Knights get ready for final opening day in Fort Mill

mbanks@comporium.netApril 3, 2013 

— The Charlotte Knights open the 2013 season on the road at Gwinnett, and will play its first seven games away from Knights Stadium before hosting its 24th and final opening day at home April 11.

The team will open at home against Gwinnett for two games and then Durham for a four-game series.

The Knights are scheduled to move to the heart of Charlotte’s uptown in 2014 in a new, $54 million stadium.

In 2012, the Knights made it to the International League title game, where they lost to Pawtucket. This year, the team has several familiar faces coming back to start the season. Among them will be catcher Josh Phegley and outfielder Jared Mitchell. An All-Star last season, Phegley set career highs in hits (105) and doubles (22) last season, while hitting .266 with six home runs and 48 RBI.

Mitchell, a two-sport athlete from LSU, spent part of 2012 in Double-A Birmingham, but also hit .231 in 36 games for Charlotte with a home run and 13 RBIs.

Also returning in the outfield will be Jordan Danks, who hit .317 in 64 games and had eight home runs and 30 RBI while splitting time with the parent club, the Chicago White Sox.

This will be Danks’ fourth consecutive season with the Knights.

A former Knight, Stefan Gartrell, is back with the club this year after spending last season with Gwinnett, where he hit .251 with 20 home runs and 55 RBI.

On the mound, coming back this season is starter Charlie Leesman, who went 12-10 on the hit in 26 games with a 2.47 ERA.

Another Knights pitcher who saw a lot of time on the mound and is on the roster to start the season is Jhan Marinez. He had a 4-2 record last year in 40 appearances.

The Knights picked up a couple players from the Pawtucket team that beat them for the International League championship last season – pitchers Zach Stewart and Tony Pena Jr., son of former Major League catcher Tony Pena.

The Knights, which hosted the annual Knights Fest open house for fans this past weekend, will have several promotional games this season, including 13 firework shows and will host the WBT Skyshow 2013 on July 3. They also will have baseball legends Gaylord Perry and Sid Bream stopping by during the season, as well as TNA wrestling knockout Mickie James.

The team’s final regular season home game is scheduled for Labor Day at 2:15 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 2, where the team will be giving out a commemorative ticket for all fans.

For game dates and times and ticket information, go to www.charlotteknights.com.

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