Andrew Zban's 3-R Blast over the scoreboard highlighted the offense. Photo by Matt Gusmerotti
PURCELLVILLE, VIRGINIA—Two in a row! The Cannons have not only won two home openers in a row, but have won two games in a row to start the 2017 season. Mississippi State right-hander Drew Windham started on the mound for the Cannons. This was his 2017 debut, as he was a redshirt this season at Mississippi State. Windham came out firing on all cylinders striking out two Winchester Royal hitters to start the game. After a walk to the third hitter, he came back to strike out right fielder Lorenzo Hampton looking to end the frame.
The Cannons found their bats and this game was nothing like the pitchers’ duel against the New Market Rebels. This game was a marathon of the bats. In the bottom of the first, the Cannons struck first. After Raul Cabrera was hit by a pitch and Sheldon Reed singled. First baseman Trevin Esquerra, making his first start with the Cannons after arriving in town a couple of days ago, hit a deep double to left field that would plate Cabrera and Reed. After the first, the Cannons had a 2-0 lead.
The Cannons managed to hold a lead from the second inning through the fourth inning. Drew Windham ran into a little trouble allowing one run but still managed to keep a 2-1 lead intact heading into the bottom of the fourth. It was a quick bottom of the fourth for the Cannons, they managed to get a single after the leadoff man, Sheldon Reed grounded out to second baseman Kevin Rolon. Kyle Ouellete hit in to a fielder’s choice and Payton Marshall flew out to right fielder Lorenzo Hampton to end the inning.
Drew Windham hit a bit of a wall in the fifth inning. He started off strong, striking out Nick Goode. Then the bats for the Royals came to life. After 3 straight singles, Jake Goodreau tried to throw out a would-be base stealer heading to third but threw the ball away causing two Royals to score. Tanner Skidmore would enter the game after the error and end the Royal threat to make it 4-2 Royals. The Cannons immediately answered with two of their own in the bottom of the fifth, Trey McDyre led off with a walk and was driven in by an Andrew Zban double. Zban was driven in off a rocket single by Jake Goodreau.
In the sixth, Skidmore induced a leadoff ground out to second baseman Raul Cabrera. Nick Goode would follow-up by getting hit by the pitch and then stealing second. Skidmore managed to strikeout Alejandro Gonzalez but Dillon Reed drove in Reed off a two out single. Alejandro Rivero followed up with a single, but the damage was averted after Sal Lovaglio entered the game to record the final out of the Winchester Royal half of the sixth inning. Heading in to the Cannons half of the sixth, they were trailing 5-4 and with one out, Payton Marshall singled, Trey McDyre walked and then Andrew Zban launched a monster three-run homerun to give the Cannons the lead. The Cannons were still threatening after the homerun, but the Royals were able to work out of trouble by getting the next two outs via the strikeout.
The seventh inning went by quickly for both teams. Left-hander Parker Dyson came in and worked a scoreless seventh, striking out two Royal hitters. While Christian Shiver came in and while he forced the Cannons to put up a zero on the scoreboard in the seventh, they did not go down easy. After a leadoff single to first baseman Trevin Esquerra, DH Kyle Ouellete bunted him over to second. Payton Marshall singled and Esquerra went to third. Trey McDyre hit into a fielder’s choice, and Esquerra was forced to stay at third. While everyone was hoping for another homerun from Andrew Zban, the crafty Shiver was able to strikeout Zban to end the inning.
In the eighth inning, manager Brett Fuller went to the pen again and called on left-handed pitcher Hunter Peck to throw a second day in a row. Peck answered the call throwing a scoreless inning, striking out the side and only giving up one hit. The Cannons exploded in their half of the eighth. A literal eruption of runs lit up the scoreboard. At the end of the inning, TEN runs scored making it 17-5 Cannons. Brandon Romero entered the eighth, gave up 8 earned runs on three hits and he walked four. He would be relieved after only recording one out, and Jay Booth took over giving up two more runs, but they were inherited and were charged to Romero. In the eighth the Cannons managed to bat around in the eighth and by the end, the lead seemed insurmountable.
Left-hander Jase Carvell entered the ninth to close out the big home opener win. Jase found himself in some early trouble, giving up three runs on two hits and only managing to record one out before having some arm issues. Precaution was taken and Carvell was removed from the game and Mike Taylor came in to mop up the rest of the ninth and he did allowing only one hit and striking out one.
The final line for the Cannons was 17 runs on 17 hits with one error, while the Winchester Royals finished with 8 runs on 14 hits with 3 errors.
The Cannons next game is Monday June 5th at 7 PM against the Waynesboro Generals at Fireman’s Field.