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Chicago Cubs Minor League Wrap: September 21

South Bend beat Lake County to take their 2nd title since 2019.

South Bend Cubs

The South Bend Cubs are the 2022 Midwest League Champions after a 7-4 win over the Lake County Captains (Guardians). They won both games at Lake County to win the series two games to one.

All seven of South Bend’s runs came on three home runs. It started in the top of the third inning when right fielder Owen Caissie connected for a three-run home run that scored Fabian Pertuz and Jordan Nwogu. That made it 3-0.

With two out in the third, first baseman B.J. Murray Jr. singled and then catcher Pablo Aliendo cranked out a two-run home run to make it 5-0.

Of course, things would not be that simple. South Bend starter Porter Hodge was greeted in the bottom of the first with a double, a single and another double by the first three batters. While a terrific defensive play by shortstop Kevin Made on a hard-hit line drive provided the first out, Hodge uncorked a wild pitch and allowed another single before he could end the threat with the score 5-3 South Bend after three.

Third baseman Luis Verdugo smashed a two-run home run to center field in the fifth inning off of Captains reliever Raymond Burgos to make it 7-3.

Joe Nahas relieved Hodge in the sixth inning and settled the game down, retiring the side in order in both the sixth and seventh inning. He gave up a leadoff triple in the eighth inning to Connor Kokx, who later scored on a sacrifice fly. That was a trade the Cubs made gladly, as they still held on to a 7-4 lead with only four outs to go.

Sheldon Reed was called on for the save and he gave up a leadoff double. But he retired the next three batters on ground outs and the South Bend Cubs were Midwest League Champions again.

Starter Hodge got the win. He allowed three runs on five hits over five innings. He walked two and struck out two.

Nahas gave up one run on one hit over three innings. He struck out three and walked no one.

Reed pitched one inning and allowed just the one hit.

Caissie went 1 for 4 with a walk and the three-run home run. He scored two runs.

Aliendo went 1 for 4 with the two-run home run.

Verdugo went 2 for 4 with the two-run homer.

Nwogu was 2 for 4 with a double and a walk. He scored on Caissie’s homer.

Here’s the final out and the celebration.

The title was the Cubs’ second in three seasons. If you want to call it back-to-back Midwest League titles (because last season the league was called High-A Central), I’ll agree with you.

Iowa Cubs

The Iowa Cubs won game one of a doubleheader against the Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals), 6-3. For game two, the storm caught the Storm Chasers and it was canceled and will not be made up.

Wyatt Short threw the first six innings of this game and got the win, allowing three runs on five hits. All three runs came on a third-inning home run by Brent Rooker. Short struck out five and walked one.

After the I-Cubs scored four runs in the top of the seventh, Ben Leeper was summoned from the pen to get the save. He retired the side in order to lock down the win. Leeper struck out one.

First baseman Matt Mervis hit a two-run home run in the top of the third inning, That’s his 35th home run this year, retaking the organizational lead over Alexander Canario, who hit three last night to tie Mervis. It was Mervis’ 14th home run with Iowa. He was 1 for 5, but an error made on his grounder to third in the top of the seventh scored two runs, even if Mervis did not get credited with any RBI on the play. However, after the 2 RBI today, Mervis leads all of the minor leagues with 115 RBI this season.

Canario did not homer today, but he did go 2 for 3 with two walks. He scored on Mervis’ home run. Canario has nine hits in the six games he’s played after he missed the first two weeks of September with an injury.

Iowa drew 11 walks in this game. Catcher John Hicks was 0 for 1 with four walks and a stolen base.