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

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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

Rehabbing major-leaguer to start for SB in Game 1 of MWLCS

Rehabbing major-league pitcher Kendall Graveman will start Game 1 of the Midwest League Championship Series for the South Bend Cubs. He will face off against fellow righthander Remey Reed, a Miami Marlins prospect who posted a sub-3.00 ERA in 14 regular-season starts this year.

Graveman previously pitched in the Midwest League, for the Lansing Lugnuts in 2013 and 2014. In 2013 — his first season as a pro — he went 1-3 with a 4.31 ERA, 25 strikeouts and 13 walks in 39.2 innings/10 starts for the Lugnuts. He returned to Lansing for the start of the 2014 season, going 2-0 with a 0.34 ERA, 25 strikeouts and six walks in 26.1 innings/four starts in the Midwest League. The 2014 season was a big one for Graveman, as he made his way through the Toronto Blue Jays farm system before ending the season pitching at the major-league level. He took a no-hitter into the 9th inning against the Beloit Snappers that year.

After the 2014 season ended, Graveman was traded with three others to the Oakland Athletics for Josh Donaldson, whose three-plus seasons with the Blue Jays included his MVP year in 2015. (Donaldson is also a former Midwest Leaguer. He was a catcher for the 2008 Peoria Chiefs, batting .217 with 6 HR and 23 RBI in 63 MWL games.)

Graveman underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2018 before becoming a free agent after the season. The Chicago Cubs signed him in December. This will be his third start since he began pitching in games again; he was limited to three innings in both of his previous outings.

Reed began his 2019 season in the New York-Penn League, where he went 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA, 33 strikeouts and four walks in 26 innings/five starts for the Batavia Muckdogs. He finished the regular season with the LumberKings, going 4-3 with a 3.28 ERA, 43 strikeouts and 10 walks in 49.1 innings/nine starts.

Clinton’s starting lineup is SS Christopher Torres, 2B Jose Devers, LF Peyton Burdick, CF Kameron Misner, C Will Banfield, 1B Evan Edwards, DH J.D. Osborne, 3B Bubba Hollins, and RF Davis Bradshaw.

South Bend’s starting lineup is 2B Clayton Daniel, SS Andy Weber, LF Brennan Davis, DH Nelson Maldonado, 1B Jake Slaughter, CF Cole Roederer, C Marcus Mastrobuoni, RF Nelson Velazquez, and 3B Levi Jordan.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. EST at Four Winds Field.

Posted in 2019 Playoffs, Batavia Muckdogs, Beloit Snappers, Clinton LumberKings, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, New York-Penn League, Peoria Chiefs, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment

Clinton wins the West, advances to MWL Championship Series

The Clinton LumberKings celebrate after winning the Western Division championship Monday. (Photo courtesy of the Clinton LumberKings)

The Clinton LumberKings partied like it was 2016 on Monday. By this time next week, they hope to party like it’s 1991.

Just as they did in 2016, the LumberKings beat the Cedar Rapids Kernels in Game 3 of the Western Division finals to advance to the Midwest League Championship Series. That was the last time Clinton reached the league finals, a series the team hasn’t won since 1991. (That’s the longest championship drought in the MWL.)

The LumberKings got off to an early 3-0 lead by plating three runs in the top of the 1st inning. They doubled their run output by the end of the game, winning 6-2.

Kameron Misner scored three of Clinton’s runs, despite not reaching base on a hit. Bubba Hollins had two hits and two RBI. Will Banfield and Evan Edwards each had two hits and one RBI. LumberKings leadoff man Christopher Torres had two hits, two walks and a stolen base.

Wander Javier had three hits for the Kernels. Gabe Snyder and Tyler Webb each drove in a Cedar Rapids run.

The LumberKings will face the Eastern Division champion South Bend Cubs in the MWL finals, beginning Wednesday at Four Winds Field. South Bend will host the first two games before the best-of-five series shifts to Clinton for the rest.

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