Prior to Tuesday night’s 10-1 win over the Gwinnett Braves, the Charlotte Knights welcomed over 20 former Charlotte Hornets to BB&T BallPark.
The Hornets, who got their start in 1892, were the first baseball team to call the Queen City home and did so for 70 years before moving to Orlando in 1972.
Charlie Manuel, who played for the Hornets in 1968 and then went on to coach the Philadelphia Phillies to a World Series title in 2008, was the star of the reunion, which also featured 10-year Hornets veteran Minnie Mendoza.
Manuel, who also managed the Knights to their first ever Governors’ Cup Championship in 1993, offered up some advice prior to the game.
“Play as hard as you possibly can and make sure you learn how to play baseball the right way,” Manuel said. “Knowledge of the game is very important nowadays. The fundamentals in the major leagues have slipped in the last 10 or 15 years.”
The Knights took those words to heart on Tuesday, pounding out 13 hits and drawing six walks in support of starter Shawn Hill (4-5), who held the Braves to one run on five hits over six innings.
“It was nice to see Minnie, who I worked with when I was with the Indians,” Knights manager Joel Skinner said. “My first year managing in 1995, he was my coach with the Indians, so we go way back, and Charlie Manuel was my hitting coach in Cleveland. He was the first manager to hire me as a Major League coach, so it was nice to see those guys.”
Avisail Garcia – with the Knights on a Major League rehab assignment from the Chicago White Sox – got the Charlotte scoring started in the second inning with an opposite-field solo home run.
“I tried to put the ball in play,” Garcia said. “I knew how they were going to try to pitch me a little bit, so I was just trying to make good contact. The home run (came on) a fastball away – when we played in Gwinnett (on Saturday and Sunday) they were throwing me a lot of fastballs away, so I was ready.”
The hit was the first of three on the night for Garcia, who finished 3-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored. The three-hit night improved Garcia, who suffered a torn labrum back in April, to 8-for-15 (.533) since joining the Knights on Aug. 1.
“(Garcia) looks free and easy swinging the bat,” Skinner said. “He’s getting all his pregame work in the outfield in with Doug Sisson, our outfielder and base-running coordinator, and then he’s getting his at-bats. I think he’s got over a dozen already. He’s obviously a good-looking young hitter. It’s nice to see.”
The Knights (54-64) broke the game open in the fourth inning when they sent 12 batters to the plate, with nine consecutive reaching at one point.
Garcia got the inning going with a one-out single off Braves starter Gus Schlosser (3.1 IP, 7 ER) and then scored one pitch later on Jordan Danks’ 16th home run of the season.
Danks finished the game 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Crawdads 6: Intimidators 3: Hickory scored three runs in the bottom of the 8th inning to tie the game 3-3 against host Kannapolis. The Crawdads then scored three more runs in the llth en route to an extra-innings victory against the Intimidators. Zach Cone scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by Andrew Mitchell. Two more RBIs came on a Michael De Leon sacrifice and an Evan Van Hoosier double.
KNIGHTS 10, BRAVES 1
E — Terdoslavich, Salcedo. DP–Gwinnett 1. LOB–Gwinnett 4, Charlotte 10. 2B–Reyes 2, Cunningham, Wilkins, Phegley 2, Taylor. HR—Garcia, Danks.
|Schlosser L, 7-6||3.1||5||7||7||5||3|
|Hill W, 4-5||6.0||5||1||1||0||5|
|De Los Santos||`.0||0||0||0||0||0|
WP-Schlosser, Hoyt. HBP-Semien (by Hoyt).
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