Lugnuts wallop Cubs, 17-2

The Lansing Lugnuts used 16 hits, six walks and three wild pitches to win 17-2 and complete a four-game sweep over the South Bend Cubs on Thursday at Cooley Law School Stadium.

All nine players in the Lugnuts lineup drove in runs, led by Rowdy Tellez, whose three RBI were part of a 3-for-3 performance that included two doubles, a walk and a stolen base. Danny Jansen had three hits and a walk, and drove in two runs. Chris Carlson had three hits, including a double and a triple, and drove in a run. Tim Locastro had two hits, a walk, two stolen bases and a run batted in.

You can see the game’s box score here.

Lugnuts starting pitcher Chase De Jong almost went the distance, coming one out short of the second complete game of his career. He gave up two runs on six hits and no walks, and struck out six. The two runs scored on a homer by Cael Brockmeyer.

Littell leads LumberKings to win

The Clinton LumberKings shut out the Quad Cities River Bandits 3-0 in a game that featured more walks (8) than hits (7).

LumberKings RHP Zack Littell was impressive in his second Midwest League start, giving up only two hits and two walks while striking out eight in six scoreless innings. River Bandits RHP Brandon McNitt took the loss despite giving up only one run on four hits and two walks while striking out six in five innings.

LumberKings third baseman Chris Mariscal drove in all three of the game’s runs.

Two MWL games last 14 innings

Thursday’s slate of Midwest League games began and ended with contests that lasted 14 innings.

The only day game was won 9-5 by the Fort Wayne TinCaps, who scored twice in the 9th and four times in the 14th to beat their hosts, the Lake County Captains. The game featured five home runs, by Fort Wayne’s Ruddy Giron, Chase Jensen and Duanel Jones, and Lake County’s Bobby Bradley and Claudio Bautista.

The last game to finish was won 6-3 by the West Michigan Whitecaps over the Bowling Green Hot Rods. The teams were tied 2-2 heading into extra innings, and both scored a run in the 12th before the Whitecaps plated three in the top of the 14th inning. West Michigan’s Zach Shepherd and Bowling Green’s Jace Conrad each hit solo homers. Hot Rods LHP Kyle Bird struck out eight batters in four innings of relief.

Posted in Bowling Green Hot Rods, Clinton LumberKings, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Lake County Captains, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, Quad Cities River Bandits, South Bend Silver Hawks, West Michigan Whitecaps | Leave a comment

Holmes, Gonsalves pitch one-hit gems

Two Midwest League games on Wednesday featured one-hit performances by pitchers who each hurled six innings.

RHP Grant Holmes did it for the Great Lakes Loons, and LHP Stephen Gonsalves did it for the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

Holmes improved to 3-0 after holding the Dayton Dragons to one hit and two walks while striking out nine in six scoreless innings. The Loons won 7-1. The Dragons committed five errors, a balk and a passed ball.

In eight starts this season, Holmes has a 3.03 ERA with 49 strikeouts and 19 walks in 38.2 innings.

Gonsalves improved to 4-1 after holding the Peoria Chiefs to one hit and three walks in six scoreless innings. He struck out seven and hit a batter. The Kernels won 8-0, with Zack Larson and Blake Schmit each driving in two runs.

In seven starts this season, Gonsalves has a 1.50 ERA (third-best in the Midwest League) with a league-leading 54 strikeouts and 10 walks in 42 innings.

Jackson sent to extended spring training

The Seattle Mariners reassigned top prospect Alex Jackson to extended spring training Wednesday after batting .157 with no homers and 13 RBI in 28 games with the Clinton LumberKings this season. He reportedly suffered a left shoulder injury during spring training but played through the pain until his last start on May 12.

Jackson, 19, was Seattle’s top draft pick last year (No. 6 overall) after Baseball America named him its High School Player of the Year.

TinCaps offer Letterman internship

The Fort Wayne TinCaps are struggling on the field so far this season, but their staff hasn’t forgotten how to have fun. With that in mind, they sent out a press release offering an internship to Indiana native David Letterman, who ended his 33-year late-night television career Wednesday.

Here are their “Top 10 Reasons David Letterman Should Intern with the Fort Wayne TinCaps”:

10. You’ll be paid in cotton candy.

9. In case you break the printer, you can always blame the mascot.

8. We also have openings for Rupert to work concessions, Alan to do PA, and Paul to lead “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

7. Parkview Field is close to Ball State, so you can check out the building named after you.

6. Need to spice up your marriage? We can put you on the Kiss Cam.

5. You’ll be in a cubicle, but you can keep your desk.

4. Chance to do slip-n-slide on tarp during rain delay.

3. We’ll take out the ceremonial first pitch so you can still do a monologue.

2. Most of our in-game promotions already qualify as Stupid Human Tricks.

1. Together, we could make “Small Town News” on Colbert’s show.

Posted in Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Dayton Dragons, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Great Lakes Loons, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs | Leave a comment

Four homers lift Captains past TinCaps

Lake County Captains SS Yu-Cheng Chang hits a grand slam in the 3rd inning of Tuesday's game. (Photo by Tim Phillis/TCP Photography)

Lake County Captains SS Yu-Cheng Chang hits a grand slam in the 3rd inning of Tuesday’s game. (Photo by Tim Phillis/TCP Photography)

Four home runs, including a grand slam by Yu-Cheng Chang, propelled the Lake County Captains past the Fort Wayne TinCaps for a 8-5 win at Classic Park on Tuesday.

In addition to Chang’s grand slam — which came with two outs in the bottom of the 3rd inning — the Captains got a two-run homer from Dorssys Paulino and solo shots from Greg Allen and Francisco Mejia.

Captains LHP Justus Sheffield improved to 4-1 after giving up three runs on five hits and a walk while striking out six in five innings.

Lake County Captains LHP Justus Sheffield got the win Tuesday. (Photo by Tim Phillis/TCP Photography)

Lake County Captains LHP Justus Sheffield got the win Tuesday. (Photo by Tim Phillis/TCP Photography)

Chang wasn’t the only player to hit a grand slam during Tuesday’s early Midwest League action. Peoria’s Steve Bean did, too, and it was enough to give the Chiefs a 7-5 win over the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

Steve Bean waits on deck during a Peoria Chiefs game earlier this season. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Steve Bean waits on deck during a Peoria Chiefs game earlier this season. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

One other homer was hit in the Dozer Park game — Trey Vavra hit an inside-the-parker that plated three runs for Cedar Rapids. Vavra’s hit became lodged under the outfield wall, but the Kernels first baseman’s bases-rounding effort was allowed to stand because Chiefs centerfielder Magneuris Sierra picked up the ball after he found it.

Chiefs RHP Daniel Poncedeleon improved to 4-0 despite giving up five runs (three earned) on seven hits and three walks in 6.1 innings. He struck out three batters.

At Cooley Law School Stadium, the Lansing Lugnuts beat the South Bend Cubs 7-3. Lansing’s Richard Urena and South Bend’s Charcer Burks each drove in two runs. Jesse Hodges went 3-for-4 with a triple and a run batted in for the Cubs.

Lugnuts RHP Conner Greene improved to 3-2 after giving up only one run on three hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out six batters.

Conner Greene pitched six strong innings for the Lansing Lugnuts. (Photo by Kyle Castle)

Lansing Lugnuts RHP Conner Greene pitched six strong innings Tuesday. (Photo by Kyle Castle)

Posted in Cedar Rapids Kernels, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Lake County Captains, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment

Fort Wayne, Dayton ballparks ranked among best in MiLB

Fort Wayne's Parkview Field is among the top five ballparks in Minor League Baseball, according to Baseball America. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Fort Wayne’s Parkview Field is among the top five ballparks in Minor League Baseball, according to Baseball America. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Two Midwest League ballparks are among the top 25 in Minor League Baseball, according to rankings released by Baseball America last week.

Baseball America created lists of the top 25 minor-league ballparks and top venues in each league after surveying more than 100 MiLB general managers, radio announcers, league observers and others involved in the sport. Fort Wayne’s Parkview Field and Dayton’s Fifth Third Field rank No. 5 and No. 24, respectively, on the overall list.

Parkview Field, home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps, is described as follows:

A variety of seating options sets Parkview Field apart. Fans can pick from the “Treetops Rooftop Party Area” on top of the convention center in right field, a tiered picnic area in right field, the home run porch atop the left-field wall and the “410 Club” built in the batter’s eye beyond center field. The menu is almost as diverse, with in-house concession offerings ranging from the outrageous (including a variety of apple-themed desserts) to the practical (gluten-free options are available).

(As an aside, I found it interesting that Victory Field, home of the Indianapolis Indians, is ranked right after Parkview Field. I’ve been there several times, and I’ve always felt the two ballparks are comparable. Indiana residents who live between Fort Wayne and Indianapolis are fortunate to have two impressive MiLB ballparks in their area.)

Fifth Third Field, home of the Dayton Dragons, is described as follows:

The Dragons have sold out every game since 2000, and the franchise sold for a record amount in 2014, reportedly $40 million. So they’re doing something right, and part of that is the ballpark. It’s cut into a city block, offers 30 luxury suites, three party decks and top-notch customer service.

The Midwest League rankings are as follows:

1. Parkview Field, home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps

2. Fifth Third Field, home of the Dayton Dragons

3. Dow Diamond, home of the Great Lakes Loons

4. Fifth Third Ballpark, home of the West Michigan Whitecaps

5. Four Winds Field, home of the South Bend Cubs

6. Fox Cities Stadium, home of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

7. Cooley Law School Stadium, home of the Lansing Lugnuts

8. Dozer Park, home of the Peoria Chiefs

9. Classic Park, home of the Lake County Captains

10. Community Field, home of the Burlington Bees

11. Modern Woodmen Park, home of the Quad Cities River Bandits

12. Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, home of the Kane County Cougars

13. Bowling Green Ballpark, home of the Bowling Green Hot Rods

14. Veterans Memorial Stadium, home of the Cedar Rapids Kernels

15. Ashford University Field, home of the Clinton LumberKings

16. Pohlman Field, home of the Beloit Snappers

Do you agree with these rankings, or do you think one or more ballparks got shortchanged? Leave a comment and let’s talk about it!

Posted in Beloit Snappers, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Dayton Dragons, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Great Lakes Loons, Indianapolis Indians, International League, 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 | 1 Comment

TinCaps’ Giron goes 6-for-6 in Midwest League debut

Ruddy Giron, seen here playing with the Rookie-level AZL Padres last season, went 6-for-6 in his Midwest League debut Monday. (Photo by Larry Goren/Four Seam Images)

Ruddy Giron, seen here playing with the Rookie-level AZL Padres last season, went 6-for-6 in his Midwest League debut Monday. (Photo by Larry Goren/Four Seam Images)

New Fort Wayne TinCaps shortstop Ruddy Giron sure knows how to make a first impression.

The 18-year-old went 6-for-6 with five singles, a solo home run, a stolen base and two runs scored in his Midwest League debut Monday. He led off for the TinCaps, who beat the Lake County Captains 9-2.

Only one other player in Fort Wayne franchise history has gotten six hits in one game — catcher Rene Lopez went 6-for-6 on May 27, 1993, when the team was still known as the Wizards and played its home games at old Memorial Stadium. The pitching star of that team was 20-year-old righty LaTroy Hawkins, who went 15-5 with a 2.06 ERA, 179 strikeouts and 41 walks in 157.1 IP. (Hawkins, now 42, is currently on a rehab assignment for the Colorado Rockies.)

You can read more about Giron’s debut here and here.

In other Midwest League action Monday:

Cedar Rapids Kernels 7, Peoria Chiefs 3

Peoria Chiefs 1, Cedar Rapids Kernels 0

After completing a suspended game won 7-3 by the Cedar Rapids Kernels, the Peoria Chiefs gave up only one hit in a seven-inning, 1-0 shutout pitched by LHP Austin Gomber.

The lone hit given up by Gomber was a single by Zach Larson in the 2nd inning. Gomber struck out four and didn’t walk anyone.

The hard-luck loser was Kernels LHP Mat Batts, who struck out 12 while giving up only one run on five hits and a walk in six innings. At one point Batts struck out six consecutive Chiefs batters.

Casey Turgeon doubled home Andrew Sohn for the game’s only run.

Quad Cities River Bandits 14, Clinton LumberKings 10

The LumberKings tried to rally from a 9-4 deficit in the 6th, but their six-spot was answered with five more runs from baseball’s first 30-win team.

The Quad Cities offense was led by Sean McMullen, who went 4-for-6 with two doubles and six RBI, and Jason Martin, who went 3-for-5 with four RBI. Jacob Nottingham and Nick Tanielu each added three hits and two walks to the mix.

Clinton’s Erick Mejia went 3-for-4 with a triple and three RBI. Chris Mariscal, Joseph DeCarlo and Kristian Brito each drove in two runs for the LumberKings.

Kane County Cougars 14, Beloit Snappers 5

Kane County scored five runs in back-to-back innings to beat Beloit at Pohlman Field. All nine KC starters scored at least one run. KC’s Grant Heyman went 4-for-6 with a double and five RBI, and teammate Marty Herum went 4-for-6 with a double and a run batted in. KC’s Stryker Trahan and Beloit’s Trent Gilbert hit three-run homers, and Beloit’s Jose Brizuela hit a two-run homer.

Dayton Dragons 3, Great Lakes Loons 1

Dragons RHP Tyler Mahle struck out nine batters and walked one while scattering four hits in seven scoreless innings. Dayton’s Brian O’Grady drove in two runs, and teammate Luis Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Alex Santana had three hits and a run batted in for the Loons.

Lansing Lugnuts 7, South Bend Cubs 5

Cubs RHP Jeremy Null suffered his first loss of the season after the Lugnuts scored five runs off him. D.J. Davis had four hits and Anthony Alford had three hits and a run batted in for Lansing. Cael Brockmeyer had three hits and two RBI, and Gioskar Amaya had two hits and three RBI for South Bend.

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 4, Burlington Bees 2

Timber Rattlers LHP Kodi Medeiros got his first win of the season after striking out six while giving up two runs on five hits and three walks in five innings. Wisconsin’s Dustin DeMuth and Burlington’s Ryan Seiz each had three hits.

West Michigan Whitecaps 3, Bowling Green Hot Rods 0

Whitecaps RHP Jeff Thompson earned his first win of the season by striking out five and giving up only three hits and a walk in 5.2 scoreless innings. Shane Zeile drove in two runs.

Posted in Beloit Snappers, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Dayton Dragons, 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

Ladwig, Tellez named MWL players of the week

West Michigan Whitecaps RHP A.J. Ladwig

West Michigan Whitecaps RHP A.J. Ladwig was named the Midwest League pitcher of the week Monday. (Photo courtesy of the Whitecaps)

West Michigan Whitecaps RHP A.J. Ladwig and Lansing Lugnuts 1B/DH Rowdy Tellez respectively were named the Midwest League pitcher and offensive player of the week for the period of May 11-17.

Ladwig’s only start during that period came on May 14 against the Bowling Green Hot Rods. He struck out 10 while allowing only four hits and a walk in eight scoreless innings. In six starts this season, he is 3-3 with a 4.63 ERA, 30 strikeouts and five walks in 35 innings.

In seven games during the specified period, Tellez batted .357 (10-for-28) with one homer, five doubles, three walks, and seven runs batted in. He is batting .287 with 5 HR and 25 RBI in 36 games this season.

MWL All-Star Game to be televised

Can’t make it to the Midwest League All-Star Game this year? You’re in luck if you get the American Sports Network.

Minor League Baseball and Sinclair Networks Group announced that 15 MiLB games will be broadcast on ASN this summer, including the MWL All-Star Game on Tuesday, June 23. The game will be played at Dozer Park, home of the Peoria Chiefs.

You can see the entire slate of MiLB games scheduled to be broadcast on ASN here.

Urias to have cosmetic eye surgery

Former Great Lakes Loons LHP Julio Urias, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ top pitching prospect, will be sidelined for a month after he undergoes cosmetic surgery on his left eye late next week. Here’s the gist of the story from MiLB.com’s Jake Seiner:

MLB.com’s No. 8 prospect will undergo the procedure — periorbital benign mass removal — on May 28. He’s expected to resume baseball activities in June and be back to game action before July. …

Urias has had three prior operations on his left eye to address a benign mass. Urias told the Los Angeles Times this spring that he can see through the eye, though it appears nearly closed at all times.

“That’s how god works,” Urias told the Times. “He gave me a bad left eye but a good left arm.”

The 18-year-old has emerged as one of baseball’s most promising pitching prospects and has dominated as the youngest player in the Double-A Texas League this year. In seven starts with Tulsa, Urias is 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA. He’s struck out 46 batters and walked just nine over 36 innings.

Urias’ professional baseball debut came at age 16 as a member of the Loons. He made 18 starts for Great Lakes in 2013, going 2-0 with a 2.48 ERA, 67 strikeouts and 16 walks in 54.1 IP. He spent the 2014 season in the High-A California League, going 2-2 with a 2.36 ERA, 109 strikeouts and 37 walks in 87.2 IP.

Top Dodgers pitching prospect Julio Urias pitched for the Great Lakes Loons in 2013. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Top Dodgers pitching prospect Julio Urias pitched for the Great Lakes Loons in 2013. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Posted in 2015 All-Star Game, Bowling Green Hot Rods, California League, Great Lakes Loons, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Texas League, Tulsa Drillers, West Michigan Whitecaps | Leave a comment

Honeywell, Robichaux gems highlight MWL Sunday games

A pair of pitching gems, including a no-hit bid that lasted seven innings, highlighted Sunday’s Midwest League games.

Bowling Green Hot Rods 8, Fort Wayne TinCaps 3

Brent Honeywell made another sterling start for the Hot Rods, no-hitting the TinCaps for seven innings before giving way to reliever Kyle Bird in the top of the 8th inning. Honeywell struck out eight and walked one; he now has a 1.66 ERA with 46 strikeouts and seven walks in seven starts (38 IP). As noted by MiLB.com’s Ashley Marshall, Honeywell came within four outs of a no-hitter on April 22 and followed that up with six innings of one-hit ball six days later. I wonder how much longer it will be before he gets promoted.

The TinCaps prevented a no-hitter and a shutout by scoring three runs in the 8th inning. Trae Santos hit a two-run homer in that frame. Casey Gillaspie and Hunter Lockwood homered for the Hot Rods.

Burlington Bees 5, Clinton LumberKings 1

Austin Robichaux allowed only two hits and three walks while striking out four batters in seven scoreless innings for the Bees. (The Bees game story says Robichaux gave up only one hit, but an Andrew Daniel error was changed to a hit after the game.)

Bees third baseman Zachary Houchins went 2-for-3 with two doubles, a walk and two RBI.

Kane County Cougars 12, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 2

This game was called in the 7th inning due to rain, but the Cougars made the most of their scoring opportunities before that, plating four runs in three different innings.

Victor Reyes drove in four runs and Marty Herum drove in three runs. Both had bases-clearing hits.

Last year’s top Arizona Diamondbacks draft pick (No. 16 overall), RHP Touki Toussaint, made his Midwest League debut for the Cougars. He gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks in four innings. He struck out six batters.

Quad Cities River Bandits 6, Cedar Rapids Kernels 5

All three hitters in the heart of the River Bandits batting order — Jacob Nottingham, Nick Tanielu and Sean McMullen — each drove in two runs, and leadoff hitter Bobby Boyd hit three doubles. Nottingham had three hits and McMullen homered. Trey Vavra homered for the Kernels.

Beloit Snappers 8, Peoria Chiefs 5

Chiefs SP Luis Perdomo struck out eight in five innings, but took the loss after giving up six unearned runs. The Chiefs committed four errors and the Snappers committed two.

Trent Gilbert drove in three runs and Robert Martinez drove in two for Beloit.

West Michigan Whitecaps 4, Lansing Lugnuts 3

Whitecaps SP Ross Seaton got the win after giving up two runs on seven hits and no walks while striking out two in seven innings. Austin Schotts drove in two runs and stole a base for the Whitecaps. Josh Almonte had three hits, a stolen base and a run batted in for the Lugnuts.

Dayton Dragons 5, Lake County Captains 4

Jonathan Reynoso had three hits and Avain Rachal hit a solo homer for the Dragons. Ordomar Valdez had three hits and Bobby Ison drove in two runs for the Captains.

Great Lakes Loons 7, South Bend Cubs 4

Cubs shortstop Gleyber Torres went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI. Loons catcher Brant Whiting hit a two-run homer.

Posted in Beloit Snappers, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Dayton Dragons, 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