LAKEWOOD, N.J. (Sep. 4, 2017) - Lakewood's Austin Listi hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 12th to defeat Kannapolis, 3-2, on Labor Day afternoon at FirstEnergy Park. The playoff-bound Intimidators finish the Second Half 29-40, 68-69 overall and will face the Greensboro Grasshoppers in the post-season.
Listi's home run (4) led off the bottom of the 12th off shortstop-turned-pitcher Grant Massey, who had thrown a scoreless frame in the 11th. Massey had worked seven scoreless innings this season, including the 11th at Lakewood, before giving up a run while filling in on the mound. Massey (1-1) took the loss while BlueClaws reliever Will Hibbs (6-4) earned the win with 2.0 scoreless innings.
Trailing 2-0, Kannapolis plated a pair of runs in the eighth inning to tie the game. Alex Call hit a one-out double and moved to third base on a Mitch Roman groundout. Zach Remillard followed with an RBI-single to score the Intimidators first run of the series. Casey Schroeder followed with a game-tying RBI-double.
Lakewood broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning when Adam Haseley scored on a Mickey Moniak ground ball that resulted in a double play. Luke Williams added a sacrifice fly to cash David Martinelli in the sixth inning for a 2-0 lead.
Kannapolis used a handful of relievers in the regular season finale to keep all arms loose for the impending playoffs. Starting pitcher Lane Hobbs worked 4.0 innings, allowing a run on three hits. J.B. Olson, Tyler Johnson, and Kade McClure each threw an inning with Johnson allowing a run in the sixth. Jake Elliott tossed a scoreless eighth and ninth. Ben Wright spun a scoreless 10th.
BlueClaws starter Adonis Medina took no decision after spinning 6.0 scoreless innings, striking out seven and allowing one hit. Tyler Hallead gave up two runs in the eighth, being charged with a blown save after allowing two runs on three hits with a walk and a strikeout in 2.0 innings of work.
Prior to Monday's eighth inning, Kannapolis has not scored since the eighth inning on Wednesday in a 13-11 win at Greensboro. The Intimidators set a new season-high with 35.0 consecutive scoreless innings, including three straight
Kannapolis has now gone to extra-innings in the regular season finale four times in the last seven seasons. On Labor Day 2011, the Intimidators just missed a playoff spot by losing to Greensboro, 9-6 in 10 innings. The Grasshoppers claimed the Northern Division's Second Half post-season berth and went on to win the SAL Championship. In 2013, Jacob May ended the season with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th for a 4-3 win against playoff-bound Hagerstown. Last season, Delmarva beat Kannapolis, 4-3 in 10 innings.
Kannapolis will open the post-season on Wednesday, September 6, at Greensboro after the Grasshoppers defeated the Hickory Crawdads, 2-1, on Monday afternoon to clinch the Second Half crown. The Intimidators are in the playoffs by virtue of winning the SAL Northern Division First Half Championship and will host Game 2 of the Northern Division Series on Friday, September 8. Playoff tickets are available by calling the F&M Bank Box Office at 704-932-3267, or by visiting IntimidatorsBaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.