Wood Ducks’ bats come alive late in season-opening win over Kannapolis

Down East Wood Ducks

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KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – Thanks to a six-run seventh inning, the Down East Wood Ducks opened their 2021 season with an 8-4 win against the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers on Tuesday night.

The Wood Ducks start the season (1-0) after 604 days since their last game in 2019.

Although they didn’t tally their first hit until the third inning, Down East opened the scoring early in the first inning against Kannapolis starter Andrew Dalquist. Evan Carter led off with a walk and advanced to third following a wild pitch and a throwing error on Kannapolis catcher Victor Torres. Luisangel Acuña hit a sac fly to right field and Carter scored the first run of the game.

Kannapolis took the lead 2-1 in the third inning, but the Wood Ducks managed to tie the game in the sixth inning. Dustin Harris notched his first double on the season and with two outs, he stole third and scored the tying run on the second throwing error charged to Torres.

Down East broke the game open in the seventh inning, scoring six runs. Keyber Rodriguez started the inning with a solid base hit to left field. With one out, Antonio Cabello crushed a two-run homerun to put the Wood Ducks up 4-2. Alston couldn’t bounce back, walking José Rodriguez and Carter. A passed ball advanced them to second and third when Acuña worked a walk to load the bases. After a pitching change, Harris walked to force in Rodriguez to make the score 5-2. With the bases still loaded, Cody Freeman to reached on a fielder’s choice while Carter and Acuña scored on a throwing error by Cannon Ballers first baseman Sam Abbott. Marcus Smith grounded out, but Freeman scored the sixth run of the inning to push the score to 8-2.

Kannapolis added a run in the seventh and eighth innings, but the Down East bullpen managed to shut them down to secure the 8-4 win.

Owen White took the no decision, pitching 2 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Leury Tejada (1-0) earned the win, pitching 3 1/3 shutout innings, while allowing only one hit and notching four strikeouts. Gavin Collyer pitched two innings, allowing two runs on four hits with two strikeouts. Joe Corbett pitched the final inning, allowing only one hit and tallying two strikeouts.

The Wood Ducks and Cannon Ballers continue their six-game series on tomorrow with first pitch at 7:00 p.m. ET. RH Wyatt Sparks will make his first start of the season for the Woodies and Kannapolis will send RH Jared Kelley to the hill.

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