Hot Rods clinch 2nd-half Eastern Division title

Hot Rods catcher Chris Betts had two hits, including a solo homer, in Bowling Green’s 5-4 win Saturday. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

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.

South Bend Cubs RHP Kohl Franklin made his Midwest League debut Saturday. (Photo by Rikk Carlson)

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.

Posted in 2019 Playoffs, Beloit Snappers, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Burlington Bees, Clinton LumberKings, Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs, South Bend Silver Hawks, West Michigan Whitecaps | Leave a comment

Bees quartet pitches 10-inning no-hitter

These four Burlington Bees pitchers combined to no-hit the Beloit Snappers in 10 innings Tuesday. (Photo by Steve Cirinna/Burlington Bees)

Four Burlington Bees combined efforts to pitch a 10-inning no-hitter against the Beloit Snappers on Tuesday: Jose Soriano, Parker Joe Robinson, Hector Yan and Chad Sykes.

It is the first Bees no-hitter in 11 years, with the last one pitched by current Kansas City Royals hurler Danny Duffy and now-retired reliever Juan Abreu in nine innings against the Peoria Chiefs in 2008.

The Bees almost pitched a no-hitter in a previous Soriano start against the Dayton Dragons earlier this season, but they lost the no-no in the 9th inning. (You can read about that game here.) Soriano pitched six innings in that game, but lasted only 3.2 innings in Tuesday’s game. He walked five and struck out four.

Robinson pitched 1.1 innings and was the only Bees pitcher who didn’t walk a batter. He struck out one.

Yan walked one and struck out two in three innings. Sykes walked one and struck out two in two innings, and got the win after Nonie Williams drove home the game’s only run in the bottom of the 10th.

Williams’ RBI single was one of only three mustered by the Bees offense. The other two came off the bat of Keinner Piña. Burlington drew only one walk, which means the team that got no-hit had almost twice as many baserunners as the team that did the no-hitting.

Official attendance was 3,200. The Bees gave away free general admission tickets to the game.

Burlington Bees RHP Jose Soriano (Photo by Travis Berg/MiLB.com)

Posted in Beloit Snappers, Burlington Bees, Dayton Dragons, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs | Leave a comment

Dillard, Ortiz named Midwest League players of the week

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 1B/OF Thomas Dillard was named the Midwest League offensive player of the week for August 19-25. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers first baseman/outfielder Thomas Dillard and Great Lakes Loons LHP Robinson Ortiz respectively were named the Midwest League’s offensive player and pitcher of the week for August 19-25.

In seven games during that period, Dillard batted .440 (11-for-25) with two homers, one double, six walks, seven runs batted in, five runs scored, and one stolen base. The Milwaukee Brewers prospect is batting .257 with six homers, five doubles, 23 RBI, and seven stolen bases in 45 games with the Timber Rattlers this season.

In two appearances (one start) last week, Ortiz gave up one run, seven hits and two walks while striking out 13 batters in 14 innings. The Los Angeles Dodgers farmhand is 3-5 with a 4.82 ERA, 71 strikeouts and 38 walks in 80.1 innings (18 games/17 starts) for the Loons this season.

Posted in Great Lakes Loons, Midwest League, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | Leave a comment

Thomas, Franco win top Midwest League awards

Things are looking up for former Bowling Green Hot Rods shortstop Wander Franco, who was named the 2019 MWL Prospect of the Year on Friday. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

The Midwest League announced its year-end award winners Friday, with former Kane County Cougars outfielder Alek Thomas and former Bowling Green Hot Rods shortstop Wander Franco being named the league’s Most Valuable Player and Prospect of the Year, respectively.

Thomas batted .312 with 36 extra-base hits, 48 runs batted in, and 11 stolen bases in 91 games with the Cougars. The Arizona Diamondbacks prospect currently plays for the Visalia Rawhide, for whom he is batting .259 through 14 games.

Franco batted .318 with 27 extra-base hits, 29 RBI, and 14 stolen bases in 62 games with the Hot Rods. The Tampa Bay Rays prospect currently plays for the Charlotte Stone Crabs, for whom he is batting .329 with 15 extra-base hits and 22 RBI in 47 games. He is considered by many to be the top prospect in baseball.

Great Lakes Loons manager John Shoemaker was named the MWL Manager of the Year. The Loons have a league-best 76-50 record as of Friday afternoon. The team is heading to the playoffs after winning the Eastern Division first-half title.

Besides Thomas and Franco, here are the Midwest League end-of-season all-stars, along with their MWL statistics as of Friday afternoon:

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers catcher David Fry (.259 BA, 17 HR, 41 2B, 68 RBI in 125 games)

Cedar Rapids Kernels first baseman Gabe Snyder (.258 BA, 16 HR, 21 2B, 51 RBI in 105 games)

Fort Wayne TinCaps second baseman Xavier Edwards (.336 BA, 18 XBH, 30 RBI, 20 SB in 77 games)

Great Lakes Loons third baseman Miguel Vargas (.325 BA, 27 XBH, 45 RBI in 70 games)

Lake County Captains outfielder Will Benson (.272 BA, 18 HR, 12 2B, 55 RBI, 18 SB in 62 games)

Lansing Lugnuts outfielder Griffin Conine (.278 BA, 20 HR, 14 2B, 56 RBI in 70 games)

Bowling Green Hot Rods designated hitter Chris Betts (.210 BA, 18 HR, 13 2B, 68 RBI in 103 games)

Bowling Green Hot Rods RHP Caleb Sampen (9-4, 2.75 ERA, 102 Ks in 118 IP/21 GS)

Fort Wayne TinCaps LHP Joey Cantillo (9-3, 1.93 ERA, 128 Ks in 98 IP/19 GS)

Lansing Lugnuts RHP Cre Finfrock (1-1, 4.21 ERA, 15 SV, 46 Ks in 36.1 IP/31 G)

Lake County Captains LHP Skylar Arias (4-1, 1.79 ERA, 3 SV, 71 Ks in 60.1 IP/34 G)

Posted in 2019 Playoffs, Bowling Green Hot Rods, California League, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Charlotte Stone Crabs, Florida State League, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Great Lakes Loons, Kane County Cougars, Lake County Captains, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, Visalia Rawhide, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | Leave a comment

Wenson’s homer helps Bees sting ‘Kings with 4-3 loss

New signage reflects the recent name change for Clinton’s home stadium. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

The Burlington Bees beat the Clinton LumberKings 4-3 on Friday, which was Denny McLain bobblehead night at NelsonCorp Field.

A three-run homer by Harrison Wenson in the 2nd and an RBI double by Jordyn Adams in the 3rd gave the Bees an early lead they never relinquished, despite the LumberKings’ 6th-inning rally that pulled the home team within a run.

Burlington Bees catcher Harrison Wenson rounds the bases after hitting a three-run homer in the 2nd inning. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

J.D. Osborne (sacrifice fly), Evan Edwards (single) and Davis Bradshaw (single) drove in Clinton’s three runs. The LumberKings played without their hottest hitter, Peyton Burdick, who was struck by a pitch during Thursday’s game.

McLain — best remembered as the last pitcher to win 30 games in a season — was at the ballpark to throw out a ceremonial first pitch and sign autographs. He pitched in the Midwest League in 1962, going 4-7 with a 3.56 ERA, 93 strikeouts and 37 walks in 91 innings (16 games/13 starts) for the Clinton C-Sox. He made his major-league debut for the Detroit Tigers one year later, and in 1968, he won the American League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards after going 31-6 with a 1.96 ERA, 28 complete games, 280 strikeouts and 63 walks in 336 innings/41 starts. He won the A.L. Cy Young Award again in 1969 after going 24-9 with a 2.80 ERA, 23 complete games, 181 strikeouts and 67 walks in 325 innings (42 games/41 starts).

Denny McLain (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

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