KANNAPOLIS, N.C. -- The Kannapolis Cannon Ballers have opened their 2022 season with an Opening Weekend series sweep of the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, winning each of their first three games of the season at Atrium Health Ballpark. With the three victories, Kannapolis is above a .500 record for the first time
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. -- The Kannapolis Cannon Ballers have opened their 2022 season with an Opening Weekend series sweep of the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, winning each of their first three games of the season at Atrium Health Ballpark. With the three victories, Kannapolis is above a .500 record for the first time in Cannon Ballers history.
Friday’s victory took extra innings, but a walk-off walk drawn by OF Misael Gonzalez from Woodpeckers pitcher Jayson Schroeder gave the Ballers the victory, 6-5, in extra innings. After starter LHP Brooks Gosswein only lasted the first inning, RHP Jordan Mikel entered out of the bullpen to toss a magnificent three innings. The Illinois-Springfield alumnus fired eight strikeouts in three innings of action, keeping the Woodpeckers off the basepaths. As a unit, the Cannon Ballers pitching staff collected 21 strikeouts across a 39 possible outs.
C Victor Torres put together a solid night at the plate Friday, going 2-3 with a double, a triple, and 3 RBI. INF DJ Gladney lifted a game-tying solo home run into left field in the bottom of the eighth, sending the game into extra innings.
After Friday’s win, the Ballers reconvened and exploded for 16 runs on 14 hits in Saturday’s victory over the Woodpeckers. The 16-8 win was highlighted by an eight-run fifth inning, including a Gladney grand slam for his second home run of the series.
Gonzalez and OF Chase Krogman each contributed a three-hit game, with Krogman collecting a home run and three RBIs along the way. Saturday’s victory saw every Kannapolis starter score runs, with only one Baller batter unable to tally a hit.
HOW SWEEP IT IS
Sunday’s series finale turned out to be an even better day of offense for Kannapolis, with the home team picking up a 18-7 win to complete the series sweep. All but one starter for the Cannon Ballers contributed in the RBI category, with starting DH Colby Smelley putting together a fantastic debut. The Tuscaloosa, Ala. native finished the day with a 3-3 batting line, adding a triple and five RBI.
No. 1 Chicago White Sox prospect SS Colson Montgomery tallied his first multi-hit game of the year Sunday, slashing two doubles and picking up two RBI in Sunday’s game.
ON TO THE NEXT
Following the sweep of Fayetteville, Kannapolis is now tasked with the first road trip of the season. The Ballers will travel to Kinston for a six-game series with the Down East Wood Ducks, Low-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Down East dropped all three of their opening weekend games on the road against the Carolina Mudcats in Zebulon.
The Wood Ducks hold two of the top 30 prospects in the Texas Rangers organization in INF Maximo Acosta (No. 13) and RHP Dane Acker (No. 24). Acosta has struggled at the plate through the two games he has appeared in, going 1-9 with two RBI at the dish. While Acker is currently listed on the roster for Down East, the righty is currently listed on the 60-day-IL.
On offense, Down East is led by C Efrenyer Narvaez, who batted 3-9 with a home run and four RBI against the Mudcats. On the mound, RHP Josh Stephan leads the way with seven strikeouts in four innings pitched. LHP Larson Kindreich tossed a masterful two innings on Saturday, accumulating five strikeouts out of the bullpen.
The Kannapolis Cannon Ballers are on the road against the Down East Wood Ducks, Low-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, April 12-17 at Grainger Stadium before returning home April 19-24. The Ballers will host the Fredericksburg Nationals, Low-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, at Atrium Health Ballpark for their first six-game home series of the season.
Tickets can be purchased for any upcoming home games at kcballers.com or at the F&M Bank Box Office located at Atrium Health Ballpark. Fans can also keep up with the action on the team’s social media outlets, with live in-game updates being provided on Twitter at @kcannonballers.