Kane County’s tremendous season ended with a ring Saturday night in Ohio as the Cougars beat the Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians) 7-2 to wrap up the Midwest League Championship. Kane County followed up a 91-win regular season with a perfect 7-0 mark in the playoffs and finished the championship season with a 98-49 record.
Mark Johnson, the Midwest League Manager of the Year, had his team focused and ready to close out the series Saturday night.
Kane County pounded out 15 hits and as was the case all season, Saturday’s win was a team effort. But it was Jacob Rogers (3-for-4 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored) that smacked a two-run homer in the third inning that gave the Cougars the lead for good. Rogers scored the tying run in the second inning and drove in three of the first four runs before Kane County put the game away with a three-run sixth inning.
Jeimer Candelario (3-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI) was on board for Rogers’ home run in the third and scored on Rogers’ single in the fifth. Shawon Dunston Jr. (0-for-5 with a run scored), Mark Zagunis (2-for-5 with a RBI, a stolen base and a run scored), Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-5 with a RBI), Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-5), Jeffrey Baez (1-for-5), Danny Lockhart (1-for-4) and Carlos Penalver (2-for-3 with a double, a RBI, a walk, a stolen base and a run scored) all contributed to the win in the third and final game of the Midwest League Championship Series.
Daury Torrez allowed one run on five hits with no walks and three strikeouts over five innings Saturday night. The only run off Torrez scored in the first inning before he settled in and turned the game over to the bullpen. Michael Heesch allowed a run on two hits with a walk and six strikeouts in three innings. And Francisco Carrillo closed out the championship game with a perfect ninth inning that included two strikeouts.
After falling behind 1-0 in the first inning, Daury Torrez settled in and the Cougars offense went to work. Kane County tied the game in the second on a Carlos Penalver double that plated Jacob Rogers, who walked to start the inning.
And it was Jacob Rogers in the third inning that gave the Cougars the lead for good. Jeimer Candelario reached on a one out single and was along for the ride when Jacob Rogers smacked a two-run homer to right. Kane County added a run in the fifth and created a little more distance between them and the Captains.
Jeimer Candelario singled with one out and moved up ninety feet on a wild pitch. Yasiel Balaguert singled Candelario to third and Jacob Rogers delivered again, a single to center that plated Candelario. Kane County removed all doubt in the outcome with a three-run sixth inning.
Carlos Penalver bunted his way on with one out and moved to third when Shawon Dunston Jr. reached on an error. Mark Zagunis singled to left and plated Penalver. Dunston moved up to third and scored on a sac fly to left off the bat of Jeimer Candelario. Yasiel Balaguert singled in Zagunis with the Cougars’ seventh and final run of the night … and gave the Kane County pen more than enough runs to lock down the Cougars first championship since 2001.