FIGHTING FREEDOM SWEEP DOUBLEHEADER TO TAKE SERIES FROM RASCALS

O’FALLON, Mo– Needing to sweep the day to grab their seventh series victory of the season, the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, did just that, taking both ends of a doubleheader with the River City Rascals, 5-2, at CarShield Field on Thursday night. The two wins will keep the Freedom in first place in the West Division when they take the field next on Friday at UC Health Stadium.

Florence (22-12) took the first lead of game one in the top of the second inning, getting a single from Ricky Ramirez Jr. to lead-off the frame. The one-bagger extended Ramirez’ hitting streak to nine games, and was his first of four base knocks in the pair of games against River City (18-17). After a pair of walks to Mike Gulino and Jackson Pritchard loaded the bases, RBI-leader Connor Crane put the visitors in front, roping a run-scoring single that made the score, 1-0. Freedom manager, Dennis Pelfrey, was ejected for the first time in 2019 in the inning, having words with home-plate umpire, Mike Fichter after the umpire yelled into the Florence dug-out following a high-strike call.

The Rascals would answer in the third, using a solo-shot from Zach Lavy to even the score at 1. The homer was the first hit Florence starter, Daniel Williams allowed on his way to the no-decision. Taking their first lead in the bottom of the sixth, Artemis Kadkhodian followed a ground-rule double from James Morisano with an RBI-single. Cody Livesay scored the run, pinch-running for Morisano ahead of the base-hit. Williams would not come back out for the seventh, finishing his second start after six quality innings, allowing two earned runs on just three hits with no walks and two strikeouts. The right-hander has now registered back-to-back quality starts to begin his Freedom career.

The game turned towards the Freedom in a thrilling seventh frame, Austin Wobrock stalemating the affair at 2 with a clutch two-out RBI-single that scored Ramirez and brought extra innings on the horizon. Before free baseball arrived in O’Fallon, Florence southpaw, Karl Craigie (3-1) had to find three outs in the bottom of the seventh. Despite seeing the bases get loaded with nobody out, Craigie managed to strikeout the side, giving the visitors all momentum moving into the eighth. The Freedom would not waste any time seizing the game, scoring three runs on four hits to take a, 5-2, lead. Tyler Reichenborn led-off with a single before Luis Pintor made it first and second with an infield single of his own. Two batters later, Andre Mercurio put the Freedom ahead by one, roping a single to center that scored Reichenborn. The very next batter, Ramirez, cleared the bases with a two-run double that stretched the Freedom lead to three. The two-bagger was the third hit of the game for Ramirez, and offered more than enough insurance for closer, Johnathon Tripp in the bottom of the eighth. Tripp would face the minimum, securing his sixth save and the, 5-2, victory. Craigie took the win in relief, the loss going to Anthony Herrera (0-1) after allowing two of the three runs in the top of the eighth. Florence is now, 5-0, in extra inning games in 2019.

GAME TWO

Again jumping in front to take the first lead of the game, Florence enjoyed a, 2-0, edge after the top of the second. Brandon Pugh delivered the first RBI, maximizing a Ryan Rinksy walk with a triple off the wall in left-center. Crane again plated a run next, pulling a single to left that scored Pugh and made it a two-run game. Crane now has 25 runs batted in on the season, tying him for third most in all of the Frontier League.

River City would tie the game at two in the bottom of the fifth, getting a pair of hits to start the frame, spelling the end for Freedom starter, Zak Spivy. With one out in the inning, Ryan Mordecai (3-1) emerged from the bullpen to find the final two outs with runners at first and second. Tanner Murphy and Trevor Achenbach would both tally run-scoring singles, the runs charged to Spivy as the score stalemated again. Spivy spanned 4.1 innings allowing two earned runs on three hits with two walks and two whiffs in his debut start on the bump. The right-hander would go on to take the no-decision.

Answering the bell in their very next at-bat, the Freedom plated three runs off Andrew Vernon (0-1) to again seize control of the game moving into the final frame. Reichenborn started the rally, tripling off the monstrous wall in right field to put the go-ahead run at third base. A wild pitch would allow Reichenborn to score, giving Florence a, 3-2, advantage. After a walk to Lopes and a Mercurio base-knock put runners at first and second, Pintor laid down a sacrifice bunt to push both runners in scoring position. With two outs, Pelfrey called on Ramirez to pinch-hit for Rinsky, his nine-game hitting-streak hanging in the balance. Ramirez would come through, splitting the gap in right-center with a double off Ryan Orr as the score became, 5-2. Ramirez finished the double-dip 4-5 at the plate with a pair of doubles and 4 RBI. The right-fielder finished the series going 6-9 at the dish offensively. Brian McKenna would make quick work of the Rascals in his two innings of work, displaying electric stuff on his way to four strikeouts and his third save. The power-righty fanned the side to slam the door in the bottom of the seventh, Florence again prevailing, 5-2, over the Rascals.

Florence will travel through the night before getting back on the field at home on Friday at 7:05 p.m.. The Freedom will welcome the Gateway Grizzlies to UC Heatlh Stadium, where their first four-game series of the season will be played.

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

Washington and Evansville Rubber Game Suspended Due to Inclement Weather

WASHINGTON, Pa. (June 20) – With Washington up 1-0 with one out in the bottom of the second of Thursday’s rubber game, hard rain showers came and didn’t let up, forcing the teams and umpires to suspend the contest. It will resume at a date to be determined, when Evansville returns to Washington for their second trip of the year in early August.
Cameron Baranek hit a dribbler in front of the mound to plate Hector Roa, who scored to give Washington the first run. That’s when the rain came. No stats will be counted until the game resumes.
Evansville returns to Wild Things Park in early August for a weekend series running August 9-11. The game from tonight will be resumed at the point it was suspended, with one out in the bottom of the second and runners on first and second for the Wild Things.
Washington now travels to Crestwood, Illinois for a three-game series with the Windy City ThunderBolts, which will begin tomorrow, Friday, June 21.
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.

BOOMERS HOLD OFF SLAMMERS

SCHAUMBURG, IL — Quincy Nieporte drove home three runs, but the Schaumburg Boomers, presented by Wintrust Community Banks, needed to hold off a late surge from the Joliet Slammers to tally a 4-3 win on Thursday afternoon, capturing the series.

Nieporte drove home his first run in the bottom of the first. Jack Parenty led off the game with a single and moved to third on a basehit from Jimmy Galusky before Nieporte lifted a sacrifice fly. Dash Winningham evened the game with a solo homer in the fourth against Schaumburg starter Matt Miller, his seventh of the year. Nieporte hit a line drive over the wall in the bottom of the fifth for his third longball of the season, handing Schaumburg the lead for good.

Nieporte knocked in his third with another sacrifice fly in the seventh as the Boomers led 3-1. Joliet scored in the top of the eighth to draw within a run before Dylan Jones singled home a run in the bottom of the inning to account for the decisive run. Joliet tallied a run in the ninth but stranded the tying run at third as Connor Eller closed the door on his league best eighth save. 

Miller posted his first quality start as a professional, improving to 2-0 on the season after allowing one run in six innings with three walks and six strikeouts. The offense finished with nine hits as Parenty and Clint Hardy each notched a pair.

The Boomers (19-17) welcome the Southern Illinois Miners on Friday night for Harry Potter Night, presented by Safari Land. The first 500 kids will receive Harry Potter glasses. Postgame fireworks, presented by Wintrust Community Banks, will erupt following the contest. LHP Aaron Rozek (1-2, 3.18) will make the start in the 6:30 p.m. contest against his former team while the Miners send RHP Nick Stroud (1-1, 3.68). Visit boomersbaseball.com for tickets and information or call 847-461-3695.

TOPOOZIAN SHINES AGAIN IN GRIZZLIES WIN

AVON, Ohio — Dominic Topoozian allowed only one earned run over six innings and the Gateway Grizzlies came from behind for a 3-2 win Wednesday night over the Lake Erie Crushers at Sprenger Stadium.

Gateway (15-20) snapped a five-game losing streak with the triumph over the first-place Crushers (17-16).

Topoozian (4-1) turned in another quality start — his fourth in five starts this season and the Grizzlies’ fourth in a row. He conceded two runs (one earned) on seven hits and struck out two.

Jason SeeverDakota Smith, and Grant Black combined for three scoreless innings out of the Grizzlies’ bullpen. Black earned his seventh save in nine chances this year.

After he drove in the game-tying run in the ninth inning Tuesday to force extras, Matt Brown‘s sixth-inning RBI single brought in the eventual game-winning run Wednesday. He knocked home the third Grizzlies run of the frame to stretch their lead to 3-1.

Jamey Smart, who had just launched a two-out RBI triple to the warning track in right-center field immediately prior, scored on Brown’s single. Andrew Daniel‘s RBI groundout opened the scoring earlier in the sixth.

Brown finished 2-for-4, the only multi-hit performance for the Grizzlies.

Gateway had scored eight runs combined over its previous five games before Wednesday and had not scored more than two runs in any of them; the Grizzlies scored three in the sixth inning alone Wednesday.

Grizzlies pitchers struck out only four but did not walk a single batter.

Gateway and Lake Erie will conclude their three-game series with a Thursday rubber match at 6:05 p.m. CDT. Lucas Lanphere is scheduled to start for the Grizzlies.

ABOUT THE GATEWAY GRIZZLIES: The Gateway Grizzlies are a professional baseball team, located a mere 100-yards from I-255 (10 minutes from downtown St. Louis). The Grizzlies offer baseball fans entertainment, the likes of which are difficult to find – affordable, family, fun in the comfortable GCS Credit Union Ballpark with a great view of the St. Louis skyline. For tickets or general information please visit gatewaygrizzlies.com or call 618.337.3000.

ABOUT THE FRONTIER LEAGUE: The Frontier League is a professional, independent baseball organization. Since its inception, the Frontier League has provided millions of fans to a fun and exciting baseball experience within the American Midwest. Consisting of 10 teams in two divisions and 96 game schedules, the league is recognized for the amount of talented athletes that are picked up by various MLB teams every year.

KINES AND BOOMERS BLANK JOLIET

SCHAUMBURG, IL — Gunnar Kines tossed the second complete game shutout of the season as the Schaumburg Boomers, presented by Wintrust Community Banks, blanked the Joliet Slammers 3-0 on Wednesday night.

 Schaumburg grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Nick Oddo beat the shift by dropping down a bunt single with one away, the first hit of the game. Matt Rose, back in the lineup for the first time in a week, singled to place runners at first and second. Clint Hardyhanded the Boomers a 1-0 lead with a single to right, driving home his 19th run of the season. Connor Oliver followed with a sacrifice fly to cap the scoring in the inning. The final run scored in the bottom of the eighth with rain falling when Jack Parenty led off with a double and scored on a double play.

 The early run support was more than enough for Kines, who struck out eight and allowed just two hits. Oliver and Brock Carpenter each logged two hits as the Boomers finished with nine. The win broke a three-game skid.

The Boomers (18-17) conclude the series with a day game on Thursday at 12:05 p.m. in a The Office: Business Day Game. RHP Matt Miller (1-0, 3.60) is slated to make his second start against RHP Matt Quintana (1-2, 4.15). Visit boomersbaseball.com for tickets and information or call 847-461-3695.

Ryan goes “Long” as the Otters win 5-4

WASHINGTON, Pa. – Trailing by two with two on in the top of the seventh, the Evansville Otters received a clutch three-run home run as Ryan Long did just as he name suggests, went long, giving pushing the Otters to a 5-4 win against the Washington Wild Things.

The go-ahead home run was Long’s sixth of the season, giving him 28 RBIs.

The Otters were able to strike first in the third inning.

Hunter Cullen led off with a single to right field. After stealing second base, J.J. Gould grounded out to advance Cullen to third. David Cronin was able to hit a sac-fly to left-center to score Cullen, giving the Otters a 1-0 lead.

The Wild Things tied the game in the bottom of the fourth, when J.J. Fernandez knocked in Mikael Mogues, who led off with a double, on an RBI single.

Rob Calabrese hit a solo home run in the top of the sixth to break the tie for his fifth of the year, handing the Otters a 2-1 advantage.

Calabrese’s home run would end the night for Washington starter AJ Bogucki, as he finished throwing six innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, while fanning five. He ended with a no-decision.

The Wild Things responded scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth.

After Shane Hughes led off with a single, Mogues jacked a two-run homer to right field to give the Wild Things their first lead of the game at 3-2.

Hector Roa reached on an error, Fernandez singled to put runners on the corners, and Cody Erickson singled to score Roa as Washington doubled up the Otters 4-2.

In the top of the seventh, Cullen and Gould singled to lead off the inning, Cronin’s bunt advanced them to second and third, and Long hit one over the fence in right field.

After getting one out in the seventh, Otters starter Jake Welch was pulled when he walked Shane Hughes. He finished with a no-decision, tossing 6.1 innings, surrendering only four runs -three earned – with no walks and four strikeouts.

Abraham Almonte relieved Welch, getting Mogues to ground out and Roa to strikeout ending the seventh.

Taylor Wright relieved Almonte in the eighth with a runner on third and two outs, ending the inning with a strikeout to Drew Bene.

Brett Marr led off the bottom of the ninth with a single, but Carlos Castro rushed in from first base to record a bunt-popout by Blake Adams. Danny Hrbek struck out Hughes and Mogues for his 26th and 27th strikeout, earning his fifth save of the season.

Wright earned the win, earning his 27th strikeout as well.

Game two from Wild Things Park will be Wednesday at 6:05 p.m. and can be heard on the radio at 91.5 FM WUEV or at evansvilleotters.com with Dave Nguyen on the call.

Tyler Vail will take the mound for the Otters, who is looking for his first win as a starter this year. He will be opposed by Michael Austin, who defeated the Otters back on May 29.

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.

MINERS WIN SIXTH STRAIGHT GAME, BEAT WINDY CITY

Crestwood, IL (June 18, 2019) – The Southern Illinois Miners kept up their recent winning ways, taking their sixth straight victory and eighth in their last nine games overall by beating the Windy City ThunderBolts 3-2 at Ozinga Field in Crestwood, Illinois.

The game was dominated by the starting pitchers, as Chase Cunningham threw his seventh straight start of six innings or longer and three earned runs or fewer on the mound for Southern Illinois while former Miner Chris Washington pitched into the eighth inning and also allowed just three runs.

The Miners led wire-to-wire, however, and jumped on Washington (1-4) for all of their runs in the first two innings. Reigning Frontier League Player of the Week Bryant Flete led off the game with a single, extending his hitting streak to eighth in a row, and Anthony Jimenez and Gianfranco Wawoe also followed with singles of their own, with Wawoe extending a personal hit streak to six in a row and picking up his team-best eighteenth RBI of the year for a 1-0 Miners lead.

After Stephen Lohr’s RBI groundout made it 2-0 after the first inning, Jarrod Watkins led off the second inning with a double and scored two batters later on Joe Duncan’s RBI double to increase the lead to 3-0. That was all Cunningham (5-2) needed to win his fifth consecutive start on the mound, pitching seven innings and allowing just one run on six hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. The lone run he allowed came in the sixth inning on a solo home run by Shane Carrier as the right-hander improved to 7-0 in seven career starts at Ozinga Field.

The ThunderBolts threatened against the Miners’ bullpen in the late innings- they put the tying runs on base leading off the eighth against Jordan Brink, but could not score as the reliever struck out three in a row. They were also able to plate a run against Gabe Gentner in the ninth on a two-out single by Brynn Martinez and a subsequent RBI double by Tyler Straub, pulling Windy City within a run at 3-2. But Gentner struck out Manuel Mesa swinging to close out the game, recording his fifth save in the process as the Miners took the series opener.

Now in a tie for first place in the Frontier League’s West Division standings, Southern Illinois will look to clinch the series and run their win streak to seven in a row in the middle game of the series on Wednesday, June 19, at 6:05 p.m. Marty Anderson will pitch for the Miners against fellow Windy City left-hander Kenny Mathews.

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.

Rascals Blank Freedom in Opener

O’FALLON, Mo. — The River City Rascals started their series against the Florence Freedom in style on Tuesday night, winning 4-0 in the opener from CarShield Field. Brendan Feldmann (1-0) was stellar in his second start of the season, allowing just four hits over seven scoreless innings with two walks and four strikeouts. Rascals infielder Zach Lavy recorded three hits in his season debut.

Trevor Achenbach put the Rascals on the board with his RBI triple in the third inning. Braxton Martinez made it 2-0 with his RBI single later in the frame. Artemis Kadkhodaian then doubled the lead with his two-run single in the sixth. Anthony Herrera and Yeison Medina each had a scoreless inning to close out the game from the Rascals bullpen.

Freedom starter Frank Valentino (3-3) took the loss, allowing a season-worst 12 hits in seven innings. He allowed four runs (two earned) and struck out five without issuing a walk.

The Rascals (18-15) and Freedom (20-12) are off tomorrow, and will play a doubleheader on Thursday to finish out the series. First pitch for Game 1 of the twin-bill is set for 5:05 p.m. CDT. Alex Winkelman is expected to take the mound in the opener for the Rascals.

Pitching In

Crusher pitching shines in 3-2 victory in 11 innings
AVON, Ohio — The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy Health, used terrific pitching performances from Jared Koenig, Kent Hasler, Logan Lombana and Augie Gallardo, as they took the series opener from the Gateway Grizzlies at Sprenger Healthcare Stadium on Wednesday night, with a 3-2 victory in 11 innings.
The win for the Crushers (17-15) improved their record to 3-2 in extra-inning games this season, while the loss for the Grizzlies (14-20) was their fifth in a row.
Lake Erie capitalized on a Gateway error to plate a run in the bottom of the first inning. James Davison Jr. reached on a single to start the inning and stole second a few moments later. With Davison on second and one out, Jake Vieth hit a fly ball to left field that Luke Lowery dropped, putting runners on a second and third with one out, which would prove to be costly as Davison scored on a wild pitch moments later.
The Grizzlies responded in the next half inning, as Gunner Buhner, son of former Seattle Mariners outfielder Jay Buhner, hit a solo homer to left, his first of the season.
Aaron Hill reached on a two out single for the Crushers in the bottom of the second inning and stole second base. Davison Jr. then smacked a single to center to bring Hill home, but Hill missed third base on his way to the dish and was called out on the play to end the inning.
Hill redeemed himself a few innings later. He led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a double to the gap in left-center field. Davison Jr.’s sacrifice bunt pushed Hill to third, and he scored on Steven Kraft’s sacrifice fly-out to left, giving the Crushers a 2-1 lead.
Gateway plated a run in the top of the ninth inning to force extra innings. Connor Owings was hit by Logan Lombana’s 2-2 pitch to start the inning. Buhner reached on a one out infield single, putting runners on first and second with one out. Matt Brown followed with a game-tying RBI single to center.
Lake Erie won without recording a hit in the bottom of the 11th. With the International Tiebreaker rule in play, Kraft started the inning on second base. He made his way to third after Vieth grounded out to second, forcing the Grizzlies to intentionally walk Dale Burdick and Emmanuel Marrero. Patrick Boyle (0-1) struck out Bodie Bryan, before he hit John Cable with the very next pitch on his left arm to bring in the winning run.
Augie Gallardo (3-1) was outstanding in two scoreless innings of relief, striking out four batters and allowed no hits to score the victory. Boyle took the loss after allowing the run in the 11th. Jared Koenig turned in a terrific start for the Crushers, surrendering just a run on three hits and struck out 11 batters over seven innings of work. The Crusher pitching staff held the Grizzlies to just five hits on the night and struck out 15 in the victory.
On a night where the Lake Erie offense was relatively quiet, Davison Jr. and Hill led the way for the Crushers with two hits each.
The Crushers will continue their three-game series against the Gateway Grizzlies at Sprenger Healthcare Stadium on Wednesday night. Lefty Pat Ledet (1-1, 1.62) will start for the Crushers and the Grizzlies will counter with right-hander Dominic Topoozian (3-1, 1.90). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.
The Lake Erie Crushers, the 2009 Frontier League Champions, and 2018 Frontier League Organization of the year, play ball at Sprenger Health Care Stadium, a 5,000 capacity stadium located in Avon, Ohio.  The Frontier League is an independent baseball league with 10 teams operating throughout the Midwest. For more information on tickets, promotions and team news, visit the team website at www.LakeErieCrushers.com or call 440-934-3636.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS’S BRYANT FLETE AND WASHINGTON’S JOHN HAVIRD TAKE UP WEEKLY AWARDS

Southern Illinois Miner Bryant Flete and Washington Wild Thing John Havird win Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, as chosen by Pointstreak, the official statistical provider of the Frontier League and the Independent Professional Baseball Federation.

The 26-year-old infielder has been putting up strong numbers all season, and continued raking this week. Flete hit a lofty .619 at the plate, accumulating 13 hits in 21 at bats. He also hit his first home run of the season and added four RBI. To round out the week, Flete finished with a 1.509 OPS and 11.7 runs created, which was five more than any other player this week.

The Miners second baseman is off to a strong start in his first season in the Frontier League, as he leads the league in batting average (.413), is second in hits (38), and third in runs created (21.4). Flete joins the Miners after spending parts of seven seasons with the Chicago Cubs and White Sox organizations. At age 19, Flete signed with the Cubs out of Cumairebo, Venezuela and ultimately spent six seasons with the organization. He was traded to the White Sox from the Cubs as a part of the Jose Quintana trade in 2017. The 26-year-old spent the 2018 season at both the double-A and triple-A levels with the White Sox.

On Friday, June 14, Wild Things pitcher John Havird helped lead Washington to their first sweep of the season after tossing the team’s first complete game shutout on the year. Havird struck out eight while not allowing a walk and holding the Joliet Slammers to six hits in the outing. Havird reached 200 professional strikeouts in his 43rd start, which turned out to be his first career nine-inning shutout.

The Washington ace joins the Wild Things after pitching two seasons with the Traverse City Beach Bums following his time at Ohio State University back in 2017. The Mesa, Arizona native has been a bright spot within the starting rotation for Washington, posting a 3.20 ERA over 45 innings in seven games. Havird eclipsed 100 innings in both seasons spent with the Beach Bums across 36 combined starts.

Pointstreak provides the league with its statistical software and in game scoring applications. They aim to deliver “fast scores and cool stats to players, parents, fans, scouts and media.” For more information on Pointstreak products visit them at www.poinstreaksolutions.com or www.pointstreak.com.

The Frontier League is entering its 27th season in 2019 and features ten teams stretching from Pennsylvania to Missouri and from Kentucky to the Great Lakes. The Frontier League annually advances the most players to MLB organizations of any of the independent leagues, and 37 former Frontier League players have played in the Major Leagues.

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

California Winter League

 

Frontier League Transactions