Cougars Headed To Championship Round

The Kane County Cougars will be playing for a league championship as they put the finishing touches on Beloit in emphatic fashion on Sunday, winning by a score of 15-3. The Cougars will be squaring off against the West Michigan Whitecaps in the title round.

Kane County was last in the league championship series in 2004 and their opponent that season was also West Michigan. The Cougars made the championship round this year the hard way, as a Wild Card entrant. Kane County has gone 4-1 thus far in their two playoff series.

On Sunday, they completed the two-game sweep in the best-of-three series by thumping Beloit, 15-3. They broke open a 6-3 contest with nine runs in the eighth inning, collecting 13 hits and seven walks and taking advantage of four Beloit errors in the game.

There were a number of offensive heroes for Kane County. Second baseman Isaac Omura went 3-4 with a double and an RBI. Centerfielder Chad Boyd hit a solo homer and walked three times while scoring three runs. Third baseman Jeff Baisley, first baseman Raul Padron, designated hitter Steve Kleen and left fielder Matt Sulentic all had two hits. Sulentic, who has been hot throughout the playoffs, drove in three runs to lead the Cougars.

On the pitching-side, starter John Herrera earned the win with six solid innings. The right-hander was converted to the starting rotation for the playoffs after a strong year in relief for the Cougars. Herrera allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits. He struck out five and walked one.

"Herrera did a phenomenal job," Cougars' manager Aaron Nieckula told MiLB.com on Sunday night. "He kept batters off balance and kept us in the game. He executed."

Scott Moore and Brad Kilby kept Beloit off of the board to close out the game. Moore was outstanding for the second straight night. The 2006 draft pick was promoted to Kane County for the playoffs after starring in relief for Vancouver. He worked two scoreless innings on Sunday, allowing only a walk and striking out four. On Saturday, the right-hander struck out the side in his inning of work in the Cougars' win. Closer Kilby worked a scoreless inning to close out the series for the Cougars.

Kane County is off on Monday and they start the championship series on Tuesday at home in Elfstrom Stadium at 6:30 pm central time.

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