We're getting down to the endgame in the minor league season. In case you've forgotten, the Tennessee Smokies and the Daytona Cubs have already qualified for the post-season by virtue of winning the first half of the season. The Iowa Cubs and the Peoria Chiefs have been eliminated from post-season contention. The Smokies are currently tied with Tennessee going into the final series of the year for the second-half title. If they win, it will be their fifth straight half-season title. The Boise Hawks are in a convoluted pennant race to get the second playoff spot in the Northwest League East Division. They have a slim chance to win the second-half title, but they have a good chance to win the other playoff spot if Tri-City manages to win both halves. So go Dirt Devils.
In other news, Tennessee closer Rafael Dolis was named a Southern League Post-Season all-star. He was the only Smokies player named to the team. (Too many of the other candidates got promoted to Iowa.) First baseman Justin Bour, left fielder Evan Crawford and closer Frank Batista were all named to the Florida State League Post-Season All-Star Team. Daytona manager Buddy Bailey was also honored as one of the coaches.
The Iowa Cubs bats were silenced by the Nashville Sounds, 1-0.
Jay Jackson might have had his best start of the season, but he took the loss anyway. Jackson pitched six innings and allowed a run on seven hits. But even better, Jackson struck out eleven and walked only two.
Shortstop Marwin Gonzalez was 1 for 2 with a double and a walk.
Day off. They're traveling to Birmingham to take on the White Sox farm team as they try to win their fifth straight title. Chattanooga is home against Montgomery.
Dae-Eun Rhee threw a seven-inning complete game in the first game. He gave up the three runs on six hits. Rhee walked two and struck out seven.
Center fielder Matt Szczur hit a solo home run in the sixth inning. It was his fifth for the D-Cubs and tenth overall. Szczur was 2 for 3 with three RBI.
Left fielder Evan Crawford was 2 for 4 and he scored once.
In game two, Frank Del Valle started and took the loss, although he didn't pitch poorly. Del Valle went four innings and allowed two runs on three hits, including a solo home run. Del Valle did have some control problems as he walked four and struck out two.
Szczur was 2 for 3 again in the second game, giving him a 4 for 6 day. He hit the lone RBI in game two. Right fielder Abner Abreu was 2 for 3 and scored on Szczur's single in the second inning.
Catcher Chad Noble flied out into a triple play in that second inning. I wasn't listening to game two, but it sounds like some confusion on a catch.
The Peoria Chiefs got bitten by the Beloit Snappers, 8-3.
Austin Kirk threw the first 3.2 innings and gave up six runs, although only three of them were earned as the Chiefs made four errors tonight. Kirk was touched for seven hits, including two home runs in the first inning. Kirk walked two and struck out two.
Left fielder Ben Klafczynski was 2 for 4 with an RBI.
The Boise Hawks crushed the Vancouver Canadians, 10-1.
Starter Jose Rosario got the win with six shutout innings. He allowed only three hits. Rosario walked one and struck out six.
First baseman Paul Hoilman set a new Boise record with his 17th home run of the season. It was a two-run home run in the second inning. Hoilman was 1 for 3 with a walk and he scored twice.
Right fielder Reggie Golden hit his third home run in as many games when he clubbed a three-run homer in the first inning. Golden has six home runs this season. Golden went 2 for 4.
Finally, third baseman Willson Contreras hit his second homer of the season in the third inning. Contreras went 2 for 4 with a double. He scored twice and had just the one RBI.
Center fielder Kyung-Min Na was 2 for 4 with a double and two runs scored.
Shortstop Javier Baez had a rough first day in the Northwest League. He was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and an error.