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Cannon Baller Chronicle: Week 18

September 7, 2021

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. –The Kannapolis Cannon Ballers have completed week 18 of the 2021 season, dropping four of six on the road at Grainger Stadium against the Down East Wood Ducks. The Ballers finish their 24 games against the Woodies with a final record of 7-17, grinding out two victories in

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. –The Kannapolis Cannon Ballers have completed week 18 of the 2021 season, dropping four of six on the road at Grainger Stadium against the Down East Wood Ducks. The Ballers finish their 24 games against the Woodies with a final record of 7-17, grinding out two victories in the first two games of the series. Here are some notable performances from the week in Kinston:

(All stats are reflective of games from 8/31 to 9/05)

RHP Kohl Simas:

1-0, 0.00 ERA, 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K

Since joining the club on August 9, Simas has been far and away the best arm out of the bullpen for skipper Guillermo Quiroz. The righty from San Diego State turned in a masterful performance Thursday night, tossing three shutout innings and accumulating five punchouts, bettering his season opponent batting average to a team-low .097. Simas will look to continue his dominance in the final two series of the 2021 season.

LHP Garvin Alston:

1-0, 0.00 ERA, 4.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K

Alston’s season has been nothing short of a roller coaster. The southpaw from USC-Aiken has seen lows such as being demoted to the Arizona Complex League as well as seeing highs such as this week. Alston turned in two fantastic outings against Down East, allowing just two hits in 4.1 frames, punching out two, as well as lowering his ERA by nearly a full point. In the month of August, Alston tallied a 2-0 record with a 2.45 ERA in eight games, a stat-line that opponents are watching closely in preparation for coming games.

OF James Beard:

6-23, .261, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 4 R, 3 BB

In a week where most bats for the Ballers struggled, Beard shined with a home run in Friday night’s game as well as a team-high six hits in the series. The speedster from Mississippi has progressed mightily over the last few weeks, coming around and finding success at the plate after early struggles to start the season.

C Adam Hackenberg:

4-14, .286, 1 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB

Hackenberg continued his incredible stretch of baseball with more above-average hitting for Kannapolis. The former Clemson backstop added an RBI in Friday’s loss, keeping his batting average at over .400 with four hits in four games. Hackenberg has thoroughly cemented himself as an offensive threat in Quiroz’s lineup late in the season.

LOOKING AHEAD:

*09/07-09/12 *

Fayetteville Woodpeckers (3rd Low-A East Central Division, 49-59)

The Woodpeckers, Low-A affiliate of the Houston Astros, return to Kannapolis for the second time in 2021 after splitting a series at Segra Stadium with the Augusta GreenJackets. Fayetteville dropped four of the six games in late June at Atrium Health Ballpark in the best series at home that Kannapolis has had in 2021. The Woodpeckers are one of the many teams in Low-A East that has had to deal with a high turn-around on their roster, fielding almost a completely different team for this upcoming series from the roster in late June.

After the mid-season update to the MLB Pipeline prospect lists, the Woodpeckers hold four of the top 30 prospects in the Astros system in RHP Alex Santos (No.8), INF Cristian Gonzalez (No.15), RHP Chayce McDermott (No. 17), and OF Jordan Brewer (No. 22).

Santos made his 2021 season debut against the Ballers on June 22, facing Kannapolis a total of four times this season. The 19-year-old has allowed a batting average of .238 with five RBIs against Cannon Baller bats in those four appearances, a number better than his overall season opponent batting line of .205. Gonzalez joined the team on July 20, batting .244 with 14 RBIs in 30 games with Fayetteville. McDermott joined Fayetteville’s roster recently on August 17, boasting a 0-0 record with a 3.12 ERA in three games with two starts. In his most recent start on Thursday against Augusta, the righty from Ball State fired seven punchouts and allowed just two hits in three innings. Finally, Brewer’s start to the month of September has impressive, batting .368 in four games with a home run and six RBIs. The 2019 3rd round selection is producing pedestrian numbers on the season with a .253 batting line and 36 RBIs.

On offense for the Woodpeckers, INF Will Wagner produced an incredible week against Augusta at the plate, batting .438 with four RBIs. Brewer added two doubles, seven RBIs, and a team-high eight hits against the GreenJackets. Despite a .163 batting line on the season, OF Victor Mascai has notched six home runs on the season with two coming last week. OF Michael Sandle has four home runs in the last 15 days, as well as a team-high 11 RBIs in that stretch.

On the mound, RHP Heitor Tokar tallied a win and nine punchouts in two games against Augusta, boasting a 1-3 record and 5.70 ERA on the year with the Woodpeckers. RHP Carlos Calderon and RHP Spencer Arrighetti each added a win last week, with Calderon accumulating eight punchouts and Arrighetti only able to notch five. Santos added a save in his only appearance, cleaning through the GreenJackets lineup in an inning and a third, punching out two and walking one. Saves leader RHP Jose Betances has three saves on the year, also holding a line of 44 punchouts in 34.2 innings.

The Kannapolis Cannon Ballers face off against the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, Low-A affiliate of the Houston Astros, at Atrium Health Ballpark Sept. 7-12 to close out the 2021 home schedule. The Ballers will then depart for a road-trip for the final week of the Low-A East regular season Sept. 14-19 to Columbia for a six-game set with the Fireflies, Low-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.

Tickets can be purchased for any upcoming home games at kcballers.com or at the F&M Bank Box Office located at Atrium Health Ballpark. Fans can also keep up with the action on the team’s social media outlets, with live in-game updates being provided on Twitter at @kcannonballers.