Results tagged ‘ John Hicks ’

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

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

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: Brad Miller

Your LumberKings own the top playoff spot in the West Division after last night’s 4-2 win over the Kane County Cougars.  The victory capped a 3-games-to-1 series victory over the Cougars and finished off a successful 5-2 homestand (including 2-1 against Quad Cities).  Both the Kings and the Cougars own identical 32-25 records and are tied for second in the standings, but Clinton owns the head-to-head tiebreaker (8 wins vs. 5 losses).

John Hicks finished the series 8-for-10, including 3-for-3 last night with two more doubles and two runs scored.  After the Kings fell behind 1-0 in the first inning, Hicks doubled down the right-field line to lead off the third and scored on a double by Anthony Phillips to tie the game (listen: Phillips RBI double 8.23.11).  Brad Miller, expecting to get his first day off since joining the Kings, came on to replace Carlos Ramirez and lifted a go-ahead double scoring Hicks in the fifth inning (listen: Miller RBI double 8.23.11).  Stefen Romero added an RBI triple scoring Mike McGee for insurance, extending his hitting streak to nine games (listen: Romero RBI triple 8.23.11).  Pitching-wise, it was another two-man show last night as right-hander Stephen Kohlscheen allowed a run over 6.0 innings for his fourth win and right-hander Jonathan Arias struck out five over the final 3.0 innings for his ninth save.

For tonight’s interview, I thought it appropriate to talk with Miller, Seattle’s second-round pick in 2011 out of Clemson Unversity and the newest cog to the LumberKings’ red-hot lineup.  The 2011 ACC Player of the Year talks about his wild first 48 hours as a Mariner, his thoughts on both the ACC award and the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year award, his ties to Iowa (Miller’s dad played baseball at Northern Iowa), his unique left-handed batting stance, joining a LumberKings’ club pushing for the playoffs and more.

Listen Here:  Miller Interview 8.24.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  8.24.11 kingsnotes

Ace lefty Anthony Fernandez gets the game-one start in a three-game series at Cedar Rapids tonight.  Fernandez is 5-1 with a 2.06 ERA and nine quality starts in his last 12 outings and is 6th in the Midwest League with a 2.88 ERA.  He’ll go for win #7 tonight as he takes on the Kernels.  They’ll counter with right-hander Seth Fowler (2-3, 6.80 ERA).  First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tuesday Notes (8/23)

The LumberKings stand a game out of first place after defeating Kane County in a rout, 12-1 last night.  Showing no hesitance against Midwest League ERA leader Greg Billo, the Kings scored six runs in the first inning to take quick command of the game.  John Hicks enjoyed a career-best 3-for-4 game including two doubles and four RBI (listen: Hicks 2-R double 8.22.11 ) and Stefen Romero went 3-for-4 with his 21st double and two RBI to lead the way (listen:  Romero RBI double (#21) 8.22.11).  Brad Miller, playing in just his third game as a pro, chipped in with a 3-for-3 game including his first-career extra-base hit (listen: Miller Double (First Extra-Base Hit) 8.22.11) and first-career RBI (listen:  Miller Sac Fly (First RBI) 8.22.11).

Left-hander Tony Butler won for the first time since July 8 as he allowed a run on four hits over 6.1 innings and struck out eight.  Right-hander Ben Versnik lowered his ERA from 10.80 down to 6.00 with 2.2 scoreless innings of relief.

Tonight’s Game Notes:  8.23.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineups:  8.23.11 lineup

The Kings close the four-game series with the Cougars tonight with right-hander Stephen Kohlscheen on the mound (3-3, 5.14)…he’s 3-0, 1.96 over his four starts with Clinton.  Kane County counters with right-hander Yordano Ventura (3-4, 4.54).  First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: Anthony Phillips (Vol. 2)

The LumberKings secured their first series split of the season last night in Wisconsin, scoring six runs over the first four innings and getting another impressive outing from right-hander Taijuan Walker in a 6-1 win over the Timber Rattlers.  John Hicks connected on his first-career home run in the second inning (listen: Hicks 2-R HR (First of Career) 8.5.11), Stefen Romero added his 14th blast in the fourth and Anthony Phillips provided a spark with a 3-for-4, tw0-run, three-steal game including a heist of home plate (listen:  Phillips Steals Home (3rd Steal of Inning) 8.5.11).  Walker allowed a run over 5.0 innings and struck out six for his fifth win, ending his night with an athletic play off the mound on an attempted squeeze bunt by T.J. Mittelstaedt (listen:  Walker Defends Squeeze Bunt 8.5.11).  Right-handers John Taylor and Jonathan Arias combined on eight strikeouts over the final 4.0 innings with Arias picking up his fifth save.

Tonight, I catch up with Phillips for the second time to talk about his career-high-tying three hits, three-steal second inning including the daring sprint to the dish, his defense behind Walker and more.

Listen Here:  Phillips Interview 8.6.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  8.6.11 kingsnotes

The eight-game road trip continues with the second leg beginning tonight as your LumberKings take on the Burlington Bees at Community Field.  Left-hander Tony Butler (1-1, 2.41), pushed back from the Wisconsin series, starts tonight.  Last time Butler pitched here on August 26, 2007, he shut down then-Kansas City-affiliated Burlington to four hits in his first (and only) career complete-game shutout.  Butler is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA in three outings against Oakland affiliates.  The Bees throw right-hander Jonathan Joseph (2-4, 6.52) tonight, he’s a career 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in one start against Clinton.

Listen to the broadcast on 1390kcln.com beginning with the pregame show at 6:15 PM, first pitch at 6:30.

-DL

Follow me on Twitter at @davelezotte and the LumberKings at @LumberKings.

Tonight’s Interview: John Hicks

Following a 2-4 trip to the East Divison, the LumberKings are back at Alliant Energy to open a six-game homestand against Wisconsin and Peoria.  The Kings finished their schedule against the East with a win on Monday at West Michigan thanks to two more career firsts from catcher John Hicks.  A day removed from recording his first two extra-base hits (3-for-4 with two doubles, RBI), Hicks enjoyed his first multi-RBI game and plated his first game-winning run as he went 1-f0r-3 with two RBI.  His two-out bleeder to left-center in the eighth dropped in to score Mike McGee, giving the Kings the 4-3 lead and ultimately the win by that score.

Seattle’s fourth-round pick out of the University of Virginia last June, Hicks is just 10 games into his pro career with the LumberKings.  On his first pregame interview, the Sandy Hook, VA native weighs in on his big hit on Monday, adjusting to the pro game at the plate and behind it, working with hitting coach Terry Pollreisz and catching coordinator Roger Hansen, his time at Virginia alongside left-hander Danny Hultzen (Mariners’ 1st round, 2nd overall) and third-baseman Steve Proscia (Mariners’ 7th round) and more.

Listen Here:  Hicks Interview 7.27.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  7.27.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineup:  7.27.11 lineup

Despite a 3-7 mark in their last 10 games, Eddie Menchaca’s club enters tonight alone in third place and just 3.0 games behind first-place Kane County.  Now facing only West Division opponents the rest of the year, it’s safe to say now is the time to make a playoff push.  The homestand begins with the Timber Rattlers, who after narrowly missing a playoff spot in the first half (what would have been their first since ’05 when they were the Seattle Mariners’ affiliate), are 13-17 in the second half.

Left-hander Nate Reed (2-3, 3.86) looks to snap a two-game losing streak as he takes the mound for his fourth start tonight.  He’ll be opposed by right-hander Maverick Lasker (1-3, 5.53) of the Rattlers.  First pitch is at 7:00 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: Eddie Menchaca (Vol. 7)

The six-game East Division swing wraps up tonight in West Michigan, and your LumberKings are again looking to avert a sweep after a close loss.  The Whitecaps scored five runs over the first two innings against a struggling Taijuan Walker and the Kings never fully recovered, scoring four times to keep it close but ultimately falling, 6-4.  John Hicks had a breakout offensive game, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI (listen: Hicks RBI double 7.24.11) and Kevin Rivers sealed his Midwest League Offensive Player of the Week award with a solo home run (listen:  Rivers Solo HR (#8) 7.24.11). 

For tonight’s pregame interview, I check in with LumberKings’ manager Eddie Menchaca.  We talk about the tough trip so far, Rivers’ offensive breakout, Hicks’ season-best performance, Walker’s setback outing, the promotion of Tim Morris and addition of Julio Morban off the DL, tonight’s starter Tony Butler and more.

Listen Here:  Menchaca Interview 7.25.11

Tonight’s Game Notes: 7.25.11 kingsnotes

Butler (1-1, 2.61) starts against West Michigan for the second time in his career, first time since April 22, 2007 while he was with Wisconsin.  The Whitecaps counter with right-hander Kevin Eichhorn (7-3, 3.65).  First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 PM CT, listen to the broadcast online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.