Kane County Notebook: Cougars In Close Second

This week, the Kane County Cougars won four out of the five games they played to remain only two-and-a-half games back of the Clinton LumberKings in the western division. David Malamut gets us up-to-date on the happenings of the Kane County nine inside…

Week In Review (May 5 – 11)

The Cougars lost two games to rain this week, but found success in the games that did take place, going 4-1 on the week. They are starting to hit with a little more regularity, and their pitching is improving a lot.

Scott Hodsdon was the story of the week, as he pitched well in his outing and got his first win of the season. He would face the West Michigan Whitecaps on Tuesday. He pitched six innings and gave up three runs. It was the first time he pitched more than 5.1 innings this year and was only the second time he pitched more than 3.2 innings. In the game, he gave up eight hits and had three strike-outs. Hodsdon threw 83 pitches, 53 for strikes.

The week started on Monday with a game against West Michigan. The Cougars would pull out a 2-1 win with two runs in the ninth inning. Travis Banwart pitched well in his six innings. The game would be won with the bullpen, however, as Scott Deal and Justin Friend combined for three shutout innings.

Tuesday saw the Cougars offense explode with 10 runs on 11 hits in a 10-3 win over the Whitecaps. Christian Vitters had three hits, and Shane Keough and Greg Dowling had two hits. Larry Cobb and Matt Smith both homered. Lance Sewell did a nice job in three innings of work on Tuesday. He would give up one hit and he walked three, but he didn't allow a run.

The Cougars would be rained out in West Michigan on Wednesday, so then it was off to Quad City to play the River Bandits on Thursday. In game one of the series, the offense erupted for 11 runs, with eight hits, in an 11-1 win. Matt Smith had a great game, as he would go 4-4 with five runs batted in and a double and a homer. Christian Vitters also had two hits, and Greg Dowling and Walter Correa hit homers. Craig Italiano and Scott Moore combined to go the nine innings, giving up two hits and one run. They combined for 14 strikeouts and four walks.

On Friday, the offense wasn't as explosive, but it got the job done with four runs on five hits. Jamie Richmond pitched very well for the Cougars, going 5.2 innings. He gave-up five hits and one walk, while striking out five. He really only got into trouble twice in his outing. The Cougars would win the game 4-1.

Kane County's four-game winning streak would be snapped by the Bandits on Saturday, as the Cougars lost 4-1. The Cougars got their only run in the eighth inning. Corey Brown and Christian Vitters had two hits apiece, and Travis Banwart pitched well in the losing effort.

Player Highlights

Starter Travis Banwart made two starts this week, and in both of them, he went six innings and gave up six hits. He would get one no decision and one loss. He combined for three runs, six walks and 13 strike-outs. He has gone at least five innings in all but one start this year and at least six in all but two.

Starter Craig Italiano is the best pitcher on the staff right now. This week he pitched five innings of one-hit ball in Quad City. He walked three and struck-out seven for his fourth win. He is the club leader in strikeouts (48) and ERA (1.06). Italiano is in the top-10 in the league in ERA and is 4-0 on the season.

Starter Jamie Richmond pitched once and got the win against Quad City. He went 5.2 innings, giving up five hits and no runs. He walked one and struck-out five. He has gone at least five innings in all but one start this year.

Reliever Justin Friend pitched twice this week and got two saves. In the game on Friday, he gave up a run in 3.1 innings. For the week, he went 4.1 innings with three walks and six strike-outs.

Reliever Chad Kerfoot is struggling. He had one outing this week and in 1.1 innings pitched, he gave up two hits and one earned run. On the season, he has allowed five runs (three earned) in three innings.

Reliever Scott Moore had his longest out as a Cougar this week. He went four innings on Thursday and gave up a hit and a run. He struck out seven and walked one, and he got the save in the game.

Outfielder Adam Klein has had a hit in four out of the six games he has played for the Cougars. This week, he had three hits and five walks. He struck-out five times.

Centerfielder Corey Brown got a hit in all but one game and two hits in two games this week. He had two doubles and a triple this week. In five games, he struck-out nine times and walked once. Outfielder Todd Johnson struggled this week, as he played in three games and went 1-12 with a walk and three strikeouts.

Second baseman Larry Cobb has been on fire since he came back to Kane County from High-A Stockton. He is hitting .393. This week, he went 4-13 with a homer and two runs batted in. He played in four games and struck-out three times with one walk.

Infielder Walter Correa struggled a little this week, going 2-16 with a homer, two runs batted in and a sacrifice bunt. He was picked off base once and caught twice on three attempts. He did walk four times and was hit by a pitch.

First baseman Greg Dowling went 4-17 this week with a homer, a double and four runs batted in. Infielder Matt Ray had three hits this week, including a triple, and he scored five runs and drove in two more. Infielder Christian Vitters went 7-18 this week with two doubles. He drove-in three runs and had a sacrifice fly.

Outfielder/DH Shane Keough has been getting on base like crazy. On Thursday, he walked four times as the leadoff hitter and scored three runs. This week, he went 4-14 with a triple, three runs batted in, seven runs scored and seven walks. In the final two games, he didn't get a hit but had five walks and four runs scored.

Catcher Matt Smith had a great week. He went 6-14 with two homer, a double and a triple. He drove-in six runs and scored five times. Smith walked four times and struck out once. Catcher Gustavo Rosendo went 0 for the week in two games with two double plays on Monday.

Coming Up Next

Next week, the Cougars return home to face the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Los Angeles of Anaheim) Monday through Thursday. They then go to Appleton to face the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Seattle) Friday through Sunday.

About the writer

David Malamut has been a season ticket holder of the Cougars for the past 11 years. He has also been writing a daily website about the team for that long at http://malamut.net. David wrote a book about the history of the Cougars in 2005. Baseball In Kane County, Arcadia Publishing.

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