Game Notes 4/24/14: Broom boys, fresh Danish, Danny Mays Hayes & speaking of streaking…

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS at ROME BRAVES
9-9 (Chicago White Sox)       7-13 (Atlanta Braves)
Thursday, April 24, 2014 – 7:00 p.m.
State Mutual Stadium – Rome, Ga.
Game #19
RH Robinson Leyer (0-2, 9.26) vs. RH Andry Ubiera (0-2, 6.94)

Today’s Preview: Riding their first 3-game winning streak of the season, the Intimidators (A, White Sox) make their only trip of the season to State Mutual Stadium to open a 4-game series against the Rome Braves (A, Braves). Kannapolis has pulled itself up to third in the SAL Northern Division Standings over the last three days but remains 4.5 games behind first place Hagerstown (14-5). The Braves are currently last in the Southern Division, 5.5 games behind Savannah (11-6).

Intimidating Starter: Robinson Leyer, 21, makes his 30th career start and fourth of the season. He is coming off his best start of the season, opening with five scoreless frames at Hickory on April 16, before taking a no decision in 5.2 innings, allowing two unearned runs on four hits. He struck out six batters in the outing, equaling a career-high. In two road starts this season, his ERA is 5.59 (6 ER/9.2 IP). Leyer’s two losses are tied for sixth-most in the South Atlantic League. The younger brother of former Intimidator Euclides Leyer (who is currently with High-A Winston-Salem), spent 2013 with Advanced Rookie Bristol, going 2-7 with a 6.35 ERA over 13 starts. Leyer made 13 starts in his professional debut in 2012 with the DSL White Sox, going 1-4 with a 3.12 ERA in 13 starts. He turned 21 this week.

Rome’s Righty: Andry Ubiera, 20, makes his third start of the season and second at home. In his 11.2 innings this season, he has struck out eight but walked 12. Atlanta signed Ubiera as a non-drafted free agent in 2010, and he made his professional debut with the DSL Braves in 2011, going 4-1 with a 2.66 ERA (15 ER/50.2 IP) with 52 strikeouts. Last season with Advanced Rookie Danville, Ubiera went 3-2 with a 3.74 ERA (22 ER/53 IP) in 11 starts, including one outing against the Bristol (Adv. Rk., White Sox) in which he allowed six runs (three earned) on nine hits over 3.2 innings while taking no decision.

About Last Night:The Intimidators scored two runs in the eighth for a come-from-behind win, 2-1, over the Power, completing a 3-game sweep at Appalachian Power Park.  Trailing 1-0 with one out in the eighth, Jacob Morris singled to score Cleuluis Rondon from second base to tie the game.  After Trey Michalczewski singled, Jeremy Dowdy and Tyler Williams drew walks, pushing the go-ahead run across the plate for a 2-1 advantage. Jordan Guerrero (1-0) made his Class A debut, working 2.0 scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth for the win.  Jose Bautista spun a scoreless, hitless ninth for the save (1).  West Virginia (7-11) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when JaCoby Jones scored on a groundout by Edwin Espinal. Felipe Gonzalez (0-2) took the relief loss, allowing two runs on five hits in 3 and 2/3 innings.

Broom Boys: The Intimidators swept the Power for the first time since taking all five games of a series April 19-23, 2011, against West Virginia in Kannapolis. It’s the team’s first sweep since taking four straight against the Rome Braves June 13-16, 2013, to close the first half.

Fresh Danish: Wednesday’s eighth-inning rally helped Intimidators starter Tyler Danish off the hook for what would have been a hard-luck loss.  Danish, the White Sox second round pick in the June 2013 First-Year Player Draft, matched his career-high with 6.0 innings of work, allowing a run on four hits.  He is 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA (3 ER/20 IP), the sixth-best ERA in the SAL.

Danny Mays Hayes:First baseman Danny Hayes went 1-for-4 Wednesday, extending his hitting streak to five games, batting .316 (6-19) since April 16. The White Sox 13th round pick in the June 2013 draft has also reached base safely in his last 10 games, since April 11, hitting safely in nine of the 10 games. He currently ranks tied for third in the SAL with 12 walks this season.

Speaking of Streaking: Cleuluis Rondon has hit safely in his last six games, batting .357 (10-28) since April 15. He is now batting .308 (24-78) on the season and ranks tied for third in hits and at-bats.

Oh my, Omar: Catcher Omar Narvaez is sitting on a team-best 7-game hitting streak, batting .393 (11-28) since April 10. He started the season batting .059 (1-17) before his recent hot streak, raising his average to .267 (12-45). The 7-game hitting streak is tied for the 14th longest in the SAL this season and is the sixth longest active streak.

Atta-Boy, Adam: Centerfielder Adam Engel is tied for the SAL lead with nine stolen bases this season. His season-high three runs scored on Monday gave him 15 this season, tied for third in the league.

Broadcast: This weekend’s games in Rome will not be broadcast on IntimidatorsBaseball.com. Tonight’s game can be heard on the Rome Braves Baseball Network, available online through romebraves.com. The next Intimidators broadcast will be on Tuesday, April 29, when the Intimidators return to CMC-NorthEast Stadium.


Game Notes 4/23/14: Searching for a sweep in West Virginia…

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS at WEST VIRGINIA POWER
8-9 (Chicago White Sox)          7-10 (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 – 7:05 p.m.
Appalachian Power Park – Charleston, W.V.
Game #18
RH Tyler Danish (2-0, 1.29) vs. RH Buddy Borden (0-1, 2.79)

Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) can sweep their first series of the season with a win on Wednesday against the West Virginia Power (A, Pirates).  Kannapolis sends second rounder Tyler Danish to the mound for his fourth start of the season as the Intimidators look for their first 3-game winning streak since the end of the 2013 season.  Kannapolis leads West Virginia the season-series, 2-1, having dropped a 1-game series at CMC-NorthEast Stadium last week.  The Intimidators are currently in the middle of a 7-game road trip that takes them to Rome, Ga., following this series.

Tyler Danish 2014 480x270Intimidating Starter:Tyler Danish, 19, makes his fourth start and first against West Virginia.  He spun 6.0 innings, a career-high, in a win at Hickory on April 15 in his last outing, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits. In 14.0 innings this season, Danish has 13 strikeouts to five walks. He enters today ranks seventh in the SAL with a 1.29 ERA (2 ER/14 IP). The White Sox drafted him in the second round (55th overall) in the June 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Durant High School in Plant City, Fla., where he was named the 2013 Louisville Slugger National Player of the Year after going 15-1 with a 0.00 ERA (94.0 IP) and 156 strikeouts in his 17 games (15 starts).  Last season, Danish went 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA (4 ER/30 IP) in 15 games between Advanced Rookie Bristol and Class A Kannapolis. Baseball America rated Danish (along with Brad Goldberg) as Closest to the Majors and possessing the Best Secondary Pitch in the Sox 2013 draft class.

Power Pitcher: Buddy Borden, who turns 22 next week, looks to bounce back from his last start as he makes his fourth start of the season and first against Kannapolis.  Borden worked 2/3 of an inning in a loss against Asheville on April 16. He has struck out 11 batters in 9.2 innings this season. The Pirates selected Borden in the seventh round in the June 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of UNLV, where he was 11-9 with a 4.30 ERA in 41 games (27 starts) over three years. Borden made his profession debut in 2013 with Short-A Jamestown, going 0-0 with a 1.09 ERA (2 ER/16.2 IP) in six games (three starts).

About Last Night:The Intimidators beat the Power, 8-6, never trailing after Jacob Morris’s 2-run home run in the first inning provided an early lead. Kannapolis starter James Dykstra picked up his second win, opening with five scoreless frames before getting into trouble in the sixth.  Morris finished the game 2-for-5 with a home run, a triple and two runs scored.  Catcher Omar Narvaez went 2-for-4 with a double to extend his hitting streak to a team-best seven games this season.

Oh my, Omar: Catcher Omar Narvaez went 2-4 with a double on Tuesday, extending his hitting streak to a team-best seven games, batting .393 (11-28) since April 10. He started the season batting .059 (1-17) before his recent hot streak, raising his average to .267 (12-45).  The 7-game hitting streak is tied for the 12th longest in the SAL this season and is the fourth longest active streak.

Sweep Dreams: The Intimidators are playing for a sweep today.  The last time Kannapolis swept a series of more than one game came June 13-16, 2013, when the Intimidators took four straight over the Rome Braves to close the first half of last season.  The Intimidators have clinched a series win over the Power for the first time since taking 3 of 4 games May 24-26, 2012.  The last time Kannapolis swept the Power came April 19-23, 2011, when the Intimidators swept a 5-game series.

Atta-Boy, Adam: Despite not playing on Tuesday, centerfielder Adam Engel is still tied for the league lead with nine on the season. His season-high three runs scored on Monday gave him 15 this season, tied for third in the league.

Broadcast: This week’s road games in West Virginia and Rome will not be broadcast live on IntimidatorsBaseball.com. Tonight’s game can be heard on the West Virginia Power Baseball Network, available online through wvpower.com. The next Intimidators broadcast will be on Tuesday, April 29, when the Intimidators return to CMC-NorthEast Stadium.

Game Notes 4/22/14: Power unplugged, Sanchez still scoreless & offensively effective…

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS at WEST VIRGINIA POWER
7-9 (Chicago White Sox)         7-9 (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 – 7:05 p.m.
Appalachian Power Park – Charleston, W.V.
Game #17
RH James Dykstra (1-2, 2.55) vs. RH Shane Carle (0-0, 3.09)

Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) look to clinch a series victory over West Virginia (A, Pirates) after taking Monday’s series opener, 11-4, thanks to a season-high in runs and hits. Today Kannapolis sends opening day starter James Dykstra to the mound to face Shane Carle. The Intimidators season-series against the Power is currently tied at 1-1.

James DykstraIntimidating Starter: James Dykstra, 23, makes his fourth start of the season as he faces a Pirates affiliate for the first time in his career. He is coming off a career-high 9-strikeout performance at Hickory in a complete-game loss, the only complete game thrown in the SAL this season. In his previous start, Dykstra retired the first 17 Crawdads he faced on April 9 en route to his first professional win. Dykstra pitched in six games with Advanced Rookie Great Falls in his professional debut, working 5.1 innings, going 0-0 with a 5.06 ERA in 2013. The White Sox selected Dykstra in the sixth round of the June 2013 draft out of Cal State San Marcos. As a senior in 2013, he went 9-4 with a 2.02 ERA in 13 starts, working 89 innings en route to being named All-Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) First Team for the second straight season.

Power Pitcher: Shane Carle, 22, makes his fourth start of the season and first against a White Sox affiliate. He is coming off consecutive 6-strikeout performances in 5.0 innings or less and has not allowed more than two runs in any of his three starts. Carle made his professional debut with the Short-A Jamestown Jammers of the NYPL in 2013, going 1-0 with a 2.15 ERA in 14 games (four starts). His best outing came Aug. 16, 2013, when he worked a career-long 7.0 scoreless innings against State College. As a starter with the Jammers, he was 0-0 with a 1.83 ERA (4 ER/19.2 IP). The Pirates drafted him out of Long Beach State in the 10th round of the June 2013 draft.

Last Time Out:Kannapolis scored a season-high 11 runs on its way to an 11-4 win over West Virginia on Monday, snapping a 13-game skid against the Power.  Jake Sanchez took over for Andrew Mitchell two outs into the third inning and earned his second straight relief win. Henry Hirsh suffered the loss for West Virginia. Kannapolis was led offensively by Adam Engel and Cleuluis Rondon who each collected three hits as the Intimidators pounded out a season-high 16 on the night.

Oh my, Omar: Catcher Omar Narvaez went 2-5 on Monday, extending his hitting streak to a team-best six games, batting .375 (9-24) since April 10. He started his season batting .059 (1-17) before his recent hot streak.

Atta-Boy, Adam: Centerfielder Adam Engel stole three bases on three attempts Monday to move into a tie for the league lead with nine on the season. His season-high three runs Monday also moved him into a tie for the league lead with 15 runs scored.

#6 Tyler WilliamsWilliams Workin’: Designated Hitter Tyler Williams went 2-5 on Monday to move up to ninth in the SAL with a .341 average (15-44) in 13 games.  Williams, the son of White Sox Executive VP Ken Williams, came through with his fourth double of the season Monday.

Power Unplugged: The Intimidators win on Monday snapped a 13-game losing streak to West Virginia, including going 0-10 against the Pirates’ affiliate in 2013. The last Kannapolis victory over the Power prior to Monday came Aug. 17, 2012, when Courtney Hawkins hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th inning to score a 7-6 win.

Offensively Effective: Kannapolis scored a season-high 11 runs, its first 10-run game since August 14, 2013, when the Intimidators defeated Lakewood 10-2 at CMC-NorthEast Stadium.  The 4-run ninth also matched the most runs scored by the Intimidators in a single inning this season, equally the 4-run fifth against the Greenville Drive on April 6.

Scoreless Sanchez: Jake Sanchez has now worked 12.1 scoreless innings to open his 2014 season. He is currently just 2/3 of an inning away from qualifying as having the best ERA in the SAL. Sanchez is now 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in six relief appearances for the Intimidators, with 15 strikeouts and five walks. He is holding opponents to a .071 average (3-42) this season.

Broadcast: This week’s road games in West Virginia and Rome will not be broadcast live on IntimidatorsBaseball.com. Tonight’s game can be heard on the West Virginia Power Baseball Network, available online through wvpower.com. The next Intimidators broadcast will be on Tuesday, April 29, when the Intimidators return to CMC-NorthEast Stadium.


CEENTA Sights & Sounds of the Week

Throughout the 2014, we’ll bring you the Sights & Sounds of the Week, presented by Charlotte Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat Associates (aka CEENTA).

Let’s start with a few of the sounds from the open weeks of the season….

In Hickory, Jacob Morris came through with his second home run of the season.

Just a few days earlier, Morris launched his first home run in Greenville, which you can watch here:

And one other highlight to take a look at. Cleuluis Rondon just had a 3-hit night in West Virginia.  Early this week, he came through with this RBI-double against the Drive.

Game Notes 4/21/14: Will Mitchell actually pitch today? Or just more rain?

Hey, look, I’m previewing the same pitching match up — Mitchell vs. Neverauskus — for the third straight set of game notes. As you can tell by the title of this post, I’m a little irked we didn’t get to play on Friday or Saturday. I know my colleague in West Virginia, Adam Marco, is hoping the lineup stays the same from what he filled out on his scorecard on Friday.  It’s never fun getting those things all filled out and then A. having to make a change to it, or B. never getting to use it.  One of the little joys in the life of a minor league broadcaster is getting the news that the lineup card you filled out yesterday (or in this case, last Friday) is still salvageable for today’s game.  With that said, here’s today’s game notes.

- JF

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS at WEST VIRGINIA POWER
6-9 (Chicago White Sox)               7-8 (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Monday, April 21, 2014 – 7:05 p.m.
Appalachian Power Park – Charleston, W.V.
Game #16
RHP Andrew Mitchell (1-0, 6.00) vs. RHP Dovydas Neverauskas (2-0, 1.80)

wvToday’s Preview: After a soggy weekend that saw consecutive rainouts in Kannapolis, the Intimidators (A, White Sox) will look for clearer skies in Charleston, W.V., when they open a 3-game series against the Power (A, Pirates) today at Appalachian Power Park. The Intimidators and Power played just one game in Kannapolis last week, a 4-3 West Virginia win on Thursday, before rain wiped out the next two games of the set. Today Kannapolis sends right-hander Andrew Mitchell to the mound against Power right-handers Dovydas Neverauskas in a pitching match up originally slated for Friday, April 18. This is the first of three road trips the Intimidators make to Appalachian Power Park in 2014.

Intimidating Starter: Andrew Mitchell, 22, makes his third start of the year and first against a Pirates affiliate. He is coming off on a no decision on April 13 in Greenville which he opened with 3.0 scoreless innings before surrendering 4 runs in the fourth innings, ending his night. Mitchell has struck out nine batters in 9.0 innings but has walked eight. The White Sox selected him in the fourth round out of TCU in the June 2013 draft. As a junior, he went 1-2 with a 3.49 ERA in 20 games (10 starts). In 2012, he was named First Team All-Mountain West. The three-time Mountain West Pitcher of the Week was rated by Baseball America the No. 27 Prospect in the White Sox organization. Mitchell made his pro debut with Advanced Rookie Great Falls in 2013, going 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 14 games (14 starts).

Power Pitcher: Dovydas Neverauskas, 21, makes his third start of the season and first against a White Sox affiliate. He is coming off consecutive wins to open his season, working 5.0 innings in each contest and striking out a total of nine batters. He has not allowed a run over the first three innings of a game yet this season. Pittsburgh signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2010 and assigned him to the GCL Pirates, where he made his professional debut at age 17. In three years in the GCL, he went 5-2 with a 3.97 ERA in 26 games (11 starts). In 2013 with Jamestown, he was 4-4 with a 4.01 ERA in 15 starts. 

Last Time Out: West Virginia overcame a two-run deficit with three runs in the seventh inning en route to a 4-3 win over Kannapolis on Thursday. Power pitcher Jerry Mulderig tossed 4.0 scoreless innings in relief to pick up the win, striking out seven batters. West Virginia took advantage of Storm Throne in the seventh, drawing two walks to open the inning before Edwin Espinal’s RBI-single ended Throne’s evening. Justin Maffei later added a two-run double to put the Power in front, 4-3. The Intimidators scored three runs in the third for a 3-1 lead.  With the Power ahead 1-0, Cleuluis Rondon singled and eventually scored on an error to tie the game.  Trey Michalczewski added an RBI-single to plate Danny Hayes, and Jacob Morris scored on an Omar Narvaez sac-fly.

Oh my, Omar: Catcher Omar Narvaez went 1-3 on Thursday, extending his hitting streak to a season-high five games, batting .368 (7-19) since April 10. He started his season batting .059 (1-17) before his recent hot streak. Narvaez ranks fifth in the SAL in throwing out base-stealers, nabbing 6 of 17 (.353).

Trey Triples: Third baseman Trey Michalczewski tripled on Thursday, his first of the season and third of his career, as part of a 4-for-4 night. He upped his average to .275 (14-51). It was the second 4-hit game by an Intimidator this season. Cleuluis Rondon went 4-5 with a double on April 10 at Greenville.

Walk This Way, Trey: Trey Michalczewski has drawn a team-high 10 walks this season, tied for third-most in the South Atlantic League. Michalczewski has appeared in 15 games for the Intimidators and has an on-base percentage of .387.

Williams Workin’: Designated Hitter Tyler Williams ranks 10th in the South Atlantic League with a .333 average (13-39) in 12 games this season. Williams, the son of White Sox Executive VP Ken Williams, also ranks ninth in with a .422 OBP.

Atta-Boy, Adam: Centerfielder Adam Engel enters this series ranked tied for third in the SAL in runs scored (12) while tied for fourth in stolen bases (6). He entered this season rated by Baseball America as the White Sox’s No. 22 prospect.

Rockin’ Rondon: Cleuluis Rondon currently ranks tied for eighth in the SAL with 18 hits on the season. The shortstop is batting .281 (18-64) with six RBI and four doubles in 15 games with the Intimidators. The White Sox acquired Rondon in the deadline deal last July from Boston, along with right-handed pitchers J.B. Wendelkin and Francellis Montas plus Detroit infielder Avisail Garcia, in exchange for Jake Peavy. It was the second time a White Sox deal involving Peavy had an affect on the Intimidators roster. When Chicago acquired the big league arm in 2009, they dealt then-Intimidators pitcher Dexter Carter to the San Diego Padres as part of the deal.

Danish throwing cheese: Starting pitcher Tyler Danish currently ranks ninth in the SAL with a 1.29 ERA (2 ER/14 IP) in his three starts with Kannapolis. Danish is 2-0, tying for first in the league in winning percentage (1.000), with 13 strikeouts compared to five walks. The White Sox selected Danish in the second round (55th overall) in the June 2013 draft.

No Relation To Lenny: Starting pitcher James Dykstra still ranks among SAL leaders in several categories despite not taking the mound since April 15. The White Sox sixth round pick in the June 2013 draft, Dykstra has thrown the only complete game in the league this season. He is currently tied for fourth in strikeouts (19), is tied for fifth in starts (5), and ranks eighth in innings pitched (17.2). Additionally, Dykstra is far ahead of the rest of the league in ground-outs to air-outs ratio (7.00), one of just four pitchers with a ratio better than 3.00.

Shocked by the Power: The Intimidators have dropped 13 straight games to West Virginia, including going 0-10 against the Pirates affiliate in 2013. The last Kannapolis victory over the Power came Aug. 17, 2012, when Courtney Hawkins hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th inning to score a 7-6 win. It was the second straight game in which Hawkins came through with an extra-inning game-winning hit, upending the Power in the 13th inning the night before. West Virginia bounced back to claim the last two games of that 4-game series, 10 games last season, and the first this season.

Broadcast: This week’s road games in West Virginia and Rome will not be broadcast live on IntimidatorsBaseball.com. Tonight’s game can be heard on the West Virginia Power Baseball Network, available online through wvpower.com. The next Intimidators broadcast will be on Tuesday, April 29, when the Intimidators return to CMC-NorthEast Stadium.

Intimidators’ Easter Basket: Beating Hickory, around the Sally League & White Sox writings…

Today happens to be the first official off day of the 2014 South Atlantic League season. It happens to fall on Easter, giving some guys a chance to spend the day with their families.  And I’m not so sure the off day is because of Easter.  In fact, we’ve played on Easter before during my time with the Intimidators.  But I’m sure the guys will take it.

With the off day — on a weekend — it gives yours truly the opportunity to catch up on some interesting notes and nuggets for you.  No catching up around the office today, so let’s empty all my notes I’ve been unable to get out there so far.

Beating Hickory 

The Intimidators have won both series against the Crawdads so far in 2014. That’s two series wins. Kannapolis is now 4-2 against Hickory this season. I don’t usually get too caught up in wins and losses for the Intimidators. I’d like them to win, but it doesn’t affect my mood the way Dallas Cowboys games do.

(I’ll pause so you can hate on the Cowboys. I grew up in Dallas. I’m not apologizing for liking that team.)

That all said, losses against Hickory have stung.  Not because there’s anything wrong with that team, that city, that affiliate, that anything. It’s just been HOW the Intimidators have lost games to Hickory since 2011 (when I started working for Kannapolis).  Mark Parker, the Crawdads beat writer for Hickory’s newspaper summed it up with this tweet as the Intimidators ventured into extra-innings in Hickory on Wednesday:

Frankly, that number seemed low when he tweeted it.  Maybe they’ll add more this season (the Intimidators and Crawdads do play 18 more times in 2014).  Of last season’s three walk-off wins by the Crawdads, the one that stands out the most was the won in which Kannapolis survived a “walk-off home run” before losing in extra innings.  From the game recap that night:

HICKORY, N.C. (May 23, 2013) — The only people more upset than fans that left the game early were in the visiting dugout on Thursday night.

The Hickory Crawdads overcame a four-run deficit in the 12th inning after seeing a ninth inning walk-off home run overturned. Hickory defeated the Kannapolis Intimidators, 7-6, in 12 innings at L.P. Frans Stadium on a night where the Crawdads celebrated twice.

With the game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Crawdads center fielder Jordan Akins appeared to hit the game-winning home run to left field. As Crawdads players celebrated and began heading for the clubhouse, the umpires conferred and overturned the call, saying the ball traveled foul of the pole. Hickory manager Corey Ragsdale was ejected arguing the call.

Akins came through three innings later with a game-tying triple in the 12th inning before scoring the winning run on a wild pitch, sending the Crawdads into their second swarming of Akins on the night.

(Continue reading at IntimiatorsBaseball.com)

Here’s some of the audio from that game as well:

And while we’re at it — just for fun — some fan video of manager Tommy Thompson from the game:

Frankly, I don’t think Tommy’s ejection was a funny/violent as Hickory’s manager’s was that night.  I really thought Corey Ragsdale might take a swing at the umps after overturning the walk-off home run.  Things were launched out of the dugout as well.  If someone has any video of that, let me know about it.  I’d love to see it again.  I remember a chair being thrown at third base.

There was that game, the game just a few days later where Kannapolis led going into the 7th innings and lost in the 9th on a Nomar Mazara base hit, and another later in the season. The year before, the Crawdads walked off the Intimidators twice in a series in the 2nd half with Chris Grayson and Zach Cone serving as the Hickory heroes for most of their success against Kannapolis.  In 2011, Christian Villanueva was frequently a thorn in the Intimidators side.

All in all, the Intimidators were 16-36 against the Crawdads from 2011-13.  And even games that Kannapolis won during the last three seasons against Hickory have not been without moments that made your stomach churn.  I still remember Jurickson Profar’s “home run” to right field on the night where all three Intimidators coaches were ejected in 2011.  Just to give you a taste of that, here’s part of that game recap:

In the top of the sixth, Jhonny Gomez led off with a single to centerfield, tried to stretch for a double when the ball bounced off center fielder Trayce Thompson, and injured himself retreating to first base. Matt Heidenreich’s relay to first sailed wide, bouncing off the wall in front of the first row of seats and back into the field of play. Umpires ruled a two-base error and awarded Gomez third base. Intimidators manager Tommy Thompson was ejected arguing the runner being awarded extra bases, insisting the ball didn’t leave the field of play on the overthrow. 

Andrew Clark replaced the injured Gomez at third base, and two batters later Jurickson Profar drove a ball deep down the right field line that appeared to leave the yard in foul territory, but the home plate umpire ruled a home run, giving the Crawdads a 2-1 lead. Intimidators Pitching Coach Jose Bautista was ejected arguing the call, and one batter later umpires tossed Hitting Coach Charles Poe as he emerged from the dugout to argue a close play at second base. The Crawdads went on to score four runs in the frame as Josh Richmond’s RBI-triple completed the team-cycle in the inning. 

The Intimidators came back to win that game with a 5-run rally in the eighth inning.

So if I sound a little excited about “just a couple series wins over the Crawdads,” then forgive me, but frankly, it’s nice to get a team to whom Kannapolis definitely owes some payback.  After starting off 4-2 against them this season, hopefully there is more where that came from.

Speaking of Streaks

Kannapolis has not beaten West Virginia since Courtney Hawkins’ walk-off hits in extra-inning games on consecutive nights in August 2012.  The Power have won 13 straight against Kannapolis, including all 10 games last season. The Intimidators had never done worse than going 0-3 against a single opponent in a given season until last year.

The Intimidators are heading to West Virginia for a 3-game series next week and will then play them five times in three days from April 29 to May 1 at CMC-NorthEast Stadium to make up for this week’s rainouts.

Roster Move Revolution

The Intimidators didn’t make a roster move for the first two weeks of the season but have made eight in the last three days.  Two players have moved up to Winston-Salem: left-handed pitchers Sean Bierman and Sean Hagan.  So the message is clear for White Sox prospects that want to move up. Be a left-handed pitcher named Sean. Simple as that.

Sally League Surprises

A few interesting nuggets from around the Sally League.

On April 13, West Virginia’s Erich Weiss hit an inside-the-park grand slam.

Former Sally Leaguer Delino DeShields Jr. (Lexington, 2011-12) recently suffered an injury when a pitch hit him in the face.  You can read the article from MiLB.com here, and if you can stomach it, check out the picture he posted on twitter.

Speaking of Sally League alumni, Joey Gallo is still killing the ball. Like “5 home runs in 5 days” killing the ball.

Kannapolis has already played 9.0 extra innings this season, including a 14-inning game against Greenville last Sunday on getaway day.  That is not the longest game in the SAL this season. That honor belongs to Shorebirds and Suns, who went 15 innings on April 16.

The Lexington Legends turned a triple play on April 6. To this day, I’ve never seen a triple play in person.

He’s not a Sally Leaguer, but local product Corey Seager is making waves out in the Cal League while working his way up the LA Dodgers ladder.

White Sox writings

micah joohnson

Micah Johnson opened 2013 with Kannapolis and led the minors with 84 stolen bases.

Micah Johnson jumped off to a great start in Double-A, coming up with a triple and home run in his first two at-bats on April 4. Could he become the next former Intimidator to reach the big leagues?

While Chris Beck, the 2nd round pick in the June 2012 draft did not ever play for Kannapolis, he has been doing some great things higher up the ladder in the organization, including a complete game shutout for Double-A Birmingham on Wednesday.

Former Intimidator Trayce Thompson put together a 12-game hitting streak from April 4-16, the longest streak in the Southern League this season.

While the Dash had a bit of a power outage lately (prior to Courtney Hawkins’ home run on Friday, Winston-Salem went 86 innings without a long ball), Courtney Hawkins is having much more success in his second season in the Carolina League.

Another roster move today

The Intimidators made a pair of additional roster moves today.

+ RHP Storm Throne has been placed on the restricted list.
+ LHP Jordan Guerrero has joined the team from Extended Spring Training.

I don’t have any information on the Throne side of the roster move.

Guerrero has spent the last two seasons with Advanced Rookie Bristol, going 0-4 with a 3.93 ERA in 12 games (five starts).  He was ranked by Baseball America as possessing the Best Secondary Pitch in the Sox draft class. The Moorpark (Calif.) High School product was highest drafted prep pitcher by the White Sox in 2012 (15th round).

Here’s some of the reaction from Guerrero and other White Sox minor leaguers from Twitter:

Game Notes 4/19/14: Intimidators get two chances to snap their skid against West Virginia

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS vs. WEST VIRGINIA POWER
6-9 (Chicago White Sox) 7-8 (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Saturday, April 19, 2014 – 5:00 p.m. – Doubleheader
CMC-NorthEast Stadium – Kannapolis, N.C.
Games #16 & 17
RHP Andrew Mitchell (1-0, 6.00) vs. RHP Dovydas Neverauskas (2-0, 1.80)
RHP Tyler Barnette (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Shane Carle (0-0, 3.09)

wvToday’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) take the field for a doubleheader to wrap up this 3-game series against the Power (A, Pirates) today at CMC-NorthEast Stadium following Friday’s rain out. West Virginia took the series opener, 4-3, on Thursday to extend their streak of success against the Intimidators to 13 straight games, dating back to August 18, 2012. Kannapolis is sending right-handers Andrew Mitchell and Tyler Barnette to the mound against Power right-handers Dovydas Neverauskas and Shane Carle.

Promotions Preview: The Intimidators will host an on-field Easter Egg hunt between the games of today’s doubleheader for children ages 4-12. A special Easter Egg hunt for children under 4 will be held in the Pit Stop Playground at the same time. Our first fireworks show of the season, presented by CMC-NorthEast, will follow the second game of the twin bill.

Intimidating Starter: Andrew Mitchell, 22, makes his third start of the year and first against a Pirates affiliate. He is coming off on a no decision on April 13 in Greenville which he opened with 3.0 scoreless innings before surrendering 4 runs in the fourth innings, ending his night. Mitchell has struck out nine batters in 9.0 innings but has walked eight. The White Sox selected him in the fourth round out of TCU in the June 2013 draft. As a junior, he went 1-2 with a 3.49 ERA in 20 games (10 starts). In 2012, he was named First Team All-Mountain West. The three-time Mountain West Pitcher of the Week was rated by Baseball America the No. 27 Prospect in the White Sox organization. Mitchell made his pro debut with Advanced Rookie Great Falls in 2013, going 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 14 games (14 starts).

Tyler Barnette, 21, makes his first start of the season and seventh of his career in Game 2 of today’s doubleheader. The former Charlotte 49ers pitcher has worked 9.0 innings without allowing an earned run, including 5.0 scoreless relief innings on April 13 at Greenville, the longest relief out by an Intimidators pitcher since Chris Hanna worked 7.0 innings in the make up of a suspended game on July 29, 2012, against Delmarva. Barnette was 1-4 with a 5.73 ERA in 13 games (six starts) during his professional debut with Advanced Rookie Bristol in 2013, including going 0-3 with a 6.26 ERA as a starter. The White Sox selected Barnette in the 14th round of the June 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of nearby UNC Charlotte where he earned Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year in 2011.

When I tried to google a picture of Dovydas Neverauskus, the closest thing I could find was this snapshot of Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Plus, the NBA Playoffs start today, so, take that as your basketball note of the day.

When I tried to google a picture of Dovydas Neverauskus, the closest thing I could find was this snapshot of Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Plus, the NBA Playoffs start today, so take that as your basketball note of the day.

Power Pitcher: Dovydas Neverauskas, 21, makes his third start of the season and first against a White Sox affiliate. He is coming off consecutive wins to open his season, working 5.0 innings in each contest and striking out a total of nine batters. He has not allowed a run over the first three innings of a game yet this season. Pittsburgh signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2010 and assigned him to the GCL Pirates, where he made his professional debut at age 17. In three years in the GCL, he went 5-2 with a 3.97 ERA in 26 games (11 starts). In 2013 with Jamestown, he was 4-4 with a 4.01 ERA in 15 starts.

Shane Carle, 22, makes his fourth start of the season and first against a White Sox affiliate. He is coming off consecutive 6-strikeout performances in 5.0 innings or less and has not allowed more than two runs in any of his three starts. Carle made his professional debut with the Short-A Jamestown Jammers of the NYPL in 2013, going 1-0 with a 2.15 ERA in 14 games (four starts). His best outing came Aug. 16, 2013, when he worked a career-long 7.0 scoreless innings against State College. As a starter with the Jammers, he was 0-0 with a 1.83 ERA (4 ER/19.2 IP). The Pirates drafted him out of Long Beach State in the 10th round of the June 2013 draft.

Roster Moves: Today the Intimidators promoted LHP Sean Hagan to the Class A-Advanced Winston-Salem Dash. In his four games with Kannapolis, Hagan went 0-1 with a 2.35 ERA. Outfielder Carl Thomore was also placed on the Disabled List. In corresponding moves, the Intimidators received RHP Alex Powers and OF Hunter Jones from Extended Spring.

Last Time Out:West Virginia overcame a two-run deficit with three runs in the seventh inning en route to a 4-3 win over Kannapolis on Thursday. Power pitcher Jerry Mulderig tossed 4.0 scoreless innings in relief to pick up the win, striking out seven batters. West Virginia took advantage of Storm Throne in the seventh, drawing two walks to open the inning before Edwin Espinal’s RBI-single ended Throne’s evening. Justin Maffei later added a two-run double to put the Power in front, 4-3. The Intimidators scored three runs in the third for a 3-1 lead.  With the Power ahead 1-0, Cleuluis Rondon singled and eventually scored on an error to tie the game.  Trey Michalczewski added an RBI-single to plate Danny Hayes, and Jacob Morris scored on an Omar Narvaez sac-fly.

Oh my, Omar: Catcher Omar Narvaez went 1-3 on Thursday, extending his hitting streak to a season-high five games, batting .368 (7-19) since April 10. He started his season batting .059 (1-17) before his recent hot streak. Narvaez ranks fifth in the SAL in throwing out base-stealers, nabbing 6 of 17 (.353).

Trey Triples: Third baseman Trey Michalczewski tripled on Thursday, his first of the season and third of his career, as part of a 4-for-4 night. He upped his average to .275 (14-51). It was the second 4-hit game by an Intimidator this season. Cleuluis Rondon went 4-5 with a double on April 10 at Greenville.

League Leaders: Hitters: The top of the Intimidators order continues to lead the South Atlantic League in at-bats as Cleuluis Rondon paces the circuit with 64, and Adam Engel has 62. Engel also ranks tied for second in runs scored (12) and tied for third in stolen bases (6). Rondon is tied for fourth in the SAL in hits (18) and tying for the lead in sac flies (2). Trey Michalczewski ranks tied for third in walk (10). Pitchers: Tyler Danish is seventh in the league with a 1.29 ERA. Jake Sanchez is tied for second in saves (3) and ranks third among relievers in lowest batting average against at .057 (2-35) and fewest base runners/9 IP ratio (4.50). James Dykstra is tied for third in the league with 19 strikeouts and is tied for the league lead with one complete game. Dykstra is tied for second in innings pitched (17.2).

Shocked by the Power: The Intimidators have dropped 13 straight games to West Virginia, including going 0-10 against the Pirates affiliate in 2013. The last Kannapolis victory over the Power came Aug. 17, 2012, when Courtney Hawkins hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th inning to score a 7-6 win. It was the second straight game in which Hawkins came through with an extra-inning game-winning hit, upending the Power in the 13th inning the night before. West Virginia bounced back to claim the last two games of that 4-game series, 10 games last season, and the first this season.

Broadcast: Today’s game will be broadcast live on IntimidatorsBaseball.com with the pre-game show starting at 4:50 p.m. Josh Feldman will broadcast all 70 home games and select road games in 2014.

Roster Moves: A promotion, a returner, an injury & an amazing coincidence

Lefty Sean Hagan made four appearances with Kannapolis in 2014.

Lefty Sean Hagan made four appearances with Kannapolis in 2014.

The Intimidators made four roster moves today.  Here is the official press release from IntimidatorsBaseball.com with my thoughts and insights in a block quote below.

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (April 19, 2014) — The Kannapolis Intimidators, Class A Affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, have announced four roster moves today, including the promotion of left-handed pitcher Sean Hagan to the Class A-Advanced Winston-Salem Dash. Outfielder Carl Thomore has been placed on the Disabled List (retroactive to April 18). In corresponding moves, the Intimidators have received RHP Alex Powers and OF Hunter Jones from Extended Spring Training.

Hagan, 23, made four appearances with the Intimidators, going 0-1 with a 2.35 ERA to open the season. The White Sox selected him in the 31st round in the June 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y. He made his professional debut with Advanced Rookie Great Falls last season, going 1-2 with a 6.19 ERA in 17 appearances with the Voyagers.

Intimidators fans didn’t get to see much of Hagan (bio page), who made only a pair of appearances in Kannapolis.  The lefty heads to Winston-Salem to take the place of former Intimidators reliever Brandon Hardin, who went on the Dash DL today.

Thomore left Thursday’s game after one plate appearance. This season, he is batting .286 (12-42) with seven RBI in 13 games for Kannapolis.

So now we know why Thomore left Thursday’s game early.  DL stints in the minors are minimum 7 days, so he won’t be back on the field until at least April 25 as he was retro’d to the DL on April 18.

Powers made eight relief appearances with Kannapolis in 2013, striking out nine batters in 8.1 innings of work. The White Sox selected Powers in the 25th round of the June 2013 draft out of Southern New Hampshire where he went 8-5 with a 2.13 ERA (20 ER/84.2 IP) with 18 saves and 118 strikeouts over three seasons.  (bio page)

The right-hander split last season between Bristol and Kannapolis in his pro debut, going 1-1 with a 5.00 ERA in 14 games out of the bullpen.  Powers struck out 22 total batters in 18.0 innings while walking eight.  While his 7.56 ERA in eight games with Kannapolis doesn’t look all that great, 4 of the 7 earned runs he allowed came in one game.  Remove those ugly 2/3 of an inning, and his ERA with the Intimidators plummets to 3.52 (3 ER/7.2 IP). 

Jones did not play in 2013 after spending the previous three seasons in the Indians organization, batting .231 in 86 total games with the AZL Indians and Short-Season Mahoning from 2010-2012. The White Sox signed him as a free agent on November 5, 2013.

Now this is something I think is pretty interesting.  Apparently Jones is the son of former Major Leaguer Tracy Jones.  A quick glance of the elder Jones’ career shows him playing for the Cincinnati Reds in the late 80s.  Now, who was the manager of the Reds at that time? Let me see. I feel like I should know this one.  

Oh right. Pete Rose.

Yes, the father of the Intimidators newest player was managed by the father of the Intimidators manager. 

The Intimidators wrap up a three-game home stand with a doubleheader today against the West Virginia Power beginning at 5 p.m. (two 7-inning games). Between games, the Intimidators will host an on-field Easter Egg Hunt for children 12 & under. The season’s first fireworks show, presented by CMC-NorthEast, will take place following the second game. For ticket information, call the F&M Bank Box Office at (704) 932-3267 or visit IntimidatorsBaseball.com.

Anyway, that’s all the interesting stuff about these roster moves today. Yes, it’s still raining. Yes, the games are still on for 5 p.m.  If you’re that concerned, do whatever the opposite of a rain dance is, and we should be fine.  I’ll talk to y’all on the pregame show at 4:50pm.  

-JF
@BigTexJosh

Game Notes 4/18/14: Mitchell to the mound, Trey triples, Omar starts streaking…

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS vs. WEST VIRGINIA POWER
6-9 (Chicago White Sox)        7-8 (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Friday, April 18, 2014 – 7:05 p.m.
CMC-NorthEast Stadium – Kannapolis, N.C.
Games #16
RHP Andrew Mitchell (1-0, 6.00) vs. RHP Dovydas Neverauskas (2-0, 1.80)

Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) look to even this 3-game series and in the process snap a 13-game slide against the Power (A, Pirates) today at CMC-NorthEast Stadium. Kannapolis sends right-hander Andrew Mitchell to the mound for his third start of the season while West Virginia counters with Dovydas Neverauskus. The Power took the series opener, 4-3, on Thursday to extend their streak of success against the Intimidators, dating back to August 18, 2012.

Intimidating Starter: Andrew Mitchell, 22, makes his third start of the year and first against a Pirates affiliate. He is coming off on a no decision on April 13 in Greenville which he opened with 3.0 scoreless innings before surrendering 4 runs in the fourth innings, ending his night. Mitchell has struck out nine batters in 9.0 innings but has walked eight. The White Sox selected him in the fourth round out of TCU in the June 2013 draft. As a junior, he went 1-2 with a 3.49 ERA in 20 games (10 starts). In 2012, he was named First Team All-Mountain West. The three-time Mountain West Pitcher of the Week was rated by Baseball America the No. 27 Prospect in the White Sox organization. Mitchell made his pro debut with Advanced Rookie Great Falls in 2013, going 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 14 games (14 starts).

Power Pitcher: Dovydas Neverauskas, 21, makes his third start of the season and first against a White Sox affiliate. He is coming off consecutive wins to open his season, working 5.0 innings in each contest and striking out a total of nine batters. He has not allowed a run over the first three innings of a game yet this season. Pittsburgh signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2010 and assigned him to the GCL Pirates, where he made his professional debut at age 17. In three years in the GCL, he went 5-2 with a 3.97 ERA in 26 games (11 starts). In 2013 with Jamestown, he was 4-4 with a 4.01 ERA in 15 starts.

About Last Night:West Virginia overcame a two-run deficit with three runs in the seventh inning en route to a 4-3 win over Kannapolis on Thursday. Power pitcher Jerry Mulderig tossed 4.0 scoreless innings in relief to pick up the win, striking out seven batters. West Virginia took advantage of Storm Throne in the seventh, drawing two walks to open the inning before Edwin Espinal’s RBI-single ended Throne’s evening. Justin Maffei later added a two-run double to put the Power in front, 4-3. The Intimidators scored three runs in the third for a 3-1 lead.  With the Power ahead 1-0, Cleuluis Rondon singled and eventually scored on an error to tie the game.  Trey Michalczewski added an RBI-single to plate Danny Hayes, and Jacob Morris scored on an Omar Narvaez sac-fly.

Oh my, Omar: Catcher Omar Narvaez went 1-3 on Thursday, extending his hitting streak to a season-high five games, batting .368 (7-19) since April 10. He started his season batting .059 (1-17) before his recent hot streak.  Narvaez ranks fifth in the SAL in throwing out base-stealers, nabbing 6 of 17 (.353).

Trey Triples:  Third baseman Trey Michalczewski tripled on Thursday, his first of the season and third of his career, as part of a 4-for-4 night. He upped his average to .275 (14-51). It was the second 4-hit game by an Intimidator this season. Cleuluis Rondon went 4-5 with a double on April 10 at Greenville.

League Leaders: Hitters: The top of the Intimidators order continues to lead the South Atlantic League in at-bats as Cleuluis Rondon paces the circuit with 64, and Adam Engel has 62. Engel also ranks tied for second in runs scored (12) and tied for third in stolen bases (6). Rondon is tied for fourth in the SAL in hits (18) and tying for the lead in sac flies (2). Trey Michalczewski ranks tied for third in walk (10). Pitchers: Tyler Danish is seventh in the league with a 1.29 ERA. Jake Sanchez is tied for second in saves (3) and ranks third among relievers in lowest batting average against at .057 (2-35) and fewest base runners/9 IP ratio (4.50). James Dykstra is tied for third in the league with 19 strikeouts and is tied for the league lead with one complete game. Dykstra is tied for second in innings pitched (17.2).

Error-Prone: Second baseman Tyler Shryock had a rough game Wednesday, committing four fielding errors. It was the first 4-error game by an Intimidators player since MLBAM stats began being kept in 2005 and tied for the second-most errors in a game by a single player in that span. The lone 5-error game in the South Atlantic League in that span came on April 22, 2008, when Delmarva’s second baseman Ryan Adams made four throwing errors and one fielding blunder against Lake County.

Frequently Fanned: Kannapolis hitters struck out 12 times Thursday, upping the team’s league-leading total to 149 strikeouts on the season, four ahead of Augusta (145).  Intimidators OF Jacob Morris leads the league with 23, and Adam Engel is tied for second in the league with 21.

Broadcast: Today’s game will be broadcast live on IntimidatorsBaseball.com with the pre-game show starting at 6:50 p.m. Josh Feldman will broadcast all 70 home games and select road games in 2014.

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