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Cannon Baller Chronicle: Kannapolis Swipes Series with FredNats to Move to Above .500

May 17, 2022 - Carolina League (CarL) - Kannapolis Cannon Ballers News Release


KANNAPOLIS, N.C. - When the Fredericksburg Nationals visited Atrium Health Ballpark in mid-April, the team that occupied the visiting dugout showed their talent by picking up five victories in six games with the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers. However, now that the season is in mid-May, the tides turned drastically on the FredNats with the Ballers taking four of six at Virginia Credit Union Stadium last week.

WHERE THERE'S A WILFRED, THERE'S A WAY

The overwhelming story on offense for the Cannon Ballers in the series with Fredericksburg is 19-year-old IF Wilfred Veras and the success on offense that the Santo Domingo, Domincan Republic native produced. Veras finishes the series batting .500 with 10 hits, including a four-hit game Saturday and a two-run home run Sunday. Veras is one of many power bats in the lineup for manager Guillermo Quiroz who is starting to catch fire at the right time.

MENA MAKES A NAME FOR HIMSELF

RHP Cristian Mena continued his blistering start to 2022 with another stand-out outing in Thursday's victory over the FredNats. The 19-year-old righty tossed a gem Thursday, tallying eight strikeouts in 4.0 shutout innings. Mena is currently tied with two other arms for the team lead in strikeouts, with 39 through 26.0 innings and five starts.

HE'S BACK FOR MORE

IF Colson Montgomery made his triumphant return to the lineup for the Ballers on Saturday, picking up exactly where he left off. The No. 1 prospect in the White Sox system tallied multi-hit games on Saturday and Sunday, totaling five hits in two games in his return. Montgomery had been held out of the lineup for about three weeks due to precautionary reasons with an upper body injury. The Holland, Indiana native never reached the Injured List at any point in his absence.

ON TO THE NEXT

Fayetteville, Low-A affiliate of the Houston Astros, enters this week's series at Atrium Health Ballpark following a series split with the Carolina Mudcats at Segra Stadium. The Woodpeckers currently sit at a record of 12-21, fifth place in the Carolina League South Division.

The Woodpeckers and Ballers have faced off in two series already this season, with Kannapolis holding the advantage of a 6-3 record in nine games. The two sides opened the series at Atrium Health Ballpark April 8-10, resulting in a Cannon Ballers series sweep. Fayetteville then hosted Kannapolis in late April, finishing the series with a series split at three wins each.

The narrative of the season so far for the Woodpeckers has been the success of the pitching staff, with Fayetteville arms picking up the second most strikeouts of any team in the Carolina League at 373, just one behind Augusta. The Woodpeckers do own the best opponent batting average of any team in the Carolina League at just .195. On the flipside, the bats have struggled to get going for Fayetteville, with the team gathering one of the worst batting averages in the Carolina League at just .207.

Fayetteville currently holds just three of the top 30 prospects in the Houston Astros organization in RHP Alex Santos (No. 10), OF Tyler Whitaker (No. 11), and OF Logan Cerny (No. 25).

Santos has struggled in both his appearances against the Ballers, allowing nine runs in 5.2 innings against Kannapolis. The righty from New York, New York, settled down in his three starts to begin the month of May, picking up 11 strikeouts in 13.0 innings. Whitaker went through a tough start to begin the season, only struggling even more in the previous series vs. Carolina. The righty bat from Las Vegas, Nevada has four hits in 53 at-bats in the month of May. Finally, Cerny has found his stride by producing extra-base hits. So far in the month of May, the Decatur, Georgia native has tallied eight hits in total, seven being extra-base hits.

The Kannapolis Cannon Ballers return home May 17-22 for a six-game series with the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, Low-A affiliate of the Houston Astros, at Atrium Health Ballpark. Following the series with the Peckers, the Ballers will take two weeks of game action on the road, starting in Zebulon for a six-game series with the Carolina Mudcats May 24-29 at Five County Stadium.

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.


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