Vallimont strikes out 9 as Clinton nearly no-hits Beloit

Clinton LumberKings right-hander Chris Vallimont pitched seven hitless innings against the Beloit Snappers on Tuesday. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Miami Marlins prospect Chris Vallimont pitched seven hitless innings as the Clinton LumberKings nearly no-hit the Beloit Snappers at Pohlman Field on Tuesday afternoon.

Vallimont took a perfect game into the 7th inning, but walked two batters and threw a wild pitch in his final frame. Still, he left the game with a no-hitter and shutout intact. Reliever C.J. Carter struck out the side in the 8th and retired the first batter he faced in the 9th before Snappers second baseman Joseph Pena singled for Beloit’s only hit of the game. Carter then retired the next two batters he faced to end the game.

The LumberKings won 5-0, scoring all five of their runs off Snappers starter Bryce Nightengale in the top of the 4th inning. Thomas Jones hit a three-run homer, the third roundtripper in seven games for the Clinton leftfielder.

Clinton LumberKings outfielder Thomas Jones is heating up at the plate, batting .346 with three homers in his last seven games. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Jerar Encarnacion had two hits, including an RBI double, for the LumberKings. Vallimont struck out nine batters and lowered his ERA to 2.70 in nine starts this season.

Clinton’s pitching gem came one day after LumberKings RHP Humberto Mejia took a no-hitter into the 7th inning of the first game of a doubleheader against the Snappers on Monday. Mejia allowed two hits and an unearned run, struck out eight batters and walked none in eight innings of the 6-1 Clinton win. The LunberKings also won the nightcap, 2-1.

MWL players of the week

Cedar Rapids Kernels RHP Andrew Cabezas and Lake County Captains outfielder Will Benson respectively were named the Midwest League’s pitcher and offensive player of the week for May 13-19.

Cabezas made one start during that time, a win against the Quad Cities River Bandits on May 15. He allowed only one hit, struck out nine, and walked none in seven innings. The Minnesota Twins prospect is 1-3 with a 3.31 ERA, 30 strikeouts and 11 walks in 32.2 innings/six starts this season.

Benson batted .391 (9-for-23) with three homers, five RBI, and three stolen bases in six games during the specified period. This is the second time he was named the MWL offensive player of the week this season, previously earning the honor for April 15-21. Overall this year, the Cleveland Indians farmhand is batting .266 with 10 homers, nine doubles, one triple, 31 RBI, and 14 stolen bases in 39 games. This is his second season with the Captains, after he batted .180 with 22 HR, 58 RBI and 12 SB in 123 games in the MWL last year.

Lake County Captains OF Will Benson swings during last year’s Midwest League Home Run Derby. He finished second in the contest. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

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Posted in Beloit Snappers, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Lake County Captains, Midwest League | Leave a comment

Hot Rods cruise to 17-0 victory over South Bend Cubs

Hot Rods catcher Chris Betts had two hits, including a grand slam, in Bowling Green’s 17-0 win Wednesday. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

The Hot Rods offense didn’t really get its engine revved up until the 5th inning, but Bowling Green’s starting pitcher kept his opponents stymied before the bats took over in BG’s 17-0 win over the South Bend Cubs on Wednesday.

LHP Matthew Liberatore, a first-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018 (No. 16 overall), looked sharp in his Midwest League (and season) debut. He earned the win by scattering four hits and a walk while striking out four batters in five innings for the Hot Rods. When he left the mound for the final time during the game, Bowling Green had a mere 1-0 lead (thanks to a 1st-inning homer by Ford Proctor) — but the Hot Rods scored two, five, one and eight runs respectively in their final four frames to rack up the largest margin of victory in franchise history.

All nine batters in the Hot Rods lineup had multiple hits, and all but one of them drove in at least one run. The biggest blow came off the bat of catcher Chris Betts, who hit a two-out grand slam off position player Rafael Nadea in the bottom of the 8th inning.

Click here to see the game’s box score.

Posted in Bowling Green Hot Rods, Midwest League, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment

Casey, Arendas named Midwest League players of the week

South Bend Cubs RHP Derek Casey is the Midwest League pitcher of the week. (Photo by Rebecca Snyder)

South Bend Cubs RHP Derek Casey and Burlington Bees first baseman D.C. Arendas respectively were named the Midwest League’s pitcher and offensive player of the week for May 6-12.

Casey earned the pitching award by throwing seven perfect innings to start a nine-inning, two-pitcher no-hitter against the Cedar Rapids Kernels on May 6. (You can read my post about the no-hitter here.) The Chicago Cubs prospect is 2-1 with a 5.06 ERA, 28 strikeouts and seven walks in 32 innings/seven starts for South Bend this season.

Arendas batted .381 (8-for-21) with three homers, three triples, five runs batted in, and three runs scored in six games during the specified period. Overall this season, the Los Angeles Angels farmhand is batting .270 with 10 extra-base hits and 11 RBI in 25 games with the Bees.

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Bees take no-hitter into 9th vs. Dragons, win 7-0

Jose Soriano pitched six hitless innings for the Burlington Bees on Thursday. (Photo by Travis Berg/MiLB.com)

The Burlington Bees took a no-hitter into the 9th inning against the Dayton Dragons in their 7-0 win at Fifth Third Field on Thursday.

Bees righty Jose Soriano pitched the first six innings of the game, allowing three walks but no hits while striking out nine batters. The Los Angeles Angels prospect is now 3-2 with a 1.72 ERA, 32 strikeouts and 20 walks in 31.1 innings (seven games/six starts) for the Bees this season.

Right-hander Austin Krzeminski pitched the final three frames for the Bees, and lost the no-hitter when he allowed a leadoff single to Dragons shortstop Miguel Hernandez in the bottom of the 9th inning. That was the only hit allowed by Burlington.

Nonie Williams, D.C. Arendas and Kevin Maitan each homered for the Bees.

The one-hitter came just three days after the Midwest League’s last no-hitter, by the South Bend Cubs on Monday.

Mariners call up Long

Former Dragons infielder Shed Long was called up to the major-league level by the Seattle Mariners on Friday. His first game appearance will be his MLB debut.

Long played 136 games with the 2015-16 Dragons, cumulatively batting .281 with 17 homers, 31 doubles, 61 RBI and 18 stolen bases. Primarily a second baseman, Long was traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Mariners in January of this year.

Shed Long played second base for the 2015-16 Dayton Dragons. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

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Pujols homers to join baseball’s 2,000 RBI club

Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols hit the 639th home run of his MLB career Thursday, giving him 2,000 RBI at the major-league level.

According to Baseball-Reference, Pujols is the fifth player to reach that RBI plateau (but only the third if you only count RBI since 1920, when it became an official statistic). The others are Hank Aaron (2,297), Babe Ruth (2,214), Alex Rodriguez (2,086), and Cap Anson (2,075). (In case you’re wondering, Barry Bonds and Lou Gehrig are the players right behind Pujols on the all-time list, with 1,996 and 1,994 RBI, respectively.)

Pujols played for the 2000 Peoria Chiefs, hitting .324 with 17 HR and 84 RBI in 109 games. He was the Midwest League’s Most Valuable Player and shared MWL Prospect of the Year honors with Austin Kearns of the Dayton Dragons.

Rodriguez also played in the Midwest League, for the 1994 Appleton Foxes (now known as the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers). He batted .319 with 14 HR, 55 RBI and 16 SB in 65 games, earning him the MWL Prospect of the Year Award.

Posted in Dayton Dragons, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | Leave a comment