August 2010

8/14 Game Notes

100_1974.JPGThe LumberKings fell 15-4 to the Burlington Bees last night to close the seven-game homestand at 4-3.  A pivotal series with Beloit starts tonight as the Kings look to maintain their 1.0-game lead over the Snappers for the second-half West Division Wild Card.

No pregame interview on tap for tonight, but enjoy tonight’s Game Notes: 
8.14.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Left-hander Nick Czyz (3-3, 5.40) makes his 10th start tonight in the series-opener against the Snappers.  First pitch is at 7:00 PM, listen online at


Off the Diamond: Brad Seward

As promised, it’s another “Off the Diamond” segment featuring the Public Address voice of seward2010.jpgthe LumberKings and the Director of Operations and Education for the Clinton County Area Solid Waste Agency, Brad Seward.

Brad’s seen plenty of baseball in 15 seasons in the P.A. chair, and we’ll talk about some of the near history his seen this season (including Tom Wilhelmsen’s near perfect game last night).  Also, Brad talks about environmental efforts at Alliant Energy Field and offers up conservation tips on the 3rd Annual “Going Green Night” at the ballpark.

Listen Here: 
Brad Seward OTD Interview 8.13.10.mp3

Right-hander Taylor Stanton (9-5, 3.90) is slated to make his 20th start tonight in the series finale against Burlington, first pitch scheduled for 7:00 PM.  Listen online at


Crossing Enemy Lines: Nick Devlin

The LumberKings lost a tough one last night, 6-5 to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers on a two-out RBI double by Kentrail Davis in the ninth.  The seven-game homestand continues tonight as the Kings start a three-game series with the struggling Burlington Bees.

For tonight’s pregame segment, I’ve decided to renew the “Crossing Enemy Lines” segment and catch up with the broadcast voice of the Bees, Nick Devlin.  While the Bees have the West Division’s worst record of 37-73, they aren’t without their share of interesting stories.  Currently on the club is College World Series hero Whit Merrifield, the man who delivered the NCAA title to South Carolina via a walk-off single, right-hander Elisaul Pimentel, the former Great Lakes Loons ace and centerpiece of the Scott Podsednik-to-L.A. deal and former White Sox/Red Sox outfielder Brian Anderson, who is working his way back to the Majors as a right-handed pitcher.

Plenty to talk about with Nick, who also was a former broadcast intern with the Quad Cities River Bandits before getting the job in Burlington this season.

Listen Here:  
Nick Devlin CEL Interview 8.11.10.mp3 

Tonight’s Game Notes: 
8.11.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Right-hander Yoervis Medina (1-0, 6.00) makes his second start and his home debut tonight against the Bees at 7:00 PM, listen to the game online at


Special Guest: Bowen Hobbs

The seven-game winning streak saw its end last night as the LumberKings fell behind 7-3 and ultimately lost 9-6 to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.  Mickey Wiswall, Blake Ochoa and Vinnie Catricala all homered in the losing cause for the Kings, who remain 1.5 games ahead of Beloit for the West Division Wild Card.

For tonight’s interview, I’ve decided to air and post a conversation I recorded recently with
bowenhobbsrattlerlogo.jpggraphic designer Bowen Hobbs.  You’ve probably seen his work if you follow the Midwest League, as Bowen was the artist who created the 2009 Midwest League All-Star Game logo when we hosted the event last season.  He also designed both logos for the LumberBlog.

In addition to those designs, Hobbs has also been working on creating new logos and uniform schemes for all kinds of professional teams.  He’s redesigned many of the logos of teams in our league, including tonight’s series opponent, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (pictured). 

My personal favorite logo is the one he recently posted on the Erie SeaWolves.  For more of Bowen’s original designs and critiques of existing logos and uniforms, visit his blog at

Listen to our conversation here: 
Bowen Hobbs Interview 8.1.10.mp3

Tonight’s Game Notes: 
8.10.10 kingsnotes.pdf

The series ends with Wisconsin tonight as right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (9-4, 2.54) makes his 18th start of the season looking for the series win.  Listen beginning at 6:45 PM on


8/8 Game Notes

Well, it’s raining at Alliant Energy Field right now, but you can still check out LumberKings Game Notes for today: 
8.8.10 kingsnotes.pdf

The rain will stop at some point, and hopefully baseball will follow.  Right-hander Taylor Stanton (8-5, 4.03) is set to make his 19th start of the season against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.  If and when the game starts, it’ll be online at


Blasting Their Way to Six-Straight

Three more homers tonight.  James Jones, Vinnie Catricala, Matt Cerione.  Mix in 6.0 innings of three-run baseball from right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen and 3.0 scoreless relief innings from Daniel Cooper and you have…

…six-straight wins.  This team is extremely fun to watch right now, and a big crowd at Alliant Energy Field saw that tonight.  Hopefully they’re back six more times this homestand.




A Crazy Night in the QC

In case you missed it last night, the LumberKings rallied from 6-0, 7-5 and 10-9 deficits to beat the rival Quad Cities River Bandits 12-11 in 11 innings last night at Modern Woodmen Park. 

Everybody played a role last night, but Henry Contreras was especially clutch with a game-tying RBI single in the fifth and game-tying sacrifice fly with one out in the ninth.  Vinnie Catricala got the game-winning RBI with his second hit of the game, an infield single off the mound that scored Nick FranklinMario Martinez ended up with the RBI single that provided the all-important insurance, driving home Catricala with a grounder to left.

The Kings also played amazing defense.  I counted at least five highlight-reel plays, from Matt Cerione’s leaping catch at the wall to rob Devin Goodwin of a homer in the first to his sliding grab in the sixth to take the bat out of the hands of Matt Adams, to Martinez’s lunging stab to take away a two-run single from Edgar Lara in the fourth to a James Jones-Franklin-Martinez relay to get greedy Luis Mateo at third base in the 10th.  Without those key outs, the LumberKings do not win last night’s game.

Highlights from a night’s worth of clutch:

A fun night in the QC, let’s do it again tonight.


Diamond Debuts, Beavan Impresses in Tacoma

diamond.JPGMy apologies lately for letting a lot of LumberKings alumni news slip through the cracks, but I’ll attempt to resolve some of that right now.

Less than a week after first-baseman Mitch Moreland (’08) became the third former King to make a big-league debut, right-hander Thomas Diamond (’04, pictured left) stepped to the mound for the Chicago Cubs to make his first Major League start last night against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Diamond struck out 10 of the 27 batters he faced over 6.0 innings, but also allowed three runs on seven hits as the Cubs lost, 4-3 to the Brewers at Wrigley Field.  He became only the second Cub in 90 seasons to strike out 10 in his debut. 

Amongst his seven seasons in the Minors (all in the Texas chain until this year) was the 2004 season with Clinton, in which Diamond went 1-0 with a 2.05 ERA in seven starts.  He walked only eight while fanning 42 batters over 30.2 innings as a LumberKing.  Diamond joins Moreland, first-baseman Justin Smoak (’08) and right-hande Omar Beltre (’03) as former LumberKings who have made Major League debuts this season.

Diamond isn’t the only former Clinton pitcher moving up in recent days.  Right-hander Blake Beavan, a member of the 2008 Kings, moved up to triple-A Tacoma and earned a win in his first start with the Rainiers.

Recently acquired by the Seattle Mariners in the deal that sent Cliff Lee to Texas, Beavan was denied his triple-A debut with Oklahoma City but did not have to wait long to get his shot in Seattle.  The Irving, TX native and former first-round pick worked 6.0 innings, yielding two runs on seven hits and striking out two in a 9-3 win over Reno. 

Right-hander Josh Lueke (’07-’08) has also joined Beavan in Tacoma and has pitched well so far, going 0-0 with a 3.00 ERA, no walks and five strikeouts over 3.0 innings.  At least for now, infielder Matt Lawson (’08) has not moved up to Tacoma despite hitting .365 with four doubles, two HR and 14 RBI in just 15 games with double-A West Tenn.

Elsewhere, right-hander Evan Reed (’07-’08) made his first outing as a Florida Marlins farmhand last Saturday, pitching in relief for the double-A Jacksonville Suns.  Reed worked 1.2 innings and struck out one of the six Carolina Mudcats’ hitters he faced.  The former Clinton starter was shipped by the Rangers along with right-hander Omar Poveda (’06-’07) in the deal that brought them Jorge Cantu.  Poveda is still coming back from Tommy John surgery.

Through five games, four starts with double-A Richmond, left-hander Michael Main (’08) is 0-3 with a 13.83 ERA in what has been a rough introduction to the San Francisco system.  The former first-round pick has battled control issues with 14 walks and seven strikeouts over 13.2 innings so far.  Main was acquired by the Giants in the deal that sent catcher Bengie Molina to the Rangers.

With our bus to the Quad Cities leaving in less than an hour, that’s all the time I have for today.  I’ll hopefully have a new interview and game notes prior to the 7:00 PM game against the River Bandits tonight.


A Busy Start to August

100_1952.JPGThe final full month of the 2010 season begins today as your LumberKings continue the series in Wisconsin.  The Kings beat up Rattlers’ right-hander Eric Arnett for seven runs last night, cruising to the 10-0 win.  Matt Cerione homered for the fourth time and fell a triple shy of the cycle, while Blake Ochoa victimized his old team with a towering drive to left for his fourth home run as well.

Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez fired 6.2 scoreless innings to extend his scoreless streak to 14.2 and the bullpen kept the shutout in-tact.

I would love to have caught either Cerione or Ramirez prior to today’s 1:05 PM game, but a lot of other things have kept me busy.  For one, the LumberKings’ roster has been changing.  Ace lefty Jimmy Gillheeney and right-hander Ryan Moorer were both promoted to high-A High Desert yesterday, but the move had not been announced until today.

Furthermore, the Kings have received 26-year-old right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen, who is expected to start in the series finale in Wisconsin tomorrow night.  Wilhelmsen’s story is an intriguing one, and I will get to that in another post/interview.

The moves haven’t stopped there.  After tossing 5.2 scoreless innings in triple-A Tacoma’s 8-2 win over Reno last night, right-hander Yoervis Medina was sent down three levels and will join Clinton today.  I doubt he’ll be available to pitch, but you never know.

Plenty of things to read about in today’s Game Notes: 
8.1.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Right-hander Taylor Lewis (3-1, 6.37) makes a spot start in place of injured righty Nolan Gallagher today, first pitch scheduled for 1:05 PM.  Listen online at!