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Cancel Hits Walk-Off Homer in Extras as Naturals Sweep Cardinals

April 20, 2019 - Texas League (TL) - Northwest Arkansas Naturals News Release

SPRINGDALE, Ark - With one-out and a runner at second in the tenth, Gabriel Cancel drove the first pitch he saw out of the ballpark to give Northwest Arkansas (8-9) a thrilling 5-3 walk-off win over Springfield (5-12) on Saturday night. The victory by the Naturals completes the 3-game sweep and gives them a perfect 7-0 record against the Cardinals at Arvest Ballpark this year.

To the delight of many of the 4,941 fans in attendance, the game began with Kansas City Royals' left-hander Danny Duffy on the mound for the Naturals in a MLB rehab start. The former Natural was brilliant during his outing as he showed the crowd why he has been a stalwart in the Royals' rotation over the last eight seasons. The 30-year-old left-hander was efficient with his pitches while carving up the Springfield offense during his 5.1 innings of work. He threw 78 total pitches, 50 of which went for strikes, and sat down seven hitters without issuing a walk while giving up just four hits and an unearned run in the game.

After Kramer Robertson singled with one-out in the sixth, the big league veteran left the game with a 2-0 lead over the Cardinals. The crowd at Arvest Ballpark showed their appreciation by giving the former Natural a standing ovation.

The Naturals has staked Duffy to the 2-0 lead with a couple of tallies in the fifth. Travis Jones singled, stole second base and then a walk to Nick Heath put runners on first and second before Khalil Lee eventually drove them home with a two-out single.

The Cardinals scratched across an unearned run in the sixth before tying the game in the seventh on a Shane Billings RBI single.

The tie would be short-lived as the Naturals reclaimed the advantage in the home half of the frame. The Jones-Heath combination was at it again as Jones singled and stole another base and then came home on a run-scoring single by Heath.

Springfield was down to their final out in the ninth before tying the game at 3-3 on a passed ball. While the blown save in the ninth was technically given to Grant Gavin, the hard-throwing righty made up for it with clean inning in the tenth. In doing so, Gavin (W, 3-1) earned his team-best third win of the season and is now tied for the Texas League lead in that category.

His extra-inning counterpart, Kodi Whitley (L, 0-1), took the loss after giving up the late-game heroics to Cancel.

Tonight's game concluded the short homestand against the Cardinals. Following a league-wide off day on Easter Sunday, the Naturals will head down to Texas for an 8-game trip against a couple of South Division foes that'll begin on Monday, April 22 where they'll square off against the Corpus Christi Hooks (Double-A Houston) for 4-games before concluding the trip with 4-games against the Midland RockHounds (Double-A Oakland). The Naturals will then return to Arvest Ballpark for a 6-game homestand against the same two (2) teams from the Texas League South from Wednesday, May 1 through Tuesday, May 7.

Catch the live play-by-play action of the road opener in Corpus Christi on Monday night with the Voice of the Naturals Benjamin Kelly on KQSM - 92.1 The Ticket starting at 5:55 p.m. for the Indigo Sky Casino Pregame Show leading to first pitch at 6:15 p.m.

The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League Affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The Naturals play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, Ark. For more information, including statistics, ticket options, and more, please visit, and follow us on Twitter @NWANaturals and

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