The second half of the Midwest League season got underway Thursday, and I’m kicking it off with a four-day stay in Bowling Green to see the Hot Rods host the Dayton Dragons.
This is my first trip back to the Kentucky city since 2011, the year I went to all 16 MWL ballparks and started this blog as a chronicle of my travels. The Midwest League Traveler website has grown quite a bit since its humble beginnings, and I’m happy to report that Bowling Green Ballpark also has gotten better with age. Many improvements were made over the past few years; I will write more about them in a future post, but here is a teaser photo of one of the most obvious changes.
This carousel was added to Bowling Green Ballpark about a month ago.
Anyway, both teams picked up where they left off at the end of the first half. The Dragons won 3-2, giving them nine wins in their last 10 games. The Hot Rods lost their eighth consecutive game after going 10-2 in their previous dozen.
The winning run was a solo homer by Avain Rachal, who had three hits in the game. Bowling Green’s Riley Unroe also had three hits.
Bowling Green Hot Rods second baseman Riley Unroe
Hunter Lockwood went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI for the Hot Rods.
Bowling Green Hot Rods DH Hunter Lockwood at second base
Dayton’s Brian O’Grady hit a double in the 6th inning to extend his hitting streak to 13 consecutive games. Gavin LaValley went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, but the Dragons infielder entered the game leading all of Minor League Baseball with a .431 batting average since May 27.
Gavin LaValley bats for the Dayton Dragons.
Dragons LHP Seth Varner got the win, improving to 7-4 this season. He gave up two runs on six hits in seven innings. He struck out four and walked none. In fact, no pitcher issued a walk in the game, which lasted only two hours and 13 minutes.
Dayton Dragons LHP Seth Varner
Hot Rods RHP Enderson Franco got a no-decision after giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits. He struck out six batters.
Bowling Green Hot Rods RHP Enderson Franco
Game 2 of the series is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. CST, with RHP Wyatt Strahan (5-4, 3.28 ERA) starting for the Dragons and RHP Greg Harris (3-5, 2.72 ERA) taking the hill for the Hot Rods.
Hot Rods transactions
Two of Bowling Green’s All-Star players were promoted to High-A before the game. RHP Brent Honeywell and utility man Jace Conrad were replaced on the roster by LHP Jordan Harrison and catcher Sean Smedley.
Jace Conrad was the Eastern Division’s starting second baseman in the Midwest League All-Star Game on Tuesday.
*All photos by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler