Results tagged ‘ 2013 Playoffs ’

Big home runs and other news over the weekend

Former Timber Rattlers outfielder Wladimir Balentien broke the old single-season home run record in Japan with his 56th homer. Then, he hit another home run later in the game to give him 57.

Balentien57

From the Japan Times:

As soon as Wladimir Balentien’s bat made contact with Daiki Enokida’s fastball there was no doubt: Japan had just crowned a new home run king.

And the new king’s first decree was that his record total wasn’t high enough yet.

Balentien set the NPB single-season record with his 56th home run of year in the first inning, then hit No. 57 in his next at-bat of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows’ 9-0 win over the Hanshin Tigers on Sunday night at Jingu Stadium.

“I feel so relieved right now,” Balentien said. “Lot of emotions. Just to get this is something unbelievable. This is (something) that nobody was able to do for 49 years. For me to do it, I can’t even explain what I’m feeling right now.”

The 29-year-old Curacao native broke a four-way tie with Japanese baseball legend Sadaharu Oh, Tuffy Rhodes, and Alex Cabrera, who all have 55, to stand alone as the new record holder.

“It’s amazing that he’s homered at a pace of about once every two games,” Oh said in a statement. “This is far beyond a new NPB record and an overwhelming number. I want to enjoy how far he can take it over the next 18 games with the fans.”

Meanwhile in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, former Timber Rattlers first baseman Sean Halton hits a game winning home run to beat the Cincinnati Reds!

With nothing left to play for themselves, the Milwaukee Brewers have fully embraced the role of spoiler over the last month.

That never-say-die attitude was on full display Sunday afternoon at Miller Park when they overcame a poor start by Yovani Gallardo to score five times in the final three innings.

The ninth was especially exciting, with Carlos Gomez robbing Jay Bruce of a go-ahead home run at the center-field wall in the top half and rookie Sean Halton belting a one-out, walk-off homer off Zach Duke in the bottom half to cap a 6-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

“I’ve had a couple (walk-offs, in the minor leagues), but nothing comes close to this one,” said Halton. “Especially against a team that’s playing well and in the hunt. We’ve been playing that spoiler role lately, and hopefully we continue that the next couple weeks.”

Since, Todd Rosiak’s story mentioned the catch by Gomez….

The other news was from Adam McCalvy’s blog post that notes all of the players that will be taking part during instructional league in Arizona. Rattlers manager Matt Erickson will be in charge of a team down there.

Add the fall instructional league to Brewers prospect Jason Rogers’ busy schedule.

Rogers and top 2013 Draft picks Devin Williams and Tucker Neuhaus highlight the list of players reporting Sunday to Maryvale Baseball Park for an instructional program that gets underway Monday morning. Rogers, who manned first base at Double-A Huntsville this season, will work a bit at third base before primarily playing left field in the Arizona Fall League as the Brewers increase his versatility for 2014.

Fifty-three players in all are listed on the Brewers’ instructional league roster — 42 on the regular roster and 11 more on an advanced roster. They include 20 of the team’s 2013 First Year Player Draft picks, and eight players from MLB.com’s list of the top 20 Brewers prospects: outfielder Tyrone Taylor (No. 4), shortstop Orlando Arcia (No. 6), outfielder Victor Roache (No. 8), right-hander Williams (No. 9), catcher Clint Coulter (No. 11), infielder Neuhaus (No. 13), and right-handers Drew Gagnon (No. 15) and Damien Magnifico (No. 19).

Also participating are shortstop Franly Mallen and outfielder Nicolas Pierre, who received record-setting bonuses in the Dominican Republic in July.

The full list is available at that post. There are a lot of former (and future) Timber Rattlers on that list.

Some of those players are still playing with the Helena Brewers. Helena lost Game One of the best-of-three Pioneer League Championship Series at Idaho Falls on Saturday.

The first game of the Pioneer League Championship Series featured a championship caliber pitching performance from each side. Jonathan Dziedzic and a trio of Idaho Falls relievers out dueled Anthony Banda and Tristan Archer as the Chukars beat the Brewers 2-1 on Saturday to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.

Dzidezic picked up the win after limiting the Brewers to just two runs in six innings. He struck out eight and walked one.

Josiel Martinez allowed an unearned run in the seventh and Glenn Sparkman relived him in the eighth and struck out three in 1.2 innings.

Kyle Bartsch faced just one batter, pinch hitter Jalen Harris, and struck him out to close out the game and earn the save.

Banda kept the Brewers in the game as he allowed two runs on five hits in six innings. Archer allowed no runs in two frames.

Game Two is tonight in Helena. Go, Brewers!

Lastly, the Midwest League season came to an end on Saturday night in Davenport, Iowa. The Quad Cities River Bandits swept the South Bend Silver Hawks in the best-of-five Championship Series to win the MWL Pennant for the first time since….2011.

Josh Hader isn’t even old enough to legally drink the champagne that was being splashed around the Quad-Cities River Bandits dressing room Saturday night.

He was more than happy just to wear some of it.

A little more than six weeks after being traded from his hometown Baltimore Orioles to the Houston Astros organization, Hader helped put the finishing touches on the River Bandits’ second championship season in three years.

The slender 19-year-old left-hander shut out the South Bend Silver Hawks on three little singles through seven innings as the Bandits completed a sweep of the Midwest League championship series with a 4-2 victory in front of a lively crowd of 3,607 at Modern Woodmen Park.

Hader, who went 2-0 in just five appearances with the Bandits in the regular season, also went 2-0 in the postseason and he was never in any sort of serious trouble Saturday. He allowed only four baserunners, only one of whom got as far as second base. He also struck out eight Silver Hawks.

And then there were two….

The Midwest League Championship Series is set,  South Bend will represent the East and Quad Cities will represent the West.

South Bend won Game Five of the Eastern Division Finals at home

Fort Wayne pitching coach Burt Hooton had barely reached the dugout steps after talking with pitcher Joseph Ross about what to do with South Bend slugger Brandon Drury with runners at second and third and two out in the fifth inning, when Drury made the TinCaps regret their decision.

Drury swatted a three-run homer that rocketed off of the pro shop’s brick wall behind the left-field fence, sending South Bend on its way to a 9-5 Minor League Baseball victory and the Midwest League’s Eastern Division championship.

The Silver Hawks won the playoff series 2-1 against its Indiana rival. South Bend’s pennant is the seventh in franchise history. It won Midwest League crowns in 1989, 1993 and 2005, and was runner-up in 1990, 2001 and 2008.

South Bend Tribune  photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN

South Bend Tribune photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN

Quad Cities won Game Five of the Western Division Finals on the road

Rio Ruiz, Teoscar Hernandez and Carlos Correa ensured that victory for Quad-Cities in the deciding game of the Midwest League Western Division Championship Series was as easy as 1-2-3.

Each belted home runs as part of a power surge which carried the River Bandits to a 9-5 victory over Beloit on Monday at Pohlman Field, sending Quad-Cities to the Midwest League Championships for the second time in three seasons.

The River Bandits matched a season high with 17 hits, including four doubles and two triples in nine in addition to the three homers which came during the game’s first three innings and led Quad-Cities to a 5-0 lead which went untouched as Daniel Minor recorded his second straight six-inning start on the mound.

Note on that article states that this is the eleventh time the Quad Cities franchise has made the MWL Championship Series in 54 years.

Good luck to both.

2013 MWL Final 4

All four of the Midwest League’s first round playoff series ended in sweeps on Thursday night.

The Gazette-KCRG photo by Jim Slosiarek

The Gazette-KCRG photo by Jim Slosiarek

In the West:

Quad Cities got past Cedar Rapids:

The Bandits walked into Perfect Game Field on Thursday night and walked out with a 4-2 victory over the Cedar Rapids Kernels and a sweep of their opening-round best-of-three series in the Midwest League playoffs.

The Kernels had the best overall record and the best home record of any team in the league this season, but they went 6-13 against Quad-Cities. They managed to collect just three runs and eight hits in the two-game set.

And for the Cedar Rapids view of things…

Great season ends for Kernels

Some year, the Cedar Rapids Kernels will end what has become a two-decade drought and win the Midwest League championship. But it won’t be this year.

The Quad Cities River Bandits completed a sweep of the Kernels Thursday night via a 4-2 victory in Game 2 of this first-round playoff series.

A very nice midweek crowd of 2,660 fans at Veterans Memorial Stadium seemed more than ready to make noise, but their boys ended up not giving them a whole lot to cheer about. So many wins this season, but none when rings were on the line.

“We accomplished so much. Growth from every player,” said Kernels catcher Michael Quesada. “As a person and a player, everyone just grew up a whole lot this season. It didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to, but we definitely battled. We never, ever gave up. This happens sometimes. Some teams just have your number. We ran into the wrong team at the wrong time.”

Quad Cities faces Beloit in the Western Division finals beginning Saturday. The River Bandits went 12-6 against Cedar Rapids this season, the only team in the division to have a winning record against a club that won a league-high 88 games, second-most in club history.

Beloit swept Clinton out of the postseason:

Beloit took the lead in the fourth when it scored two runs on a throwing error by LumberKings pitcher Dylan Unsworth, then tore into relief pitcher Jochi Ogando in the fifth. John Wooten drove in a pair of runs with a line drive double to left, then scored himself on an error by Clinton shortstop Brock Hebert.

Dylan Covey pitched six strong innings to get the win for the Snappers, allowing only three baserunners.

In the East:

Fort Wayne moved past Bowling Green

The TinCaps beat Bowling Green 9-5 on Thursday to sweep a best-of-three playoff series against the Hot Rods and move on to the Eastern Division finals. Fort Wayne will play South Bend in Game 1 at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Parkview Field.

All this after finishing the second half 12 games below .500 and watching the Hot Rods surge to the overall Midwest League Eastern Division lead.

“Not surprised at all,” TinCaps manager Jose Valentin said. “I got no doubt in my team.”

Fort Wayne starter Zach Eflin, the Midwest League leader in ERA among starters, put on another strong performance in front of a crowd of 4,377 at Parkview Field. The 19-year-old went six innings and gave up five hits, two earned runs and one walk while striking out five.

“We’re finally starting to play as a family,” Eflin said. “We really started to pick it up and cherish it.”

South Bend defeated Great Lakes

“We had one menace the whole season,” South Bend manager Mark Haley said. “Great Lakes owned us (taking the regular-season series 10-5). They kicked our butts. That works towards your favor, sometimes. Guys were ready to show what they really are. When it means something, we’re really going to go at it, and that’s exactly what our players did. I’m very happy with them. They stepped up.”

[Braden] Shipley, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ first-round pick in the 2013 Draft (15th overall), worked seven innings, allowing one run (unearned) and two hits. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound right-hander from Medford, Ore., struck out four and walked three.

And a reminder why this is a special season for Mark Haley

“This one here was really special, after all I’d been through the last year and a half,” Haley said before the Hawks’ 5-1 first-round playoff clinching win over Great Lakes. “It’s been nothing but hospitals and ailments. This one here has to go to my wife (Ann). She’s the one that got me going in times … 18 days in a coma; ileostomy; colostomy; stomach mesh; staph infection. Then, to top it all off, a heart attack. All in a year in a half.

“People say, ‘Aw, you’ve been through a lot.’ Heck, I just laid there in bed watching fishing shows and ‘Duck Dynasty.’ I’m laying there having people wait on me. Who’s raising the family? Who’s taking care of the bills? Who’s going to work? She’s the one doing it. When I’m having trouble, she’s pushing me.”

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