The Kane County Cougars lost the first two games of the week, then ran off five straight wins to close out the week. The thing that seemed to turn them around was an extra inning loss on Wednesday. Well, technically it was the Wrigley game on Tuesday, but it was finished on Wednesday.
On Monday, the Cougars finished off their series against the Dayton Dragons (Cincinnati), in which the Cougars would take two out of three games. In this game, though, the Cougars would score a run in the first, then do basically nothing the rest of the game, in losing 6-1. Jemile Weeks led off the game with a triple, even though it should've been an out; the ball got lost in the sun, and would hit the fielder in the face and roll away. Michael Richard knocked Weeks in with a single to left. The pitching gave up four of the runs in the sixth inning after an error by third baseman Matt Ray. Brent Lysander pitched two shutout innings, giving up four hits, in the loss.
Tuesday saw the Cougars play the Chiefs in a game at Wrigley Field. The game would be suspended in the bottom of the ninth due to a downpour. Greg Dowling hit the first homer in a minor league game at Wrigley. Jemile Weeks injured his hip flexor on the first play of the game while running across first base. The Cougars would score five runs in the sixth inning on hits by Toddric Johnson, Jake Smith and a three-run double by Petey Paramore.
The next day the Cougars and Chiefs resumed the game in Peoria. Leonardo Espinal pitched very well in getting out of a first and third and one-out jam when the game resumed to get an inning ending double play. Justin Frash and Matt Ray had run scoring hits in the 12th inning to put the Cougars ahead. Unfortunatly, Nick Walters walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the 12th. Chad Kerfoot then hit Jovan Rosa to put in one run. Luis Bautista then singled in two runs to win the game for the Chiefs.
Wednesday saw the Cougars play another game against the Chiefs after losing earlier in the day to them in the continuation of the Wrigley game. This time, the Cougars scored 12 runs and only gave up one. Larry Cobb had a two-run homer and Jake Smith hit a three-run homer. The Cougars scored five runs in an inning twice. Peoria did make three errors, which allowed two unearned runs. Four out of the six walks the Cougars would recieve scored. D.J. Hollingsworth had two hits, and scored two runs. Matt Ray and Shane Keough also had two hits. Anthony Capra had his best outing of the year, going six innings in getting his first win. Justin Friend pitched three innings of relief, giving up one hit to earn the save.
The next day, the Cougars would eek out a win against Peoria, 3-2. Greg Dowling hit a homer and Justin Frash drove in a run, while Michael Richard scored on a wild pitch. Newcomer Carlos Hernandez pitched very well again. He went into the seventh inning, giving up one run on six hits. Brent Lysander then gave up a run in the ninth to bring the Chiefs to within a run. Chad Kerfoot then came in with the tying run on second and one out. He would strike out the last two hitters to earn the save.
A new month brought a new opponent, as the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit) came to town on Friday. The Cougars would win the opener 7-6 with a run in the ninth. Scott Deal made only two mistakes in a little over six innings and both left the ballpark. The last one would be his last pitch thrown that day. Toddric Johnson had a great day; he hit a homer and drew two walks and one intentionall walk. Adam Klein, Michael Richard and Larry Cobb all had two hits. Again Leonardo Espinal came in and shut the door. This time with a runner on third and two outs in the eighth, he would strike out Jordan Newton and then pitch the ninth inning to get the victory.
Saturday would see the Cougars win, 5-2. Lance Sewell pitched his best game of the season in getting his first win as a starter this year. He went into the seventh inning, giving up seven hits and one run. He only walked one and struck out five. Toddric Johnson had three walks and Petey Paramore had two walks, while Greg Dowling hit his third homerun of the week.
Can you say sweep? For the first time since May, the Cougars swept an opponent. The sweep would come with win on Sunday over West Michigan, 7-1. Jamie Richmond put together a great outing getting into the eighth inning. He gave up four hits and one unearned run. He walked one and struck out six and threw 92 pitches. Nick Walters got into some trouble in the ninth inning, with the first two hitters getting on. Then Leonardo Espinal came in and struck out two and got a foul popup. The big inning was a six-run third. D.J. Hollingsworth, Michael Richard, Larry Cobb, Shane Keough and Jake Smith all drove in runs. Shane Keough also had a leadoff triple in the fifth inning and Greg Dowling would drive him in with a sacrifice fly.
Anthony Capra has steadily improved in each outing as he has gone deeper in games each time. Leonardo Espinal hasn't given up an earned run since the 14th of July, a span of six outings. He has a win and a save during that period. Justin Friend has been good as of late. He gave up a run on the 21st, but has been solid since. In his last three outings, Friend has gone three innings twice, getting a win and a save, and he got the save on Saturday.
In two outings, lefty Carlos Hernandez has been good in both. He has gone into the sixth at least in both outings. Carlos is 2-0 with 12 innings pitched, 12 strike-outs and only three walks.
Jamie Richmond rebounded nicely after a rough last start in which he lasted only into the fifth, and got hit around and gave up five runs. He pitched Sunday and went into the eighth giving up four hits and one unearned run for his seventh win of the season.
Petey Paramore has struggled since becoming a Cougar, although he has hits in four of the eight games. He had one great game, on the 29th, in which he had two hits, one double and drove-in three. He has walked regularly, with 10 walks in those games, and six strike outs.
Jake Smith has a six-game hitting streak going with two hits in each of the last two games. In that streak, he has a homer, a double and nine runs batted in.
Greg Dowling is now the Cougars' career leader in runs batted in. He broke the record a week ago, and he is just three homers shy of breaking the career record for homeruns. Going back to July 25th, he has five homers, nine RBIs and he got his first stolen base.
Justin Frash has a four-game hitting streak. Matt Ray has been playing well deffensively, going between second, short and third. Michael Richard has a eight-game hitting streak going. He is getting on-base constantly. Richard has scored 11 runs in those eight games, and he has scored three runs twice in that time period. He also has driven in six runs.
D.J. Hollingsworth just seems to get on-base somehow. He has had two hits in two of his last four games. Even when he dosen't get a hit in a game, he gets a walk. Toddric Johnson had a five-game hitting streak. In the last two games of the streak, he had three walks in each game.
After Monday's off-day, the Cougars start a four game series against rival Beloit Snappers (Minnesota) on Tuesday. Then it's off to Appleton, Wisconsin, to play the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Seattle) for four 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.