Game Notes 4/16/14: Another double dip with Dykstra dealing & Danish dazzling, plus more league leaders…

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS vs. HICKORY CRAWDADS
5-8 (Chicago White Sox)               6-7 (Texas Rangers)
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 – 11:00 a.m.
L.P. Frans Stadium – Hickory, N.C.
Games #14
RHP Robinson Leyer (0-2, 18.00) vs. RHP David Ledbetter (0-1, 14.21)

Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) take the field in search of their second series victory over the Crawdads (A, Rangers) in 2014. Kannapolis defeated Hickory 2-games-to-1 last week at CMC-NorthEast Stadium. These in-state rivals split Tuesday’s doubleheader, with Hickory winning the first game, 3-1, followed by an Intimidators triumph, 9-2. Today Robinson Leyer takes the ball for his third start of the year while the Crawdads counter with David Ledbetter. If Kannapolis beats Hickory today, it would be the first time the Intimidators won two series against the Crawdads in a season since 2005.

Intimidating Starter: Robinson Leyer, 21, makes his 29th career start and third in 2014. He has given up six runs in each of his first two starts, spanning a total of 6.0 IP on the season, suffering a pair of losses against the Greenville Drive on April 5 and April 11. Leyer’s two losses are currently tied with 12 other pitchers for the 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.

Hickory’s Hurler: David Ledbetter, 22, makes his third start of the season and the first of his career against a White Sox affiliate. The Rangers’ third round pick (99th overall) in the June 2013 draft, he is looking to bounce back after suffering a loss to Asheville on April 11, allowing seven runs on seven hits over 3.1 innings. Opponents are currently batting .483 (14-29) against Ledbetter. Last season in his professional debut, he went 3-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 13 games (13 starts) for Short-A Spokane. His twin bother Ryan was also drafted by the Rangers last June (19th round) and is also on Hickory’s roster.

About Last Night:The Intimidators split Tuesday’s doubleheader with the Crawdads at L.P. Frans Stadium, dropping the first game, 3-1 (F/7), before bouncing back to overwhelm the Crawdads, 9-2 (F/7), in the second game. Kannapolis (5-8) struggled again Hickory’s Cole Wiper in Game 1 as the right-hander allowed just a run on two hits over 5.0 innings to earn the win.  Intimidators starter James Dykstra took the loss despite striking out a career-high nine batters over 6.0 innings.  Dykstra (1-2) allowed three runs on seven hits in a complete game effort. Hickory (6-7) struck for an early 2-0 lead in the home half of the first inning.  Nick Vickerson singled to drive in Travis Demeritte, and Nomar Mazara later scored on a fielder’s choice.  The Intimidators got on the board the following inning when Omar Narvaez doubled to drive in Trey Michalczewski, but wouldn’t score again.

In Game 2, Kannapolis used a four-run first to knock Hickory’s Collin Wiles out of the game after 0.2 innings, scoring all four runs with two outs on the board. Thanks to a Cleuluis Rondon double and a pair of Wiles walks, the Intimidators loaded the bases for Carl Thomore, who put Kannapolis up 2-0 with a 2-run single.  Jeremy Dowdy followed with a double to cash Michalczewski and Thomore, and Kannapolis never looked back.  Dowdy finished 2-for-4 with two doubles and four RBI.  Kannapolis starter Tyler Danish (2-0) kept the Crawdads offense quiet over 6.0 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits to notch the win. In total, Kannapolis drove in eight of its nine runs with two outs.

Double Dips: The Intimidators are now 2-2 in doubleheaders this season, splitting twin bills against the Crawdads in Kannapolis on April 8 and in Hickory on Tuesday.

Dykstra Dealin’: James Dykstra, the Intimidators opening day starter this season and sixth round pick of the White Sox in 2013, fanned a career-high nine batters on Tuesday. He now leads the SAL with 19 strikeouts on the season. Despite taking the loss, Dykstra worked a complete game, one of only two so far in the SAL this season. He is tied for first in total batters faced (70) and ranks second in innings pitched (17.2), just a third of an inning behind league leader Mark Leiter of Lakewood.

Dazzling Danish: Tyler Danish, the White Sox second round pick in the June 2013 draft, lowered his ERA on Tuesday, allowing one earned run over 6.0 innings. His 1.29 ERA (2 ER/14 IP) ranks sixth in the SAL. His 13 strikeouts on the season are tied for 14th on the circuit.

League Leaders: Cleuluis Rondon (55) and Adam Engel (53) are first and second respectively in the SAL in at-bats this season. Rondon also ranks tied for third in hits (16). Engel is second in runs scored (11) and fifth in stolen bases (5). Carl Thomore is second in the SAL in on-base percentage (.455), and Trey Michalczewski is tied for second on the circuit with 10 walks.

Broadcast: Today’s game will be broadcast live on IntimidatorsBaseball.com with the pre-game show starting at 10:50 a.m. Josh Feldman will broadcast all 70 home games and select road games in 2014.


Game Notes 4/15/14: Let’s play two: Dykstra & Danish dealin’ today…

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS vs. HICKORY CRAWDADS
4-7 (Chicago White Sox)            5-6 (Texas Rangers)
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 – 4:00 p.m.
L.P. Frans/Crawdads Stadium – Hickory, N.C.
Games #12 & #13
RHP James Dykstra (1-1, 1.54) vs. RHP Cole Wiper (0-1, 5.14)
RHP Tyler Danish (1-0, 1.13) vs. RHP Collin Wiles (1-0, 0.00)

Today’s Preview: After the Intimidators (A, White Sox) played 14 innings on Sunday, Mother Nature granted them an off-day Monday courtesy of a rainout in Hickory. Today, Kannapolis takes on the Crawdads (A, Rangers) in a doubleheader comprising two 7-inning games at Crawdads Stadium. Fresh off a perfect game bid in his last outing, James Dykstra takes the ball for the to open this 3-game series against Hickory. Kannapolis has lost four straight, including being swept in Greenville in its most recent series. Hickory enters the series losers of three straight, dropping a 4-game series to Asheville, 3-1. The Intimidators took their series over the Crawdads, 2-1, last week to claim their first series win over Hickory since August 2011. This is the Intimidators first trip to Hickory in 2014.

Intimidating Starter: James Dykstra, 23, makes his third start and second against Hickory. He 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.

Tyler Danish, 19, makes his third start and first against Hickory. He worked 5.0 scoreless innings, striking out six, in his season debut against Greenville. 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. He made two scoreless appearances in the SAL in 2013.

Hickory’s Hurler: Cole Wiper, 21, makes his third start and second against Kannapolis. He went 4.0 innings against the Intimidators on April 9, striking out seven and walking three while allowing a run on two hits. The Rangers selected him in the 10th round of the June 2013 draft out of the University of Oregon where the right-hander went 2-1 with a 7.11 ERA in seven games (three starts) in 2013. He made his professional debut last season with the AZL Rangers, going 3-1 with a 2.13 ERA in 10 games (two starts), striking out 26 batters over 25.1 innings. The Bellevue, Wash., native graduated from Newport High School, posting a 0.64 ERA over 48.0 innings with 73 strikeouts as a senior.

Collin Wiles, 19, makes his first start of the season and second appearance against Kannapolis. The sandwich round selection (53rd overall) in the June 2012 First-Year Player Draft has worked 7.0 scoreless innings out of the pen so far this season, including 4.0 scoreless innings against the Intimidators on April 9. He has struck out six while walking one and surrendered just six hits in 7.0 innings. After making his professional debut in 2012, the Rangers farmhand spent 2013 with Short-A Spokane, going 2-7 with a 3.09 ERA in 14 games (14 starts).

Last Time Out:Greenville’s Carlos Asuaje singled through a drawn-in infield to drive in the winning run as the Drive beat Kannapolis, 5-4, in 14 innings on Sunday to complete a series sweep. Jimmy Rider, Greenville’s shortstop, pitched the top of the 14th inning and earned the win. Dylan Chavez (1-1) worked a scoreless 13th before giving up the winning run with one out in the 14th.

Extra! Extra!: Kannapolis played 14 innings in 4:24 in Sunday’s 5-4 loss in Greenville, its most innings since going 15 on July 12, 2012, at Lexington (L, 6-5) and its longest game without a delay since playing 4:25 against Hickory on June 27, 2011 (L, 10-8 in 13 innings).

Barnette Blanks ‘Em: Tyler Barnette pitched 5.0 scoreless relief innings Sunday, keeping the Drive off the scoreboard in the 8th through 12th innings. The former Charlotte 49er allowed two hits and a walk with a strikeout. Barnette has now worked enough innings to qualify as the SAL’s co-leader in ERA at 0.00 (0 ER/9 IP). He joins Rome’s Chuck Buchanan, Asheville’s Johendi Jiminian and Charleston’s Cesar Vargas with a 0.00 ERA.

Morris’ Monster Mash: Jacob Morris hit his first home run of the season, a shot over the Green Monster in Greenville’s left field to tie Sunday’s game 4-4 in the top of the eighth. He finished a triple shy of the cycle, going 3-7. Morris leads the SAL with 18 strikeouts.

Birthday Boy: Cleuluis Rondon went 3-for-6 with an RBI on his 20th birthday on Sunday. He is batting .298 (14-47) with 6 RBI and 3 doubles, including .350 (7-20) on the road.

Atta-boy Adam: Leadoff man Adam Engel walked, stole second and third, and scored to open Sunday’s game at Greenville. He is tied for the SAL lead with 10 runs scored in 2014.

Swept Away: The Intimidators suffered a sweep for the first time since July 20-23, 2013, when they lost four games at West Virginia last season. Kannapolis was swept nine times in 2013.

Mager Trouble:Greenville’s Kevin Mager went yard for the third time in seven games against Kannapolis on Sunday. He hit .423 (11-26) against the Intimidators this season. In 2013, two players had three home runs against Kannapolis: Asheville’s Francisco Sosa and Hickory’s Joey Gallo. The last player with four home runs in a season against the Intimidators was West Virginia’s Eric Avila, who hit four home runs against Kannapolis, one in four straight games, August 16-19, 2012.

Broadcast: Tuesday’s games will not be carried on IntimidatorsBaseball.com. Intimidators broadcasts will return on Wednesday, April 16, when Kannapolis plays its series finale at Hickory. Josh Feldman, now in his fourth season as the Voice of the Intimidators, will broadcast all 70 home games and select road games in 2014.

 

Game Notes 4/14/14: Extra! Extra!, Barnette blanks ‘em, Morris’s mash & Mager trouble…

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS vs. HICKORY CRAWDADS
4-7 (Chicago White Sox)                  5-6 (Texas Rangers)
Monday, April 14, 2014 – 6:00 p.m.
L.P. Frans/Crawdads Stadium – Hickory, N.C.
Games #12
RHP James Dykstra (1-1, 1.54) vs. RHP Cole Wiper (0-1, 5.14)

Today’s Preview: Fresh off a perfect game bid in his last outing, James Dykstra takes the ball for the Intimidators (A, White Sox) to open a 3-game series against the Crawdads (A, Rangers). Kannapolis has lost four straight, including being swept in Greenville in its most recent series. Hickory enters the series losers of three straight, dropping a 4-game series to Asheville, 3-1. The Intimidators took their series over the Crawdads, 2-1, last week to claim their first series win over Hickory since August 2011.

James DykstraIntimidating Starter: James Dykstra, 23, makes his third start and second against Hickory. He 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.

Hickory’s Hurler: Cole Wiper, 21, makes his third start and second against Kannapolis. He went 4.0 innings against the Intimidators on April 9, striking out seven and walking three while allowing a run on two hits. The Rangers selected him in the 10th round of the June 2013 draft out of the University of Oregon where the right-hander went 2-1 with a 7.11 ERA in seven games (three starts) in 2013. He made his professional debut last season with the AZL Rangers, going 3-1 with a 2.13 ERA in 10 games (two starts), striking out 26 batters over 25.1 innings. The Bellevue, Wash., native graduated from Newport High School, posting a 0.64 ERA over 48.0 innings with 73 strikeouts as a senior.

About Last Night:Greenville’s Carlos Asuaje singled through a drawn-in infield to drive in the winning run as the Drive beat Kannapolis, 5-4, in 14 innings on Sunday to complete a series sweep. Jimmy Rider, Greenville’s shortstop, pitched the top of the 14th inning and earned the win. Dylan Chavez (1-1) worked a scoreless 13th before giving up the winning run with one out in the 14th.

Extra! Extra!: Kannapolis played 14 innings in 4:24 in Sunday’s 5-4 loss in Greenville, its most innings since going 15 on July 12, 2012, at Lexington (L, 6-5) and its longest game without a delay since playing 4:25 against Hickory on June 27, 2011 (L, 10-8 in 13 innings).

charlotte 49ersBarnette Blanks ‘Em: Tyler Barnette pitched 5.0 scoreless relief innings Sunday, keeping the Drive off the scoreboard in the 8th through 12th innings. The former Charlotte 49er allowed two hits and a walk with a strikeout. Barnette has now worked enough innings to qualify as the SAL’s co-leader in ERA at 0.00 (0 ER/9 IP). He joins Rome’s Chuck Buchanan, Asheville’s Johendi Jiminian and Charleston’s Cesar Vargas with a 0.00 ERA.

Morris’ Monster Mash: Jacob Morris hit his first home run of the season, a shot over the Green Monster in Greenville’s left field to tie Sunday’s game 4-4 in the top of the eighth. He finished a triple shy of the cycle, going 3-7. Morris leads the SAL with 18 strikeouts.

Birthday Boy: Cleuluis Rondon went 3-for-6 with an RBI on his 20th birthday on Sunday. He is batting .298 (14-47) with 6 RBI and 3 doubles, including .350 (7-20) on the road.

Atta-boy Adam: Leadoff man Adam Engel walked, stole second and third, and scored to open Sunday’s game at Greenville. He is tied for the SAL lead with 10 runs scored in 2014.

Swept Away: The Intimidators suffered a sweep for the first time since July 20-23, 2013, when they lost four games at West Virginia last season. Kannapolis was swept nine times in 2013.

Mager Trouble:Greenville’s Kevin Mager went yard for the third time in seven games against Kannapolis on Sunday. He hit .423 (11-26) against the Intimidators this season. In 2013, two players had three home runs against Kannapolis: Asheville’s Francisco Sosa and Hickory’s Joey Gallo. The last player with four home runs in a season against the Intimidators was West Virginia’s Eric Avila, who hit four home runs against Kannapolis, one in four straight games, August 16-19, 2012.

Broadcast: Monday and Tuesday’s games will not be carried on IntimidatorsBaseball.com. Intimidators broadcasts will return on Wednesday, April 16, when Kannapolis plays its series finale at Hickory. Josh Feldman, now in his fourth season as the Voice of the Intimidators, will broadcast all 70 home games and select road games in 2014.

 

Game Notes 4/13/14: Mitchell to the mound & Drive-ing the ball

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS vs. GREENVILLE DRIVE
4-6 (Chicago White Sox) 6-3 (Boston Red Sox)
Sunday, April 13, 2014 – 4:05 p.m.
Fluor Field – Greenville, S.C.
Games #11
RHP Andrew Mitchell (1-0, 3.60) vs. RHP Mario Alcantara (0-1, 11.25)

red-sox-white-sox1Today’s Preview: After taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning in his season debut last, Andrew Mitchell takes the ball as the Intimidators (A, White Sox) try to salvage this 4-game series and avoid a sweep in Greenville against the Drive (A, Red Sox).  This is the final regular-season meeting between these two teams, and Greenville holds a 5-games-to-2 edge over Kannapolis in 2014. Mitchell, the White Sox #27 prospect according to Baseball America, makes his first appearance against a Red Sox affiliate while the Drive counter with fellow right-hander Mario Alcantara.

Sally Standings: Kannapolis (4-6) remains in 4th place in the SAL Northern Division, falling 4.0 games behind first place Hagerstown (8-2). The Intimidators are tied with Delmarva (4-6) behind the Suns as well as second-place Greensboro (6-4) and third place Hickory (5-5). West Virginia (3-7) and Lakewood (2-7) bring up the rear in the seven-team division.

Intimidating Starter: Andrew Mitchell, 22, makes his 16th career start and first against a Red Sox farm club. He is coming off a no-hit bid, which he took into the sixth inning before allowing a leadoff single. Mitchell allowed two runs on two hits over 5.0 innings while striking out six against the Crawdads in his season debut. The White Sox selected him in the fourth round out of TCU in the June 2013 draft following his junior season in which 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).

Going for Greenville: Mario Alcantara, 21, makes his second start of the season after taking a loss at Charleston on April 8. He gave up seven runs (five earned) on three hits with four walks while striking out one over 4.0 innings; the first three batters of the fifth inning reached and scored against him. The Red Sox farmhand spent 2013 in Short-A Lowell, going 5-5 with a 4.17 ERA in 14 games (nine starts). Alcantara spent his first two season in Boston’s organization with the GCL Red Sox, going 5-8 with a 4.63 ERA (49 ER/95.1 IP) over 24 games (23 starts) while striking out 62 batters from 2011-12.

About Last Night:Greenville’s Kevin Mager hit a 3-run home run off Sean Bierman to break a scoreless tie, lifting the Drive to a 4-1 win over Kannapolis on Saturday night. Bierman suffered his first loss of the season, allowing four runs on five hits over 5.0 innings. Teddy Stankiewicz picked up the win for the Drive, working 5.0 scoreless innings and limiting Kannapolis to three hits while striking out four and walking three. Jonathan Aro worked a scoreless, hitless ninth for his first save of the season. The Intimidators’ lone run came on a Carl Thomore base hit to plate Danny Hayes.

Drive-ing the ball: Three Greenville Drive hitters rank in the Top 10 in the SAL in batting. Tzu-Wei Lin is batting .417 (10-24) in seven games so far this season, second in the league, while Kevin Mager’s .407 average (11-27) ranks third. Carlos Asuaje ranks ninth, batting .360 (9-25). The Drive are the second-best hitting team in the Sally League, batting .287 (89-310), just behind Asheville at .290 (93-321).

Broadcast: This week’s road series against the Greenville Drive and Hickory Crawdads will not be carried on IntimidatorsBaseball.com. Intimidators broadcasts will return on Wednesday, April 16, when Kannapolis plays its series finale at Hickory. Josh Feldman, now in his fourth season as the Voice of the Intimidators, will broadcast all 70 home games and select road games in 2014.

Game Notes 4/12/14: Bierman to the bump, Top 10 Danish & saved by Sanchez…

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS vs. GREENVILLE DRIVE
4-5 (Chicago White Sox) 5-3 (Boston Red Sox)
Saturday, April 12, 2014 – 7:05 p.m.
Fluor Field – Greenville, S.C.
Games #10
LHP Sean Bierman (0-0, 6.75) vs. RHP Teddy Stankiewicz (0-1, 11.25)

Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) look to bounce back following their most lopsided loss of the season when they take on the Drive (A, Red Sox) in Game 3 of this 4-game series. Kannapolis sends LHP Sean Bierman to the mound while Greenville counters with Teddy Stankiewicz in a pitching rematch of an April 6 game at CMC-NorthEast Stadium. This is the Intimidators only visit to Fluor Field in 2014. The Drive lead the season series, 4-2, after picking up wins each of the last two nights.

Sally Standings: Kannapolis falls into a tie for fourth in the SAL Northern Division at 4-5, even with the Delmarva Shorebirds, at 3.0 games back. Hagerstown (7-2) leads the division with a 2.0-game lead over Greensboro (5-4) and Hickory (5-4). West Virginia (3-6) and Lakewood (2-6) bring up the rear.

Sean Bierman spent last season in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.

Sean Bierman spent last season in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.

Intimidating Starter: Sean Bierman, 25, makes his second start, once again facing the Drive. He took no decision against Greenville on April 6, allowing three runs on eight hits over 4.0 innings in his White Sox debut. Bierman split 2013 between Class A Bowling Green and Class A-Advanced Charlotte in the Rays organization, going 6-5 with a 2.55 ERA (25 ER/88.1 IP) over 18 appearances between both stops. The White Sox acquired Bierman from Tampa Bay with infielder Ben Kline as the players to be named later in exchange for pitcher Jesse Crain and cash considerations, October 15, 2013. The Rays drafted Bierman out of D-II power Tampa where he was the Sunshine State Conference Player of the Year in 2012. He entered 2013 with a career record 11-8 and 3.00 ERA in 31 games (27 starts).

Going for Greenville: Teddy Stankiewicz, 20, makes his second start of the season and second against Kannapolis. The Intimidators tagged him for five runs on eight hits – including a pair of home runs – over 4.0 innings in his season debut on April 6. He made his professional debut with Lowell in the Short-A NYPL in 2013, going 0-0 with a 2.29 ERA. He struck out 15 batters with just two walks over 20 innings. He fanned a career-best four batters over 2.0 innings against Auburn (8/1/13). Boston selected Stankiewicz with the 45th pick last year out of Seminole State (Okla.) J.C.. The NY Mets failed to sign him after drafting him in the second round out of high school in 2012. He enters this season rated by Baseball America as the No. 19 prospect in the Red Sox organization.

About Last Night: The Drive erupted for 10 runs over the middle innings en route to a 13-2 thumping of the Intimidators on Friday. Greenville pounded out 17 hits, the most allowed by Kannapolis in 2014. Kevin Mager led the Drive offense with four hits while Tzu-Wei Lin drove in three runs, all on a bases-clearing double as part of a four-run fourth inning. Robinson Leyer suffered his second loss in as many starts this season, both against the Drive. He allowed six runs on seven hits over 4.0 innings, while the Drive’s starter Pat Light gave up two runs on five hits over 6.0 innings to earn the win.

Triple Threat: Greenville’s Carlos Asuaje belted a 3-run triple on Friday, his second triple against the Intimidators this season. Kannapolis has surrendered three triples in 2014, all against the Drive.

Double-Digit Drive: The Intimidators allowed more than 10 runs to Greenville on Friday, the first time Kannapolis has given up double-digit runs since August 2, 2013, in an 11-7 loss at Hagerstown.

Say My Name: Switch-hitting third baseman Trey Michalczewski is off to a hot start against lefties at the plate, batting .600 (3-5) with two RBI. The White Sox seventh round pick last June is batting .233 on the season (7-30) with four RBI in nine games with Kannapolis.

Top 10 Danish: Intimidators starter Tyler Danish is 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA after two starts this season. His ERA is tied for ninth in the SAL with Augusta’s Matthew Lujan. Danish has worked 8.0 innings, striking out 11 batters while walking three so far in 2014. The White Sox selected the 2013 Louisville Slugger National Player of the Year in the second round of the June 2013 First-Year Player Draft.

Saved by Sanchez: Pitcher Jake Sanchez has been joined atop the list of SAL save leaders by Asheville’s Dylan Stamey and Delmarva’s Jimmy Yacabonis. All have saved three games in three chances. Sanchez is the reigning Pioneer League Pitcher of the Year after going 6-3 with a 2.87 ERA in 14 starts for the Advanced Rookie Great Falls Voyagers in 2013.

Attaboy, Adam: Centerfielder Adam Engel is tied for the SAL lead in runs scored (9) and triples (2).

Broadcast: This week’s series in Greenville will not be carried live on IntimidatorsBaseball.com. Intimidators broadcasts will return on Monday, April 14, when Kannapolis heads to Hickory for a three-game series against the Crawdads. Josh Feldman, now in his fourth season as the Voice of the Intimidators, will broadcast all 70 home games and select road games in 2014.


Game Notes 4/11/14: Rockin’ Rondon, attaboy Adam, and frequently fanning…

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS vs. GREENVILLE DRIVE
4-4 (Chicago White Sox) 4-3 (Boston Red Sox)
Friday, April 11, 2014 – 7:05 p.m.
Fluor Field – Greenville, S.C.
Games #9
RHP Robinson Leyer (0-1, 27.00) vs. RHP Pat Light (1-0, 1.50)

Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) look to get back over .500 after dropping their first extra-inning affair of 2014 on Thursday against the Drive (A, Red Sox) in Greenville. Robinson Leyer makes his second start of the season as he faces Pat Light in a pitching rematch of last Saturday’s game in Kannapolis between these two teams. The Drive lead the season series, 3-2. This is the Intimidators lone trip to Fluor Field in 2014.

Sally Standings: Kannapolis now sits 4-4, tied with Greensboro and Delmarva in third place in the SAL Northern Division, 2.0 game behind first place Hagerstown (6-2). Hickory (5-3) is second in the seven-team division. West Virginia (3-5) and Lakewood (2-5) round out the Northern Division standings.

Robinson Leyer makes his second start of the season against the Drive today.

Robinson Leyer makes his second start of the season against the Drive today.

Intimidating Starter: Robinson Leyer, 21, makes his 28th career start and second in 2014. In his Class A debut April 5, also against Greenville, he worked into the third inning but got into trouble, finishing the game allowing six runs on nine hits over 2.0-plus innings of work. 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.

Going for Greenville: Pat Light, 23, makes his second start of 2014 and second against Kannapolis after limiting the Intimidators to a run on four hits over 6.0 innings. He struck out 10 Intimidators in his season debut, which led the South Atlantic League through Monday. Light went 1-4 with an 8.89 ERA in 10 games (nine starts) for Greenville and made three scoreless rehab appearances with the GCL Red Sox. He made three trips to the DL in 2013 with Greenville and appeared in two SAL games after May 22. The Red Sox selected Light with the 37th overall pick in the June 2012 draft.

About Last Night:The Intimidators could not hold a three run lead in the eighth inning in an eventual 7-6 loss in 10 innings on Thursday in Greenville. Bo Greenwell’s 10th inning two-out single drove in Wendell Rijo for the winning run. Sean Hagan, who took over for Dylan Chavez with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the eighth, took the loss for Kannapolis. Shortstop Cleuluis Rondon led the offense for Kannapolis, going 4-5 with a double, two RBI and two stolen bases.

Walked Off: The Intimidators suffered their first walk-off loss and extra-inning loss on Friday since an August 3, 2013, when the Hagerstown Suns dropped Kannapolis, 7-6, in 10 innings.

Frequently Fanning: Intimidators hitters struck out 16 times in Thursday’s loss. Drive starter Jamie Callahan struck out a career-best 11 batters over 5.0 innings, and he now leads the Sally League with 15 strikeouts. The Intimidators struck out 16 times earlier this season on April 5 against Greenville when tonight’s starter Pat Light whiffed 10 Intimidators hitters over 6.0 innings. Callahan’s 11 K’s are the most by an opposing pitcher this season, surpassing the 10 by his teammate Light.

Dykstra Dominates: Starting pitcher James Dykstra retired the first 17 batters he faced on Wednesday before allowing a two-out single to No. 9 hitter Luis Marte in the top of the sixth, giving the Crawdads their first base runner of the day. Wednesday’s win was Dykstra’s first as a professional. The sixth round pick in the June 2013 draft, Dykstra is now 1-1 with a 1.54 ERA in two starts with Kannapolis.

Rockin’ Rondon: Shortstop Cleuluis Rondon paced the Intimidators offense, going 4-for-5 with two RBI and a double on Thursday, the first 4-hit game of his career. He has had six 3-hit games, most recently on August 23, 2012, with the GCL Red Sox against the GCL Rays while still in Boston’s farm system. The White Sox acquired Rondon last July at the trade deadline as part of the Jake Peavy trade. He is now batting .344 (11-32) with a team-high five RBI. Rondon also stole two bases on Thursday. 

Attaboy, Adam: Centerfielder Adam Engel collected his second 3-hit game of 2014 on Thursday, going 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. He is now tied for the SAL lead with eight runs scored and ranks second in total bases (18) and extra-base hits (5). He also is tied for the league lead in triples (2).

Broadcast: This week’s series in Greenville will not be carried live on IntimidatorsBaseball.com. Intimidators broadcasts will return on Monday, April 14, when Kannapolis heads to Hickory for a three-game series against the Crawdads. Josh Feldman, now in his fourth season as the Voice of the Intimidators, will broadcast all 70 home games and select road games in 2014.

MiLB.com features Dykstra, Game No. 1,800 & reading program thoughts

A couple quick notes while I’ve got a second:

First:

James DykstraAfter his dominant outing on Wednesday morning, MiLB.com posted a feature on Kannapolis starter James Dykstra.  It was written by MiLB.com staff writer Sam Dykstra (no relation).  Here’s the MiLB.com feature article:

Wednesday was Education Day at Class A Kannapolis’ CMC Northeast Stadium, and Intimidators starting pitcher James Dykstra had one lesson for the many elementary school children in attendance.

Do your homework.

After watching rotation mate Andrew Mitchell toss five hitless innings Tuesday, Dykstra took a perfect game into the sixth frame Wednesday in Kannapolis’ 1-0 win over Hickory. He finished with two hits and one walk allowed to go with six strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings en route to his first Minor League win.

“I was with my pitching coach [Jose Bautista], really studying their hitters yesterday,” said the White Sox’s 2013 sixth-round pick. “And I noticed they were being really aggressive early in the count, which is great for me and really plays to my strength. I knew if I could go after them early on, get them to swing on and make contact early, I’d do well.”

That’s exactly what happened for the 23-year-old right-hander, who relied on a heavy sinker and a changeup to keep Crawdads batters off-balance. He retired the first 17 hitters he faced with 11 of those outs coming on the ground. Through five innings, it wasn’t much of a secret what was going on.

“I knew I had it just by looking at the scoreboard,” said Dykstra (1-1).

Then with two outs in the sixth, Luis Marte hit a 2-2 Dykstra offering through the left side of the Kannapolis infield and into left, becoming Hickory’s first baserunner of the morning.

“I thought it had a chance to be picked up, but it just snuck through,” the starter said. “It wasn’t one of those ‘Ahhhh!’ moments though. … It was just a really good pitch that he happened to hit in the right spot.”

Dykstra struck out Lewis Brinson to end the sixth. He gave up a single to Eduard Pinto to lead off the seventh followed by a sac bunt, a flyout — the Crawdads’ only batted ball in the air off the right-hander — and a walk before being lifted by manager Pete Rose Jr. He finished with 13 ground outs in his 6 2/3 frames.

The California native showed marked improvement from his first start when he gave up two earned runs on six hits and two walks in five innings in Kannapolis’ 3-1 Opening Night loss to Greenville last Thursday. He chalked that up to an improved changeup this time around.

“I was throwing it for strikes a lot more this time,” Dykstra said. “I wasn’t able to quite control and use it as an out pitch last time and couldn’t get it over. This time, it was much more solid.”

Then again, Dykstra perhaps wouldn’t even have the changeup in his arsenal had it not been for his time at Cal State San Marcos.

The right-hander began his college career as a freshman at junior college with Yavapai (Ariz.) College in 2010 before moving onto LSU the following spring. He pitched only 23 innings out of the bullpen for the Tigers — posting a 5.48 ERA along the way — and was told playing time would be at a premium if he returned as a junior. So he moved to Cal State San Marcos, an NAIA school about 30 miles north of San Diego, where he wouldn’t have to sit for a year after transferring, which is what would have happened had he transferred to another Division I NCAA school.

There, he teamed up with CSUSM pitching coach Pat Hause, who helped him work on his off-speed stuff, and the results were immediate. The right-hander posted a 2.89 ERA in 14 starts in 2012 and was even better in 2013, when he set single-season school records for wins (nine), ERA (2.02), strikeouts (86) and complete games (four).

The White Sox liked enough of what they saw to grab Dykstra in the sixth round last June. Even now that he’s officially in pro ball, it’s times like Wednesday that the right-hander still calls back to his lessons from his not-too-distant college days.

“They taught me more to pitch than just throw,” Dykstra said. “They allowed me to call my own game because they always said, ‘You’re going to do it in the pros. You might as well do it now.’ And beyond that, they gave me the confidence to throw my changeup whenever. 3-2, 2-2, stuff like that. I don’t have to go fastball in a fastball count every time, and it’s really helped my game.”

Second, today’s game in Greenville will be the team’s 1,800th as a White Sox affiliate and 1,800th under the “Intimidators” nickname.  There have been a lot of great moments of the last 1,799 games.  As a White Sox affiliate, the Intimidators won their lone South Atlantic League championship in 2005 (the same year the big league club won the World Series).  Additionally, there have been a few no hitters or players to hit for the cycle.

Also, since becoming a White Sox affiliate in 2001, the Intimidators have featured 53 players that have gone from Kannapolis to the big leagues, including eight last season who all made their MLB debut with the White Sox.

History lesson:

While the Kannapolis baseball team is named after NASCAR Hall of Famer and Kannapolis native Dale Earnhardt Sr., the team was not posthumously named after “The Intimidator.”  Earnhardt Sr. purchased minority ownership in the team in the fall of 2000, and the rebranding effort began at that time.  Earnhardt tragically passed away in February 2001 at the Daytona 500, two months before the baseball team named for him was set to take the field for the first time.  

No Intimidators player has ever worn the number 3, which was retired in May 2001.

Also, one other note that I think is cool because, frankly, I’ve put a lot of work into this program hoping it will become a success, and I think that we may be on the brink of seeing it happen.

This offseason, the Intimidators launched a reading program.  You can read the press release here.  It’s a simple concept: challenge children in the area school districts to read four books in four weeks outside of their regular curriculum, and they get a ticket to see a game.  Parents/guardians as well as siblings or really anyone else coming to support that kid can purchase a ticket in advance for $3 instead of the regularly-priced $10. The good seats, not out in the bleachers.

I went to a Greenville Drive game last season and saw a small army of elementary and middle school children parading around the field after completing a similar program with the Drive and knew we had to put our own reading program into action.

Fast-forward through the meetings with school district curriculum directors (not because those meetings weren’t important — quite the contrary.  Without the support of those people, we never would have gotten off the ground — but because I want to tell you the exciting part of what we’re seeing), and through the distribution of the program to all elementary and middle schools in four area school districts (KCS, Cabarrus, Rowan-Salisbury and Stanly).  Here’s where we are today.

Today, we’ve been preparing to deliver ticket vouchers for just the students of Cabarrus County Schools — the largest of the four districts — to more than 1,000 students who read four books in four weeks.  That’s more than 4,000 books students in just Cabarrus County read over the last month.  These students will get to come to a game, parade around the field, and be recognized for their accomplishments for picking up a book and doing their own part to better their education.

During this past home stand, students from Kannapolis City Schools came to our April 4 game and participated in their school district’s reading celebration game.  Next week, we’ll find out just how many students in Stanly and Rowan-Salisbury completed the challenge.

I think it’s awesome.  Awesome for a few reasons.  And those reasons go along with people I probably need to thank for making this a success:

1. The school systems big wigs.

Be it superintendents, curriculum directors, principals.  They bought in.  When we told them that we — the Intimidators — wanted to help encourage kids to pick up a book a read, they embraced our ability to motivate kids with not just a ticket to a game, but the additional levels of recognition.  They believed in what we were trying to do, and they allowed this program to get started.  Without them, I’m not sure how many of those 1,000 students in just Cabarrus County would have picked up four books outside the curriculum (I wasn’t that student growing up, but I definitely would have been pumped to go to a baseball game as a kid, and if I had to read a book or four to make it happen, I would have).  These administrators were a big part of making this program a reality.

2. The Media Specialists/Assistant Principals/Program Coordinators

These are the people that have helped put the program in place.  The people in the schools that helped distribute the program and get the information out to all the teachers and students.  Promoting the rewards of coming to a game, parading around the field, etc. But more importantly, helping the students realize that good things happen when you pick up a book — in the short term, getting to go to a baseball game (and in the long-term, building a better academic foundation).

3. The students themselves

They did the work.  They earned their ticket to a game by reading.  They may have done it just for the ticket, but who cares.  I was not a good student.  I did not read for fun.  Maybe ever (unless we’re counting Sports Illustrated or books about the NFL and/or Dallas Cowboys).  These kids did.  And they deserve to be recognized for it, and I’m glad we’re able to do that.

4. My bosses

This was my crazy idea to basically launch a program that would take a WHOLE lot of time, energy, paper, printer toner, mileage, organization, coordination, and effort to make happen.  I asked my bosses to trust me and let’s see what we could put together.  Obviously we’re not at the finish line yet, and I’m sure they are thinking of ways I can improve this from our team’s standpoint (like finding a sponsor or two to help underwrite the costs of tickets for students, discounted tickets for parents/guardians, and all that tens of thousands of pieces of paper we printed up and distributed throughout the four area school districts — and I’m confident enough in my own ability to find one company in the Kannapolis/Concord or even Greater Charlotte area that feels strongly about supporting this program to help us build a better educational foundation for kids in the community.  Anyway, that’s something to work on for next season.

Alright, that’s all for now.  Intimidators are down in Greenville for their first road game of 2014.  No broadcast tonight either — I’ll be back on Monday in Hickory for the start of that series (fun fact: the Crawdads 1B Ronald Guzman just got sent back to Extending Spring Training by the Rangers for missing the bus to Kannapolis on Wednesday).

-JF
@BigTexJosh

Game Notes 4/8/14: Dykstra dominates, Danish back to the bump & Victory over Hickory…

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS vs. GREENVILLE DRIVE
4-3 (Chicago White Sox)           3-3 (Boston Red Sox)
Thursday, April 10, 2014 – 7:05 p.m.
Fluor Field – Greenville, S.C.
Games #8
RHP Tyler Danish (1-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Jamie Callahan (0-1, 7.36)

Today’s Preview: After splitting a four-game series to open the season last week, the Intimidators (A, White Sox) head to Greenville for four more games against the Drive (A, Red Sox) to complete the 2014 season series against the Southern Division foe. Kannapolis starter Tyler Danish, the White Sox second round pick in the June 2013 First-Year Player Draft, makes his second start of the season as Greenville counters with Jamie Callahan in a pitching rematch of last Friday’s game.

Intimidating Starter: Tyler Danish, 19, makes his second start and second appearance against the Drive after collecting a win in his season debut on April 4. He worked 5.0 scoreless innings, striking out six, in his season debut against Greenville. 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. He made two scoreless appearances in the SAL in 2013.

Going for Greenville: Jamie Callahan, 19, makes his second start of the season and 18th over his career as he faced Kannapolis for the second straight outing. The Intimidators tagged him for a loss on April 4 as he walked six batters over 3.2 innings, allowing three runs on four hits. As a result, he is tied for third in the SAL with six walks. The South Carolina native went 5-1 with a 3.92 ERA in 13 games (12 starts) in 2013 with Short-A Lowell. The Red Sox drafted Callahan in the second round (87th overall) in the June 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Dillon (S.C.) High School. Baseball America rated him the No. 22 Prospect in the Red Sox system entering this season. Last season, he was the youngest starter (minimum 10 starts) in the New York-Penn League.

James Dykstra worked 6.2 strong innings of two-hit ball as the Intimidators dropped the Crawdads, 1-0, on April 9, 2014.

James Dykstra worked 6.2 innings of two-hit ball as the Intimidators dropped the Crawdads, 1-0, on April 9, 2014.

About Last Night:James Dykstra took a perfect game two outs into the sixth inning and limited the Crawdads to two hits over 6.2 scoreless innings to lead the Intimidators to a 1-0 win on Wednesday morning. Dykstra struck out six batters, walking one, before turning the ball over to Jose Bautista, who worked 1.1 scoreless relief innings. Jake Sanchez worked a perfect ninth for the save, preserving the narrow win. Danny Hayes drove in Adam Engel on a first-inning single for the game’s only run.

Dropping the ‘Dads: Wednesday’s win over Hickory gave Kannapolis a series win over the Crawdads (two games to one) for the first time since August 2011. The Intimidators had played 10 series against the Crawdads in between series victories, going 11-26 in those games.

Dykstra Dominates: Starting pitcher James Dykstra retired the first 17 batters he faced on Wednesday before allowing a two-out single to No. 9 hitter Luis Marte in the top of the sixth, giving the Crawdads their first base runner of the day. Prior to Marte’s single to left field, Hickory had not hit the ball out of the infield as Dykstra had retired all previous batters via groundout or strikeout. The former Cal State San Marcos product returned to the mound in the top of the seventh, recording two outs to work the longest outing by an Intimidators starter this season (6.2 IP). Wednesday’s win was Dykstra’s first as a professional. The sixth round pick last June went 0-0 with a 5.06 ERA last year with Great Falls. This season, Dykstra has worked 11.2 innings, tied for second-most in the South Atlantic League.

Mitchell makes most of debut: Dykstra’s dominating start was the second straight day an Intimidators pitcher took a no hitter into the sixth inning. Andrew Mitchell carried a no-hitter into the sixth in Tuesday’s first game. He limited the Crawdads to three base runners on three walks over the game’s first five innings. Mitchell, the fourth round pick of the White Sox in the June 2013 draft, walked the leadoff man in the sixth before giving up a hit to Eduard Pinto to break up the gem.

Sally Standings: Kannapolis moves to 4-3, tied with Greensboro and Hickory in second place in the SAL Northern Division, 1.0 game behind first place Hagerstown (5-2). Delmarva and West Virginia follow at 3-4 and Lakewood sits at 2-4 to round out the Northern Division standings.

Back Above .500: The Intimidators are back above .500 for the first time since April 16, 2013, when they were 7-6 early last season.

Attaboy, Adam: Centerfielder Adam Engel is tied for the SAL lead with two triples and four extra-base hits this season. He ranks sixth on the circuit with 14 total bases.

Saved by the Sanchez: Intimidators reliever Jake Sanchez leads the SAL with three saves in three save opportunities this season. Sanchez spun a perfect ninth on Wednesday to preserve a 1-0 win over the Crawdads. The reigning Pioneer League Pitcher of the Year also secured Sunday’s win over Greenville with a scoreless ninth, striking out three batters. He worked a 2.0 inning save last Friday vs. the Drive.

Broadcast: This week’s series in Greenville will not be carried live on IntimidatorsBaseball.com. Intimidators broadcasts will return on Monday, April 14, when Kannapolis heads to Hickory for a three-game series against the Crawdads. Josh Feldman, now in his fourth season as the Voice of the Intimidators, will broadcast all 70 home games and select road games in 2014.

Game Notes 4/9/14: Mitchell caries no-hitter into sixth

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS vs. HICKORY CRAWDADS
3-3 (Chicago White Sox)        4-2 (Texas Rangers)
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 – 10:05 a.m.
CMC-NorthEast Stadium – Kannapolis, N.C.
Games #7
RHP Jake Dykstra (0-1, 3.60) vs. RHP Cole Wiper (0-0, 9.00)

hic3Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) wrap up their 3-game series against the Crawdads (A, Rangers) with today’s series rubber match at 10:05 a.m.  Opening day starters Jake Dystrak and Cole Wiper take the ball after these instate rivals split Tuesday’s doubleheader to open the series.

Intimidating Starter: James Dykstra, 23, makes his second start and first against a Rangers affiliate on the heels of 5.0 innings of work on Opening Day. Dykstra made six appearances 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, Dykstra 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.

**Dykstra’s Cal State San Marco bio page**

Hickory’s Hurler: Cole Wiper, 21, makes his first appearance against a White Sox affiliate in his fourth career start.  The Rangers selected him in the 10th round of the June 2013 draft out of the University of Oregon where the right-hander went 2-1 with a 7.11 ERA in seven games (three starts) in 2013. He made his professional debut last season with the AZL Rangers, going 3-1 with a 2.13 ERA in 10 games (two starts), striking out 26 batters over 25.1 innings.  The Bellevue, Wash., native graduated from Newport High School, posting a 0.64 ERA over 48.0 innings with 73 strikeouts as a senior.

**Wiper’s Oregon Bio Page**

**Wiper’s Baseballcube Page**

Scoreless: The Intimidators were shut out on Tuesday in the second game of the doubleheader, the first shutout loss since Aug. 11, 2013, a 3-0 defeat to Delmarva.

About Last Night:The Intimidators split Tuesday’s doubleheader with Hickory, winning Game 1, 3-2, before falling in Game 2, 4-0. In the opener, starting pitcher Andrew Mitchell carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before allowing the first three batters of the inning to reach base, ending his night. He fanned six while walking four to earn the win in his Class A debut. In the second game, Hickory second baseman Travis Demeritte homered off Andre Wheeler in the second inning, and the Crawdads never looked back as Ricardo Rodriguez and reliever Felix Carvallo combined to 2-hit the Intimidators.

**Game 1 recap**  **Game 2 recap**

Sally Standings: Kannapolis (3-3) is tied with Greensboro and West Virginia in third place in the South Atlantic League Northern Division, 2.0 games behind first place Hagerstown (5-1) and a game back of Hickory (4-2). Lakewood (2-3) and Delmarva (2-4) round out the Northern Division standings.

Tyler at the Top: Designated Hitter Tyler Williams ranked ninth in the South Atlantic League in hitting, falling out of the top on Tuesday after combining to go 0-4 in the doubleheader. He is still batting .385 (5-13) with 3 RBI and 3 runs scored in five games. Williams, the son of White Sox Executive Vice President Ken Williams, ranks tied for fourth on the circuit with a .500 on-base percentage.

Attaboy, Adam: Centerfielder Adam Engel is tied with Savannah’s Jared King for the South Atlantic League lead with two triples apiece. Engel tripled in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday but fell a triple short of the cycle in Sunday’s series finale against the Greenville Drive. He leads the league in extra-base hits (4) while ranking second in total bases (14).

Saved by the Sanchez: Intimidators reliever Jake Sanchez is tied for the SAL with two saves. Sanchez secured Sunday’s victory over Greenville with a scoreless ninth inning, striking out three batters. It was his second save of the series following last Friday’s two-inning save, also against the Drive.

Double Dip: Kannapolis is now 1-1 in doubleheader games this season following Tuesday’s split with Hickory. The Intimidators went 5-7 in twin bills in 2013.

Mitchell makes most of debut: Andrew Mitchell carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning in Tuesday’s first game. He limited the Crawdads to three base runners on three walks over the game’s first five innings, including two in the third.  Mitchell, the fourth round pick of the White Sox in the June 2013 draft, walked the leadoff man in the sixth before giving up a hit to Eduard Pinto to break up the gem.

Capable Crawdads: Hickory’s roster features eight of Baseball America’s Top 30 Rangers prospects, including returning Crawdads OF Lewis Brinson (No. 15), OF Nomar Mazara (24), C Kellin Deglan (28), and RHP Kelvin Vasquez (30). Prospects SS Travis Demeritte (8), the 30th overall pick in the June 2013 draft, is also opening his 2014 season at Hickory along with second round pick RHP Akeem Bostic (11) and third rounder RHP David Ledbetter (19). Texas signed Dominican OF Jairo Beras (17) in 2012.

Broadcast: Today’s game can be heard online at IntimidatorsBaseball.com. Josh Feldman will broadcast all 70 Intimidators home games and select road games during the 2014 season. Here are your links to listen: PC/Droid:http://t.co/UNQeM15cHb iOS: http://t.co/USieXn6LBt

Game Notes 4/8/14: Let’s play two, Mitchell takes the mound & Tyler at the top…

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS vs. HICKORY CRAWDADS
2-2 (Chicago White Sox)              3-1 (Texas Rangers)
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 – 4:00 p.m. (Doubleheader)
CMC-NorthEast Stadium – Kannapolis, N.C.
Games #5 & #6
RHP Andrew Mitchell (0-0, 0.00) vs. LHP Frank Lopez (0-0, 0.00)
LHP Andre Wheeler (0-0, 4.50) vs. RHP Ricardo Rodriguez (0-0, 0.00)

hic3Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) return to the field after Monday’s rain out to face the instate rival Crawdads (A, Rangers) in the first game of a three-game series. These two teams will meet 24 times in 2014. Today White Sox prospect Andrew Mitchell makes his Class A debut in Game 1 of the doubleheader followed by Intimidators reliever Andre Wheeler taking the ball to open Game 2. Today’s doubleheader will comprise two 7-inning games. Hickory is countering with Frank Lopez, making his season debut in Game 1, then Richardo Rodriguez in Game 2.

Promotion Preview: It’s our first Arby’s Two-for-Tuesday features 2-for-1 tickets with any Arby’s proof of purchase at tonight’s game. It’s also the first Senior Club Night presented by Cannon Pharmacy, Home Instead Senior Care, Trinity Oaks Retirement Community and Western & Southern Life, and all Senior Club members are admitted free into the game. Senior Club membership is only $5 annually.

Intimidating Starter: Andrew Mitchell, 22, makes his 15th career start and first against a Rangers farm club in his season debut. The White Sox selected him in the fourth round out of TCU in the June 2013 draft following his junior season in which 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).

**View Mitchell’s TCU bio page**

DSC_4846

Andre Wheeler appeared in nine games for the Intimidators in 2013 after moving up from Advanced Rookie Bristol.

Andre Wheeler, 22, makes his first career start in the second game of the twin bill in what will be his 20th professional appearance. The lefty split 2013 between Advanced Rookie Bristol and Kannapolis, going 1-1 with a 3.19 ERA in 18 appearances, recording five saves. He fanned 38 batters in 31 innings while walking nine. The White Sox selected Wheeler out of Texas Tech in the 15th round in June 2013.

**View Wheeler’s Texas Tech bio page**

Hickory’s Hurler: Frank Lopez, 20, begins his second season in the South Atlantic League today after going 3-7 with a 4.79 ERA in 16 games (16 starts). In his lone start against the Intimidators in 2013, he lasted just 0.2 innings before a Keon Barnum line drive off his back forced him from the game. Lopez took the loss, allowing two runs on two hits with a strikeout (7/26/13). The Rangers signed Lopez as a non-drafted free agent in 2010. In 2012, Lopez spent the season with the AZL Rangers, going 4-3 with a 5.19 ERA in 14 games (11 starts), striking out 53 with just 14 walks in 52 innings.

Richardo Rodriguez, 21, makes his first career start in Game 2 for Hickory. He made his Class A debut with a perfect relief inning on April 4 at Greensboro. Rodriguez split 2013 between the DSL Rangers, AZL Rangers and Short-A Spokane, combining to go 0-4 with a 3.09 ERA (11 ER/32 IP), striking out 44 batters and walking six while converting 11 of his 12 save opportunities.

About Last Night:The Intimidators series opener against the Crawdads was postponed due to rain.

Tyler at the Top: Designated Hitter Tyler Williams leads the South Atlantic League in hitting after the season’s first five days. He is batting .556 (5-9) with 3 RBI and 3 runs scored in 3 games. Williams, the son of White Sox Executive Vice President Ken Williams, also leads the circuit with a .636 OBP.

Attaboy, Adam: Centerfielder Adam Engel is tied with Savannah’s Jared King for the South Atlantic League lead with two triples apiece. Engel tripled in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday but fell a triple short of the cycle in Sunday’s series finale against the Greenville Drive. He leads the league in total bases with 13 and extra-base hits with four while ranking second in slugging percentage (.765).

Saved by the Sanchez: Intimidators reliever Jake Sanchez leads the SAL with two saves, ahead of 11 others tied at one. Sanchez secured Sunday’s victory over Greenville with a scoreless ninth inning, striking out three batters. It was his second save of the series following last Friday’s two-inning save.

Home Run Highlights: Kannapolis hit three home runs on Sunday, the team’s most since July 15, 2013. Danny Hayes had the first Intimidators blast of 2014, followed by Adam Engels go-ahead shot in the fifth inning against the Drive. Trey Michalczewski added an inside the park home run in the seventh, the first by an Intimidator since Jacob May did it Aug. 13, 2013.  Listen to highlights of the home runs below:

Capable Crawdads: Hickory’s roster features eight of Baseball America’s Top 30 Rangers prospects, including returning Crawdads OF Lewis Brinson (No. 15), OF Nomar Mazara (24), C Kellin Deglan (28), and RHP Kelvin Vasquez (30). Prospects SS Travis Demeritte (8), the 30th overall pick in the June 2013 draft, is also opening his 2014 season at Hickory along with second round pick RHP Akeem Bostic (11) and third rounder RHP David Ledbetter (19). Texas signed Dominican OF Jairo Beras (17) in 2012.

Hickory’s Upper-Hand: Over the last three seasons, the Crawdads have gone 36-16 against the Intimidators, including an 11-4 mark in 2013. Kannapolis last boasted a winning record against their instate rivals in 2010, going 9-7, including a 5-3 mark at CMC-NorthEast Stadium.

Broadcast: Today’s game can be heard online at IntimidatorsBaseball.com. Josh Feldman will broadcast all 70 Intimidators home games and select road games during the 2014 season. Here are your links to listen: PC/Droid:http://t.co/UNQeM15cHb iOS: http://t.co/USieXn6LBt

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