Kane County Notebook: Series Of Wins

With the season entering its final weeks, the Kane County Cougars are playing their best baseball of the season. David Malamut reviews the past week in Cougars' baseball, a week that saw Kane County earn three series wins.

The Kane County Cougars would go 4-3 on the week and win all three series they played in. They also are still in line to win the division in the second half and make the playoffs. They are 25-17 in the second half, 16-6 at home.

It was a good week as several Cougars excelled. Michael Gilmartin finished the week with two amazing games. He went 8-9 with a HR, 3B and 3 2B in those two games. Conner Crumbliss has a nine-game hitting streak and leads the minors in walks with 88. Anthony Aliotti has a six-game hitting streak.

The week did start out with the first loss of the season against the Burlington Bees. The Cougars were 8-0 against them coming into the game, but they lost 6-3. Chris Mederos lasted three innings, giving up six hits and four runs. He would give up three runs in the a very shaky first inning, including a homer to Whit Merrifield. In the second he gave up a leadoff triple to Hilton Richardson, who would then score on a sacrifice fly. Connor Hoehn and Josh Lansford both pitched two shutout innings. A.J. Huttenlocker had trouble in the seventh. He would give up four hits and two runs.

The offense left 10 men on base, and none of their four walks scored. The first run scored with a run-scoring single by Rashun Dixon. The second run on an errant throw by the catcher. Dixon also drove in the final run of the game for the Cougars as he had a double off the right field wall to score Crumbliss.

The Cedar Rapids Kernels then came into town for four games. The Cougars would win the first game of the series, 6-4, behind two three-run innings. Besides those innings the Cougars really didn't do much offensively, as they had three hits in the other innings. Daniel Straily started and pitched ok. He got into the fifth inning, giving up seven hits and three runs. His main problem was too many base runners, although he would get the Kernels to strand the bases loaded with one out in the fourth after they already had scored one run. Ryan Doolittle and Jose Guzman also pitched scoreless outings.

The offense scored three runs in the second inning on a run-scoring single by Crumbliss. An error by the shortstop brought home Jason Christian, and Dixon walked with the bases loaded to bring home Jose Crisotomo. In the fourth, Dixon singled to bring home Crumbliss and a wild pitch scored Aliotti. Mitchell LeVier then doubled home Dixon.

Ian Krol would give up two runs on three hits in five innings to the Kernels in the second game of the series and get a no-decision as the Cougars would lose, 6-4. The big thing in this game is that the Cougars would give up four runs in the ninth to lose the game. Krol pitched well except for one inning in which he gave up three hits and two runs. Bo Schultz pitched two perfect innings. Lansford had trouble in the ninth, giving up four hits and four unearned runs. The runs were unearned because of an error on LeVier.

Dixon singled home Crumbliss, Aliotti scored on an error and Christian singled home LeVier in the first. In the fourth, Max Stassi homerd to right. That would be the scoring for the Cougars. They would leave seven men on=base, six of those in the final five innings. They left the bases loaded in the ninth.

Murphy Smith pitched a great six innings in the third game of the series on Thursday. He gave up three hits and no runs. He would leave two runners on in the fourth and the only other runners would be erased on a double play and a caught stealing. Hoehn had some trouble in two innings of relief, as he would give up four hits and two runs. Jose Guzman got the game-ending double play in the ninth.

Crumbliss led off the scoring with a solo homer in the third to right. Stassi singled home Aliotti and LeVier doubled home both Dixon and Stassi in the fourth. In the sixth Stassi and Crisotomo both scored on a error. In the fifth the Cougars would have the bases loaded with one out and get nothing.

The final game of the series and homestand would not be a good one for the Cougars as they would lose 6-0. Jonathan Joseph got hit around a bit, going five innings, giving up four hits and three runs. He walked three, threw two wild pitches and hit a batter. Kenneth Smalley then came in an didn't fare much better in two innings of work. He gave up four hits and two runs. Huttenlocker also pitched two innings giving up two hits and one run.

The offense left eight runners on base. Aliotti had two of the hits and the Cougars hit into three double plays.

After that series the Cougars went to Burlington, Iowa, to see the Bees. Well good things seem to happen against the Bees this season. In the first game they would win 10-3 and look good. Mederos had a great outing, as he went five innings, giving up two hits and one run. He walked four and the Bees would strand four. Max Peterson had some trouble in the his two innings of work, he gave up five hits and two runs, he also walked two.

The big story of the game was the offense, as they had 14 hits and 10 runs. Gilmartin had four hits, including two doubles and a triple. He drove in three runs. Crumbliss and LeVier both had two hits. Aliotti had a run-scoring triple. They got 10 runs, but they scored five runs in each of the third and fourth innings. Besides those innings the Cougars would get seven hits and strand eight runners.

In another rout of the Bees, the Cougars would win 13-7 in the final game of the week. Gilmartin had another great game as he had four hits, including a two=run homer, a two-run double, two singles and a sacrifice fly. Aliotti and LeVier also hit homers, plus the Cougars drew seven walks, although only two of them would score. Dixon had three hits and scored four runs.

Coming Up Next

Next week the Cougars will continue their four game series in Burlington on Monday and Tuesday. After that they go to Cedar Rapids (Angels) for three games. Then on Saturday they welcome the Peoria Chiefs (Cubs) to town for a three game series.

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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