Modesto and Kane County lose tight ones

The A's and Cougars each dropped close Championship series games on Thursday night. Find out the details in this edition of <i>Minor League Notebook</i>...

Modesto A's

Modesto, perhaps exhausted from their dramatic, two-out, walk-off victory in the decisive game 5 of their semi-final series, lost a tight one to the Lancaster JetHawks, 4-2. The Lil'A's are trying to win their first California League Championship in 20 years.

A's starter Matt Lynch pitched a strong game, but was victimized by a two-run double by Sean Lueflwitz in the 4th inning and a solo homerun by Phil Avias in the 7th. The A's were unable to generate any offense, as they could only manage two single run innings.

Starter Enrique Gonzalez earned the win for Lancaster, who is appearing in the California League Championship series for the first time. The series will continue in Modesto on Friday night at 7:05 pm PST. Brad Sullivan will try to get the A's even with the JetHawks. He will face A. J. Shappi.

Kane County Cougars Kane County received another Grade A pitching performance from star starter Brad Knox, but it wasn't enough as the Cougars fell to West Michigan 2-1. The loss evened the Midwest Championship series at 1-1. The series is a best-of-five affair. Brad Knox was nearly flawless for the first 6.2 innings of the game. However, Whitecaps starter Chris Steinborn was nearly as good, as he matched zeros with Knox until the bottom of the sixth inning when Luke Appert broke the scoreless tie by hitting a solo homerun. However, Knox was unable to hold the slim lead, as he gave up two in the 7th inning. The inning began when Kody Kirkland singled. Knox retired the next two batters without difficulty and it appeared that he would make it through the frame unscathed. However, Jason Knoedler got to Knox for a two-run homerun and the Whitecaps had a 2-1 lead. Knox was immediately replaced, leaving with a line of 6.2 innings pitched with two runs allowed on four hits, three strikeouts and two walks. He would be the eventual losing pitcher, despite his dazzling performance.

The Cougar offense was silent much of the night, as they were only able to muster eight base runners all game. Not counting the homerun by Appert, the Cougars were only able to get a runner as far as third base three times. Twice the runner was left stranded and once the runner was thrown out at home trying to score on an infield hit.

The Cougars had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the 9th when Eddie Kim walked with one out and was pinch-run for by Chris Tritle. Tritle advanced to second on a wild pitch. With two-outs, Tritle advanced to third on a wild pitch to Richie Robnett. However, Robnett struck out, ending the threat and the game.

The series will continue in Lancaster on Friday at 2:35 p.m. PST. Dallas Braden will get the start for the Cougars.

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