The playoffs continued for the Cubs’ affiliates as two teams advanced to their league finals and one went home. Yeiler Peguero was instrumental in Eugene winning their divisional playoff and Game 1 of the Northwest League Championship. Meanwhile, David Bote remains unstoppable for Myrtle Beach, who evened their Mills Cup Championship Series. But the season is over for South Bend despite the efforts of Connor Myers and Tyler Alamo.
As usual, the details are inside today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Short Season Class-A – Eugene Emeralds
Eugene poured it on early on Thursday and then coasted to a 6-2 victory over Hillsboro to even their series at 1-1. Consecutive singles by D.J. Wilson (3-for-4 with a triple and an RBI), Yeiler Peguero (2-for-3 with two RBI), and Chris Pieters (2-for-3 with three RBI) to lead off the game scored both Wilson and Peguero. A bunt single by Wilson drove in Kevonte Mitchell (1-for-4 with a triple) in the second inning. Peguero singled in Robert Garcia (1-for-3) and Wilson came home on a sacrifice fly. Wilson tripled and came around on a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning.
Pedro Silverio dominated as he fanned eight in five scoreless frames. Duncan Robinson went the rest of the way, being charged with two unearned runs and striking out two in four innings for the long save.
It was advance or go home on Friday, as the Emeralds chose the former by beating Hillsboro 2-1 to face Everett in the Northwest League Championship. Erling Moreno pitched the second straight dominant performance by the Ems as he allowed an earned run and struck out seven in five innings. Jed Carter worked around a walk and a hit in an inning before Jesus Feliciano turned to his bullpen mainstays. Michael Knighton tossed 1.2 scoreless innings while Wyatt Short, who has yet to give up an earned run in his professional career, pitched 1.1 innings for the save.
Once again, Eugene struck early as Yeiler Peguero (1-for-2 with a stolen base) scored on a sacrifice fly in the first inning. It was Peguero again coming home on a ground out from Wladimir Galindo (0-for-3 with two RBI) to put the Emeralds ahead for good in the fourth inning.
Game 1 of the Northwest League championship saw some highly anxious moments as Eugene defeated Everett 3-1.Second batter of the game Yeiler Peguero (1-for-3 with a home run) belted a solo home run in the first to give the Emeralds a lead they would never relinquish. D.J. Wilson (1-for-4 with a home run) and Chris Pieters (1-for-4 with a home run) would also crank solo shots in the sixth inning.
Dylan Cease continued his flame-throwing ways as he struck out six in four innings. Michael Rucker sustained the pattern as he tossed three scoreless innings. But Andin Diaz failed to record an out as he loaded the bases in the eighth. Dakota Mekkes appeared to get out of the inning unscathed until the home plated umpire overruled an apparent inning ending double play. An earned run was charged to Diaz as Mekkes worked around a hit in the ninth for the save.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs
South Bend fans were kept in suspension as Friday night’s game was suspended in the eighth inning due to rain. When play resumed on Saturday, it took 10 innings but the SB Cubs finally fell to West Michigan 4-3, ending their 2016 season. Starter Adbert Alzolay had four strikeouts and allowed three runs (two earned) in five innings. John Williamson pitched 1.2 scoreless innings but allowed an inherited runner to score. Pedro Araujo dominated with four strikeouts in 2.1 scoreless frames, but once play resumed Jared Cheek gave up an earned run as he worked an inning.
It was the SB Cubs’ game to lose as they piled up a 3-0 lead starting in the second inning when Connor Myers (2-for-4 with a double, a triple, two RBI and a stolen base) tripled in Tyler Alamo (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI) . Extra base hits were the way once again in the fourth inning as Vimael Machin (2-for-3 with a triple) tripled and doubles from Alamo and Myers accounted for two more runs.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Myrtle Beach is participating in their third straight Mills Cup and second as a Cubs’ affiliate as they came from behind to defeat Salem 2-1 on Friday. Duane Underwood Jr. set the tone as he allowed an earned run and had two strikeouts in five innings. Tommy Thorpe made things interesting with two hits and two walks in 1.1 innings, but Tommy Nance bailed Thorpe out as tossed a scoreless inning. Ryan McNeil locked things down with two strikeouts in 1.2 perfect innings, including striking out the last batter.
Down 1-0 in the seventh, pinch-hitter Daniel Spingola singled in Jeffrey Baez (1-for-3) to tie up the game. A wild pitch allowed Donnie Dewees (1-for-5) to come home with what would be the winning run in the eighth inning.
On Saturday, the Mills Cup began with a titanic clash between Myrtle Beach and Lynchburg, with the Pelicans falling 4-3 in 12 innings. Erick Leal pitched well enough to win as he allowed two earned runs and had an uncharacteristic six strikeouts in five innings. Daury Torrez did some heavy lifting as he fanned four in three perfect innings. Scott Effross had three strikeouts but gave up an earned run in three innings, with James Pugliese being charged with an unearned run in an inning.
The Birds tied the game in the game at 2-2 in the sixth inning after Ian Rice (1-for-6 with an RBI) singled in Donnie Dewees (1-for-2 with a double) and David Bote (4-for-5 with a double and an RBI) scored on a double play. Myrtle Beach knotted the game again in the 11th when Bote drove in Charcer Burks (0-for-5).
You just can’t predict when the Pelicans’ offense will explode as Lynchburg found out on Sunday as Myrtle Beach erupted for an 8-3 victory. A five-run fifth inning was the crusher as David Bote remain hot, going 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI while Charcer Burks belted a solo home run and was 1-for-4. Jeffrey Baez (2-for-4 with an RBI), Erick Castillo (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI), Jesse Hodges (2-for-4), and Donnie Dewees (2-for-3) had multi-hit games while Andrew Ely (1-for-4) drove in a run and Eloy Jimenez was 1-for-3 with an RBI in his Advanced-A debut.
Jeremy Null was touched up for seven hits but allowed only two earned runs as he struck out three in four innings. James Norwood surrendered an earned run as he eventually struck out the side in the fifth. Daniel Lewis had three strikeouts in two innings while Tommy Thorpe worked a scoreless inning. Ryan McNeil slammed the door in the ninth.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs assigned OF Eloy Jimenez to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans from the South Bend Cubs.
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans placed 1B Yasiel Balaguert on the temporarily inactive list.