The Kane County Cougars tonight defeated the Lake County Captains (Indians), 7-2 to win the Midwest League Championship. They swept the Captains three games to none. The won all seven games they played in the post-season. Counting their postseason record, the Cougars finished the season winning 98 games and losing only 49.
Starting pitcher Daury Torrez allowed a run in the bottom of the first inning when the leadoff hitter singled and Clint Frazier doubled him home. But despite the Captains getting a man at least to second base in the 2nd through 4th innings, Torrez pitched out of trouble repeatedly and didn't allow another run. The final line on Torrez was five innings, allowing one run on five hits. He walked one and struck out three and induced two big double plays.
Michael Heesch entered the game in the bottom of the sixth with the Cougars already sporting a 7-1 lead. He did give up a run in the seventh on a pair of singles and a wild pitch, but nothing else. Heesch pitched three innings and allowed just the two hits. He struck out six and walked only one.
The Cougars' closer Francisco Carrillo came into the game in the bottom of the ninth in a non-save situation, and retired the side in order. He struck out the first two batters he faced and then got a ground ball to first to end the game and seal the championship.
After the Cougars fell behind 1-0 in the first inning, they tied it up in the top of the second on a two-out double by shortstop Carlos Penalver. Then in the second inning, first baseman Jacob Rogers hit a two-run home run in the third inning to take the lead for good.
Rogers was 3 for 4 with the home run and a walk tonight. He also had an RBI single in the fifth inning to make it 4-1.
Penalver was 2 for 3 with the double and a walk. He also scored as a part of a three-run sixth inning. He also stole a base.
DH Mark Zagunis was 2 for 5. He had an RBI single in that three-run sixth and then scored later in the inning.
Third baseman Jeimer Candelario was 3 for 4 with a sacrifice fly. He scored on the Rogers home run and again in the sixth inning.
Right fielder Yasiel Balaguert was 2 for 5 and had an RBI single in the sixth.
The title is Kane County's first since 2001. It has been noted that this is the first title that the Cougars have actually been able to celebrate, since they were awarded that title because they were leading one game to none in the Championship Series in 2001 when the September 11 attacks happened.
It's the Cubs' first Midwest League title since Lansing won in 2003.
The Cougars 98 wins are the most in baseball this season. (Although one assumes the Los Angeles Angels will get at least 98 wins this year, but they'll have more losses as well.)
The Cougars won the title and Daytona lost in the Championship Series. Boise made the playoffs as well and Iowa and Tennessee weren't eliminated from post-season contention until the final series of the year.
And with that, the Cubs minor league season ends. I thank you all for reading this season. I'm sure I'll have a lot to say about the minor leagues this offseason, so keep reading for that. I won't do daily Arizona Fall League updates, but I will have regular summaries, probably on a weekly basis. And of course, there will be prospect lists.
But for now, I'm going to sleep for a week.
Thank you and good night.