2022 Appalachian League Championship preview


BURLINGTON, N.C. — The Burlington Sock Puppets will host the Kingsport Axmen in the 2022 Appalachian League Championship Game at 7 p.m. ET tonight at Burlington Athletic Stadium. The two teams will meet in the one-game, winner-take-all championship. The Sock Puppets come into the game at 38-18 while the Axmen finished the season with a 37-17 record.

Starting Pitching Matchup

Burlington - RHP Mason Ruh (6-0, 2.66) - Northern Illinois

Ruh finished the regular season 6-0 with one save in 18 appearances (four starts). Ruh had a 2.66 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP, a .179 batting average against and 56 strikeouts in 47.1 innings pitched this summer. Ruh led the Appy League in ERA, wins, WHIP and batting average against; He also finished third in strikeouts. Ruh allowed one or fewer runs in 13 of his 18 outings this season.

Kingsport - RHP Ryan Murphy (2-1, 2.40) - James Madison

Murphy finished the season 2-1 with a 2.40 ERA in eight starts. Murphy struck out 43 and walked just eight in 45.0 innings pitched. He also finished the season with a 0.96 WHIP and a .210 batting average against. Murphy has allowed two runs or fewer in seven of his eight starts this season. On July 26, Murphy started the All-Star Game in Burlington.


The Sock Puppets started the season off 9-0 and won the East Division by 11 games. Burlington brings one of the best pitching staffs into Monday’s game. The Sock Puppets led the Appy League league in ERA (4.25), complete games (4), shutouts (6) and opponent batting average (.225) during the regular season. Burlington is led by reigning Appy League Player of the Month Ryan McCrystal (East Carolina) and Evan Appelwick (Miami OH). McCrystal hit .397 with four home runs and a league-best 48 RBI this season, and he also led the league in SLG (.654) and OPS (1.120). Appelwick hit .277 with four home runs and 25 RBI. On the mound, All-Star Peter Gallo (Saint Joseph’s) had a 2.27 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 39.2 innings pitched.

The Axmen began the season 8-0 and won the West Division by seven games. Kingsport had the best offense in the league this season. The Axmen led the Appy League in the following offensive categories: AVG (.297), runs (438), hits (545), doubles (110), RBI (359) and stolen bases (159). Kingsport is led on offense by All-Stars Nate Anderson (Gardner-Webb), Ian Riley (Dallas Baptist) and Jacob Perry (Minnesota). Anderson hit .333 with one home run and 28 RBI. He led the league with 37 stolen bases. Perry hit .347 with three home runs and 34 RBI, and he led the league with 16 doubles. Riley hit .338, drove in 31 runs and stole 27 bases this summer. On the mound, All-Star Matthew Cornelius (Pima Community College) went 3-0 with a 2.95 ERA and 51 strikeouts in eight starts.

If tonight’s championship game is tied after nine innings, the Appalachian League will use the international extra-innings rule. The player in the batting order immediately preceding that inning’s leadoff hitter will be placed on second base. The inning will otherwise proceed as usual, with each team getting a turn at bat.

For stats of tonight's game: https://www.appyleague.com/scores

To watch tonight's game: https://www.appyleague.com/live-streams

To listen to either broadcast of tonight's game: https://www.appyleague.com/audio