Flashback: April in the South Atlantic League

Giovany Gonzalez tossed an Opening Day shutout for Kannapolis, then earned Pitcher of the Week honors. (Courtesy of Kannapolis Intimidators)

By Eric Justic / MLB.com | September 28, 2005 3:39 PM

April 3 -- Lakewood welcomed Greg Golson, the Phillies' 2004 first-round draft pick. Tabbed as the fourth-best prospect in Philadelphia's farm system by Baseball America, he ended up hitting .264 with 25 stolen bases in 89 games for the BlueClaws.

April 7 -- The South Atlantic League opened the season with a series of changes. The Charleston RiverDogs started their first season as the New York Yankees' Class A affiliate. The Bombers relocated from Columbia, S.C., to Greenville, signed a player development agreement with the Red Sox and started play at brand new First Horizon Park. The West Virginia Power, formerly the Charleston Alley Cats, also opened a new stadium, Appalachian Power Park.

April 9 -- The Greensboro Grasshoppers announced the addition of Jeff Allison, the Marlins' 2003 first-round draft pick. Allison made his first of 17 starts on May 5 and went 5-4 with a 4.18 ERA in 2005.

April 9 -- The GreenJackets combined to strike out 15 RiverDogs in an 8-2 victory. Augusta starter Craig Whitaker fanned seven in 4 2/3 innings. Oscar Montero struck out all five batters he faced and Brian Stirm whiffed three.

April 10 -- Three Lake County pitchers combined on a five-hitter with 13 strikeouts in a 5-0 win over the BlueClaws. Captains starter Christopher Niesel struck out eight in six innings. Mike Hernandez whiffed four in two frames and Matt Knox fanned one in the ninth.

April 11 -- In the Tourists' home opener at McCormick Field, Kyle Wilson slammed a walk-off homer to give Asheville a 6-5 victory over the Hickory Crawdads.

April 13 -- Charleston finished off a season-opening 5-2 homestand by defeating Columbus, 3-2, on Ben Jones' RBI single in the 11th inning.

April 13 -- Wade Miller made a rehab start for Greenville against the Savannah Sand Gnats. The Red Sox right-hander gave up two runs in 4 2/3 innings but didn't factor in the decision. Miller was rehabbing tendinitis in his right shoulder.

April 13 -- Kannapolis left-hander Giovany Gonzalez posted his second straight impressive outing to win South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week honors. He gave up just a two-out, second-inning single while striking out 10 in a 4-0 win over Greensboro. The White Sox's 2004 first-round pick also tossed a three-hitter with nine strikeouts in an Opening Day shutout.

April's Players of the Week
Week of
April 7-17
April 18
April 25
Offensive Player
Brian Horwitz (AUG)
Joshua Hansen (KAN)
Matt Miller (ASH)
Pitcher
Giovany Gonzalez (KAN)
Jason Vargas (GRE)
Daryl Thompson (SAV)
Complete Players of the Week archive

Jason Vargas helped Greensboro survive a heavy schedule with two dominant starts. (Joseph Kaczmarek/AP)
April 14 -- The Power won the first-ever game at Appalachian Power Park, besting Hagerstown, 8-3. William Lewis capped a four-run opening frame with a three-run double. The Suns' Dante Brinkley hit the first home run at West Virginia's new stadium. The loss ended Hagerstown's season-opening seven-game winning streak.

April 14 -- Augusta's Brian Horwitz went 4-for-5 in a 10-2 rout of Savannah. The outfielder collected hits in nine of his first 11 games and batted .429 to win the Offensive Player of the Week award.

April 15 -- It was Commander-in-Chief Night in Lake County. Although the President was unable to attend, the Captains did find a Kent, Ohio resident named George Bush, and brought him to the stadium in a motorcade to throw out the first pitch. As for the game, the Captains rallied for three runs in the eighth and a 6-4 victory over Lakewood.

April 15 -- Three Hagerstown pitchers tossed a two-hitter in a 4-1 victory over West Virginia. Jose Sanchez gave up both hits in six innings. Matthew Miramontes and Carlos Muniz combined for three hitless innings. Mike Carp and Grant Psomas cracked back-to-back homers in the second for Hagerstown.

April 17 -- West Virginia's Carlos Corporan hit a three-run walk-off homer in a 3-2 win over the Suns. Hagerstown's Gabriel Hernandez struck out seven in five no-hit innings.

April 17 -- Kannapolis collected 23 hits, including five home runs, in a 17-6 rout of Asheville. Clinton King homered twice and drive in five runs, while Joshua Hansen and Javier Castillo had four hits apiece for the Intimidators.

April 18 -- Augusta edged Rome, 4-3, for its seventh straight win. Carlos Sosa broke a 3-3 tie by scoring on a passed ball in the seventh.

April 18 -- Columbus' Jesus Castillo picked up for an injured Scott Ebert by tossing a three-hitter over six scoreless innings against the RiverDogs. The right-hander began the season in the bullpen but became the first Catfish starter to post a victory.

April 18 -- The Boston Red Sox's World Series Trophy made a stop at Greenville Municipal Stadium, allowing Bombers' fans to have their pictures taken with it. Greenville edged Savannah, 2-1, on Mitch Stachowsky's walk-off single in the ninth.

April 23 -- Kannapolis' Josh Hansen slugged a two-run, walk-off homer in the 12th inning to beat Hickory, 3-1. It was the league-leading seventh homer for Hansen, who won Offensive Player of the Week honors.

April 24 -- The Suns unveiled an annual Eskimo Day promotion. Fans entering the ballpark received a free ice cube and any fan with a valid ID or driver's license from Alaska, Canada or any province with an Eskimo heritage was admitted free. Free ice was given with soda purchases and there were as contest to see how long it takes for a bucket of ice to melt.

April 24 -- Greensboro's Jason Vargas extended his shutout streak. He struck out 11 Asheville Tourists over seven scoreless innings in a 4-0 win. Six days earlier, he threw 6 2/3 scoreless frames against Kannapolis en route to being named Pitcher of the Week.

April 26 -- Savannah's Daryl Thompson limited Rome to three hits over six scoreless innings. The right-hander also defeated Columbus on May 1 and went on to win the Pitcher of the Week award.

April 28 -- Matthew Miller went 4-for-5 in Asheville's 7-1 victory over Delmarva. The 22-year-old outfielder followed that with a 3-for-4 performance and went 12-for-24 with three doubles, two homers and eight RBIs to win Offensive Player of the Week honors.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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