Kane County Notebook: Cougars' Bats Improving

Shane Keough had a power surge.

For the week of July 21-27, the Kane County Cougars went 4-2 versus Lansing, Fort Wayne and Dayton. Going into Monday, the Cougars had won three straight games and have started to put runs on the board in good numbers.

To begin the week, the Kane County Cougars were at home to face the Lansing Lugnuts. They would win the game 9-8 in 10 innings. In the 10th inning, Jake Smith hit a one-out double to left. Greg Dowling singled to right and then the Lugnuts intentionally walked Shane Keough to load the bases. Matt Ray followed with a sacrifice fly to left to allow Smith to score and the Cougars to win. Lansing walked Keough intentionally because he already had three hits, including a homer and a run scoring single, in the game.

Starting a nine game road trip on Wednesday, the Cougars would find themselves in Fort Wayne to face the Wizards. Errors and walks would get the Cougars, as they would lose 4-2. Lance Sewell lasted into the fifth inning. Two errors did not help the Cougars, as the Wizards would score after the errors both times.

The second game of the series saw the Cougars lose again, this time 5-2, even though they out-hit the Wizards 12-9. A four-run fourth off of Cougar starter Jamie Richmond did the Cougars in. In the inning, two walks and a hit by pitch from Richmond all scored. Jemile Weeks would hit his first professional home run in the game.

The Cougars would win the last game of a series for their third series in a row. This game would be won by a score of 7-2. Four runs in the fifth inning helped propel the Cougars to victory. Larry Cobb and Greg Dowling hit homers. Anthony Capra got the start and had his best start as a Cougar. Yes, he only went into the fifth inning, but he showed progress.

Moving right along to Dayton, Ohio, the Cougars opened a three-game series against the Dragons on Saturday. In the first game, they would win 7-4. Toddric Johnson hit a two-run homer in the first. Greg Dowling did the same in the third. Shane Keough added another homer in the sixth. Carlos Hernandez made his Cougars debut and pitched well. He got into the sixth inning, giving up eight hits and four runs. He only walked one hitter and struck out seven. Catcher Petey Paramore also made his Cougar debut going 0-3 with two walks.

Sunday the Cougars would score nine times and win the game 9-3. Toddric Johnson hit a three-run homer and Jake Smith hit a solo homer in the first inning. Scott Deal pitched well in six innings of work.

Player Highlights

Anthony Capra has made three starts for Kane County. The first and last starts were his best. In his second start, he lasted into the fourth inning, but gave up seven hits and five runs, including two homers.

Leonardo Espinal pitched two scoreless innings this week in his two outings. He gave up three walks, and in one of his outings got the save. On Friday, Justin Friend pitched three great innings of relief. He gave up one hit and one walk. He would get the win in that game. It was the third time this year that he went three-plus innings, and the first time since the beginning of May.

Brad Hertzler had two scoreless outings in a row this week. He pitched an inning on Monday and Sunday. On Monday, he got the win.

Lance Sewell has pitched into the fourth inning in each of his last three starts. He gave up four runs twice and three runs each. In each start, he has taken the loss. In those three starts, he has thrown 12 innings and has allowed 12 hits, 11 runs, nine earned runs, eight walks and 10 strike-outs. He has hit two batters.

Jake Smith has been hot. He hit in four out of the five games he played this week, including two homers and two doubles. He had three hits on Monday, and two hits on Thursday and Friday.

Larry Cobb has a six-game hitting streak through Sunday. He had four hits on Sunday, including a triple and three runs batted in. On Friday, he hit a homer. Greg Dowling had a homer in both Friday and Saturday's games, his first homer since the second of July.

Michael Richard's 14 game hitting streak ended on Saturday, two shy of the longest streak since 1999. The day the streak ended, he had three walks and scored two runs. Then on Sunday, he walked twice and score three runs.

Jemile Weeks' 10-game hitting streak ended on Saturday. He hit his first pro homer on Thursday. The one bad thing with him has been his defense, as he has seven errors in 17 games. He had a streak of three games with an error earlier this month.

D.J. Hollingsworth has been a great surprise. Through Sunday, he has a five-game hitting streak. It seems like every game he does something to help the team, be it a sacrifice or a clutch hit.

Toddric Johnson has two homers and finished the week carrying a four-game hitting streak. In the last three games, he has six runs batted in.

All of a sudden, Shane Keough has hit two homers in a week, his only two homers this year. Through Monday, he had a five-game hitting streak.

Upcoming

This week, the Cougars play their final game in Dayton on Monday. Then they go to Wrigley Field to play Peoria (Cubs) on Tuesday. After that they go to Peoria to finish the series on Wednesday and Thursday. Then finally they come home on Friday to face the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit) for three games.

About the writer

David Malamut has been a season ticket holder of the Cougars for the past 11 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 my website, Voice of A Season Ticket Holder, http://malamut.net.

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