Kane County Notebook: Cougars Tossing Zeros

Capra had two outstanding starts.

Thanks to a superb effort by the pitching staff, the Kane County Cougars had an outstanding week, going 6-1. David Malamut has a report on the Cougars inside...

There was great pitching this week from the Cougars, as Matheiu Leblanc-Poirier and Anthony Capra had good, if not great, outings in their starts. The Cougars ended the week with a 6-1 record and are solidly in contention for the second half title.

To lead off the week, the Cougars played the Clinton Lumberkings on Monday in game three of the four game series. The Cougars would get a win, 6-5. The problem was that the Cougars had scored five runs in the first inning, but managed only one more run the rest of the way. The first inning was highlighted by a Stephen Parker three-run homer, a Michael Spina RBI single and a Christopher Berroa RBI double. In the fourth inning, the Cougars would score on a fielder's choice. Pedro Figueroa had a rare mediocre outing. He went five innings, giving up seven hits and five runs. Three of those runs were earned. He had an error and four strikeouts. Matt Fitts pitched well in relief. He went two innings, giving up three hits.

In the last game of the Clinton series on Tuesday, the Cougars blanked the Lumberkings, 10-0. Parker hit another homer. Anthony Capra pitched seven innings of two-hit ball and he struck out eight. The bullpen held, as Scott Deal and Josue Selenes did not give up a run in two innings of work.

The Cougars returned home to face the Burlington Bees on Wednesday and won that game, 2-0. Mathieu Leblanc-Poirier pitched a great game. He went seven innings, giving up three hits and striking out five for the win. Jamie Richmond and Justin Murray pitched an shutout inning each. Leonardo Gil scored on a fielder's choice. Gil also drove in Berroa in the eighth.

The second game of the series was ugly for Kane County, as they lost to the Bees, 4-3, in a sloppy game. The Cougars would make five errors, get five hits and score three runs. All of the Bees runs came in the fourth against Shawn Haviland, and four of the errors came in the inning, as well. Brett Hunter pitched two-and-one thirds innings of relief and struck out four and Trey Barham pitched two perfect innings to keep the game close, but the offense couldn't close the gap.

The last game of the series was a lot better for Kane County. Kenny Smalley pitched six innings in the 5-3 win, giving up five hits and three runs. One of the runs was a homerun. The other two were on a fielder's choice and a sacrifice fly. Fitts did a nice job in two innings of relief. He gave up a hit and struck out two. Jeremy Barfield singled home Jason Christian, Dusty Napoleon grounded out to score Parker and Petey Paramore blooped a single to left to score Barfield in the first. David Thomas pinch-hit in the eighth and hit a sacrifice fly to score Barfield.

Next up for Kane County was the Great Lakes Loons for a three-game series that began on Saturday. In the first game, the Cougars would win, 6-4. Chad Lee made his Cougar debut. He went five innings, giving up five hits and three runs. Two runs were earned. He walked two and struck out one. The big hit off of him was a two-run double by Anthony Hatch in the fourth. The Kane County offense was led by Parker and Nino Leyja, who both hit solo homers. Thomas had a triple and scored on a wild pitch.

The last game of the week for Kane County might've been the best, as Anthony Capra had a no-hitter going into the seventh. He was perfect through 10 hitters. He ended up going seven innings, giving up the one hit, while walking three and striking out eight in the 7-3 win. He threw 102 pitches. After the one hit, a double off the wall in center, he would strike out the next three hitters. Reliever Daniel Thomas had some problems in his debut. He walked four and didn't get anyone out. Napoleon had a good game with two hits and Dusty Coleman, now recovered from his groin strain, had three hits.

Team Updates

This week saw some movement on the roster. On Wednesday, Juan Nunez went on the disabled list with a right knee injury. Nino Leyja was then sent to the team from Vancouver. On Friday, Pedro Figueroa and Jamie Richmond were promoted to Stockton. Chad Lee came to the Cougars that day, as well. He was on the Cougars roster in 2007 but was injured all year. Daniel Thomas joined the team on Saturday from rehabbing a shoulder problem in Arizona.

Franklin Hernandez came back from a right ankle problem on Saturday after missing 14 games. Matt Ray in still on the disabled list with a left hand injury and has missed 15 games. Dusty Coleman came back on Sunday from a left groin injury after missing eight games. Michael Spina was hit in the face by a pitch and has missed the last four games.

Leonardo Gil has been hitting great (.361 in nine games with Kane County). Gil and David Thomas make a good 1-2 combo at the top of the order. Jeremy Barfield has moved into the fourth spot.

Next up for the Cougars is the final game of the Great Lakes series on Monday at noon. Tuesday the Cougars are off, and then they play three games in South Bend against the Silverhawks (Arizona), Wednesday through Friday. Then it's off to visit the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit) Saturday thru Monday before an off day on Tuesday.

About the writer

David Malamut has been a season ticket holder of the Cougars for the past 13 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 David's website, Voice of A Season Ticket Holder, http://malamut.net. You can also follow the Cougars on my twitter page, http://twitter.com/davidmalamut.

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