KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – Calvin Harris launched his first professional home run into the night sky in the bottom of the ninth inning, handing the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (55-50) their second win of the week over the Down East Wood Ducks (57-44), 8-7, Friday night in walk-off fashion at Atrium Health Ballpark.
RHP Tanner McDougal struck out four in four innings of no-hit baseball, walking one in his best statistical start of his professional career to date. RHP Emerson Talavera followed with two innings, allowing two runs on one hit, walking two in a solid follow-up outing to McDougal.
Friday’s game began as a speedy pitcher’s duel, with neither side scoring until Chris Lanzilli smacked an RBI single into right field, scoring Jordan Sprinkle to hand Kannapolis a, 1-0, lead. Later in the inning, Ryan Galanie contributed with a sacrifice fly and Ryan McCarthy added a single that gave Jhoneiker Betancourt the chance to score, putting the Ballers on top, 4-0.
Lanzilli and Betancourt combined for two more RBI in the bottom of the fifth with a pair of RBI singles. The two runs scored extended Kannapolis’ lead to, 6-0, over the Wood Ducks.
Anthony Gutierrez and Danyer Cueva struck for an RBI each in the top of the sixth inning, handing Down East their first two runs of the game and beginning a spiral of struggles on the mound for Kannapolis. Cueva’s big night at the plate continued in the top of the eighth inning with a two-RBI single, inching the Wood Ducks closer at, 6-4, with the Ballers still leading.
LHP Ben Beutel (W, 4-2) entered on the mound in pursuit of three outs, but found trouble against the visiting Down East bats, allowing an RBI triple from Quincy Scott, followed by a go-ahead two-run home run from JoJo Blackmon, handing the Wood Ducks their first lead of the game at, 7-6, with one out in the top of the ninth.
When all seemed lost for the Ballers, Mario Camiletti drew his league-leading 77th walk of the season, reaching first base as the tying run. After Jordan Sprinkle flew out, Harris stepped the plate and crushed his first home run of his career, sending fans home happy with an, 8-7, Kannapolis victory.
Saturday night marks the fifth of six total showdowns between the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers and the Down East Wood Ducks on the week at Atrium Health Ballpark. First pitch is set for 7 p.m., with a high-level pitching battle scheduled in Kannapolis’ RHP Peyton Pallette and Down East’s RHP Brock Porter.
Fans can purchase tickets for any remaining home games at kcballers.com or at the F&M Bank Box Office located at Atrium Health Ballpark.