Ballers Split Series with Fireflies, Hold Onto Narrow First Place Lead
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. - In one of the most evenly matched series of 2022, the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers completed a nine-game stretch of home games with a split of six matchups with the Columbia Fireflies at Atrium Health Ballpark.
With the three victories, the Cannon Ballers move to 18-12 on the second half, a half game ahead of the Fireflies and the Charleston RiverDogs in the race for the final playoff spot of the 2022 Carolina League season.
EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM
Tuesday's win mainly came from an early onslaught of offense from the Ballers, tallying four runs in the first inning. The four-run inning came to fruition from a Colby Smelley RBI single and a bases-clearing RBI triple for Samil Polanco. Kannapolis used effective bullpen pitching from Haylen Green and Adisyn Coffey to shut down the Fireflies late, handing the Cannon Ballers their first win of the series.
WALKOFF THRILLER ON THIRSTY THURSDAY
After Columbia took Wednesday's camp day matchup, Kannapolis fell behind early, coming back late in the game to send Thursday night's game to extra innings. The Fireflies took a 4-3 lead in the eleventh inning, but Johnabiell Laureano laid down a bunt in the bottom of the frame, forcing Columbia to commit a fielding error and let the tying and winning runs score for the Ballers. Thursday's win brought back a sense of energy to Atrium Health Ballpark, setting the stage for an amazing weekend of baseball.
SUNDAYS ARE FOR SHUTOUTS
The Fireflies claimed victory in Friday and Saturday's games, but the Ballers put together one of their best performances of the season in Sunday's shutout win. RHP Jared Kelley tossed his best outing of his career with five shutout innings, striking out eight for his first career victory. DJ Gladney tallied two long home runs and four RBI in total, with Nick Thornquist and Wilfred Veras also adding home runs to a nine-run outing. Kelley, Jesus Valles, and Adisyn Coffey combined to strike out 14 Fireflies, walking three and allowing just three hits in nine innings of work.
ON TO THE NEXT
The Mudcats, Low-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, enter this week of action on the heels of a series split in Fayetteville with the Woodpeckers. Carolina is currently in the midst of a heated battle in the North Division of the Carolina League, with Fredericksburg holding a 7.0 game lead on second place Down East and Salem. The Mudcats are cushioned at fourth place at 14-16, 7.5 games back of the FredNats.
Against Kannapolis, the Mudcats are 6-6, having already played two series against each other. The first time the two sides faced off, Carolina took five of six at Five Counties Stadium. The Ballers answered with emphasis in the second series of the season, taking five of six from the Mudcats at Atrium Health Ballpark.
Carolina holds four of the top 30 Brewers prospects in OF Jeferson Quero (No. 6), OF Hedbert Perez (No. 11), INF Eduardo Garcia (No. 13), OF Hendry Mendez (No. 17).
Quero has had a solid season but has struggled in his nine games against Kannapolis, batting .188 with six hits. Perez has done exceptionally well against the Ballers, batting .351 in 10 games with seven extra-base hits and seven RBI. Garcia and Mendez are in the middle of the two, batting .244 and .220 respectively in games against Kannapolis, with both holding a lower number of RBI with two and three, respectively.
The Kannapolis Cannon Ballers head out on the road August 2-7 for a six-game set with the Carolina Mudcats, Low-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers in Zebulon at Five Counties Stadium. The Ballers return home August 9-14 for a six-game matchup with the Salem Red Sox, Low-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, at Atrium Health Ballpark.
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. All Cannon Ballers home games, as well as select road games, will have a free audio broadcast on kcballers.com, with all home games also being broadcasted on MiLB.tv.
• Discuss this story on the Carolina League message board...
Carolina League Stories from August 2, 2022
- Five-Run Seventh Powers Fayetteville to Victory in Salem - Fayetteville Woodpeckers
- Huma's Two-Run Single Gives Pelicans Walk-Off Win over Hillcats - Myrtle Beach Pelicans
- Fireflies Lose Wild Ride 11-9 - Columbia Fireflies
- RiverDogs Overcome Eight Errors to Stun Fireflies in Opening Game of Series - Charleston RiverDogs
- 'Birds' Four-Game Winning Streak Snapped by GreenJackets in 7-2 Loss - Delmarva Shorebirds
- FredNats Stage Dramatic Extra Inning Win in Kinston - Fredericksburg Nationals
- Rainiery Rodriguez Guides Augusta to Series Opening Win - Augusta GreenJackets
- Mudcats Drop Series Opener 3-1 - Carolina Mudcats
- Columbia Fireflies Roster Move and Game Notes August 2 - Columbia Fireflies
- Ballers Split Series with Fireflies, Hold Onto Narrow First Place Lead - Kannapolis Cannon Ballers
- Major League Pitchers Chirinos and McKay to Make Rehab Appearances for RiverDogs - Charleston RiverDogs
- Middendorf to High-A; Areinamo and Castillo Added - Carolina Mudcats
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.
Other Recent Kannapolis Cannon Ballers Stories
- Cannon Baller Chronicle: 2022 Season in Review
- Late Inning Push from GreenJackets Offense Too Much in Kannapolis 9-1 Loss Saturday
- Pitching Duel Turned Nightmare Hands Ballers 6-1 Loss to Augusta Friday
- Sanchez Sparks Offense in 3-1 Ballers Win over GreenJackets Thursday Night
- Late Push from Augusta Offense Hands Kannapolis Second Loss of Series Wednesday