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The Top 5 Moments of the Woodpeckers 2021 Season

September 24, 2021

The 2021 Fayetteville Woodpeckers season is in the books and closes without a shortage of highlight-worthy moments. From domination on the mound, to clutch home-run swings, and defensive gems on national TV, it’s time to look back at the top 5 moments that made this season special. But first, some

The 2021 Fayetteville Woodpeckers season is in the books and closes without a shortage of highlight-worthy moments. From domination on the mound, to clutch home-run swings, and defensive gems on national TV, it’s time to look back at the top 5 moments that made this season special.

But first, some honorable mentions!

HONORABLE MENTION - Spencer Arrighetti Four-Strikeout Inning

The Houston Astros 6th round selection of the 2021 draft, Spencer Arrighetti, climbed to the top of the mound at Atrium Health Ballpark in Kannapolis for his first professional start on September 12th. After holding the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers offense scoreless over the first inning, the Louisiana-Lafayette product returned to the mound for a second frame. Samil Polanco whiffed at a pitch in the dirt that careemed to the backstop and allowed the Kannapolis DH to reach base on the dropped third strike. Arrighetti proceeded to strikeout A.J. Gill, Chase Krogman, and Jayson Gonzalez in order to complete a four-strikeout inning.

The four-strikeout inning marked the first time a Fayetteville pitcher had accomplished the feat in franchise history. It is a feat MLB has witnessed just 97 times in its history dating back to 1888, according to Baseball Almanac.

HONORABLE MENTION - Misael Tameraz 11-Strikeout Game

21-year-old right hander Misael Tamarez overwhelmed opposing hitters while in Fayetteville with his 96-98 mph fastball, and left little doubt in his final start with the Woodpeckers that he was ready for a bump up the Astros minor league ladder. On August 4th at home in a start against the Fredericksburg Nationals, Tamarez fanned 11 batters over five scoreless innings, setting the Woodpeckers season-high mark for strikeouts in a single game. Tamarez was promoted to High-A Asheville the following day, where he closed his season going 2-1 with a 3.98 ERA for the Tourists with 39 strikeouts over 33.2 IP.

The eleven punch-out performance was the first by a Woodpeckers pitcher since August 3rd, 2019 when Sean Dubin struck out 11 Myrtle Beach Pelicans’ hitters at Segra Stadium. The franchise record for most strikeouts in a single game remains with RHP Luis Garcia, who struck out 13 Down East Wood Duck bats on August 14th, 2019.

5 - Adonis Giron Hits Go-Ahead Grand-Slam vs. Myrtle Beach

Adonis Giron played the two opening games of the Woodpeckers season on May 4th and 5th before returning to the spring complex in West Palm Beach for the majority of the summer. It was not until August 1st that Giron forged out a stable roster spot in Fayetteville and saw extended time in Low-A. Across 29 games, the 20-year-old Dominican Republic native drove in eight runs, half of which came on one big swing vs. Myrtle Beach on August 22nd. Trailing 7-5 with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 8th inning, Giron blasted a go-ahead grand-slam to left field off Pelicans reliever Gabriel Jaramillo for the series-clinching 9-7 victory. The grand-slam was the only one hit by Fayetteville in 2021, and the second in franchise history at Segra Stadium following Jake Adam’s grand slam on June 30th versus, you guessed it, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

4 - Chad Stevens Defensive Gem Makes Sports Center Top 10 Plays

Woodpeckers infielder Chad Stevens made one of the greatest defensive plays of the season in the first inning on August 7th. FredNats first baseman Jose Sanchez chopped a ball deep behind the third base bag where Stevens was stationed. Ranging to his backhand side, Stevens fielded the ball on the fair side of the line, carried his momentum into foul territory, and launched a leaping throw across the diamond to gun out Sanchez by a fraction. To add insult to injury, Sanchez was promptly ejected from the game after spiking his helmet in response. The acrobatic was ranked as the #3 overall play across the country on Sports Center’s Top 10 Plays segment that night and is worth another look. In the words of Sports Center anchor Kevin Connors, “He threw that ball from the cotton candy stand!”

3 - Will Wagner Hits First Pro Homer on Special Night

Will Wagner, the Houston Astros 18th round draft selection from 2021 out of Liberty University stepped to the plate at Segra Stadium on August 7th. 1,026 miles away at Minute Made Park in Houston, Will’s father Billy Wagner dawned an orange suit jacket, completing his induction into the Houston Astros Hall of Fame . The night became all the more special for the Wagner family as Will pulled a solo home-run over the right-field wall in the bottom of the fifth inning for his first professional home run. It doesn’t get more poetic than that!

Across 29 games with Fayetteville this season, Wagner slashed .299/.388/.436 with 8 doubles, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 22 R, and went 5-for-5 in stolen base attempts. His .834 OPS was the second highest of all Astros 2021 draft selection, trailing only Fayetteville teammate Michael Sandle.

2 - Yeuris Ramirez Blasts Walk-Off Home-Run

The Woodpecker and Kannapolis Cannon Ballers were down to the final moments of a Friday night double-header at Segra Stadium on June 4th. Held scoreless on just two hits and trailing 1-0, Yeuris Ramirez stepped to the dish in the bottom of the 7th inning representing the game-winning run as J.C. Correa stood on first base. On the second pitch offered from Kannapolis reliever Yoelvin Silven, Ramirez broke up the shutout bid in a big way:

The walk-off home run was the only one this season for Fayetteville and the first since Scott Schreiber’s walk off solo homer over Wilmington on June 1st, 2019. The utility infielder played 43 games for Fayetteville before a hand injury on a hit-by-pitch ended his season prematurely on July 13th. He slashed .257/.351/.388 with 7 doubles, 2 triples, 3 HR, 28 RBI and 18 SB. Fayetteville pulled off six total walk-off victories at Segra Stadium in 2021, but none bigger than Ramirez’s two-run blast. His stroll around the bases wasn't boring either.....

1. Schroeder, Jaquez, and Macuare Throw First No-Hitter in Franchise History

The regular season was only ten days old when Jayson Schroeder made his first start of the year for the Woodpeckers on May 14th vs. the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers. Although capacity was limited at Segra Stadium due to COVID-19 protocols, there was still an energetic buzz in the air for the first Friday night ballgame in downtown Fayetteville since 2019.

Schroeder struck out four and battled through four hitless innings on 70 pitches before turning the game to Ernesto Jaquez in the fifth. The 21-year-old right hander worked a hitless frame of his own and promptly handed off to Angel Macuare in the sixth. Macuare struck out the side in order and the Kannapolis box score could no longer be ignored: 0 Runs - 0 Hits.

The bid was on as Macuare set down the side in order in the seventh, went 1-2-3 in the eighth, and retired 10-in-a-row prior to a two-out walk in the ninth. The night and the pressure came down to Benyamin Bailey, who popped into shallow right. Ronaldo Urdaneta ran out from second, he found his spot, he made the over-the-shoulder catch, and the franchise’s first ever no-hitter was in the books.