Frontier League News and Notes 6-17: The List Grows

The Frontier League is a little over a month into its 2019 season and teams are beginning to form an identity. However, for some, an established identity can be hard to maintain when frequent roster turnover is apparent. In the following examples, turnover is for good reason.

Over the past week, five players were purchased from the Frontier League by affiliated organizations, making this season’s affiliated list up to eight total players through 33 games. The latest include: RHP Jackson Sigman, RHP Michael Stryffeler, RHP Nick Duron, RHP Dalton Roach and LHP Alec Byrd. Among the aforementioned five signees, three were members of the River City Rascals.

MOVING ON FROM RIVER CITY

Manager Steve Brook’s Rascals lost to the Washington Wild Things on Opening Night, 7-5. Since then, his team has not spent a single day under .500.

A large part of the team’s success results directly from the three members who were recently acquired. Right-handed relief pitcher Jackson Sigman signed with the Milwaukee Brewers, right-handed starter Dalton Roach signed with the St. Louis Cardinals and left-handed starter Alec Byrd signed with the Cincinnati Reds.

Sigman ranked in the top-10 among Frontier League relievers with his 0.77 ERA. He was also tied for the league-lead in saves with seven and sported 18 strikeouts compared to four walks in 11.2 innings pitched. The freshly-turned 24-year-old leaves the Frontier League following his 25 total appearances dating back to last year.

Roach was mentioned in last week’s News & Notes as one of the more overshadowed pitchers in the league due to recent success from current affiliated hurlers Adam Oller and Patrick McGuff. Now the light is shining bright on the 23-year-old, who will get his opportunity with the Cardinals following an outstanding 2019.

Roach managed a 1.12 ERA over five starts and allowed just 17 hits and six walks over 32 innings while striking out 37. He allowed one run and struck out 11 in a complete game victory over the Joliet Slammers in his final Frontier League outing.

Rounding out the Rascals’ list is lefty Alec Byrd, who was sold to the Reds on June 16. The starter returns to affiliated ball after spending his first two professional seasons with the Colorado Rockies. River City went 4-2 in games Byrd pitched, as the 24-year-old leaves boasting 35 strikeouts over 30.2 innings.

REMEMBER TO EXHALE IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS

Deep breathing exercises probably benefits the many out in Southern Illinois, as fans of the Miners have watched their team come back time and time again this season. On June 14 against the Rascals, Southern Illinois rallied for four runs in the 9th inning to walk it off in Marion, as the win marked one of 11 one-run victories on the season.

Southern Illinois Miners broadcaster Jason Guerette had the call during the wild finish:


Remarkably, Southern Illinois is 11-3 in one-run contests this year and celebrated a 19-12 record as last week concluded. The second place Miners have reason to celebrate a successful on field product through 31 games, but also the individual success of right-handed reliever Nick Duron.

Duron, 23, was picked up by the Seattle Mariners on June 12 following his impressive 1.35 ERA over 13.1 relief innings with the Miners. The right-hander returns to affiliated ball following a three-year stint with the Boston Red Sox, beginning in 2015. Duron was assigned to the Mariners’ advanced-A affiliate and has made two appearances in the California League as of June 17.

MORE OF THE SAME OUT IN LAKE ERIE

Dating back to last season, manager Cam Roth seems to have a knack for finding pitching. Among the then 12-team league, the Lake Erie Crushers allowed the fewest earned runs and were ranked among the top-5 in strikeouts and fewest hits allowed.

This season is more of the same, as the Crushers have given up the fewest runs through 31 games, own a league-best 3.03 team ERA and have allowed a league-low 211 hits over 264.1 innings.

Michael Stryffeler is part of the reason Lake Erie’s pitching staff has been so effective. The 23-year-old is also heading to Seattle following his sparkling 0.00 ERA and 16 strikeouts over 13.2 innings.

SHINING THE WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT ON A TOP PERFORMER

Bryant Flete is on an absolute tear over his last five games for Southern Illinois. Flete terrorized opposing pitching to the tune of a 13-for-21 (.619) effort with two doubles, a home runs, four RBI, two walks and no strikeouts.

The former Chicago Cubs and White Sox farmhand is on a mission to climb to the next level, as the left-handed hitter is slashing .413/.476/.489 over 92 at-bats. Flete has at least one hit in 18 of his 22 games with the Miners, including five three-hit performances, one four-hit performance, and one five-hit performance.

LEAGUE LEADERS THROUGH 33 GAMES

Batting Average: Bryant Flete, Southern Illinois Miners (.413)
Doubles: Andrew Daniel, Gateway Grizzlies (12)
Home Runs: Dash Winningham, Saige Jenco, Kyle Davis, Hector Roa, Braxton Martinez, Connor Crane (T-6)
Runs Batted In: Hector Roa, Washington Wild Things (26)
Stolen Bases: Cody Livesay, River City Rascals (17)

Earned Run Average: Frank Valentino, Florence Freedom (1.62)
Innings Pitched: Randy Wynne, Evansville Otters (50)
Strikeouts: Tyler Jandron, Joliet Slammers (50)
Wins: Wynne, Evansville Otters (5)
Saves: Dylan Prohoroff, Connor Eller (T-7)

ThunderBolts come from behind for series sweep

SAUGET, IL – Trailing 2-0 in the sixth inning, the ThunderBolts scored five unanswered runs to beat the Gateway Grizzlies 5-2 and finish a three-game sweep at GCS Credit Union Ballpark Sunday night.

Gateway (14-19) jumped on the board in the third inning on a Shawon Dunston sacrifice fly followed by an Andrew Daniel RBI double. Those were the only runs off of Austin Jones, who pitched five innings and retired the last seven batters he faced following the Daniel double.

The ThunderBolts (17-16) were shut down offensively for the first five innings but with two outs in the sixth, Tyler Alamo hit a solo home run to cut the deficit in half.

In the seventh inning, Micah Coffey and Brynn Martinez singled, putting two on with two outs when Patrick Mathis came up with what proved to be the game winning hit, a double that scored both Coffey and Martinez.

They added a couple of insurance runs in the eighth. Shane Carrier hit a leadoff double and scored on a Tyler Straub base hit that made the score 4-2. Dash Winningham wrapped up the scoring when he doubled home Straub.

Justin Miller (1-1) threw three scoreless innings out of the Thunderbolts bullpen, allowing only one hit and earned his first win of the year. Geoff Bramblett (1-2) allowed a run and recorded only one out for Gateway and took the loss. Joel Toribio tossed a perfect ninth inning for his first save of the year.

The ThunderBolts return home for an exhibition softball game with the Chicago Bandits on Monday before beginning a six-game home stand on Tuesday against the Southern Illinois Miners. Chris Washington (1-3, 2.56) starts game one of the series against the Miners’ Chase Cunningham (4-2, 3.40). It is $2 Ticket Tuesday at Ozinga Field with a 7:05 first pitch. The broadcast can be heard through wcthunderbolts.com.

Phillips’ homer the difference in rain-shortened Otters win

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Thanks to quality starting pitching by Tyler Beardsley and a home run by Dakota Phillips, the Evansville Otters did just enough in a rain-shortened five and half innings to defeat the Schaumburg Boomers 3-2 Sunday.

Sunday’s win gave Evansville back-to-back series wins against Schaumburg.

The Boomers struck first for the second time this series in the first inning. Julio Gonzalez led off with a single and scored on an RBI single from Dylan Jones.

In the top of the third, Jimmy Galusky hit a solo homerun over the left field wall to extend the Schaumburg lead to two.

The Otters were able to respond and get on the board in the bottom of the third with a Keith Grieshaber two-run RBI single that scored Justin Erby and J.J. Gould to even the game at two.

In the bottom of the fourth, Dakota Phillips hit his fifth home run of the season when he smacked a solo shot to dead centerfield to give the Otters a 3-2 lead.

Rain came pouring down on Bosse Field in the bottom of the sixth, causing a rain delay. The game was later officially called, giving the Otters a 3-2 victory.

In a spot start, Devin Rose allowed all three Otters runs – two earned – as he pitched four innings with three walks and two strikeouts. He was credited with the loss.

Tyler Beardsley was credited with the win, tossing six innings, surrendering two runs on five hits. He bookends the homestand that resulted in wins for the Otters, as they were able to win both series against the Boomers and the Windy City Thunderbolts with a 4-2 record in six games.

The Otters will hit the road next week traveling to Washington, Pa. for a three-game set with the Washington Wild Things. First pitch from Wild Things Park will be at 6:05 p.m. with Dave Nguyen on the call.

The Otters are celebrating their 25th anniversary season in 2019.

The Otters will return home to Bosse Field June 25 for a six-game homestand against the Schaumburg Boomers and River City Rascals.

Highlighted promotions for that homestand include $2 Tuesday, Deaconess Strike Out Stroke Night, 14 WFIE and Bud Light Thirsty Thursday, Holly’s House and Deaconess Women’s Hospital Night, Deaconess Employee Night and Princess Night with postgame fireworks, and Sunday’s series finale presented by North American Light, an Indiana Tool Plant.

To purchase a season ticket or group outing package, call (812) 435-8686 or visit the Bosse Field front office at 23 Don Mattingly Way, Evansville, Ind. The front office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions.

The Otters play all home games at historic Bosse Field, located at 23 Don Mattingly Way in Evansville, Ind. Stay up-to-date with the Evansville Otters by visiting evansvilleotters.com, or follow the Otters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For more information, visit evansvilleotters.com or call 812-435-8686.

Wild Things Pitch Their Way to Win, Get Two RBI from Cameron Baranek to Complete Sweep

JOLIET, Il. (June 16) – With an opportunity to earn a sweep for the first time in the 2019 season Sunday, the Wild Things did not disappoint, as they took the finale at Joliet 4-2, behind great pitching for the third-straight night.
The teams traded solo home runs in the second inning to open the scoring at DuPage Medical Group Field. Left fielder JJ Fernandez hit a one-out blast for his fifth of the season and 20th RBI. Harrison Bragg, the Slammers’ third baseman, led off the second with his first in a Joliet uniform.
The game would only be tied until the fourth inning, when the Wild Things loaded the bases with nobody out. Right fielder Cameron Baranek’s sac fly for the first out made it 2-1 Wild Things, but that was all the Things would get in the frame. They’d add a run on a Baranek fielder’s choice in the sixth to lead 3-1.
Nick Wegmann (2-3) got the win, after tossing 5.1 innings of one-run ball. He exited in the fifth with runners on first and third and one out in favor of reliever James Meeker, who struck out Bragg for the second out and on the same pitch, Riley Krane was caught stealing for the third out, as he came up off the bag after being safe and was tagged out to end the threat for the Slammers.
Meeker tossed a scoreless seventh and struck out three (four total in his outing) before the Wild Things added a run on a single scoring Fernandez, who was on base all four times he came to the plate, in the eighth by Drew Bene, Washington’s catcher. That made it 4-1.
Joliet got a run on a flare to center by Harrison Bragg in the eighth it make it 4-2. Then Zach Strecker slammed the door in the ninth, earning his fifth save of the year in the process. Strecker has not been scored upon in 20.2 career innings against Joliet, including the postseason.
The Wild Things, who have now won three in a row for the first time in 2019, turn their attention to a three-game homestand and week-day series with the Evansville Otters. The series opener between the cross-division foes will take place Tuesday at Wild Things Park with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS
The Washington Wild Things are a professional baseball team in the Frontier League that plays in Washington, PA. In 2018, the team won its first East Division Championship since 2007 and came within two runs of winning the first Frontier League title in franchise history. Fans and media can stay aware of all the happenings in the Wild Things’ organization by following the team’s social media and website, washingtonwildthings.com. Season ticket packages, with new-and-improved benefits are now available by calling the box office at 724-250-9555.

FREEDOM STIFLE CRUSHERS TO SETUP RUBBER MATCH

Brandon Pugh powers Florence with two-run shot, Castellani hurls eight shut-out frames

FLORENCE, Ky: After seeing their six-game winning streak snapped on Friday, the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, returned to their winning ways in a, 2-0, blanking of the Lake Erie Crushers on Saturday night at UC Health Stadium.

The Freedom (20-11) notched the only scoring play of the night in the bottom of the second, when Brandon Pugh sent a Dylan Mouzakes (2-2) fastball over the wall in left-center, his two-run shot plating Tyler Reichenborn who singled to lead-off the frame. The round-tripper was the first of the season for Pugh, who now has seven RBI as Florence took their first and only lead of the night, 2-0, over Lake Erie (16-15).

Southpaw, Mike Castellani (4-1) was spectacular on the hill again, spanning eight innings for the second straight outing, all shut-out frames. The Crushers would scatter seven hits on the way to the shut-out defeat, striking out five times versus the lefty. Castellani has now allowed just one earned run over his last sixteen innings on the bump, and has four quality starts in six outings.

Crushers starter, Mouzakes would take the tough-luck loss, tossing a quality start himself with a final line that featured 7 innings of work and six hits that led to two earned runs with one walk an no strikeouts. Augie Gallardo would take the ball in the eighth, facing the minimum while tallying the only strikeout of a Freedom player all night.

Johnathon Tripp landed save number five on the year, facing the minimum over his lone inning of work in the top of the ninth, preserving the two-run victory.

These two teams will square off one final time on Sunday evening at UC Health Stadium. Florence will trot-out their ace right-hander, Tyler Gibson (3-1, 2.47 ERA) opposite righty, Alex Romero (2-0, 2.88 ERA) of the Crushers with first pitch slated for 5:35 p.m. on Father’s Day.

The Florence Freedom are members of the Independent Frontier League and play all home games at UC Health Stadium located at 7950 Freedom Way in Florence, KY.  The Freedom can be found online at florencefreedom.com, or by phone at (859) 594-4487

MINERS TAKE DOWN RASCALS FOR FIFTH STRAIGHT WIN

Southern Illinois takes series at home, will bid for homestand sweep Sunday

Marion, IL (June 15, 2019) – The Southern Illinois Miners kept up their winning ways on Saturday at Rent One Park, beating the River City Rascals 4-3 to take their fifth straight victory and seventh in their last eight games overall while improving to 12-2 at home this season.

It did not begin well for the Miners or rookie starter Greg Marino, who was making his professional debut. The tall right-hander hit J.D. Hearn leading off the first inning and two batters later walked Kameron Esthay before Braxton Martinez snuck a double inside the right field line for a 1-0 River City lead. Nolan Meadows followed with a two-run double to right field and the Rascals had a 3-0 advantage, but Marino struck out two to hold the line there.

The Miners had runners on base all night against River City starter Travis McQueen, however, as they began their comeback in the bottom of the second inning. Jarrod Watkins singled to lead off and later in the frame was driven in by Bryant Flete on a single to make it a 3-1 game. They were then able to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth inning when Flete smacked a one-out double down the right field line followed by an Anthony Jimenez walk and Gianfranco Wawoe single to load the bases. Stephen Lohr brought in a run with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-2, and Kyle Davis followed by rocking a double to left-center field which tied the score at 3-3.

With Marino (1-0) settling in to keep the Rascals at bay on the mound, Southern Illinois took the lead for good in the fifth against reliever Kyle Fimbrez. With two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, Joe Duncan and Flete both singled, and Jimenez reached on an infield hit to the right side, with Duncan hustling all the way from second base to score the go-ahead run and make it 4-3 Miners.

The Miners’ bullpen then made the lead stand up, with scoreless innings from Heath RenzBenjamin DumJordan Brink and Gabe Gentner polishing off the series-clinching victory. Gentner recorded his fourth save in the contest, and Marino earned the victory in his pro debut by lasting five innings and holding the Rascals off the board after their three-run rally in the first inning, walking four and striking out five.

The Miners will now go for a perfect homestand on Sunday in the series finale and look to sweep the Rascals at 5:05 p.m. at Rent One Park, sending Marty Anderson to the hill against a Rascals starter yet to be announced.

The Southern Illinois Miners are the Frontier League’s most-successful franchise since debuting in 2007, winning the 2012 Frontier League Championship as well as division titles in 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2016. They have been awarded the Frontier League Organization of the Year award three times since their inception, and also set a new Frontier League attendance record in their inaugural season. For ticket information, contact the box office at (618) 998-8499. For additional information, visit our website at www.southernillinoisminers.com.

Bolts win second straight from Grizzlies

SAUGET, IL – Cole Bellair allowed one run over five innings in his first professional start and got the win as the ThunderBolts beat the Gateway Grizzlies for the second straight night, 5-1 at GCS Credit Union Ballpark Saturday night.

After trailing 6-0 in the first inning on Friday, the Grizzlies (14-18) struck with an early run on Saturday. Brent Sakurai singled and scored on a Connor Owings base hit. The Grizzlies had three hits in the first inning but were held to only four the rest of the game.

The ThunderBolts (16-16) tied the score in the third inning when Brynn Martinez doubled and Tyler Straub singled him in.

The next inning, Jordan Barrett walked the bases loaded and Jordan Swiss gave the ThunderBolts the lead with an RBI groundout. Barrett walked four in the inning but left the bases loaded and kept the game close.

Connor Mayes maintained the ThunderBolt lead with three perfect innings of relief and the offense added some late insurance. Straub and Manuel Mesa both singled and a throwing error on a Mesa stolen base allowed Straub to score. Mesa scored on a sacrifice fly.

In the ninth, Swiss reached on an error and Brett Coffel doubled him to third. Tyler Alamo’s sacrifice fly made the score 5-1.

Bellair struck out four and did not issue a walk over his five innings for the win and Barrett, despite walking six, allowed only two runs over six innings to take the loss.

The ThunderBolts, who have clinched at least a .500 road trip, will go for the sweep of Gateway on Sunday evening. Austin Jones (1-1, 3.91) gets the start for Windy City against the Grizzlies’ Chris Carden (3-1, 4.93). First pitch from GCS Credit Union Ballpark is scheduled for 6:05 and the broadcast can be heard on WXAV, 88.3 FM and wxav.com.

 

Otters win a wild game, defeating the Boomers 7-6

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – In a game that had a total of 13 runs, 24 hits, and four errors, the Evansville Otters defeated the Schaumburg Boomers 7-6 Saturday night to even the weekend series, capping off the Otters’ 25th Anniversary Season Celebration Night.

The entire game can be described as a roller coaster ride, with many ups and downs.

The Otters jumped out to a two-run lead after an RBI double from Ryan Long and an RBI single by Dakota Phillips in the bottom of the first inning.

Following a quiet second and third innings, Schaumburg’s Julio Gonzalez hit an RBI double to give the Boomers their first run of the game in the top of the fourth. He scored on an error from Carlos Castro, as a ground ball rolled under his glove on a ball hit by Connor Oliver, tying the score at two.

In the fifth, Schaumburg’s Dylan Jones, who hit a two-run homer on Friday night, jacked a solo blast to lead off the fifth, giving the Boomers a 3-2 lead.

After Jimmy Galusky singled, Otters rookie left-hander Jacquis Pacheu, making his first professional start, was pulled after striking out catcher Nick Oddo. He finished with a no-decision, throwing 4.1 innings, allowing four runs – three earned – on nine hits and four strikeouts.

Otters reliever Chris Cepeda entered the game and gave up a two-run home run to Clint Hardy, giving the Boomers a 5-2 lead.

The Otters were able to respond in the bottom half of the inning.

With the bases loaded and two outs, Dakota Phillips hit a ground ball down the first base line. Boomers starter Aaron Rozek threw the ball over the head of first baseman Wilkyns Jimenez, allowing all three runs to score and Phillips advancing to second. He was credited with a single, advancing to second on the error, as the Otters were able to tie the game at five.

Rozek went five innings, allowing six runs – five earned – on nine hits and three walks, taking a no-decision.

Rob Calabrese roped an RBI double to the wall in left-centerfield to give the Otters a 6-5 lead.

Schaumburg responded in the top of the sixth as Galuksy’s RBI double scored Jack Parenty to tie the game at six in the sixth.

Cepeda was pulled for Taylor Wright, who shut the Boomers down in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings.

In the bottom of the eighth, Justin Erby led off by reaching on an error by Schaumburg shortstop Alex Polston. Erby was hurt on the play, causing Hunter Cullen to enter the game as a pinch-runner.

A sacrifice bunt by Meggs moved Cullen to second, and a groundout by Cronin advanced him to third.

Keith Grieshaber forced a walk to put runners on the corners for the Otters.

Ryan Long then hit a ground ball to Jimenez at first, but his throw to pitcher Jake Cousins was not in time. It was ruled an error on Jimenez, allowing Cullen to touch home plate, giving the Otters a 7-6 lead.

Danny Hrbek retired the Boomers in order in the ninth, including a strikeout to Clint Hardy, earning his fourth save of the season.

Wright recorded the win for the Otters, finishing 2.2 innings scoreless in relief.

Cousins took the loss, giving up the one unearned run.

The rubber match of this series will be on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. at Bosse Field. Broadcast coverage can be heard on the Otters Digital Network via YouTube or on the radio at 91.5 FM with Dave Nguyen with the play-by-play and Bill McKeon as the analyst.

Tyler Beardsley will take the mound for the Otters, while Gunnar Kines will be on the hill for the Boomers.

The Otters are celebrating their 25th anniversary season in 2019.

Sunday’s series finale will be presented by WOW! Internet, Cable and Phone.

To purchase a season ticket or group outing package, call (812) 435-8686 or visit the Bosse Field front office at 23 Don Mattingly Way, Evansville, Ind. The front office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions.

The Otters play all home games at historic Bosse Field, located at 23 Don Mattingly Way in Evansville, Ind. Stay up-to-date with the Evansville Otters by visiting evansvilleotters.com, or follow the Otters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For more information, visit evansvilleotters.com or call 812-435-8686.

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