Sad night tonight as a couple of bullpen meltdowns led to disaster for our minor league teams.
I'm going to lead with the Chiefs tonight because their season ended with a 9-8 loss to the Cedar Rapids Kernels.
Things looked pretty good early as the Chiefs got out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning on four consecutive two out hits. First baseman Rebel Ridling singled, then right fielder Kyler Burke doubled, putting runners on second and third. Shortstop DJ LeMaheiu singled home both of them, and scored on DH Jovan Rosa's double. The Chiefs added another run in the second inning on doubles by third baseman Junior Lake and catcher Michael Brenly.
Staked to a 4-0 lead, starter Jeffry Antigua gave most of it back, allowing three runs on nine hits over his five innings. Antigua didn't walk anyone and struck out two.
The Chiefs got another run in the fifth inning on another Rosa double, and then exploded in the seventh inning for three runs to make it 8-3. The big blow in the seventh inning was a two-run single by Rosa.
Rosa was 4 for 5 with two doubles and four RBI this evening.
But with an 8-3 lead, the Chiefs bullpen melted down. Aaron Shafer allowed four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to make the score 8-7. Shafer pitched 1.2 innings and allowed four runs and four hits. He struck out one.
Closer Chris Huseby picked a bad time to develop Steve Blass (or maybe Rich Hill?) disease. Entering the game with the Chiefs leading 8-7 in the ninth, he completely melted down. Huseby walked the first two batters he faced. He then settled down and retired the next two batters on a foul out and a strikeout. But with the game on the line and two on and two out, Huseby threw a wild pitch. He then walked the next two batters to tie the game. Finally, the Chiefs season ended when Huseby hit the final Kernels batter with the game tied and the bases loaded.
Beyond Rosa's big game, Ridling was 3 for 5 and scored three times, although he did hit into an inning-killing DP in the second. Burke was 2 for 4 with a double and a walk. He scored the one time. LeMaheiu went 2 for 4 with a walk. He scored twice and had two RBI. Finally, Michael Brenly went 2 for 4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored.
The Chiefs had a great season, but it came to a quick end. We wish them well next April and hope the players have the same success next season in Daytona and Tennessee.
The Smokies' bullpen also blew a late lead and they lost 4-2 to the Huntsville Stars. They now trail the best-of-five series zero games to one.
Starter Jeremy Papelbon gave the Smokies a good four innings, allowing only one run on three hits. He walked only one and struck out four.
The Smokies took the lead in the fifth inning. Right fielder Tyler Colvin led off the inning with a home run, and later on second baseman Jonathan Mota singled home shortstop Starlin Castro to give the Smokies a 2-1 lead.
David Cales pitched two shutout innings in relief of Papelbon. He was touched for only one hit. Cales walked one and struck out two.
Marcos Mateo pitched the seventh and eighth innings. Unfortunately, with two out in the eighth inning, Mateo allowed a three-run home run that ended up as the game-winner. Mateo pitched two innings and allowed three runs on two hits and a walk. He struck out one.
Unlike the Chiefs, however, the Smokies season continues tomorrow with Game Two of the best-of-five series.