The first half of the season is winding down, as four series remain before the Frontier League travels to Rockland County, New York for the 2019 All-Star game. The festivities will begin July 9 with a Home Run Derby, followed by the first competitive exhibition in history between the Frontier and Can-Am League All-Stars on Wednesday, July 10.
Frontier League All-Star voting is currently underway. The results will be shared Wednesday, June 26. For more information on the 2019 All-Star Game, click HERE.
ON TO THE NEXT CHAPTER
Three more Frontier Leaguers are moving on to affiliated ball, marking the total up to 13 through nearly 40 games this season. LHP Jacques Pucheu, RHP Dylan Prohoroff and RHP Danny Hrbek are the most recent affiliated acquisitions.
Left-hander Jacques Pucheu was sold to the Cincinnati Reds following three years in the Ohio Valley Conference, which included two seasons spent as a starter. Pucheu tossed a combined 170.2 innings as a junior and senior, and posted his best numbers in 2019 with a 2.53 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 81.2 innings pitched. The 22-year-old also spent time in the Cape Cod League in 2018 and later made his professional debut with the Evansville Otters.
Dylan Prohoroff earned a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers after dominating Frontier League competition. The former Windy City ThunderBolt closer did not allow a run in 12.2 innings pitched, struck out 12, walked one and converted all seven of his save opportunities. Prohoroff, 24, returns to affiliated ball after spending three seasons as part of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization from 2016-18.
Danny Hrbek also returns to affiliated ball following his 15 successful appearances with the Otters out of the bullpen this season. The former Kansas City Royals farmhand flashed an impressive 1.08 ERA and 0.840 WHIP in 16.2 innings while striking out 27 and walking five. The 24-year-old Hrbek will continue his professional career with the New York Mets.
THEY’RE GOING STREAKING
Several teams made moves in the standings thanks to stellar play, including the Southern Illinois Miners, Schaumburg Boomers, Washington Wild Things and Florence Freedom.
The Miners rode an eight-game winning streak dating back to June 11, which featured five wins by a one run margin along with a four-run come-from-behind walk-off against River City on June 14. Southern Illinois has played in a league-leading 17 one-run games and have come away victorious in 12 of them.
Southern’s impressive streak was snapped by a hot Schaumburg Boomers bunch, who have won five in a row going into Tuesday, June 25. Left-hander Gunnar Kines threw a two-hit complete game shutout against the Joliet Slammers on June 19 and struck out eight while walking none. The winning-streak propelled the Boomers to a 2.5 game lead atop of the East Division standings at 22-17.
Elsewhere in the East, a Washington bunch is looking up at the Boomers at the moment, but are slowly climbing their way back into contention. It’s been a tough start to the 2019 season for the Wild Things, but the Frontier League’s top run-scoring offense are winners of four straight and seven of their last eight. Washington has outscored their opponents 52-19 over their previous eight contests.
Florence, meanwhile, boast the League’s best record through 37 games and are playing their best baseball of the season. The Freedom have not lost a series dating back to June 5-6 against Windy City and take a five-game winning streak into their contest with Gateway on Monday, June 24. They have a flair for the dramatic during this stretch, too.
JACKSON PRITCHARD FOR THE WIN pic.twitter.com/pJSkaoMdSX
— FlorenceFreedom (@FlorenceFreedom) June 22, 2019
Just two days after the dramatic three-run walk-off home run by Jackson Pritchard, Florence scored a combined four runs in the seventh and eighth innings to come back and defeat the Gateway Grizzlies, 5-3. This Caleb Lopez home run turned out to be the game winner.
Look at this homer! Caleb came in clutch to give us the 5-3 lead pic.twitter.com/lz0zWfSeud
— FlorenceFreedom (@FlorenceFreedom) June 24, 2019
A team looking to climb their way out of a season-long losing is the Windy City ThunderBolts. Entering play on Tuesday, June 18, the Bolts shared a first-place tie with three teams in the East, but a six-game losing streak dropped their record to season-worst five games under .500. Windy City hit .215 as a team during the skid and were outscored 40-17.
SHINING THE WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT ON A TOP PERFORMER
Ryan Long of the Evansville Otters notched a successful week offensively after going 8-for-16 with three doubles, two home runs and eight RBI across five games. Evansville continues to play good baseball as of late winning nine of their last 14, which includes four consecutive series victories.
LEAGUE LEADERS THROUGH 39 GAMES
Batting Average: Bryant Flete, Southern Illinois Miners (.379)
Doubles: Andrew Daniel, Kameron Esthay, Braxton Martinez (T-12)
Home Runs: Dash Winningham, Ryan Long (T-7)
Runs Batted In: Ryan Long, Evansville Otters (33)
Stolen Bases: Cody Livesay, River City Rascals (18)
Earned Run Average: Frank Valentino, Florence Freedom (1.80)
Innings Pitched: Chase Cunningham, Southern Illinois Miners (59)
Strikeouts: Tyler Jandron, Joliet Slammers (63)
Wins: Chase Cunningham, Southern Illinois Miners (5)
Saves: Connor Eller, Schaumburg Boomers (9)