Cannons go to playoffs with 23-21 record

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION — A definitive eight-run inning hoisted the Charles Town Cannons to an 8-3 win over visiting Front Royal last Wednesday at Sager Field.

[cleeng_content id="691809190" description="Read it now!" price="0.49" t="article"]The victory in their last regular season game meant the Cannons finished with a 23-21 record in their first summer in the Valley Baseball League. Front Royal is one of the two teams in the six-team North Division to miss the league playoffs which began on Sunday with a total of four games.

The Cannons’ Michael Estevez improved his record to 2-1 with six innings of solid pitching. After falling behind 2-0 to a Front Royal first-inning rally, Estevez blanked the Cardinals in his next four innings of work. He allowed five hits, three earned runs, four walks and fanned five.

Still trailing, 2-0, going to the last of the fourth, the Cannons scored all eight of their runs in the fruitful frame.

Charles Town used two walks to begin the uprising. And then a series of singles were used to advance the parade of baserunners one base at time until outfielder Waldyvan Estrada hammered his grand slam home run to produce the last four runs and move a 4-2 lead all the way to 8-2.

Estrada’s bases-clearing blow left him with a team-leading 32 RBIs and a .331 batting average. He was 4-for-5 in the last regular season game.

L.K. Thompson, Kraig Kelley and Pat Ammar all had run-scoring singles in Charles Town’s biggest inning of the 44-game schedule. Emmanuel Marrero was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to get another run home.

Ryan Pansch, Steven Burnham and Clayton Payne all pitched one scoreless inning at the end.

The season-long, continuous changes to the Charles Town roster concerned five more player transactions when Matt Durst, Tyler Hibbert and Luke Stewart were released with just one game remaining before the playoffs. Durst and Hibbert were two of the Cannons’ .300 hitters.

Being added to the roster for the final regular season game and the playoffs were Shepherd pitcher/infielder Ryan Pansch and Shepherd outfielder Michael Lott.

The league playoffs continue this week with North Division rivals playing each other and South Division qualifiers facing one another.

Eight runs and Extevez’s pitching allowed the Cannons to complete their Valley Baseball League baptism with a winning record and some time in the playoffs.[/cleeng_content]

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