GENEVA, Ill. - Claiming a first half championship for the first time since 2014, the Kane County Cougars (38-28) can call themselves playoff bound after a 14-2 drubbing of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (26-41) at Northwestern Medicine Field. The Cougars now have won six of their last seven games, clinching their third straight series win.
The Cougars will either face Quad Cities or Cedar Rapids as the two first half Western Division playoff teams come September. The last time the Cougars won the first half, they won the Midwest League championship.
In this contest, it was all offense against losing right-hander Jordan Desguin (4-3). Pummeling Desguin, the Cougars began the rout in the second frame with three runs. Ramon Hernandez slugged a two-run homer and Luis Basabe followed by B.J. Lopez roped back-to-back doubles. It was the first hit and RBI for Lopez in 2017.
Furthering the advantage, the Cougars scored another single tally in the third. With the game's second homer, Mark Karaviotis left the yard over the left field wall. The Cougars went up 4-0.
But the big inning came in the fourth, when the Cougars posted a six spot, forcing Desguin out of the game. Sending nine batters to the plate, the first run scored when center field Monte Harrison of Wisconsin lost the ball, and Fernery Ozuna managed a double RBI. Then, right-fielder Demi Orimoloye did the same, as Lopez crushed a two-RBI two-bagger. Putting the bow on the attack, Marcus Wilson slugged his team-leading eighth homer of the season, a three-run shot. The Cougar lead after the fourth inning was 10-0.
Wisconsin added a lone run in the sixth, but the Cougars came back for another multi run frame in the seventh and a single tally in the eighth. Scoring a trio, the Cougars received consecutive RBI from Ben Deluzio, Anfernee Grier, and Wilson. Every Cougar in the lineup finished with at least one base hit. In the eighth, Jefferson's RBI groundout put the Cougars totals runs at a season high 14.
In the pitching win, right-hander Sam McWilliams (8-2) lasted five innings on just one run.
Sunday, the Cougars eye a series sweep with a 1:00 P.M. first pitch. On the mound for the Cougars, left-hander Mack Lemieux (1-2, 5.32 ERA) takes on right-hander Thomas Jankins (3-5, 5.11 ERA). For tickets call 630-232-8811 or visit kccougars.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.