MWL playoffs: Loons, Kernels advance to 2nd round

Gabe Snyder homered and doubled for the Cedar Rapids Kernels on Friday. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

The series matchups for Round 2 of the Midwest League playoffs are set after the Great Lakes Loons and the Cedar Rapids Kernels won Friday.

The Loons beat the Lake County Captains 5-0 at Great Lakes. Brandon Lewis drove in four of those runs with a pair of homers. Winning pitcher Jose Chacin scattered three hits and two walks while striking out three batters in seven innings.

The Loons will face the South Bend Cubs in the Eastern Division finals, which begin Saturday.

The Kernels beat the River Bandits 4-2 at Quad Cities. Gabe Snyder hit a solo homer and a double for the Kernels. Winning pitcher Josh Winder gave up six hits and walked none while striking out seven batters in six scoreless innings. Jose Alberto Rivera, who pitched the final five innings for the River Bandits, allowed one run on four hits and a walk, and struck out 13.

The Kernels are the first MWL team to reach the league semifinals for six consecutive years since the Waterloo Royals/Indians did so from 1975 to 1981. Cedar Rapids will face the Clinton LumberKings in the Western Division finals, which begin Saturday.

Moran Ks Moran in MLB debut

LHP Brian Moran made his major-league debut in relief for the Miami Marlins on Thursday and struck out his brother, Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Colin Moran, for his first big-league K. He faced four batters in his one inning of work, with the only blemish being a hit-by-pitch.

Both Moran brothers played in the Midwest League. Brian Moran appeared in 34 games for the 2009-10 LumberKings, cumulatively going 4-4 with a 1.83 ERA, three saves, 65 strikeouts and 13 walks in 59 innings. Colin Moran rehabbed with the River Bandits in 2017, playing in the last series of the regular season and throughout the postseason. Quad Cities won the MWL championship that year.

Colin Moran did a rehab stint with the Quad Cities River Bandits in 2017, when he played for the Houston Astros. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Mejias-Brean makes MLB debut

Former Dayton Dragons corner infielder Seth Mejias-Brean made his MLB debut for the San Diego Padres on Wednesday. He entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the 9th inning and grounded out in his only at-bat.

Mejias-Brean, an eighth-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 2012, played 127 games with the Dragons in 2013. He batted .305 with 10 homers, 35 doubles and 79 RBI.

Seth Mejias-Brean played for the Dayton Dragons in 2013. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

RIP Chris Duncan

Former St. Louis Cardinals player Chris Duncan died Friday after years of battling brain cancer. He was 38.

A first-round draft pick of the Cardinals in 1999, Duncan played a total of 331 games with the Peoria Chiefs in 2000, 2001 and 2002. He cumulatively batted .274 with 37 home runs, 82 doubles and 191 RBI in the Midwest League. The Chiefs won the MWL championship in 2002; future major-leaguers Yadier Molina and Dan Haren also played for the team that year.

Posted in 2017 Playoffs, 2019 Playoffs, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Dayton Dragons, Great Lakes Loons, Lake County Captains, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs, Quad Cities River Bandits, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment

MWL playoffs: LumberKings, Cubs advance to 2nd round

The Clinton LumberKings and the South Bend Cubs completed series sweeps Thursday to advance to the second round of the Midwest League playoffs. Both teams have to wait until Friday to learn who their opponents will be, as the remaining two series will be decided then.

Clinton LumberKings 10, Kane County Cougars 1

RHP Jake Walters was dominant for the LumberKings, allowing only one unearned run and two walks in seven no-hit innings. He struck out four. Dominic Fletcher ended the no-hit bid with an infield single with two outs in the bottom of the 8th. That turned out to be Kane County’s only hit of the game.

Will Banfield led Clinton’s offense with three hits, including two doubles, and four runs batted in. Kameron Misner and Peyton Burdick also had three-hit games for the LumberKings.

South Bend Cubs 7, Bowling Green Hot Rods 4

This game was a back-and-forth affair until the Cubs scored four unanswered runs in the top of the 9th inning. Jake Slaughter drove in three runs for South Bend; teammates Brennan Davis, Cole Roederer and Nelson Velazquez each had three-hit games.

Erik Ostberg had two hits and two RBI for the Hot Rods.

Cole Roederer had three hits, a walk, and one RBI for the South Bend Cubs on Thursday. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Lake County Captains 4, Great Lakes Loons 0

The Captains tallied a quartet of runs in the top of the 9th to score the game’s only runs. Daniel Schneemann singled home two runs, Jonathan Englemann drove in one on a groundout, and the fourth run scored on a throwing error.

Captains RHP Ethan Hankins scattered three hits and three walks while striking out eight in 3.1 scoreless innings. Lake County relievers Kyle Marman and Jake Miednik each struck out four.

Cedar Rapids Kernels 2, Quad Cities River Bandits 1

Kernels RHP Matt Canterino took a perfect game into the 5th inning and got a no-decision in this pitchers duel that Cedar Rapids won to force a Game 3 on Friday. Canterino allowed one run on two hits, struck out eight, and walked none in five innings.

River Bandits RHP Brett Daniels gave up two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out 10 in 6.1 innings.

Jared Akins doubled home the winning run for the Kernels in the top of the 7th inning. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Posted in 2019 Playoffs, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Great Lakes Loons, Kane County Cougars, Lake County Captains, Midwest League, Quad Cities River Bandits, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment

Burdick named MWL Player of the Month for August

Clinton LumberKings outfielder Peyton Burdick was named the Midwest League Player of the Month for August. Here is what Minor League Baseball wrote about him in its press release:

Clinton LumberKings (Marlins) outfielder Peyton Burdick batted .337 while leading the league in runs (26), RBI (30), on-base percentage (.458), slugging percentage (.632) and OPS (1.090). He finished second in home runs (six) and third in total bases (60). On Aug. 12, Burdick finished a 10-game hit streak with a two-homer game during which he batted in six of Clinton’s seven total runs. Burdick, 22, was selected by Miami in the third round of the 2019 first-year player draft out of Wright State University.

Burdick batted .307 with 10 homers, 20 doubles, three triples and 59 RBI in 63 games with the LumberKings during the regular season.

Fermin, Reed named MWL players of week

Lake County Captains middle infielder Jose Fermin and Clinton LumberKings RHP Remey Reed respectively were named the Midwest League’s offensive player and pitcher of the week for the period of August 26 to September 2.

During that time, Fermin batted .500 (10-for-20) with three extra-base hits, seven runs batted in, four runs scored, four stolen bases, and one walk in five games. The Cleveland Indians prospect batted .293 with 20 extra-base hits, 41 RBI and 28 stolen bases in 105 games with the Captains this season.

Reed earned his award for his start against the Burlington Bees on Sunday. He struck out seven without allowing a hit, run or walk in six innings. During the regular season, the Miami Marlins farmhand made nine starts for the LumberKings, going 4-3 with a 3.28 ERA, 43 strikeouts and 10 walks in 49.1 innings.

Clinton LumberKings RHP Remey Reed was named the MWL pitcher of the week for Aug. 26-Sept. 2. (Photo courtesy of the LumberKings)

Posted in Burlington Bees, Clinton LumberKings, Lake County Captains, Midwest League | Leave a comment

MWL playoffs: Cubs, Loons, LumberKings, Bandits win

South Bend Cubs LHP Faustino Carrera (left) and catcher Marcus Mastrobuoni (Photo by Rikk Carlson)

The first round of the Midwest League playoffs began Wednesday, with the four winners taking 1-0 advantages in their best-of-three series.

South Bend Cubs 2, Bowling Green Hot Rods 1

Nelson Maldonado and Jake Slaughter drove in runs for South Bend in the bottom of the 1st inning, and that was enough offense for the Cubs to beat the Hot Rods 2-1. Cubs starting pitcher Faustino Carrera got the win after scattering four hits and two walks in five scoreless innings.

Bowling Green’s only run scored on a wild pitch in the top of the 8th inning.

Great Lakes Loons 6, Lake County Captains 4

Great Lakes used 14 hits to score six runs off Lake County pitchers in the Loons’ 6-4 win over the Captains. Leonel Valera went 4-for-5 with a double and a stolen base for the Loons, while teammate Romer Cuadrado had three hits. Justin Yurchak and James Outman hit solo homers for Great Lakes.

Captains leadoff man Quentin Holmes had two hits, including a double, and two runs batted in.

Quad Cities River Bandits 4, Cedar Rapids Kernels 1

Three River Bandits batters each had two hits, including Wilyer Abreu, who doubled twice and drove in two runs in Quad Cities’ 4-1 win over Cedar Rapids. Tyler Webb hit a solo homer for the Kernels.

River Bandits SP Valente Bellozo allowed one run on four hits and two walks in six innings. Kernels SP Luis Rijo allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits and no walks in six innings. Both pitchers struck out six.

Clinton LumberKings 7, Kane County Cougars 3

Three-run homers by Bubba Hollins and Kameron Misner did most of the damage for Clinton’s offense as the LumberKings beat the Cougars 7-3. Kane County also got a three-run homer, from Zack Shannon.

Cougars SP Levi Kelly gave up only one hit in three innings, but also walked five batters and allowed a wild pitch.

LumberKings 3B Bubba Hollins hit one of Clinton’s two three-run homers Wednesday. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Posted in 2019 Playoffs, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Great Lakes Loons, Kane County Cougars, Lake County Captains, Midwest League, Quad Cities River Bandits, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment

Cedar Rapids Kernels beat Beloit Snappers 5-1

Seth Gray was one of four Kernels batters who collected an RBI in Cedar Rapids’ 5-1 win in Beloit on Sunday.

A four-run 3rd inning propelled the Cedar Rapids Kernels to a 5-1 win over the Beloit Snappers on Sunday.

Four different Cedar Rapids batters each drove in a run: Gabe Snyder, Matt Wallner, Seth Gray and DaShawn Keirsey, Jr. The fifth Kernels run scored on a passed ball.

Gabe Snyder drove in the first of four Cedar Rapids runs in the 3rd inning of Sunday’s game.

Beloit’s lone run scored on an RBI single by Joseph Pena. Each team collected seven hits and four walks.

Snappers second baseman Joseph Pena drove in Beloit’s only run.

Kernels starting pitcher Kody Funderburk earned his first win of the season. He allowed one run on five hits and two walks. He struck out eight and threw a wild pitch.

Cedar Rapids Kernels LHP Kody Funderburk earned his first win of the season Sunday.

Rickey Ramirez pitched the final three innings for the Kernels, scattering two hits and two walks while striking out one in his scoreless outing. He earned his fifth save.

Kernels reliever Rickey Ramirez pitched three scoreless innings to earn his fifth save.

Beloit’s starting pitcher, Richard Guasch, allowed four runs on four hits and three walks. He also hit a batter and struck out three.

Beloit Snappers RHP Richard Guasch

On a personal note, Sunday’s game at Pohlman Field was a family affair for me. I usually go to Midwest League games alone so I can concentrate on shooting photos, tweeting updates, and other stuff. This time I was accompanied by my family; it was my daughter’s first game at the Beloit ballpark. She had fun, and particularly enjoyed meeting Snappy (the home team’s mascot) and running the bases after the game.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have already seen the following photo of me and my daughter in the stands. But I want to share it with pride here, too.

The Midwest League Traveler and the Midwest League Toddler

I look forward to bringing her to more Midwest League games in the future!

West Division playoff race

The Kane County Cougars beat the Burlington Bees 3-2 in 10 innings, and the Peoria Chiefs beat the Clinton LumberKings 2-1. That gives the Cougars a one-game lead over the LumberKings heading into the final day of the regular season.

Both teams already punched their tickets to the postseason, but the Western Division second-half title — and homefield advantage in the first round of the playoffs — is up for grabs.

The LumberKings won the season series between the two teams, beating the Cougars in nine of their 17 games.

*All photos by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler

Posted in 2019 Playoffs, Beloit Snappers, Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs | Leave a comment