The Quad Cities River Bandits got a great start from RHP Andrew Thurman and a hot bat from A.J. Reed in their 5-2 win over the Beloit Snappers on Saturday.
Thurman pitched six innings, giving up only one run (a solo homer by Ryan Mathews) on two hits and a walk while striking out six.
Reed went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer and an RBI double. Chase McDonald drove in the other Quad Cities run on a RBI double.
Mathews accounted for both of Beloit’s runs with solo homers in the 4th and 9th innings.
The game lasted two hours and 31 minutes. There was a good-sized crowd for Pohlman Field: 1,707. Many people probably came to honor outgoing Midwest League president George Spelius, who is retiring after 28 years. Spelius, who was instrumental in bringing professional baseball back to Beloit in 1982, didn’t give a speech or throw out a ceremonial first pitch, but he watched the game from his usual front-row seat behind home plate. Minor League Baseball President Pat O’Connor lauded Spelius in a short speech before the game.
The Snappers gave away Spelius bobbleheads to the first 600 fans who entered the gates. I don’t have a photo of it to share because I haven’t opened the box yet, but here is a photo of a sign inside Pohlman Field thanking Spelius for all he’s done for Beloit and Midwest League baseball:
I’ll see the Snappers in action again today (Sunday) at Fox Cities Stadium. They play against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, who are hosting a 1964 Fox Cities Foxes reunion. Members of the 1964 team will be on hand to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their championship season. (I love when Midwest League history comes alive, like when former manager Jim Leyland returned to Clinton last weekend.)
RHP Preston Gainey (5-7, 4.30 ERA, 106 strikeouts in 113 IP) is slated to start for the Timber Rattlers. A starting pitcher has not been announced for the Snappers as of this writing.
The Timber Rattlers are coming off a hard-fought battle against the Peoria Chiefs, which Wisconsin won 11-7 in 11 innings. Both managers were ejected. The Timber Rattlers are now two games ahead of the Chiefs in the race for the Western Division’s second-half wildcard spot, with nine games left to play.
*All photos by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler