After an offensive outburst helped Kannapolis gain the upper hand in the South Atlantic League Championship Series, the Intimidators won it with a tenacious pitching performance.
Jack Egbert threw six strong innings and Ryan McCarthy homered as Kannapolis blanked the Hagerstown Suns, 3-0, on Friday night to win the championship for the first time.
Hindered by a sore right shoulder, Egbert (1-0) allowed four hits, walked one and struck out five as the Intimidators won the best-of-five series, 3-1. Garry Bakker finished the game for his first save of the series and second this postseason. The right-hander gave up two hits and struck out four.
Selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 13th round of the 2004 draft, Egbert was the Intimidators' best starter this season. The 6-foot-3 right-hander went 10-5 with four complete games and a 3.12 ERA in 30 appearances.
Egbert allowed one run and three hits over 7 2/3 innings in Kannapolis' 4-3, 21-inning win over Charleston in Game 1 of the first-round series last Wednesday. In this game, he effectively worked out of trouble as the Suns had at least one base runner in each of the first six innings.
Hagertown's best opportunity came in the opening frame, when
Jose Coronado had a one-out single before moving to third as shortstop McCarthy threw wildly on a potential double-play grounder by Ambiorix Concepcion.
Third baseman Boomer Berry bailed out McCarthy by nailing Coronado at the plate after fielding a grounder by
Grant Psomas. Russ Triplett followed with a base hit, but right fielder Bernard Gonzalez threw out Concepcion at the plate to end the inning.
Base running also hampered the Suns in the third, when Dante Brinkley led off with a walk before Egbert picked him off first. In the eighth, Concepcion had a two-out single before getting thrown out trying to steal by Game 3 hero Adam Ricks.
The Intimidators grabbed the lead in the bottom of the third, when McCarthy hit a one-out double and Berry followed with an RBI single.
Kannapolis provided Egbert with some insurance runs in the fifth. Bernard Gonzalez led off with a double and one out later, McCarthy sent a drive over the left field fence for his first homer of the series.
Suns starter Blake Eager (0-1) went five innings, allowing three runs and five hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.