The Kane County Cougars got swept by the Burlington Bees in the first round of the Midwest League playoffs.
In Game One, the Cougars took a 2-0 lead in the third inning, with a bases-loaded walk by Matt Ray and an infield single by Toddric Johnson. Unfortunately, the bullpen collapsed in the seventh and eighth innings, giving up five runs.
In the seventh, Jason Taylor hit a solo homer off of Chad Kerfoot to make it a 2-1 Cougars' lead. The eighth inning was a disaster for Kane County. Walks, errors, hit-by-pitches, and that was just the first two batters. Burlington's David Lough singled off of Ben Hornbeck to tie the game at 2-2. Johnny Giavotella, and Taylor singled off of Leonardo Espinal to give the Bees a two-run lead. Derrick Van Stratten then hit a sacrifice fly for the fifth run. Kane County would score once in the ninth, but fell by a score of 5-3.
Adam Klein had three hits, a stolen base, a walk and a run batted in. Jason Christian and Michael Richard also had two hits apiece. The big story of the game besides the bullpen was starter Carlos Hernandez. He looked really good. He went five and one thirds innings, giving up two hits and a walk. Hernandez was promoted to Stockton after the series and he struck-out 10 in his first start in the California League.
In Game Two, it was more of the same for the Cougars, except this one would be a slugfest. Fifteen runs, 24 hits and four Cougars errors. Scott Hodsdon started for the Cougars and gave up three runs in the third. A balk, a hit by pitch and an error played a big part. In the bottom of the inning, the Cougars got back two of those runs, scoring on a wild pitch and a Greg Dowling single.
Burlington then answered with two more runs in the fourth inning. Jamar Walton led off with a homer. Giavotella then singled home Juan Rivera. The game would stay that way untill the seventh when the Bees scored again. Van Stratten singled home Taylor. Kane County did counter with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. Toddric Johnson had a two-run bloop single to center.
Leonardo Espinal again did not have a good outing. He would give up three runs in the top of the eighth, including a bases-loaded walk and a two-run ground rule double to Clint Robinson.
Believe it or not the Cougars did try to come back, and they would get two of the five runs they would need in the bottom of the eighth inning. Jason Christian grounded out to bring home a run and Klein then singled to right to score the other run. The Cougars would fall short, however, by a score of 9-6.
In the game Justin Frash and Jason Christian both had one error. Petey Paramore had two errors.
Adam Klein had a big two games, batting .625 with two RBIs.
The Cougars did make it further than last year's team, which did not make the playoffs, but not as far as the 2001 team that won it all. There is next year, and as of writing this there are only 209 more days till Opening Day 2009.
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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