Almost a year from the date of the original first pitch, Atrium Health Ballpark will debut as a baseball field for the first time when the Charlotte 49ers welcome the Appalachian State Mountaineers in a Division I, non-conference match-up on Tuesday, March 23 at 6:00 p.m.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the baseball season in 2020, the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers planned to open the $52 million sports and entertainment venue anchoring the revitalized downtown on April 16th last year. Without baseball, Atrium Health Ballpark operated as a city park starting last spring and quickly became a top destination in Kannapolis for visitors anxious to enjoy the outdoors and ballpark amenities safely on a daily basis.
“We can’t wait to officially host baseball at Atrium Health Ballpark,” Cannon Ballers General Manager Matt Millward said. “Hosting our local Charlotte 49ers is the perfect way to kick off a new era in Kannapolis.”
Under second-year head coach and Charlotte native Robert Woodward, the 49ers are currently 8-3 following an upset victory over 14th-ranked Tennessee on March 9 and with previous series wins against Morehead State and William & Mary. Last season, Charlotte earned a 9-8 record, including a 9-8 win over No. 9 NC State, before COVID-19 shut down the season.
“With the help of the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers, we have the opportunity to play the first-ever baseball game in their state-of-the-art Atrium Health Ballpark,” Woodward said. “Charlotte and Kannapolis are two baseball towns, so this event is a special opportunity for us both to come together and give people a chance to get out and watch baseball again.”
Appalachian State is currently 6-5 under head coach Kermit Smith, collecting series wins over Winthrop and NC A&T.
Complying with all applicable government orders, a limited capacity of fans will be admitted to the March 23rd game, with team supporters receiving first priority in securing tickets. Kannapolis Cannon Ballers season ticket holders should check their email inbox for more details or call 704-932-3267. 49ers Baseball season ticket holders, UNC-Charlotte students and Grand Slam Club members will receive an email offer to purchase tickets online. Subject to availability, any remaining tickets will go on sale Tuesday, March 16th at noon through kcballers.com. All attendees will be required to follow local guidelines included mandated face masks and social distancing measures.