The Bowling Green Hot Rods beat the South Bend Cubs 5-4 Saturday to clinch the second-half Eastern Division title. That makes the Cubs the second-half Eastern Division wild-card team; the two teams will face each in the opening round of the Midwest League playoffs.
Hot Rods catcher Chris Betts drove in two runs, including one on a solo homer in the 4th inning. Cubs third baseman Fidel Mejia also drove in two runs. Two South Bend players, second baseman Clayton Daniel and centerfielder Cole Roederer, each had three hits in the game.
Cubs starting pitcher Kohl Franklin lasted three innings in his Midwest League debut. The righthander didn’t give up a hit, but walked five batters and allowed two runs (one earned). He struck out three.
The two second-half playoff teams from the Western Division are the Clinton LumberKings and the Kane County Cougars. They have identical 44-24 records with two days left in the regular season.
Clinton has two more home games against the Peoria Chiefs, who have the league’s worst record in the second half (23-45). The LumberKings have won their last seven games.
Kane County has two home games left against the Burlington Bees, who are in a three-way tie with the Beloit Snappers and the West Michigan Whitecaps for the league’s second-worst record in the second half (27-41). The Cougars have won their last three games.
Clinton and Kane County played each other 17 times during the regular season. The LumberKings won nine of those games; the Cougars won eight.