Results tagged ‘ Highlights ’

Game 2 Highlights

The 2011 season came to an abrupt end for your LumberKings last night as they saw a 3-1 lead slip away in a 5-3 loss to the Quad Cities River Bandits.  The loss gives the Bandits a two-game sweep of the West Division Quarterfinals series, they’ll now play the winner of the Kane County/Burlington series to determine this year’s West Division champion.

Eddie Menchaca’s Kings scrapped with the Bandits last night, getting a run right away in the first inning on Mike McGee’s first-career playoff home run, a bomb off the center-field batter’s eye (listen:  McGee Solo HR (#1) 9.8.11).  Quad Cities tied the game with help from an error in the second inning, getting a two-out RBI single from Colin Walsh.  Left-handers Anthony Fernandez and Anthony Ferrara dueled to a 1-1 tie over the first five innings (listen:  Fernandez Fans Gil 9.8.11), and it would be the LumberKings that took a 3-1 advantage in the top of the sixth.  Stefen Romero clubbed a solo home run to left (listen:  Romero Solo HR (#1) 9.8.11) and Anthony Phillips added a two-out double scoring John  Hicks (listen:  Phillips RBI double 9.8.11), giving Clinton their largest lead of the entire series.

However, the Bandits would score three times against Fernandez in the bottom of the sixth, including an RBI double by Jonathan Rodriguez, game-tying sacrifice fly by Nick Longmire and game-winning RBI single from Walsh.  Walsh would walk and score on a Jonathan Arias wild pitch for insurance in the ninth inning, and that was the end of the hopes for the Kings.  Left-hander Dean Kiekhefer worked a scoreless ninth for the second-straight game, finishing off the series.

And so, the season ends far short of the goal this club had established after finishing the first half at 24-46.  Still, what a remarkable job done by Menchaca, pitching coach Rich Dorman and hitting coach Terry Pollreisz in turning this team 180 degrees around with a lot of the same pieces as the first half.  The pitching staff jumped from 16th to 8th in the Midwest League in the second half, while the hitters heated up in time to reel off eight-straight wins, sending the Kings to the playoffs for the 10th time in the last 14 years. 

Thanks again to all who have been reading the daily updates here at The LumberBlog all season long.  This blog ranked #24 out of the top 50 ProBlogs in August, and I couldn’t be more proud to see so much interest in a team located in such a small market.  With the onset of the offseason, there won’t be as much daily content here, but in the near future I’ll be rolling out the full 2011 season wrap-up and player bios and probably composing a few “Top 10″ lists like I did last year.  Stay tuned for all of that, and of course, if you have any ideas for content or words of any kind you’d like to pass my way, you can do so by emailing me at davelezotte@lumberkings.com.

It still feels weird to say on a bright and sunny day perfect for baseball, but enjoy the start of your offseason.  I’ll do my best to enjoy mine.

-DL

MWL Quarterfinals – Game 2 Notes

The LumberKings opened the 2011 Midwest League Playoffs at home with a 9-5 loss to the Quad Cities River Bandits last night.  Bandits’ first-baseman Jonathan Rodriguez went 2-for-3 with five RBI on the night including a three-run homer in the first inning off left-hander Tony Butler that ensured Quad Cities would never trail.  Oscar Taveras drove home two more runs as part of a three-run second inning, giving the Bandits a 6-0 lead.  Mike McGee doubled home Anthony Phillips in the third (listen:  McGee RBI double 9.7.11) and John Hicks blasted a two-run homer down the left-field line in the sixth (listen: Hicks 2-R HR (#1) 9.7.11) to cut the deficit to 6-3 and chase right-hander Boone Whiting from the game.  RBI from Hicks and Julio Morban brought the Kings to within two runs in the bottom of the seventh, but Mickey Wiswall missed out on a golden opportunity with the bases full and one out.  Bandits’ right-hander Aidan Lucas got Wiswall to bounce back to the mound, then turned a 1-2-3 double play to end the threat.  Right-hander Tyler Burgoon surrendered an RBI single to Taveras and RBI double to Rodriguez in the top of the ninth, and Clinton couldn’t touch left-hander Dean Kiekhefer in the final at-bat.

Thus, Eddie Menchaca’s LumberKings are down 1-0 in the best-of-three series as things shift to Modern Woodmen Park.  The Davenport, IA home of the Bandits wasn’t kind to the Kings this season as Quad Cities won seven of the nine meetings, but the only path to the West Division Championship Series is back-to-back road wins.  Fortunately, left-hander Anthony Fernandez has excelled in road parks this year, going 5-0 with a 1.91 ERA in 11 games, 10 starts.  He’ll earn the pivotal Game 2 start tonight, while the Bandits counter with left-hander Anthony Ferrara (13-7, 3.03).

Tonight’s Game Notes:   9.8.11 kingsnotes _quarterfinals.gametwo_

A bonus note that is encouraging for the Kings tonight…Clinton went 0-6 in the opening games of playoff series from ’07-’10, but followed up with wins in Game 2 four times in that span, winning three of the six series.  Last year, the Kings went 5-1 in elimination games in the playoffs, including back-to-back road wins at Cedar Rapids in the West Division Quarterfinals.  Meanwhile, Quad Cities held a 1-0 lead on Kane County returning home last year, but were eliminated with two-straight home losses to the Cougars.  Will history repeat itself?  Listen to the broadcast at 7:00 PM on 1390kcln.com to find out.

-DL

Second-Half Highlight Reel

With Game One of the Midwest League West Division Quarterfinals just over six hours away, it’s time to get hyped up.  As promised, I’ve completed a second-half highlight reel featuring a few of the best moments of Clinton’s run to the West’s top playoff seed.

Relive the sounds of Stefen Romero’s home run to reach a 13-game hitting streak in Burlington, the final out of Taijuan Walker’s complete-game win over Great Lakes, Anthony Phillips’ steal of home in Wisconsin, Carlos Ramirez’s walk-off two-run single against Peoria, John Taylor’s playoff-clinching save against Beloit and more.

Listen Here:  2011 Second Half Highlight Reel (Finished)

Game notes, pregame interview, Game One lineups and more coming up later today.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: Stephen Kohlscheen (Vol. 2)

Clouds overhead at Elfstrom, but likely no two-our rain delays tonight.

The LumberKings completed their final goal of the regular season last night at Kane County, clinching the top playoff spot in the West Division with a 6-1 win over the Cougars.  Eddie Menchaca’s crew had to wait out a two-our, 20-minute rain delay before finally hitting the field at 8:15 PM, but once they did, they were ready to go.  Brad Miller went 3-for-5 with three RBI on the night (listen:  Miller 2-run single 9.3.11), while right-handers Stephen Kohlscheen and Jessie Nava combined on a seven-hitter with just one run allowed.  Kohlscheen improved to 5-3 with the win, getting some assistance from his defense (including Stefen Romero’s throw to John Hicks on a double-steal attempt, listen:  Romero to Hicks Play on Espinal 9.3.11) as he pitched largely to contact all night.  Nava struck out six over the final 3.0 innings including Yowill Espinal to end the game, cementing Clinton as the top second-half seed in the West (listen:  Nava Strikes Out Espinal to Clinch Top Playoff Spot 9.3.11).

My interview guest tonight is Kohlscheen, the starting pitcher in each of Clinton’s last two wins including their August 28th victory over Beloit that clinched a playoff spot.  He talks about last night’s outing including waiting out the two-hour-plus rain delay, pitching in back-to-back clinching games, facing Quad Cities in the first round of the playoffs, the club’s second-half turnaround and more.

Listen Here:  Kohlscheen Interview 9.4.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  9.4.11 kingsnotes

Left-hander Anthony Fernandez was scheduled to start tonight, but has been given the game off to rest up.  Left-hander Ryan Kiel (0-1, 3.24) will make just his second pro start in a spot role tonight instead.  Kane County counters with right-hander Leondy Perez (7-13, 3.53).  First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 PM, listen to the game on 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tuesday Notes (8/30)

The streak had to end sometime for your LumberKings, and that time came last night with a 6-3 defeat at the hands of the Beloit Snappers.  After tasting only victory over the last eight days, the Kings fell behind 4-0 in the fifth as Nate Roberts delivered a bases-loaded RBI single to center and Michael Gonzales followed with a three-run homer into the right-field Lumber Lounge.  Left-hander Anthony Fernandez gave up a total of five runs, one earned, over 5.2 innings in his first loss since July 17.  Kalian Sams clubbed a three-run homer over the Coors Light Picnic Pavilion (listen: Sams 3-R HR (#17) 8.29.11) to cut the deficit to 5-3 in the sixth, but that would be as close as Clinton would get all night.  Snappers’ right-hander A.J. Achter picked up the win with three runs over 5.1 innings and 10 strikeouts.

Tonight’s Game Notes:  8.30.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineup:  8.30.11 lineup

With seven games remaining (including tonight’s regular-season home finale), the LumberKings have a magic number of five games to clinch the West Division’s top playoff spot over Kane County.  Left-hander Roenis Elias (3-1, 3.94) hopes to get them one step closer to doing so.  He’ll be opposed tonight by Beloit right-hander Blayne Weller (5-6, 4.23).  First pitch (pending rain) is scheduled for 6:30 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: Mike McGee (Vol. 2)

It was a Sunday for celebration for your LumberKings as they defeated Beloit 5-2 yesterday, extending their winning streak to eight-straight games and clinching a second-half playoff spot.  Mike McGee singled home a run in the first inning (listen: McGee RBI single 8.28.11) and Stefen Romero added a sacrifice fly to put the Kings ahead 2-0, but the Snappers came back to tie the game against right-hander Stephen Kohlscheen on a solo home run by Lance Ray and RBI single by Nate Roberts.

The game stayed tied 2-2 until the seventh, when the Kings scored three runs with just one hit off the combination of Snappers’ right-handers Manuel Soliman and Adrian Salcedo.  Mickey Wiswall reached first on an error by Ray in left and took second as Kalian Sams walked.  Kevin Rivers bunted both over into scoring position, setting up the winning play.  Anthony Phillips sent a chopper to Jairo Perez at third base and Perez threw home on Wiswall, but catcher Tobias Streich put a high tag down after Wiswall’s foot had crossed the plate.  Carlos Ramirez added a safety squeeze bunt to score Sams and Julio Morban lined the only hit of the inning to score Phillips (listen:  Morban RBI single 8.28.11).

Right-hander Matt Bischoff won for the fourth time in relief with 3.0 scoreless innings after Kohlscheen’s exit.  Right-hander John Taylor finished off the game with his first Midwest League save, striking out Roberts on a 3-2 pitch (listen: Taylor First Save, Playoffs Clinched 8.28.11).

Weighing in on yesterday’s clincher is McGee, a pivotal contributor to the most-recent two wins.  The Kings’ center-fielder talks about his home run to beat the Snappers on Saturday, the importance of scoring runs early during this tremendous two-week run, the team’s focus for the final eight regular-season games, the new-found confidence of the offense and more.

Listen Here:  McGee Interview 8.29.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  8.29.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineups:  8.29.11 lineup

As McGee indicated, there’s still work to be done in these final eight games.  The LumberKings lead Kane County by 4.0 games for the West Division’s top playoff spot and have a magic number of five to edge the Cougars.  Left-hander Anthony Fernandez (7-3, 2.86) gets the start in game three of this four-game set against Beloit tonight, while the Snappers counter with right-hander A.J. Achter (4-7, 4.63).    First pitch on “Ashford University and Clinton Community College Back to College Night” is scheduled for 6:30 PM.  Listen online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Today’s Interview: John Taylor

The win streak is seven and the magic number is one after the LumberKings’ 6-2 win over the Beloit Snappers last night.  Mike McGee had a huge performance in the three hole, going 3-for-4 with a game-winning solo home run in the fifth inning off left-hander Ryan O’Rourke (listenMcGee Solo HR (#4) 8.27.11).  John Hicks extended his hitting streak to nine-straight games with a 2-for-4 game including a two-run triple off lefty Nelvin Fuentes that broke the game open (listen: Hicks 2-R triple 8.27.11).  Left-hander Tony Butler allowed two runs over 5.2 innings and pulled off a nifty double play to help his cause (listen:  Butler Double Play 8.27.11).  Left-hander Ryan Kiel tossed 2.1 scoreless innings and right-hander Tyler Burgoon worked a scoreless non-save ninth to give Butler his third win of the year.  O’Rourke fell to 5-4 with the loss.

The math today is simple, beat Beloit and a playoff spot is secured.  The Kings also have a 3.0 game lead on Kane County for the top playoff spot in the West and are tied with Quad Cities for first place in the division, just their second day with a share of first all season (the other being June 24, the second day of this half).

Read more in today’s Game Notes:  8.28.11 kingsnotes

Today’s Lineups:  8.28.11 lineup

Usually I don’t do an interview on Sundays, but I caught up with Kings’ right-hander John Taylor (pictured) yesterday.  Taylor, Seattle’s 22nd round pick out of the University of South Carolina in 2011, worked his third hold in the finale of the series at Cedar Rapids.  He talks about his unique submarine-style delivery and when he picked it up, the pitches he throws from the drop-down angle, his experience with the two-time College World Series Champion USC Gamecocks, the playoff push with Clinton and more.

Listen Here:  Taylor Interview 8.27.11

Taylor and the LumberKings go for the playoff berth today, first pitch at 2:00 PM.  Right-hander Stephen Kohlscheen, 4-0 with a 1.86 ERA in five starts, gets the call for Clinton today.  Beloit has right-hander Manuel Soliman (7-10, 4.08 ERA) slated to start.  Listen to the broadcast online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: John Hicks (Vol. 2)

Three, it’s the magic number.  Literally.

And yet it was almost still four as the LumberKings watched a 4-1 lead suddenly turn into a 4-4 tie heading into the 10th last night in Cedar Rapids.  A pair of two-out hits from Julio Morban and another from Kevin Rivers helped the Kings establish the early lead behind right-hander Carter Capps, who gave up just one run over 5.0 innings and struck out seven.  Right-handers John Taylor and Ben Versnik combined on 3.0 scoreless innings, but right-hander Jonathan Arias allowed a two-run single to Brian Hernandez in the ninth and issued a wild pitch on what was supposed to be the final strike of the game on Jean Almanzar.

Instead of Almanzar going down swinging and Arias locking down his 10th save, the ball kicked to the left of catcher John Hicks for a wild pitch, scoring Ricky Alvarez to tie the game.  Arias recovered to strand runners at second and third, and in the 10th, Hicks lifted a sacrifice fly scoring Morban to put the Kings back ahead (listen:  Hicks GW sac fly 8.26.11).  Right-hander Jessie Nava then worked the Kernels 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 10th to secure Clinton’s sixth-straight win (listen: Nava Strikes out Cruz for 3rd Save 8.26.11).

Hicks saw a string of three-straight three-hit games come to an end as he went a mere 1-f0r-4 last night, but he still extended his hitting streak to eight games and notched the game-winning RBI in the latest “must-win game” for the LumberKings.  Now, he joins me for the pregame interview for the second time this season.  We talk about the wild pitch that scored the tying run in the ninth, his game-winning sacrifice fly in the 10th, his recent offensive hot-streak (which he credits to work with hitting coordinator Jose Castro and Terry Pollreisz), catching Capps last night and more.

Listen Here:  Hicks Interview 8.27.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  8.27.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineups:  8.27.11 lineup

It’s an action-packed opening night of the final homestand of the year as the LumberKings take on the Beloit Snappers.  Once the nearest challenger to the Kings for the Wild Card spot, the Snappers are now fighting to catch up to Kane County as they trail the Cougars by 6.0 games for the West’s final playoff spot.  Clinton can secure their trip to the postseason with two wins against the Snappers in this four-game set. 

Left-hander Tony Butler (2-3, 3.16), 1-0 with a 0.57 ERA against the Snappers back in 2007, gets the game-one nod tonight.  He’ll take on Beloit left-hander Ryan O’Rourke (5-3, 3.05).  First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.  And, if you’re coming to the game, we’ve got post-game fireworks sponsored by WQAD-TV and post-game karaoke by Fat Dawgs Productions.  Should be a good time on this final regular-season Saturday.

-DL

Friday Notes (8/26)

It’s another “show-and-go” night as the LumberKings finish off a three-game series at Cedar Rapids tonight.  Thus, no pregame interview for you.

The Kings look for the sweep of the Kernels tonight after a 5-2 victory at Perfect Game Field last night.  Clinton manufactured their way to the game’s first run in the third inning as Tim Morris walked, stole second, took third on a sacrifice bunt by Anthony Phillips and scored on a groundout by Robbie Anston.  They never trailed after that.  Left-hander Roenis Elias gave up two runs over 6.0 innings to win for the third time on the road this year, and Morris added an RBI on a sacrifice fly in the fifth, Mike McGee doubled home another run in the sixth, Phillips added a double to drive in a run in the seventh and John Hicks capped a 3-for-4 game with his second home run of the year (listen:  Hicks Solo HR (#2) 8.25.11).  Right-handers Matt Bischoff and Tyler Burgoon combined on 3.0 scoreless innings in relief of Elias.

Tonight’s Game Notes:  8.26.11 kingsnotes

The LumberKings are eight games up on Beloit for a playoff spot with 11 games remaining.  Right-hander Carter Capps (1-0, 3.72) makes his third start tonight looking to get Clinton a step closer to clinching.  The Kernels counter with right-hander Brian Diemer (9-10, 4.11).  First pitch is at 6:35 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: Carter Capps

After dropping the opener 7-1 to Kane County on Saturday night, the LumberKings completely flipped the script on the Cougars yesterday, winning 7-1.  Carlos Ramirez ensured the Kings would not trail from the game’s first at-bat onward as he slugged a leadoff home run (listen: Ramirez Leadoff HR (#5) 8.21.11), Clinton’s second of the series.  Kevin Rivers added a two-out RBI single to center in the second to open a 3-0 lead (listen:  Rivers RBI single 8.21.11), and after right-hander Carter Capps allowed his only run of the day in the third, Kalian Sams homered for his team-lead-tying 16th time and Stefen Romero doubled home a pair (listen:  Romero 2-R double (#20) 8.21.11) to break open a six-run advantage.  Right-handers John Taylor and Tyler Burgoon combined for 4.0 scoreless innings to help Capps secure his first professional victory.

Capps, Seattle’s supplemental third-round pick, has seemingly always been ahead of the curve.  After starting out his college career as a catcher, Capps made a conversion to the mound as a red-shirt freshman at Mount Olive College (NC), learned a slider and went 10-0 in his first season.  This past year, he went 14-1 with a 1.75 ERA for the #2 ranked Trojans, taking home the NCAA Division II Pitcher of the Year award while leading his team to the National Semifinals.  While waiting to sign with the Mariners, he prepared for the pros with a 4-1, 0.60 stint for Harwich of the Cape Cod League.  Now, just two games into his pro career, he’s 1-0 with a 3.72 ERA for the playoff-hungry LumberKings.

Capps talks about his first professional win, the catcher-to-pitcher conversion, early work with pitching coach Rich Dorman, stepping in to Taijuan Walker’s rotation spot, his fantastic 2011 season at Mount Olive College, pitching in the Cape and more on tonight’s interview.

Listen Here:  Capps Interview 8.22.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  8.22.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineups:  8.22.11 lineup

The four-game series with the Cougars continues with the pivotal game three tonight.  Left-hander Tony Butler (1-3, 3.38) faces Kane County for the first time since May 24, 2007 when they were still an Oakland affiliate.  He’s countered by Midwest League ERA leader, Cougars’ right-hander Greg Billo (9-3, 1.56).  First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 PM, listen to the game online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

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