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First-rounder Hawkins delivers in clutch08/17/2012 2:47 AM ET
By Zack Cox / Special to MLB.com
Class A Kannapolis battled deep into the night with West Virginia on Thursday, and in the end, it was the Intimidators' youngest member that sent his team home victorious.
Center fielder Courtney Hawkins, the White Sox's top pick in June's First-Year Player Draft, knocked a bases-loaded single into right field in the bottom of the 13th inning to give Kannapolis a 4-3 win.
It was just the 18-year-old's third hit for the Intimidators in his fifth game since being promoted to Class A. Hawkins had proven he could put the bat on the ball in short-season Bristol, hitting .272 with 26 RBIs.
"I can tell that I've moved up, but I think I'm just too anxious right now," the 13th overall pick said. "Everything's the same, just the defense is a little better. The pitching's a little faster, a little more accurate. I think I just need to relax out there and I'll be able to adjust to it fine."
Hawkins was highly touted coming into this year's Draft, having just completed a senior season at Corpus Christi's Carroll High School in which he batted .437 with 15 home runs and 39 RBIs in 38 games.
Both sides got plenty of batting practice in Thursday night's game, a marathon contest lasting a couple of minutes short of four hours. The game remained scoreless until the seventh when West Virginia's Eric Avila homered to give the Power a 1-0 advantage.
Kannapolis responded in the bottom of frame as third baseman Grant Buckner singled in right fielder Mark Haddo. Designated hitter Chris Curley also scored on a fielding error by pitcher Porfirio Lopez.
The Intimidators also were victimized by a pitcher miscue the very next inning. Reliever Jeff Soptic walked a batter, threw a wild pitch and then balked with a runner on third to bring in a run. Center fielder Taylor Lewis also doubled in a run in the frame.
Joey DeMichele homered in the bottom of the inning, and the teams played through another four-and-a-half scoreless innings before Hawkins' walk-off heroics.
"Just getting an opportunity to get that first hit [of the game] and it's a walk-off, it feels good," Hawkins said. "And it being my first walk-off as a pro, it's definitely a great feeling to have. It's just great to give the team a chance to win."
Stew Brase (4-4) earned the win for Kannapolis after pitching a scoreless 13th.
West Virginia's Robby Rowland (six innings) and Kannapolis' Matthew Lane (6 2/3 frames) both turned in solid starts on the mound, allowing one earned run apiece.