyle to give the Sox their second straight win over the Rocks on Saturday evening at LewisGale Field.

Xander Bogaerts led the Red Sox offense that outhit the Blue Rocks 14-8. With two singles, two doubles, and two walks, Bogaerts reached base all six times he came to the plate, and is now hitting .647 (11-for-17) with six doubles in four games in August. Meneses added three hits, finishing a homer shy of the cycle, to pace the Sox.

The game may have ended earlier if not for a huge two-out error made by the Sox in the top of the eighth. With the score tied at four and Geulin Beltre at first, Murray Watts flew a sky-high pop-up to shallow left. Felix Sanchez settled underneath, but dropped it, and Beltre scurried around the bases to score all the way from first. The unearned run gave Wilmington a 5-4 lead, but the Sox would respond in the last of the eighth, with Bogaerts scoring on an RBI single from Shannon Wilkerson to even the score at five.

Salem missed numerous chances to win it in regulation, stranding two in scoring position in the eighth and ninth innings. Wilmington's Orlando Calixte led off the top of the tenth with a double against Michael Gleason, but the Red Sox reliever escaped unscathed. Gleason pitched magnificently, permitting just two hits over three and a third scoreless innings, earning his first win of the season.

Salem scored single runs in the second and third innings against Blue Rocks starter Jason Adam, and Matt Barnes cruised through the first three frames, retiring nine straight after the Angel Franco doubled to start the game. With two outs in the fourth, Calixte's first double of the game drove in Lane Adams to bring the Blue Rocks within one. Down 2-1 in the fifth, the Rocks scored three more runs, all with two outs, to assume a 4-2 lead and chase Barnes from the game.

Barnes allowed four runs on four hits in four and two-thirds, striking out two, walking three, and remaining winless since June 14. The Red Sox bullpen permitted just one unearned run over six and third innings, with Andrew Jones tossing three and Gleason dealing three and a third.

Salem goes for the three-game sweep of the Blue Rocks on Sunday afternoon, with Keith Couch scheduled to take the mound against Andy Ferguson. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05.

Greensboro Grasshoppers 4, Delmarva Shorebirds 3

Greensboro, NC - The Greensboro Grasshoppers (20-24) hit two late home runs to edge the Delmarva Shorebirds (17-25) 4-3 at NewBridge Bank Park on Sunday evening. The Grasshoppers scored the final four runs of the game. The Shorebirds scored first in the third inning. Roderick Bernadina hit a single up the middle to begin the inning. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Mikey Planeta and scored on a two out single towards right-center by Michael Ohlman.

Delmarva extended their lead in the sixth inning. Ohlman drew a lead off walk. Then, Brenden Webb doubled off the top of the right field wall to put runners at second and third. Wynston Sawyer followed with a groundout to short to score Ohlman. Jason Esposito hit a chopper to short that scored Webb to stretch the lead to 3-0.

The Grasshoppers got on the board in the sixth. Aaron Senne tripled off the right-center field wall and scored on a wild pitch.

In the seventh inning, Greensboro trimmed the deficit to one on a solo homer to right field by Ryan Goetz, his fourth of the year.

The Grasshoppers took their first lead of the game in the eighth inning. Juan Guzman issued a one out walk to Ryan Rieger. Two batters later, James Wooster launched a two run homer to right-center field to put Greensboro in front 4-3.

The final eight Shorebirds hitters of the game were retired. Greensboro reliever Frank Reed, in his debut, retired the Shorebirds in order in the eighth and ninth innings to earn the win.

Shorebirds reliever Juan Guzman took the loss over 2.2 innings. He allowed five hits and four runs.

Shorebirds starter Eduardo Rodriguez tossed a five inning shutout, but did not factor into the decision. He yielded just four hits. Rodriguez struck out two and did not issue a walk.

The Shorebirds and Grasshoppers play the series finale on Monday afternoon at 12:30.

Trip Notes:

Our seats for the Red Sox game were Section 104, Row D, Seats 1-2-3-4-5.

Our seats for the Grasshoppers game were Section 113, Row M, Seats 1-2-3.