Tucker homers twice as Stanly hammers Kannapolis

Friday’s NC3 league game between Stanly and Kannapolis, originally scheduled at the new minor-league home of the Cannon Ballers of the South Atlantic League, took place in Stanly.

Wearing red jerseys, the Kannapolis Towelers have called South Stanly High School home this summer.

One Stanly player who has come out of the visiting dugout before made the Bulls’ have a big night in a 18-10 win over Kannapolis.

West Stanly rising senior Connor Tucker went deep twice for Stanly (6-7) driving in four runs.

Tucker, who recently verbally committed to Belmont Abbey, added his sixth and seventh home runs of the season. He added a stolen base as well and scored three times in the game.

“I found my groove at the beginning of (the high school) season, but COVID took it away,” Tucker said. “I’m starting to find my groove and hopefully I will stay on that groove.”

Playing in the NC3 league has been important to his baseball career, Tucker added.

“With baseball, you can’t stop. You have to constantly keep practicing. It’s not like riding a bike,” Tucker said. “This is a great league to come and get some practice and hopefully win some ball games.”

Baseball at a Legion level has allowed recruiters to see videos of him playing ball on social media, which helped his college recruiting.

“That’s how I got my first offer. I didn’t get it until the first of June,” Tucker said. “(Recruiters) have got to be able to see you play somewhere. With the COVID shutting everything else down, this is a great opportunity for people to get recognized.”

Stanly put up a pair of five-run innings in the game after trailing 4-0 through the first two innings.

Kannapolis (6-11) avoided losing in seven innings by pushing a run across in the bottom of the seventh.

The win was a “good bounce back game,” Tucker said after the team sat through a lightning delay two nights previously at High Point. The two teams will complete the game Tuesday at The Ball Park at West Stanly at 5 p.m., then play the regularly-scheduled game at 7.

“He’s going to give you a good at-bat. For the most part, he’s going to hit the ball hard. He just really has competitive at-bats, day in and day out,” Stanly head coach Jordan Sells said.

Tucker’s three-run homer in the top of the third gave Stanly the lead for good and jolted the offense into scoring 13 more times the remainder of the game.

“He’s kind of like our spark plug. When he comes up in those spots, those guys are looking for him to come through. He’s pretty much made a living on those spots,” Sells said.

Stanly wraps up the regular season with six games in the next five days. The locals host Greensboro Saturday night and travel to Mocksville Sunday.

“We’re going to see what they are made of,” Sells said about the team in the final stretch. “Being able to play every day is exhausting, but you get into a routine. You don’t get that day off that you can kind of relax and lose some momentum.”