Cougars erase six-run deficit to beat Snappers 10-9

final score

On Fan Appreciation Night at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, the Kane County Cougars gave their home crowd something extra-exciting to cheer about.

Not only did the Cougars win Tuesday, they did it in comeback fashion after trailing the Beloit Snappers by six runs at two different points in the game. The Cougars clawed their way back into the game, culminating with a three-run 8th inning that gave them their first lead of the night, a 10-9 advantage that held despite a uncharacteristically bumpy 9th for closer Zac Curtis.

Beloit did all its scoring early — two runs in the 2nd, two runs in the 3rd, three runs in the 4th, and two runs in the 5th. Kane County slowly chipped away at Beloit’s lead, scoring a run in the 3rd, two runs in the 4th, and a run in the 5th. The Snappers led 9-4 after five innings.

Beloit Snappers CF Justin Higley drove in two runs.

Beloit Snappers CF Justin Higley drove in two runs.

When the Cougars scored three runs in the 6th, suddenly it looked like they might complete the comeback. Victor Reyes singled home a run, and Cody Regis doubled home two more in that frame.

Cougars LF Cody Regis bats in the bottom of the 1st inning.

Kane County Cougars LF Cody Regis bats in the bottom of the 1st inning.

Snappers reliever Cody Stull struck out the side in the 7th, but the Cougars got to him in the 8th. Three runs were charged to Stull, who was removed from the game after he gave up a game-tying, two-run triple to Colin Bray.

Kane County Cougars CF Colin Bray

Kane County Cougars CF Colin Bray

Koby Gauna replaced Stull and promptly gave up a Marty Herum sacrifice fly that brought Bray in to score what turned out to be the winning run.

Cougars closer Zac Curtis came in for the save, which he converted successfully, but not without some drama. Beloit’s first two batters reached base — Jose Brizuela was hit by a pitch, and Max Kuhn drew a walk — giving the Snappers two on with no outs. Curtis rebounded by striking out the next three batters, earning him his Midwest League-leading 32nd save of the season.

Kane County Cougars closer Zac Curtis

Kane County Cougars closer Zac Curtis

Four players had three hits — Argenis Raga and Shawn Duinkerk for Beloit, Ildemaro Vargas and Victor Reyes for Kane County — and two players (Duinkerk and Bray) drove in three runs. Max Kuhn hit a two-run homer for the Snappers.

Beloit Snappers RF Shawn Duinkerk went 3-for-4 with a double and 3 RBI.

Beloit Snappers RF Shawn Duinkerk went 3-for-4 with a double and 3 RBI.

With the win, Kane County’s magic number to clinch the second-half Western Division title is now three. The Cougars and the Peoria Chiefs are battling for the division title, but both teams have clinched playoff berths already.

The regular season ends Monday.

Cougars magic number 3

*All photos by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler

Posted in 2015 Playoffs, Beloit Snappers, Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs | Leave a comment

Bader, Deetz named Midwest League players of the week

Peoria Chiefs outfielder Harrison Bader raises his glove to show the ball after a diving catch during a game at Dozer Park last month. (Photo by Ron Johnson/Journal Star)

Peoria Chiefs outfielder Harrison Bader raises his glove to show the ball after a diving catch during a game at Dozer Park last month. (Photo by Ron Johnson/Journal Star)

Peoria Chiefs outfielder Harrison Bader and Quad Cities River Bandits RHP Dean Deetz respectively were named the Midwest League offensive player and pitcher of the week for the period of August 24-30.

In seven games during that period, Bader batted .448 (13-for-29) with two home runs, six runs batted in, and six runs scored. On Wednesday he went 4-for-4 with two triples and three RBI against the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He followed that performance with a three-hit game against the River Bandits on Thursday.

Bader is batting .303 with 7 HR, 24 RBI and 14 SB in 47 games with the Chiefs this season.

Deetz made one start last week, holding the Clinton LumberKings hitless in seven innings. He struck out nine and walked two.

Deetz has made five appearances (four starts) for the River Bandits, going 3-1 with a 1.11 ERA, 26 strikeouts and 11 walks in 24.1 innings.

Quad Cities River Bandits RHP Dean Deetz delivers a pitch at Modern Woodmen Park earlier this month. (Sean Flynn Photography)

Quad Cities River Bandits RHP Dean Deetz delivers a pitch at Modern Woodmen Park earlier this month. (Sean Flynn Photography)

Stroman to rehab in Lansing

Toronto Blue Jays RHP Marcus Stroman is scheduled to make a rehab start for the Lansing Lugnuts on Wednesday and will be limited to 55 pitches in the appearance, according to media reports.

Stroman has missed the entire 2015 season to this point after tearing the ACL in his left knee during a drill in spring training. Last year was his rookie season, in which he went 11-6 with a 3.65 ERA, 111 strikeouts and 28 walks in 130.2 innings for the Blue Jays.

MWL alumni report

Chicago Cubs prospect Javier Baez is batting .444 during his 16-game hitting streak after collecting four singles on Sunday. He is batting .324 with 13 HR, 61 RBI and 17 SB in 70 games with the Iowa Cubs this season. He is expected to be among Chicago’s September call-ups when MLB rosters expand Tuesday.

Baez batted .333 with 12 HR, 33 RBI and 20 SB in 57 games with the 2012 Peoria Chiefs.

Javier Baez swings at a pitch while playing for the Peoria Chiefs. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Javier Baez swings at a pitch while playing for the Peoria Chiefs. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Houston Astros prospect J.D. Davis homered twice and drove in six runs Sunday, bringing his total to 26 HR and 100 RBI in 114 games with the High-A Lancaster JetHawks this season. He was named the California League’s offensive player of the week for August 24-30.

Davis batted .303 with 8 HR and 32 RBI in 43 games with the 2014 Quad Cities River Bandits.

J.D. Davis bats for the Quad Cities River Bandits last year. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

J.D. Davis bats for the Quad Cities River Bandits last year. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Twins rookies Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton visited the Minnesota State Fair on Saturday. Normally I wouldn’t write about something like this, but team photographer Brace Hemmelgarn was there with them to capture it all on film. (Well, probably not on film, but you know what I mean.)

Click here to see dozens of photos of Sano and Buxton doing state fair things like eating corn, playing carnival games, and meeting fans.

Sano and Buxton are two of the highest-ranked prospects to play in the Midwest League in recent years. Sano batted .258 with 28 HR and 100 RBI in 129 games with the 2012 Beloit Snappers. Buxton batted .341 with 8 HR, 55 RBI and 32 SB in 68 games with the 2013 Cedar Rapids Kernels.

Both players were named Midwest League prospect of the year during their respective seasons in the league. Buxton also received the MWL MVP award.

Twins rookies Miguel Sano (left) and Byron Buxton eat corn at the Minnesota State Fair on Saturday. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn)

Twins rookies Miguel Sano (left) and Byron Buxton eat corn at the Minnesota State Fair on Saturday. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins)

Posted in Beloit Snappers, California League, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Iowa Cubs, Lancaster JetHawks, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, Pacific Coast League, Peoria Chiefs, Quad Cities River Bandits | Leave a comment

TinCaps clinch playoff spot as Whitecaps close in on another

The Fort Wayne TinCaps haven’t won since their 17-game home winning streak came to an end Friday, but they still managed to clinch a postseason berth Sunday thanks to a Lake County Captains loss.

Meanwhile, the West Michigan Whitecaps moved closer to claiming the other Eastern Division playoff spot by beating the Great Lakes Loons. Their magic number is three, with eight games left in the regular season.

The TinCaps lead the Eastern Division by three games over the Whitecaps. The Captains and the South Bend Cubs trail the Whitecaps by six games.

If the Whitecaps reach the postseason as expected, they will play against the TinCaps in the first round of the playoffs. The Lansing Lugnuts and the Great Lakes Loons will face off in the other Eastern Division first-round series.

The two Western Division first-round series will pit the Kane County Cougars against the Peoria Chiefs and the Quad Cities River Bandits against the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

This is the seventh consecutive year the TinCaps reached the postseason, the longest active streak in the Midwest League.

Posted in 2015 Playoffs, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Great Lakes Loons, Kane County Cougars, Lake County Captains, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs, Quad Cities River Bandits, South Bend Silver Hawks, West Michigan Whitecaps | Leave a comment

QC’s 84 wins are second-highest total in franchise history

The Quad Cities River Bandits beat the Burlington Bees 2-1 Sunday to notch their 84th win of the season, the second-highest total in franchise history.

River Bandits SP Brock Dykxhoom got the win, improving to 8-4 with a 3.72 ERA. He gave up one run on six hits, struck out three, and walked none in seven innings.

QC’s 84 victories are second in franchise history to the 91 wins by the 1992 River Bandits. The current team needs to win all eight of the games left on its schedule to surpass the 1992 team’s total. Three of their games are against the Kane County Cougars, who have the best second-half record in the Midwest League.

The 1992 River Bandits featured eight future major-leaguers, including Mark Sweeney (.271 BA, 14 HR, 76 RBI in 120 games) and Orlando Palmeiro (.317 BA, 41 RBI, 31 SB in 127 games). The 1992 team, affiliated with the California Angels, was the first one called the River Bandits.

The 2010 River Bandits, affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals, won 83 games and featured nine future major-leaguers. They included Matt Adams (.310 BA, 22 HR, 88 RBI in 121 games), Shelby Miller (7-5, 3.62 ERA, 140 Ks in 104.1 IP) and Joe Kelly (6-8, 4.62 ERA, 92 Ks in 103.1 IP).

The current team is affiliated with the Houston Astros. They will play in the postseason after winning the first-half Western Division title.

Posted in 2015 Playoffs, Burlington Bees, Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, Quad Cities River Bandits | Leave a comment

Loons pound Cubs for 15 runs in shutout at South Bend

Two rain delays didn’t slow the Great Lakes offense Saturday as the Loons scored 15 times in their shutout of the South Bend Cubs at Four Winds Field.

Rain delayed the start of the game by 90 minutes, but the Loons were ready to pounce once play began. They scored five runs in the first two innings and were up 9-0 when the rain returned in the top of the 5th inning. After a 42-minute rain delay, Great Lakes picked up where it left off, and by the end scored 15 runs on 20 hits, five walks, and three South Bend errors.

The Loons scored their first 10 runs off Cubs SP Zach Hedges and their last four off infielder David Bote, who pitched the last two innings of the game.

All nine Loons starters collected hits in the game. Third baseman Matt Beaty went 5-for-6 with a double and two RBI. Designated hitter Justin Chigbogu went 4-for-5 with two doubles, a walk, and 3 RBI. First baseman Brian Wolfe went 3-for-6 with two doubles and two RBI, and extended his hitting streak to 17 games (longest in the Midwest League this year).

Loons SP Michael Boyle picked up his first Midwest League win, giving up only two hits in five innings. He struck out five and walked none.

Posted in Great Lakes Loons, Midwest League, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment

TinCaps’ home winning streak ends at 17 games

The Fort Wayne TinCaps’ winning streak at Parkview Field came to an end as the Lake County Captains blanked the home team 1-0 Friday night.

Captains starting pitcher Justus Sheffield improved to 9-4 with a 3.47 ERA after holding the TinCaps to two hits and two walks in 6.1 innings. He struck out eight batters and threw a wild pitch. Relievers Cameron Hill and Caleb Hamrick pitched 2.2 perfect innings to finish the shutout.

Fort Wayne’s 17-game home winning streak set a new franchise record. The Midwest League record for consecutive home wins during the regular season is held by the Cedar Rapids Kernels, who won 19 in a row at Veterans Memorial Stadium in 2010.

The TinCaps need one win to clinch a postseason berth. They lead the Eastern Division by four games over the West Michigan Whitecaps, with 10 games left in the regular season.

Posted in 2015 Playoffs, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Lake County Captains, Midwest League, West Michigan Whitecaps | Leave a comment

Chiefs clinch first postseason berth since 2009

The Peoria Chiefs celebrate clinching a playoff berth Thursday. (Sean Flynn Photography)

The Peoria Chiefs celebrate clinching a playoff berth Thursday. (Sean Flynn Photography)

The Peoria Chiefs lost their game at Quad Cities on Thursday, but still clinched their first postseason berth since 2009 thanks to a Beloit Snappers loss at Wisconsin.

Peoria entered the day needing only a win or a Beloit loss to get in the playoffs, and the Snappers dropped both of their games against the Timber Rattlers. The first Snappers loss — completion of a postponed game from July 13 — happened early during the Chiefs game, so Peoria no longer needed a win to clinch.

Despite scoring first, the Chiefs trailed the River Bandits 8-1 after six innings. Peoria attempted a late rally, scoring five runs in the 8th inning, but fell 8-6 to Quad Cities.

The Chiefs celebrated their postseason berth in the visitors locker room at Modern Woodmen Park. When they face the Kane County Cougars in the first round of the playoffs, they will end what currently is the longest postseason drought in the Midwest League.

Now affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Chiefs were a Chicago Cubs farm team the last time they reached the playoffs. The 2009 team included a few future MLB All-Star players: Chris Archer (6-4, 2.81 ERA, 119 Ks in 109 IP), Josh Harrison (.337 BA, 4 HR, 33 RBI, 16 SB in 79 games), and D.J. LeMahieu (.316 BA, 30 RBI in 38 games).

The River Bandits also will be in the playoffs after winning the Western Division in the first half of the season. They will face the Cedar Rapids Kernels in the first round.

TinCaps win 17th in a row at home

The Fort Wayne TinCaps continued their second-half dominance at Parkview Field, winning their 17th consecutive home game Thursday. (Their 16th win broke the old franchise record for consecutive home wins.)

The TinCaps are one win away from clinching a playoff berth. They lead the Eastern Division by four games over the West Michigan Whitecaps, who also are in good shape to reach the postseason with the Lake County Captains and the South Bend Cubs trailing them by seven games with 11 games left in the regular season.

The Lansing Lugnuts and the Great Lakes Loons won Eastern Division playoff berths in the first half. They will face each other in the first round.

Posted in 2015 Playoffs, Beloit Snappers, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Great Lakes Loons, Kane County Cougars, Lake County Captains, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs, Quad Cities River Bandits, South Bend Silver Hawks, West Michigan Whitecaps, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | Leave a comment