West Virginia Power vs. Kannapolis Intimidators
The Power are the low single A affiliate of the Pirates and the Kannapolis Intimidators are the low A affiliate of the White Sox.
This is my 8th game on the road trip.
Since I was heading to charlotte to see my Cousins that live there I figured I would go to a game in Kannapolis I have been there before, but since I have never got a South Atlantic League Ball I knew they had a spot where you could watch batting practice and see if I could snag one so I headed out behind the field and almost immediately found a ball.
Here it is before I picked it up. So I was like great I finally got the elusive S.A.L. ball. I pick it up and it is not a S.A.L. ball but and MLB ball I than noticed that it had a logo and I just laughed…..
….because here I am 1600 miles from Denver and the first ball I find was a 20th Anniversary Rockies logo ball. Now they have been hard to come by in Denver unless you get a game ball or a toss up during practice.
So I kept searching for the S.A.L. ball and the next one I found was a Minor League practice ball. By then One of my cousins headed out and found another Minor League Practice ball still not finding a S.A.L. ball. Now the reason I have called the S.A.L. ball elusive is because of the amount of game I have seen in this league and have never got one. Many of the stadiums don’t have great availability for batting practice and I have never got a game ball from any of them and that was with seeing 3 games in Greensboro, 2 in Ashville, 1 in Lexington and the previous game in Kannapolis. So 7 games in the last 3 years and did not get one.
So I than found one and the quest for the Elusive S.A.L ball was over not even 2 minutes or so later I found a second!!!!
It was time to head in, one of the biggest differences was they had changed the stadiums name since the last time I was there. It use to be Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium. It is now CMC-Northeast Stadium.
An interesting thing they do in this stadium is post the Nextel Cup standings.
Here is a view of the main building at the stadium. It is where the main entrance is, souvenir store and the stadiums suites are located! even the last time I mentioned that this stadium felt like it was in someone’s back yard which is something I like about this stadium.
Here is a link from my last game in Kannapolis.
The players cam out to warm up and after the normal stretching and throwing they broke up into groups of 4 and played pepper which is a exercise/game that was more common years ago. this is the first time I have seen it.
Braulio Ortiz throwing the first pitch to Barrett Barnes, he would hit a lead-off single.
Barnes dives back on a throw over to first base.
The second batter for the Power Dilson Herrera popped out to the Intimidators catcher Brent Tanner.
Tyler Glasnow was the starting pitcher for the Powers he is currently the #19 prospect in the Pirates organization. Besides hitting the second batter in the inning he pitched very well striking out 2 in the 1st. The Intimidators first batter Jacob May broke his bat on Glasnows first or second pitch.
May hit him self with the handle part of the bat. The trainer actually use the towel they always come out of the dugout with.
After he got back in the box he hit a soft hit that the Powers third base man fielded for the out at first.
The batter that did get on base in the inning was Tim Anderson, after getting on base he stole second!
The Powers lead off batter in the 2nd was Eric Wood.
He hit the ball to the track in center, but it was caught by Kannapolis’ center fielder Jacob May. The Power would have 2 runners in the inning. Max Moroff the second batter of the inning walked and the third Walker Gourley reached on a fielding error by the short stop Tim Anderson.
Designated Hitter Michael Johnson hitting a 2nd inning single to Eric Woods at third.
Johnson would reach base on a throw that got past the Powers first base man Walker Gourley. It was not ruled an error it was a base hit foe Johnson. He may have been able to get to second but remained at first.
Ortiz pitching with a runner on in the 3rd inning. The runner for the Power was Josh Bell who hit a single to get on base. Both teams failed to score in the 3rd. The Intimidators did have a scoring opportunity Kale Kisner reached on a single but was throw out at second trying to steal second base two batters later Tim Anderson hit a double which most likely could have scored Kisner from first or second if he did steal the base successfully. That would have given the Intimidators a 1 run lead.
Things got very rough for the Intimidators starter Ortiz in the 4th. After Max Moroff singled with one out. Walker Gourley followed that up with a single also then two batters in a row walked first, Francisco Diaz and then Raul Fortunado. The second walk brought in the Powers first run scoring Moroff from third. (1-0) Power Their second run came on a sac fly by Barrett Barnes to center and that scored Gourley. (2-0) Power. Besides the 4th inning runs Ortiz pitched well he did work himself out of a situation with 2 runners on in the 2nd and he stayed in the game through the 6th inning. After the 4th inning he came out very strong in the 5th. the first batter of the inning Josh Bell grounded out and he then struck out Jordan steranka and eric would to end the inning. He did walk the lead-off batter in the 6th but then had the second batter hit into a double play by keeping the ball low and on the ground for hits and finished the inning with his 4th strike out of the game.
Alex Power pitched the 7th and 8th inning for the Intimidators. He pitched well in 7th and let up a run in the 8th. Eric Wood Scored on a Walker Gourley single. (3-0) Power
Max Moroff sliding into 3rd on the Gourley single.
Jason Coats hit into a double play with runners on 2nd and third. The Powers Dolson Herrera stepping on second and turning the throw to first.
Coats out a first.
Keon Barnum hitting a RBI scoring single.
Jacob May scoring the Intimidators first and only run in the 9th inning. Brent Tanner would ground out to end the game. The Power would win with the 3-1 score.
The Power celebrate their victory in Kannapolis. After this game they are 46-41 on the season and The Intimidators are not being to intimidating in The S.A.L with a 34- and 53 record.
That is it for this one in Kannapolis may have another game coming up this weekend before heading back to Denver for the All-Star week and Roxivus next weekend.
Till then see you around.
Bristol White Sox Vs. Burlington Royals
Burlington Athletic Stadium, Burlington, N.C.
I think you can figure out the affiliates on this one! These 2 teams are part of the The Appalachian League. The Appalachian League is a Rookie League similar to the Pioneer League that the Grand Junction Rockies belong to. They play a short season schedule of only 64 games. For more info on the Appalachian League checkout their website: http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=l120
Lets start out with this, this was an a totally un expected amazing game. When you think driving 30 miles to see a Rookie league game is crazy, you should think again! Burlington, N.C. is approximately 30 miles east of Greensboro, N.C. down I-40. When you first pull up to the stadium you just think they play Pro baseball here. To answer the question yes they do! The stadium is basically an old school grandstand that you would see at Fair grounds around the country. It seats about 3500 including the bleachers down both the first and 3rd base line. This is an interesting stadium after doing a little research I found out that the original structure was Built in Danville, Va, it was taken apart and rebuilt in Burlington. It was briefly shown in the Movie Bull Durham which immediately came to my mind as I entered the stadium not knowing it was in the movie. In 1988 it was also the location of a 27 inning game that is still the longest solo broadcasted game in baseball history @ 8 hours and 27 minutes. It was originally the home of the Cleveland Indians team in the Carolina League. Players that were originally Indians have played there including C.C. Sabathia, Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome. So if you want to be taken back 50 years I totally recommend this stadium. The thing I like about it was the press box above the grandstand.
To your left when you walk in there is a table with players signing autographs.
There is a small area where there a concession stands and a souvenir stand. Players hang out and mingle amongst the fans.
Here is a look from the third base line at the grandstand.
The grounds crew preparing the field.
After about 45 minutes to an hour the tarp was removed and players started heading out for warm ups.
The Royals Jose Rodriguez grounded out for the first out of the Royals first. The Royals would also go down in order in the first.
The Royals catcher Beau Maggi catches a pop up hit by White Sox Steven Nikorak for the final out of the 2nd inning.
Ford high fives Leonard at home. After the Hr the next 3 batters for the royals got out. The White Sox Sat down in order in the top of the 3rd. The only base runner so far for the White Sox was Jose Barraza who was hit by a pitch in the 2nd.
The White Sox starting pitcher Jefferson Olacino pitching in the 4th inning to the Royals Beau Maggi. Maggi would walk and later score in one of the oddest fashions I have ever see. He was baulked to 2nd stole third.
The ball was over thrown to third and he scored. (4-0) Royals I don’t think I have ever seen a batter advance so many ways with out a hit and score.
James Hudelson came in to pitch for the White Sox in the 5th inning. The Royals Bubba Castro lead off the inning with a double and would Score. (5-0) Royals.
Jake brown grounding out in the 6th inning. The royals pitching domination kept going through the 6th. The White Sox only runner was the hit batter in the 2nd.
Lincoln Rassi came in to pitch for the Royals in the 7th. He put sat the Royals down in order in the inning.
Here is a pitch going overthe plate to Alex Williams.
Jose Brito got the ball for the White Sox in the 7th. He pitched 2 scoreless innings and his only 2 base runners was 2 walk 1 in the 7th and 1 in the 8th.
Pitching to the Royals Patrick Leonard in the 7th inning.
This is where the game got really exciting look at the scoreboard…. O.K. did you see it’s the 9th inning, 2 outs and a full count and the White Sox still don’t have a hit. i started noticing the White Sox were hitless in the 4th. But did not really think anything of it. When the pitching change in the 7th I thought it was odd to remove a pitcher at this time with a No-No going. But probably do to pitch count or any number of things they remove the starter Rodgers. The Reliever Rassi held really well throw his 3 innings. Keeping it intact.
He would throw a pitch wide to Jake Brown to walk him. That takes the pressure off and all he has to do is get the next batter out. With 1 on 2 outs and a No-No on the line Kale Kiser steps to the plate at this point he had flew out twice and struck out now in the law of averages I would say he was do….
…and he was. As he hit the ball over the fence in left center. The Royals fielders could only watch as the ball flew out. That broke up the No-No and gave the Whites Sox 2 runs on 1 hit for the game. The Royals did win the game 5-2. The next batter would fly out to center to end it. But those few minutes in the 9th felt like hours. This was the furthest I have ever seen a No-No go in person and it was a great experience for those final batters in the 9th inning. It is moments like this that makes the game of baseball great. On a little field in the middle of North Carolina I saw one of the best games I have seen in my life. It was a great experience to witness a game like this in such a small and personable stadium like this. I may or may not witness a No-No in my life in person, but I think the game will always stick out in my mind. Well that is it for this one. I may head back to Burlington tonight. I was so not expecting a game like this in rookie ball.
After the royals celebrated their victory I tried my new strategy of getting a baseball from Minor League stadiums and that is to head to the bullpen while they are cleaning up and ask for a ball that is on the ground. So it is not a complex strategy but it is something I never did before but once again it worked!!!
It looks like it was probably a warm up ball. It was in better shape than the Carolina League ball I got!!! This is the 4th ball I got on this trip and from the 4th League. I got a Texas League, MLB, Carolina League and now an Appalachian League Ball.
That’s it for this one. I have a few more games left on the trip. Tonight I most likely will return to Burlington, Tomorrow I am planning on hitting up Kannapolis. When I make the turn west I am Planning to hit up Lexington and Louisville Kentucky. Before my final stop in Indianapolis for the Indianapolis Indians.