Beloit vs. Clinton
Snappers (81-61) vs. LumberKings (72-68)
Best-of-3 series begins Saturday, Sept. 8
The Snappers swept the Swing of the Quad Cities in a four-game set to end the regular season, then swept them right out of the playoffs. However, one has to go back all the way to Aug. 26 to find the last time Beloit defeated a team that wasn't Quad Cities. Now, they're looking to get a couple wins against Clinton.
The LumberKings, meanwhile, lost the first game of their first-round series against red-hot Cedar Rapids before rallying to win the best-of-3 set. They're angling for their second championship in team history and first since 1991.
These clubs split eight regular-season matchups, which were generally low-scoring affairs. Beloit compiled a stellar 2.02 ERA, but hit an anemic .217. The LumberKings batted .213 and posted an ERA of 2.83. Clinton swept a four-game series at home in April, and Beloit returned the favor in a four-game set that took place from June 28-July 2.
Beloit: IF Garrett Olson hit .219 during the regular season, but batted .346 over eight games against Clinton. ... OF Chris Parmelee struck out 12 times over 27 at-bats. ... 1B Daniel Berg got on base at a .444 clip over five ballgames. ... No Snappers player drove in more than four runs against the LumberKings. ... RHP Alex Burnett made two starts and went 0-1 with a 4.00 ERA. ... RHP Dan Leatherman did not allow an earned run over six innings spanning three appearances. ... RHP Cole Devries went 1-0 over two appearances (one start) and compiled a 3.00 ERA while striking out 11.
Clinton: 1B Mauro Gomez drove in a team-high six runs and slugged one of the two home runs the LumberKings hit against the Snappers (K.C. Herren hit the other). ... C Manuel Pina batted .385 and compiled a 1.038 OPS over five ballgames. ... Overall, Clinton slugged just .291 against the Snappers. ...LHP Broc Coffman started twice vs. Beloit and went 0-1 despite yielding just one run over 11 innings. ... LHP Zachary Phillips made one start and struck out eight over 5 1/3 frames while surrendering just one run. ... RHP Jeremiah Haar compiled a 1.13 ERA over two appearances spanning eight innings.
Game 1: Beloit at Clinton
RHP Cole Devries (9-5, 3.41) vs. RHP Jared Hyatt (0-1, 2.57 ERA)
Game 2: Clinton at Beloit
TBD vs. TBD
Game 3: Clinton at Beloit (if necessary)
TBD vs. TBD
ON THE MOUND
Beloit: Devries hasn't yet appeared in the postseason, but he'll get a start in this series. The right-hander went 9-5 with a 3.41 ERA over 27 appearances (25 starts). ... Burnett, an MWL All-Star, hurled five scoreless innings in Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs, and may get a chance to reprise his performance in the division series. ... Relievers Leatherman and Aaron Craig combined to toss five shutout innings in Beloit's sweep of Quad Cities.
Clinton: RHP Jared Hyatt will make a spot start in Game 1, his first of the year. He went 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA over four relief appearances spanning seven innings and held opponents to a .192 average. ... Phillips served as the staff ace -- the 20-year-old went 11-7 with a 2.91 ERA and 157 strikeouts over 151 2/3 innings. ... Haar and RHP Dennis Christopher both earned seven saves.
AT THE PLATE
Beloit: SS Danny Santiesteban hit .219 in the regular season, but collected four hits over eight at-bats against Quad Cities. ... Parmelee is the greatest power threat on the roster, leading the team in home runs (15) and doubles (23). ... Before going yard against Quad Cities in Game 2, OF Joe Benson hadn't homered since July 28. ... 2B Steven Singleton won Game 2 with an 11th-inning walk-off double.
Clinton: Herren came through with a pair of clutch RBI hits in the LumberKings' 5-4 victory over Cedar Rapids on Friday. ... 2B Jose Vallejo stole 47 bases and was caught just three times. ... Gomez smashed a team-leading 21 homers, but struck out 115 times and got on base at a .316 clip.
The Snappers have made the playoffs in each of the past three seasons, but haven't won the division since 2003. They won the MWL Championship in 1995. Clinton will be going for its first division title since 1998.
SERIES COULD TURN ON
Game 1 is crucial in any playoff series (especially a best-of-3). The LumberKings need Hyatt -- who hasn't pitched more than two innings in a game this season -- to turn in a strong outing and for the bullpen to follow his lead. There is very little margin for error.
This is a tough one to call. The LumberKings played poorly in the season's second half, but came from behind to beat the league's hottest club (Cedar Rapids) in the first round of the playoffs. With Game 1 at home, Clinton may ride their improbable hot streak right into the championship series. Clinton in three.