The Intimidators don’t do anything quietly.
To end the first half, Kannapolis lost five straight games to kick away an almost-certain division title. To make the playoffs in the second half, the I’s had to win on the season’s last day and get help from outside games.
Now, facing a Lakewood Blue Claws team Kanny had beaten six of 10 times in the regular season, the Intimidators were swept in two games and are bounced from the playoffs. And the Intimidators didn’t just lose: They were no-hit by Lakewood hurler Spencer Howard in a 1-0 thriller.
We leave you tonight with the final out.— Lakewood BlueClaws (@BlueClaws) September 8, 2018
Congrats again, Spencer Howard, on a no-hitter. We'll see you in the Finals! pic.twitter.com/lPwjvjyAXS
Intimidators starter Parker Rigler was terrific, throwing 5 2⁄3 innings with three hits, one earned, four Ks, and a delicious 54 of 76 pitches for strikes, for a 69 game score. Unfortunately, he wasn’t no-hitter good.
Howard was, tying Kannapolis in knots with extreme control (73 strikes) and efficiency (103 total pitches), whiffing nine and allowing a sole walk (to Tyler Frost), giving the righthander a 101 game score.
The only true Kanny threat came in the third inning, when Michael Hickman led off by reaching on an error by Lakewood first baseman Jake Scheiner. Johan Cruz forced Hickman at second, and with one out, advanced to second on wild pitch from Howard. After a Ramon Beltre K, Frost walked. With runners on first and second, Luis Curbelo grounded to short, but reached on a fielding error. With the bases full, Steele Walker screamed a liner to first, which Scheiner caught in foul territory to douse the rally.
First chance for the Intimidators to score and they come up empty in the 3rd. 0-0, Bot 3. pic.twitter.com/I4PriVh3T9— Kannapolis Intimidators (@Intimidators) September 7, 2018
Lakewood scored in the sixth, on a two-out single from Simon Muzziotti.