Kane County Notebook: Cougars Still In Second

After a 4-3 mark this week, the Kane County Cougars are 26-14 on the year. They find themselves in second place, 3.5 games behind the Clinton LumberKings, who are 29-10. The Cougars would win three out of four at home against Cedar Rapids, and one out of three in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Week In Review (5/12-5/18)

The Kane County pitching staff has been on the mark of late, but the problem for the Cougars lately has been getting runners around the bases and in.

On Monday, the Cougars would pull the game out in the bottom of the 12th inning, after giving up a three-run lead in the late innings. Kane County beat Cedar Rapids 4-3 in 12 innings.

The 12th started off with Walter Correa walking. Shane Keough then popped up to short, the shrotstop missed the ball, and all hands would be safe. Matt Ray would then be able to reach on a bunt single to third to load the bases with nobody out. Greg Dowling then came up and singled to right to score Correa to win the game.

Scott Hodsdon started for the Cougars and pitched well. He went five shutout innings. Scott gave up four hits and struck out four. Of those four strike-outs, three came in the last four hitters he would face. He got into trouble in the first inning. Hodsdon hit the first batter of the game. Clay Fuller would then be caught trying to steal second. Contreras followed with a double to left center. Efran Navarro grounded to short to move Contreras to third with two outs. Hodsdon then got Brossman to ground out to end the inning. Greg Dowling had three hits and Jake Smith added two hits.

On Tuesday, in a weird and wet game against Cedar Rapids, the Cougars would lose 2-0. Starter Scott Mitchinson was great in the loss. The offense got three hits.

Wednesday came and the Cougars beat the Kernels 2-0. Craig Italiano was almost untouchable in his six innings of work for the win. Scott Deal then came in for three great innings of relief. Toddric Johnson hit a homer in support of Italiano.

Jamie Richmond gave the Cougars another great effort in eight innings of work in the Cougars' 4-0 win against Cedar Rapids on Thursday. Toddric Johnson and Greg Dowling had two hits.

Richmond lost a perfect game in the sixth when he walked Jerry Gonzalez with two outs, he then got Jeremy Moore on strikes to end the inning. In the seventh with two outs, Gordon Gronkowski reached on an error by shortstop Matt Ray, he then stole second. Richmond would strike out Clay Fuller to end the inning. The most trouble Jamie had in an inning would be in the eighth. Angel Castillo led it off by reaching on an error by Richmond. Andrew Romine then singled to left to break up the no-hitter. Anel De Los Santos then reached on a fielder's choice with Castillo being out at third. Richmond then got Gonzalez to pop up foul to third and Moore on strikes to end the inning and secure the shut-out effort.

On Friday, the first game in Wisconsin did not go as planned, as Scott Moore was hammered in his first start of the season. Moore and Lance Sewell gave up eight runs, six earned in the Cougars 8-6 loss to the Rattlers. Corey Brown did hit his first homer in nearly a month.

Saturday saw Scott Hodsdon pitch another good game for the Cougars. Unfortunately, Justin Friend would have his worst outing of the year to get the loss in the ninth inning.

Sunday, Mitchinson again had another great outing, and Chad Kerfoot had his best outing as a Cougar to help Kane County to a 4-0 win in the final game in the series.

Team Notes

The Cougars lead the league in pitching with a 2.43 era, and are fifth in the league in hitting with a .256 average.

Player Highlights

Scott Mitchinson had two great outings this week. He went 1-1, and only gave up one run in his two outings. In both starts, he went seven innings and gave up four hits. In the start on Tuesday, he gave up one run and walked one in the loss. On Sunday, he shutout Wisconsin. For the week, he had 14 innings and 16 strikeouts, and one walk. For the year, he has a 1.91 era and is 4-1 in seven games.

Craig Italiano had a good week, as he got a win in his only start. He went six innings in a start for the first time since April 25th, 2006. He has won each of his last three starts and hasn't given up a run in two starts. In the start this week, he went six innings, giving up two hits and two walks. He struck-out four. The four strikeouts ties his lowest strikeout total in a game this year. For the year he is 5-0 with a 0.90 ERA, yes a 0.90 ERA, in eight starts. What he is working on next is going deeper into games.

Scott Hodsdon has really turned the corner in his last two starts, both no decisions. This week, he made one start and lasted into the eighth inning. He went 7.1 innings, his previous best was 6 on the 6th of May. On Saturday, he gave up three hits and one unearned run. He walked one and struck out a season-high seven hitters. For the year, he is 1-4 with a 4.04 ERA, but this month he has pitched 18.1 innings, giving up 15 hits, three earned runs, one walk and striking out 14. He has only one win to show for it, but at least he is headed in the right direction.

Jamie Richmond was great on Thursday against Cedar Rapids. He went a season-high eight innings; his previous high was 6.1. He gave up one hit and one walk, plus he struck-out eight in the win. In his last two outings, he hasn't given up a run in 13.2 innings, and he has struck out 13. For the season he is 4-2 with a 3.07 ERA in eight games.

Scott Deal hasn't allowed up a run this month in four outings (5.1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K), He is 2-0 with a save this month.

Brad Hertzler also hasn't given up a run this month in three outings (5.1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 5 K), He has pitched very well in relief all year, only giving up two earned runs thus far this season.

Corey Brown has struggled recently. He had three hits all week in 24 at-bats, with one homer and four runs batted in. The three hits and four runs batted in all came within the last two days of the week. This week, he struck-out seven times, three looking in seven games. He has walked seven times this week, however. The homer on Friday was his first since April 18th in Lansing.

Greg Dowling went 8-26 this week with three doubles, two RBI, and seven strikeouts, two looking in six games. He had back-to-back two-hit games on Wednesday and Thursday.

Catcher Jonathan Johnston had a three-game hitting streak this week, one of those was a pinch-hit double on Friday. On Saturday, he had two passed balls.

Jake Smith had went 3-8 on Monday and Tuesday. The rest of the week he went 0-13 with three strikeouts, but three walks.

Larry Cobb has had a hot week. He went 9-24 with three doubles, four runs and a sacrifice fly. He had three hits on Friday, two on Saturday and three more on Sunday.

Walter Correa has a four-game hitting streak going, one hit in each of his games this week. On Wednesday, he made two errors at short, but on Sunday he played a good first base.

Matt Ray has played short four times this week and he made two errors. He had a homer on Friday, and a sacrifice bunt on Wednesday.

Toddric Johnson had a homer on Wednesday, a triple on Saturday, and stole four bases this week. He had two hits apiece on Wednesday and Thursday.

Upcoming week

This will be a test, as the Cougars have nine games in seven days. Kane County goes to Burlington, Iowa (Burlington Bees, Kansas City Royals) Monday thru Thursday. They have a double-header on Tuesday. Then it's back home for a home-stand. They play Quad City, Friday through Monday. Friday is a double-header against the Quad City River Bandits (St. Louis Cardinals)

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.

For daily updates on the Cougars, stats and game stories please go to my website, Voice of A Season Ticket Holder, http://malamut.net.

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