Ex-Bees infielder Moustakas signs 4-year deal with Reds

Former Burlington Bees infielder Mike Moustakas will stay in the National League Central Division after signing a four-year, $64 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds.

Moustakas batted .254 with 35 HR and 87 RBI in 143 games with the Milwaukee Brewers last season. He played third base and second base for the Brew Crew. He reportedly will play second base for the Reds, with Eugenio Suarez continuing to be Cincinnati’s third baseman.

In the Midwest League, Moose split time between third base and shortstop. At the plate he batted .272 with 22 HR and 71 RBI in 126 games with the Bees during the 2008 regular season. Burlington won the Midwest League championship that year.

Moustakas is a nephew of former Texas Rangers first baseman Tom Robson, who managed the Midwest League’s Wausau Timbers in 1979.

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Turner to return as Snappers manager for 2020 season

Lloyd Turner will return for a second season as manager of the Beloit Snappers next year. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Lloyd Turner will return for a second season as manager of the Beloit Snappers, the Oakland Athletics announced Tuesday.

Turner was a rookie manager in 2019, when he led the Snappers to a 54-84 overall record. He has coached in the A’s farm system since 2013, including two seasons as Beloit’s hitting coach (2014 and 2015). His 11-year professional playing career included six seasons in the A’s organization and five years in the independent Atlantic League. He played four games in the Midwest League, going 4-for-12 at the plate for the 2003 Kane County Cougars.

Returning with Turner is pitching coach Don Schultze. During his 14 years as a pitching coach in the A’s organization, Schultze served in that capacity for the Snappers in 2016, 2018 and 2019, and for the Cougars in 2008.

Beloit’s new hitting coach is Javier Godard, who played in the A’s organization from 2013 to 2018. Last year was his first as a coach.

Also joining the Snappers coaching staff is former scout Craig Conklin, who previously served on Beloit’s coaching staff in 2016.

Posted in Atlantic League, Beloit Snappers, Kane County Cougars, Midwest League | Leave a comment

South Bend sweeps Clinton to win Midwest League title

The South Bend Cubs celebrate their Midwest League championship.

The South Bend Cubs beat the Clinton LumberKings 5-0 in Game 3 of the Midwest League Championship Series to win the franchise’s first MWL title since 2005.

The Cubs went undefeated through all three rounds of the playoffs, and finished with perhaps their strongest game of the postseason thanks to a combination of big hits and dominant pitching.

Four South Bend pitchers — led by starter Riley Thompson — combined to two-hit Clinton without giving up a run or a walk. Thompson struck out 10 in five innings, and allowed only one baserunner — Christopher Torres, who reached base on a throwing error by Thompson; the pitcher later picked off Torres to end the inning.

South Bend Cubs SP Riley Thompson struck out 10 batters in five hitless innings.

Both LumberKings hits came off Cubs pitcher Fauris Guerrero, who struck out three in his two innings of work. The first hit was an infield single by Davis Bradshaw, on a tough play for shortstop Andy Weber, with two outs in the bottom of the 6th inning. The other hit was a two-out single by Kameron Misner in the bottom of the 7th.

South Bend Cubs pitcher Fauris Guerrero palms the ball as he looks over at the runner on first base.

Kameron Misner fouls back a pitch during Saturday’s game. He was one of two Clinton players to hit safely in the game.

Eugenio Palma and Brian Glowicki each pitched a hitless inning of relief for the Cubs.

Offensively, South Bend got two-run homers from Levi Jordan (in the 2nd) and Andy Weber (in the 5th). Weber also drove in SB’s 5th run when his ground ball took a bad hop past first baseman Evan Edwards, allowing Jordan to score.

Levi Jordan homered on this swing in the 2nd inning.

Andy Weber heads back to the dugout after striking out in the top of the 1st. He made up for it later with a two-run homer and an RBI single.

LumberKings starting pitcher Josh Roberson gave up four runs on five hits and two walks while striking out six in five innings. Before Saturday’s game, he hadn’t given up an earned run since August 16.

LumberKings SP Josh Roberson gave up two home runs Saturday after allowing only three in 14 regular-season starts this year.

This MWL title is South Bend’s fourth, after the team previously was crowned league champions in 1989, 1993 and 2005. They were a Chicago White Sox affiliate for their first two titles, and an Arizona Diamondbacks farm team for the third one.

Many of the players on the current South Bend team were members of last year’s Northwest League champion Eugene Emeralds. (Eugene is a step below South Bend in the Cubs farm system.) Like South Bend this year, the Emeralds went undefeated in their postseason run last year.

Before the current team, the last Cubs affiliate to win a Midwest League title was the 2014 Kane County Cougars. This was Clinton’s first season as a Miami Marlins affiliate; interestingly, the last Marlins team that won a MWL championship was also a Cougars team, in 2001.

*All photos by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler

Posted in 2014 Playoffs, 2019 Playoffs, Clinton LumberKings, Eugene Emeralds, Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, Northwest League, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment

South Bend beats Clinton 3-2 in 10 to take 2-0 lead in MWLCS

Cole Roederer scored the winning run in Game 2 of the Midwest League finals. (Photo by Rebecca Snyder)

It took longer than they wanted, but the South Bend Cubs beat the Clinton LumberKings 3-2 in 10 innings Thursday to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five Midwest League Championship Series.

The Cubs were one out away from victory when the LumberKings tied the score 2-2 on an RBI single by Peyton Burdick. After South Bend didn’t score in the bottom of the 9th, the game entered extra innings — and a rain delay that lasted an hour and 38 minutes.

The Cubs won in the bottom of the 10th when Peyton Culbertson uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Cole Roederer to score.

South Bend scored first when Nelson Maldonado singled home two runs in the bottom of the 1st inning. Clinton pulled within a run when Bubba Hollins doubled home Evan Edwards in the top of the 3rd.

The LumberKings squandered bases-loaded opportunities to score more runs in the 5th and 6th innings.

South Bend’s starting pitcher, Faustino Carrera, allowed one run on four hits and two walks while striking out five batters in five innings. Clinton starting pitcher Jake Walters allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits and one walk while striking out six batters in six innings.

Game 3 will be played in Clinton on Saturday. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. CST. Scheduled starting pitchers are LumberKings RHP Josh Roberson and Cubs RHP Riley Thompson.

Faustino Carrera was the starting pitcher for the South Bend Cubs in Game 2 of the Midwest League Championship Series. (Photo by Rebecca Snyder)

Posted in 2019 Playoffs, Clinton LumberKings, Midwest League, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment

Cubs beat LumberKings 3-1 in Game 1 of MWL finals

Clayton Daniel lays down a sacrifice bunt to drive in an insurance run in the South Bend Cubs’ Game 1 win Wednesday. (Photo by Clinton Cole)

The South Bend Cubs beat the Clinton LumberKings 3-1 in Game 1 of the Midwest League Championship Series.

Clinton scored first, plating its lone run on an RBI double by Jose Devers in the top of the 1st inning. South Bend tied the game in the bottom of the 2nd when Jake Slaughter scored on a force play. Nelson Maldonado homered to make it a 2-1 lead for the Cubs in the 7th, then scored an insurance run on Clayton Daniel’s sacrifice bunt in the 8th.

Clinton’s Evan Edwards was the only player with two hits in the game.

LumberKings starting pitcher Remey Reed took the loss after allowing two runs (one earned) and three hits in seven innings. He struck out four and walked none.

Zach Mort got the win in relief for the Cubs. He scattered one hit and two walks while striking out four in three innings.

Rehabbing MLB pitcher Kendall Graveman started the game for South Bend. He allowed one run on three hits in 3.2 innings. He struck out three and walked none.

Game 2 of the best-of-five series will be played Thursday at South Bend’s Four Winds Field, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. EST. The pitching matchup will be LumberKings RHP Jake Walters vs. Cubs LHP Faustino Carrera.

Zach Mort was the winning pitcher in South Bend’s 3-1 victory in Game 1 of the MWL finals. (Photo by Rikk Carlson)

Posted in 2019 Playoffs, Clinton LumberKings, Midwest League, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment