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The Kannapolis Intimidators Clinch First Playoff Spot Since 2009

Jun 28, 2017 09:23PM ● Published by Melanie Heisinger

Courtesy of the Kannapolis Intimidators' Facebook page.

The Kannapolis Intimidators recently clinched a playoff spot, winning the South Atlantic League Northern Division First Half Championship. The game was a 5-3 win over West Virginia on June 18, 2017.

This the organization's first playoff guarantee since 2009. 

We wanted to learn a little bit more about the season and the team, so we reached out to the Kannapolis Intimidators' Director of Communications Josh Feldman for the inside scoop.

Tell us a little bit about the Intimidators' season so far. Was clinching the playoff spot anticipated?

After the team started 1-7, the only people in the league that probably thought the Intimidators would clinch a playoff spot were the players and coaches in the clubhouse.  The team had a lot of talent, and for some reason, they weren’t winning games early on. Once they found they found their groove, it became clear that Kannapolis was destined for a much stronger finish to the First Half.  

Little by little, the team moved up the standings and sat within striking distance entering the final week of the First Half.  The Intimidators swept the then-first place Hagerstown Suns in a 4-game series in Kannapolis to take the lead in the division and clinched a playoff spot with a win in the final game of the First Half on June 18, defeating the West Virginia Power, 5-3.  

Were there any standout trades that helped make this season such a success?

The Kannapolis Intimidators via Facebook

At this level, it’s more about the development of the talent in the White Sox organization.  The majority of our players were drafted or signed by the White Sox out of high school or college, so this is the first organization many players have been a part of.  The talent on the roster was always there, and the coaches and roving instructors worked to help develop that talent.  

Some of the notable players who helped make the First Half a success include:

  • RHP Alec Hansen, White Sox 2nd Round Pick from the June 2016 First-Year Player Draft
  • OF Jameson Fisher, White Sox 4th Round Pick from the June 2016 First-Year Player Draft
  • RHP Jimmy Lambert, White Sox 5th Round Pick from the June 2016 First-Year Player Draft
  • 3B Zach Remillard, White Sox 10th Round Pick from the June 2016 First-Year Player Draft (former Coastal Carolina Chanticleer, member of 2016 College World Series championship team)
  • 2B Mitch Roman, White Sox 12th Round Pick from the June 2016 First-Year Player Draft
  • OF Joel Booker, White Sox 22nd Round Pick from the June 2016 First-Year Player Draft
  • RHP Mike Morrison, White Sox 27th Round Pick from the June 2016 First-Year Player Draft (former Coastal Carolina Chanticleer, member of 2016 College World Series championship team)
  • 1B Brandon Dulin, Acquired via Trade from KC Royals in March 2016 for future considerations
  • LHP Kyle Kubat, Acquired via Trade from KC Royals in March 2016 for future considerations
  • C Seby Zavala, White Sox 12th Round Pick from the June 2015 First-Year Player Draft

(Players in BOLD were named South Atlantic League Mid-Season All-Stars)

When was the last time that the Intimidators clinched a playoff spot? 

It hasn't been since 2009, when the team won the Second Half.  

Other past playoff appearances include:
  • 2005, Kannapolis won the SAL Championship
  • 2000, the Piedmont Boll Weevils made the playoffs
  • 1995, the Piedmont Phillies made the playoffs in the inaugural season of baseball in Kannapolis

When was the last time the Intimidators won a championship game?

In 2005, when current Kannapolis pitching coach Matt Zaleski was a member of the team and current White Sox Director of Player Development Chris Getz played 2B for the Intimidators. 

What's outlook for this year's playoff season look like? 

It’s tough to project the outlook due to the nature of how players move within the organization. Seven players who were a part of our First Half Championship team have already been promoted to Class A-Advanced Winston-Salem, and the Intimidators will likely receive recent White Sox draft picks from the 2017 draft class over the next weeks and months, but we always hope for the best. 

What is something that we as fans should be most excited about? What should we look for?

Fans should look forward to the opportunity for the Intimidators to bring a championship back to Kannapolis. We are having a playoff game on Friday, Sept. 8 at 7:05 p.m. here at Intimidators Stadium, and playoff tickets will be going on sale soon (Stay tuned to find out more details).

Anything else we need to know about?

Minor League Baseball at this level is an opportunity for fans to get a sneak peak at the biggest movie in town. Every day, fans can see players who will one day star at the big league level. We don’t always know which ones will get there, but it’s excited to say “We saw them when…” once they do.  

In addition to seeing so many future talents come through town (both playing for and against the Intimidators), fans can enjoy some amazing promotions all summer long, including:

  • Monday, July 3 — Independence Fireworks Extravaganza (7:05 p.m.)
  • Saturday, July 8 — Eddy Alvarez Bobblehead Giveaway, first 1,000 fans (7:05 p.m.)
  • Friday, July 21 — Military Appreciation Night
  • Saturday, July 22 — Star Wars Night & Fireworks with special Star Wars jersey auction to benefit the Cabarrus County Education Foundation
Follow all of the fun things that the Intimidators do by following them on Facebook.

Find out more details about the game and players here.

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