Kane County Notebook: Cougars Moving On

In a three-game series, a game one loss, especially at home, can often spell disaster. However, the Kane County Cougars overcame such a scenario to defeat the Quad Cities River Bandits and advance to Round Two of the Midwest League playoffs.

The Kane County Cougars would come back from being dominated in the first game of the series against the Quad Cities River Bandits and win the series. This means they will play against the Clinton Lumberkings on Saturday at home, then go to Clinton for two games.

In the first game the Bandits, Quad Cities starter Shelby Miller was just filthy dominant. He would strike out 13 Cougars and give up two hits. Only one of those hits was a hard hit ball, a double by Leonardo Gil. This was the sixth time he had faced the Cougars this season and by far this was his best outing.

Murphy Smith also pitched a good game. He would go six innings, giving up four hits and one run. He basically had one bad inning, the fourth, in which he gave up the only run.

In the second game, the Cougars needed to win or it was go home. They scored all of their runs in one inning, the second, and held on for the win. In the second, Rashun Dixon and Conner Crumbliss both hit two-run homers and Micahel Gilmartin had a run-scoring double.

Jonathan Joseph started and pitched well. He would go five innings, giving up two hits and one run. He walked three and struck out seven. Ryan Doolittle would give up two runs in the sixth to make it a two-run game. Josh Lansford pitched really well, going two perfect innings. The ninth inning was a bit of a heart-attack waiting to happen. Jose Guzman started and struck out the first guy and then he gave up a double to Edgar Lara. Frederick Parejo then singled to left. Max Peterson was brought in for the lefty-lefty matchup and struck out Robert Stock. Bo Schultz then came in an struck out Ross Smith to end the game.

The final game of the series was a slugfest, as the Cougars would win 15-7. Jason Christian and Rashun Dixon both had three hits. All together the Cougars had 16 hits. The big inning was a seven-run sixth. Then they had a perfect bottom of the inning and then scored eight more runs in the final three innings.

Chris Mederos started and pitched well. He went five innings, giving up seven hits and three runs. Only two of those runs were earned. He also walked two and struck out seven. The Bandits would score four runs off of the bullpen of Robert Gilliam, Aaron Larsen, Peterson and Connor Hoehn.

For winning the series the Cougars get to face the Clinton Lumberkings, who they were 6-11 against this year. In game one at home on Saturday Daniel Straily (10-7, 4.32 during the regular season) will go to the mound. In game two on Sunday in Clinton, Smith will make his second playoff start. If needed game three would be on Monday night in Clinton and Jonathan Joseph would get the ball.

The Cougars are going with a four-man rotation in the playoffs, so Smith will be going on short rest. Max Stassi missed the final game of the Quad Cities series with a sore shoulder (throwing).

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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