Kane County Notebook: A Winning Week

The first half of the 2010 regular season is almost over, and while the Kane County Cougars are out of the first half playoff races, they are still playing good baseball of late. David Malamut checks in with a report.

The Cougars went 4-2 on the week, winning both series for the week against Eastern Division teams. They are 8-4 against the other division on the year. That is compared to 22-30 against the Western Division.

The Cougars were eliminated from playoff contention for the first half during the past week, but they still have a chance in the second half of the season in the Midwest League.

During the week the Cougars started off with a 21-hit pounding of the Fort Wayne Tin Caps. They won the game 12-5, scoring three runs in both of the first and the second innings. Leonardo Gil had four hits and was a double away from the cycle. He drove in five runs and scored three runs.

The Cougars had just one bad inning in which the Tin Caps would score four times. Murphy Smith pitched very well, except for the one inning when he gave up two hits and one run. In all he made it into the seventh inning, giving up four hits and three runs on 101 pitches. Anvioris Ramirez really struggled, as he would give up three hits and two runs getting only one out. Jose Guzman did pitch two-and-one-third innings, giving up one hit.

In the second game of the series, the Cougars would lose, 4-2. All of the runs that the Caps scored came in the eighth inning off of Max Peterson. Justin Marks started and pitched very well. He went five innings, giving up two hits. He walked three and struck out nine.

Ian Krol pitched great in the final game of the series against the Caps. He would go five innings, giving up three hits and two unearned runs. The two runs came after an error by Michael Gilmartin. Rashun Dixon hit a solo homer in the third.

For the first time in club history, the Cougars faced the Lake County Captains and they would take two outs of three from them. In the first game, the Captains would win, 4-3. Robert Gilliam started and really didn't pitch as bad as his numbers might indicate. He went six innings, giving up eight hits and four runs. Bo Schultz and Josh Lansford also came in and pitched shutout innings.

The Cougars scored all of their runs in the ninth inning. This team seems to like to score late. They have a lot of heart in that they never give up. Gilmartin had a two-run single and Myrio Richard drove in a run. Gilmartin was thrown out at the plate for the second out of the ninth inning. Max Stassi then came on and popped out to end the game.

The Cougars played a complete game in game two of the series. They would win 7-0 and get good pitching, hitting and defense. Daniel Straily went six three-hit innings, and Ramirez pitched three two-hit innings. All of the runs were scored in the fifth and the sixth innings. Tyreace House had two hits and two walks. Anthony Aliotti had a three-run double in the sixth.

Somehow the Cougars would come back and score eight runs in the eighth inning and come from six runs down in the final game of the series to get the series win. Murphy Smith gave up five runs in the first, but after that he really pitched well, giving up three hits and a walk. In the eighth the key hit was a Kent Walton triple down the left field line with the bases loaded. Conner Crumbliss also had a two-run double in the inning.

Team Update
For the season the Cougars are 30-34, 12 games behind the Cedar Rapids Kernels in the division. Crumbliss still leads all of minor league baseball in walks. Straily is 1-0 with a 1.19 era in four home starts. He is 4-3 with a 6.70 ERA in nine road starts.

Up next for the Cougars is a day off on Monday. Then they head to visit the Quad Cities River Bandits (St. Louis) for three games. After that they end the first half of the regular season with a four game home series against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Seattle Mariners).

The All-Star game is on Tuesday, June 22nd. Max Stassi and Ian Krol were both named to the team this week. The game will be played in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

About the Author
David Malamut has been covering the Cougars since 1998, with his own website, (http://malamut.net). He has also written a book about the Cougars, "Baseball In Kane County Cougars" (Arcadia/2005). For daily updates on the Cougars, go to his website (http://malamut.net) or follow him on Twitter (http://twitter.com/davidmalamut) for in game news and notes.

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