Petricka Continues To Impress At Kannapolis

Petricka Continues To Impress At Kannapolis

Friday April 15, 2011
Posted: 10:10 p.m.
WHITE SOXKannapolis A
Jacob Petrickas early-season dominance of the South Atlantic League continued Friday night as he paced Kannapolis to a 5-3 victory over visiting Hickory.

Petricka 1-0, whom the Sox selected in the second round of last years draft, pitched five shutout innings. He fanned seven and scattered four hits and has yet to allow a run in 11 innings. Hes struck out 16 and walked only two in that stretch while looking more and more like hell be in Winston-Salem sooner rather than later.

Mike Blanke, a 14th-round pick from a year ago, had three hits two doubles an a triple to pace the Kannapolis attack. The Intimidators got on the board in the second, scoring three times with an error opening the door to the big inning.
Winston-Salem A
Kyle Sheltons two-run triple in the eighth inning lifted the Dash to 5-3 victory over Kinston in the home-opener at BB&T Ballpark.

The Dash had tied the score at 3-3 in the seventh when Shelton scored on a wild pitch. Shelton had reached first on an error after striking out. Ian Gac had a pair of hits, including his fourth homer of the season. Each of Gacs homers has either tied the score or given the Dash the lead. Jared Mitchell went 0-for-4, dropping his average to .185.

Ryan Kussmaul 2-0 picked up the win after a two-inning stint. Tyson Corley pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save.
Birmingham AA
The Barons game against Chattanooga Friday evening was postponed due to rain. The two teams will play a pair of seven-inning games on Saturday beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Charlotte AAA
The Knights were rained out at Gwinnett County Friday night and no makeup date was set.
CUBSDaytona A
The Cubs lost their third straight game Friday night, dropping a 4-3 decision to Lakeland at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Brett Wallach took the loss, allowing four runs in 4 13 innings. He walked six and gave up three hits, including a homer. Jae-Hoon Ha had three hits for Daytona while Wellington Castillo added a pair.
Iowa AAA
The I-Cubs home-opener against Memphis was rained out Friday night at Principal Park. No makeup date has been scheduled yet. Prior to the rainout, Iowa added outfielder Brad Snyder to the roster. The slugger had been playing extended spring training while recovering from a hairline fracture of the rib. He hit .308 with 25 homers and 106 RBIs for Iowa last season and then appeared in 12 games as a September call-up with Chicago.
Peoria A
The Chiefs game against Wisconsin at Fox Cities Stadium was postponed due to the weather. The two teams will play a twinbill on Sunday beginning at 1:05.
Tennessee AA
The Smokies game against Montgomery Friday night was postponed because of rain and will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Saturday. The first of the two seven-inning games will be played at 5:15 p.m.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Morning Update: Bulls fall to Blazers; Could Chris Sale be on the move?

Morning Update: Bulls fall to Blazers; Could Chris Sale be on the move?

Five Things to Watch: Bulls in Detroit for fourth game in five nights on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Coyotes tonight on CSN+

Despite Chris Sale rumors, White Sox say they have contingencies in place for a rebuild

Kenley Jansen? Wade Davis? Cubs keeping an open mind for the ninth inning

Slow start to fourth dooms Bulls in loss to Blazers

Back from scary concussion, Leonard Floyd playing like franchise pass rusher Bears craved

Scott Darling takes the reins for Blackhawks in Corey Crawford’s absence

White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf knows 'it will be very hard to trade' Chris Sale

Cubs: The next steps for Kyle Schwarber

Rajon Rondo used foul language with Bulls assistant coaches following loss to Mavs

Bears DL Akiem Hicks making the most of a chance the Saints never gave him

Bears DL Akiem Hicks making the most of a chance the Saints never gave him

Living well is indeed the best revenge, and sometimes nothing feels sweeter than proving doubters wrong. Akiem Hicks is savoring that exact feeling.

When the New Orleans Saints made Hicks their third-round pick in the 2013 draft, they typecast their big (6-5, 318 pounds) young defensive lineman as a one-trick pony.

“There were people in New Orleans that said, ‘You can’t rush the passer,’” Hicks recalled after the Bears’ win Sunday over the San Francisco 49ers. “They told me from my rookie year, ‘You’re going to be a run-stopper.’”

This despite Hicks collecting 6.5 sacks and 3 pass breakups as a senior at Regina in Canada. The Saints forced Hicks into the slot they’d decided he fit – nose tackle – then eventually grew disenchanted with him and traded him to New England last year – where he collect 3 sacks in spot duty.

Interestingly, Bears GM Ryan Pace was part of the Saints’ personnel operation. Whether Pace agreed with coaches’ handling of Hicks then isn’t known, but when Pace had the chance to bring Hicks to Chicago for a role different than the one the Saints forced Hicks into, Pace made it happen.

Pace likely saw those New England sacks as a foreshadowing or a sign that the New Orleans staff had miscast Hicks. The Bears defensive end now is under consideration for NFC defensive player of the week after his 10-tackle performance against San Francisco. Signing with the Bears last March 13 as a free agent was the career break Hicks has craved. For him it was a career lifeline.

“They have given me the ability to go rush the passer,” Hicks said. “So I love this organization – [GM] Ryan Pace, coach Fox, Vic [Fangio, defensive coordinator] – for just giving a guy the capability to put it out there and do what you feel like you can do.”

[MORE BEARS: Back from scary concussion, Leonard Floyd playing like franchise pass rusher Bears craved]

Hicks has been showing what he can do, to quarterbacks. For him the best part of win over the 49ers was the two third-quarter sacks of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Those sacks gave the massive lineman, who the Saints said couldn’t rush the passer, 6 sacks for the season – more than any member of the Saints defense this season. It has been a classic instance of putting a player in position to maximize his skills, not jam someone into a bad fit.

“Akiem has been in a couple of different types of packages before with New Orleans and New England,” said coach John Fox. The Patriots switched from a long-time 3-4 scheme to a 4-3 but “we’re more of a New England-type style. But we’re playing him more at end; he played mostly a nose tackle [in New Orleans]. He’s fit really well for us as far as his physical stature.

"But he does have pass rush ability. It shows a little about his athleticism. So he’s got a combination of both.”

That “combination” has been allowed to flourish at a new level, and the Bears’ plan for Hicks was the foundation of why he wanted to sign in Chicago as a free agent. The Bears do not play their defensive linemen in a clear one-gap, get-upfield-fast scheme tailored to speed players. Nor do they play a classic two-gap, linemen-control-blockers scheme typically built on three massive space-eaters on the defensive line.

They play what one player has called a “gap and a half” system, which requires being stout as well as nimble.

One Hicks rush on Kaepernick featured a deft spin move out of a block, not the norm for 336-pound linemen. He got one sack with a quick slide out of a double-team.

“I’m not freelancing,” Hicks said. “But I’m rushing ‘fast.’ There’s a portion of the defense where you have the [run] responsibility and don’t have the freedom or liberty [to rush]. It’s a great system for me and I love what they’ve let me do.”