For the second year in a row, the Cubs have placed two affiliates in their respective league championships as Daytona squared off against Ft. Myers (Twins) in the Florida State League Championship. In the Midwest League, the Kane County Cougars, owners of the best record in the minors, have blitzed their way to the Championship by beating Cedar Rapids (Twins) in two games straight.
For all of the details, have a look at today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Editor’s Note: Monday’s report will cover games from Thursday to Sunday. Thursday’s report covers games Monday through Wednesday. Late Games by the Boise Hawks and the AZL Cubs will be carried on the following report.
Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars
The Cougars closed out their best-of-three series with Wisconsin Thursday with a 4-3 victory in 13 innings. Kane County showed true championship caliber in battling back after grabbing an early lead. Chesny Young (1-for-5 with a double) had a one out double to start the game and scored on a double from Jeimer Candelario (3-for-4 with a double and two RBI). Behind 3-1 in the bottom of the eighth, Candelario was hit by a pitch and came around to score on a home run from Mike Olt (2-for-4 with a double, a home run, and two RBI). It would stay tied at three until the 13th inning when Trey Martin (2-for-4 with a stolen base) led off with a single and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and a throwing error. Young was intentionally walked, but Candelario was able to foil the strategy with a single that plated Martin with the series-winner.
Duane Underwood struggled in 3.2 innings. Underwood walked three and gave up five hits and three earned runs while striking out three batters. Michael Heesch came in and stabilized things for the Cougars and struck out two batters in 2.1 innings. James Pugliese pitched in with two scoreless innings and a pair of strikeouts, while Jasvir Rakkar did some heavy lifting as he struck out six in 3.2 innings. Francisco Carrillo kept the Timber Rattlers in check the rest of the way by tossing 1.1 scoreless innings.
Kane County began their Western Division championship series against Cedar Rapids with an impressive 5-2 win Saturday. Daury Torrez kept everything in control despite giving up an earned run by striking out five in five innings. Zak Hermans yielded an unearned run as he had three strikeouts in 1.2 innings. Michael Heesch contributed a strikeout in 1.1 scoreless innings, while Francisco Carrillo struck out the side in the ninth.
The Cougars countered a 1-0 lead by the Kernels in the third after Trey Martin (0-for-2 with a stolen base) walked with one out, stole second, and scored on a triple from Mark Zagunis (2-for-5 with a triple, a home run, and two RBI). Kane County took the lead for good in the seventh after Carlos Penalver (1-for-3) led off with a single and Shawon Dunston Jr. (0-for-4) walked with one out. A wild pitch advanced the runners and both Penalver and Dunston scored on an error that allowed Zagunis to reach first. Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-4 with a triple) began the eighth with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly, and Mark Zagunis hit a solo home run in the ninth.
It’s onward to the Midwest League finals for Kane County as they dispatched Cedar Rapids by the score of 4-2 on Sunday. Starter Paul Blackburn was brilliant as he struck out seven and allowed only one hit in five scoreless innings. Tyler Ihrig relieved and gave up two earned runs in 3.1 innings. Francisco Carrillo struck out the only two men he faced to slam the door on the Kernels.
Jacob Rogers (1-for-4 with a home run) broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth inning when he cranked a solo home run to the opposite field. After Cedar Rapids took the lead in the top of the seventh, the Cougars came back with a walk to Chesny Young (1-for-3 with an RBI). Carlos Penalver (3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) then hit only his second home run of the season that put Kane County ahead for good. The Cougars added insurance in the eighth after Jeffrey Baez (1-for-3 with two stolen bases) had a one out single, stole second and third, and scored on a single by Young. Kane County will now face the Lake County Captains, an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, in a best-of five series starting Wednesday.
High Class–A – Daytona Cubs
Daytona opened the Florida State League best-of-five Championship Series on Thursday with a 5-1 loss to Ft. Myers. Juan Carlos Paniagua was the starter for the D-Cubs and gave up two runs (one earned) while striking out three in three innings. Michael Jensen allowed two earned runs in 2.2 innings, and Stephen Perakslis was nicked for an unearned run as he struck out four in 1.1 innings. Gerardo Concepcion had a strikeout as he pitched a perfect inning. Daytona notched their only run in the sixth inning after Bijan Rademacher (3-for-3) led off with a single and advanced to second on a throwing error. A single by Marco Hernandez (1-for-3) moved Rademacher to third. Rademacher scored on a double from Gioskar Amaya (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI).
The D-Cubs found themselves in a 0-2 hole in their best-of-five series on Friday as they were shutout by Ft. Myers 5-0. In a surprise, Justin Amlung was tapped to start for Daytona and allowed three earned runs in 4.2 innings. Jose Rosario relieved and had three strikeouts in 2.1 scoreless innings. Starling Peralta was charged with two unearned runs in the final inning. Daytona’s offense managed eight hits, but could not put together a threat. Gioskar Amaya was 2-for-5 with a double, and both Wes Darvill and Marco Hernandez went 2-for-4.
Facing elimination on Saturday, Daytona’s offense came up big against Ft. Myers as they held on to win 8-7. The D-Cubs’ offense scored in bunches as they bounced back from a 2-0 deficit in the second inning when consecutive singles by Ben Carhart (2-for-3 with an RBI), Billy McKinney (2-for-3), and Willson Contreras (3-for-3 with a double, a home run, and four RBI) loaded the bases. A groundout allowed Carhart to score the first run, and a single from Marco Hernandez (1-for-4) scored McKinney and Contreras. In the third inning, Kyle Schwarber (1-for-3 with a double) and Dan Vogelbach (0-for-3) walked with one out. A single by Carhart drove in Schwarber but Vogelbach was out going to third. McKinney walked and a double by Contreras scored Carhart. It was the same combination of the batting order in the eighth inning as Carhart drew a one out walk and McKinney singled, and both scored on a three-run blast from Willson Contreras.
It was another odd choice as the D-Cubs named Nathan Dorris to start and he allowed three earned runs while striking out four in three innings. Yao-Lin Wang followed and gave up two runs (one earned) while striking out three in three innings. Gerardo Concepcion worked around a hit and a walk by striking out the side in the seventh. Stephen Perakslis tossed a scoreless eighth inning with a strikeout. Despite giving up a solo home run, Zack Godley was able to fan two and preserve the win.
Game four of the Florida State League Championship was postponed due to weather Sunday and was rescheduled for Monday night.