Kane County Notebook: Second Half Underway

The second half is underway for the first-half division champion Kane County Cougars. David Malamut has a report on the team's first week back from the All-Star break.

The Kane County Cougars won the first half divison title, and then seven Cougars played in the All-Star game in Clinton, Iowa. Steve Kleen, Jeremy Barfield, Dusty Coleman, Jason Christian, Kenny Smalley, Jamie Richmond and Shawn Haviland.

Steve Kleen would hit a homer in the game, in what would turn out to be his last Midwest League at-bat. Jason Christian and Jeremy Barfield also had hits. Kenneth Smalley pitched a perfect inning as the starter for the West team. Jamie Richmond wouldn't be so fortunate. He lasted two-thirds of an inning, giving up six hits and four runs, including a home run. Shawn Haviland did not pitch.

The Cougars came back from the All-Star game slugging, at least for one day, as they would beat the Quad City River Bandits, 12-3, on Thursday. Matt Ray and Franklin Hernandez had homers. The Cougars scored seven runs in the third inning, which would include a bases-loaded triple by Hernandez. Ray suffered a hand injury and was taken out of the game. Pedro Figueroa was great again, as he went six innings, giving up one hit and one walk. Pedro struck out nine. Scott Deal then came in and pitched two innings, giving up one hit, and getting out of a jam in the seventh. Brett Hunter gave up three runs in the ninth, all coming on a three-run homer to Frederick Parejo. Hunter did strike out the final two hitters of the game.

Friday would be a completly diffrent storey as the Cougars would lose, 4-2. One run was a Petey Paramore homer to lead off the seventh. The other run was a bases-loaded walk to Dusty Napoleon in the ninth. David Thomas, who joined the team from Stockton during the All-Star break, did have two hits. Anthony Capra went six innings, giving up six hits and four runs.

After a rainout on Saturday, the Cougars played two against the Bandits on Sunday. The Cougars really did not get into the first game of the double header, and they would lose by a score of 10-2. The Bandits scored four in the third and six in the sixth. Mathieu Leblanc Poirier started and lasted into the fourth inning, giving up four unearned runs. Josue Selenes did a nice job in relief, but Matt Fitts could not find his way around the bats. He would pitch one inning, giving up six hits and six runs, all earned.

Michael Spina, a newcomer to the team, hit two two-run homers in the second game of the double-header to help pace the Cougars to a 8-2 win. Jeremy Barfield had a triple and drove in two runs. Shawn Haviland improved to 6-3, with 5 and one-thirds innings of work. His one mistake was a two-run homer by John Edwards. Shawn struck out five. Trey Barham and Justin Murray combined to complete the pitching.

Team Notes

The pitching of Shawn Haviland and Pedro Figueroa is pacing the Cougars at the moment. Brett Hunter and Matt Fitts really need to find the plate. Anthony Capra is starting to get better. The bullpen is showing some good signs of being able to get out of jams of late.

Offensivley the team misses Grant Desme and Steve Kleen, as run producers. Both were promoted to Stockton during the All-Star break. David Thomas as the leadoff man has been great. Jeremy Barfield is hitting a lot better and not chasing pitches. Franklin Hernandez is showing signs of life after suffering through a slump at the end of the first half.

Matt Ray went down with a problem with his left hand, and is being checked out this week back in Kane County. Jason Christian has moved from third to second. Christopher Berroa has a wrist problem that is making it so he can't swing the bat. Carlos Arrieche, normally an infielder, has played left field a couple of times this half.

The Cougars made some roster moves. 2009 draft picks Steven Parker and Michael Spina came up from Arizona. David Thomas was moved back from Stockton. Mathieu Leblanc-Poirier came from Stockton also and moved into the rotation. Steve Kleen, Grant Desme, Jason Ray and Mickey Storey all moved to Stockton.

Coming Up Next

Next week the Cougars host the Peoria Chiefs (Cubs) Tuesday-Friday after having Monday off. Then it's off to Clinton to see the Lumberkings (Seattle) Saturday-Tuesday.

About the writer

David Malamut has been a season ticket holder of the Cougars for the past 13 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 David's website, Voice of A Season Ticket Holder, http://malamut.net. You can also follow the Cougars on my twitter page, http://twitter.com/davidmalamut.

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