3 stars: Jason Morozowski, Missoula - 4-for-4, three R, DBL, TPL, HR (1), two RBI
2 stars: Brett Shankin, Hillsboro - 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO
1 star: Luis Veras, Hillsboro - 2-for-4, R. TPL, RBI
0 stars: Junior Garcia, Missoula - 4.1 IP. 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER. 2 BB, 2 SO
Class A Kane County 2, Peoria 3. The Cougars title defense ended as soon as it had began, as they were swept out in the first round by a 2-0 margin, though both losses were by a single-run margin. Tonight's defeat came despite outhitting the Chiefs 10-8. 3B Joe Munoz doubled and singled, 1B Marty Herum had a pair of hits and C Michael Perez had a hit and Kane County's only walk. They actually struck first, getting on the board in the bottom of the first, as LF Cody Regis doubled home Herum, but the visitors struck back immediately, scoring twice in the second on a two-homer off starter Brad Keller.
He ended up going six innings, allowing five hits and no walks, striking out seven. However, he did hit a pair of batters, and that proved crucial as both came in the sixth, and helped lead to the only other run he allowed. RF Victor Reyes made it a one-run game in the seventh with an RBI single, but Munoz was out trying to score the tying run from second on the play. Things got feisty in the ninth, as Cougars' closer Zac Curtis was ejected in the top of the inning. SS Dawel Lugo singled to lead off the bottom half, but was stranded there, and Munoz followed Curtis to an early shower in the bottom half, after K'ing for the second out.
A short Hillboro 2, Tri-City 1. After last night's thriller, the Hops eked out another one-run win, scoring the eventual winning run with one out in the bottom of the eighth, SS Dansby Swanson coming home on LF Luis Veras's single. Hillsboro had taken the lead in the second, Veras tripling to lead things off, and scoring when C Alexis Olmeda followed with a single. They had a chance to extend the lead next time up, as Swanson singled and DH Grant Heyman doubled, to put men on second and third with one out, but the Hops came up empty and sent over the minimum to the plate, from there through the end of the seventh.
In the meantime, the Dust Devils had tied things up in the fifth, but that was the only run allowed by Brett Shankin. He worked seven solid innings, giving up five hits and walk with five strikeouts. Kirby Bellow and Ariel Hernandez took things the rest of the way, the latter getting the win. But it wasn't easy: in the eighth, Tri-City had men on the corners with one out before Hernandez got back-to-back strikeouts. And in the ninth, he walked three batters, but was bailed out by a huge caught stealing. from Olmeda and Swanson. The Hops travel to Tri-City tomorrow, needing just one win to repeat as champions. No starter for tomorrow's game has yet been announced.
Rookie Missoula 7, Billings 5. The Osprey squared their playoff series at a game apiece, as Jason Morozowski went 4-for-4 with ten total bases. He got the hardest part of the cycle out of the way in the first, with a triple, then doubled in the third, singled in the fifth and homered to lead off the seventh. The ironic thing is, he was out trying to stretch the double into a triple, which would have ruined the cycle! He scored three runs and drove in a pair for Missoula. LF Joey Armstrong picked up two hits, and there were also lead-off, solo homers by C Francis Christy in the fourth, and 2B Raymel Flores in the fifth. Both men also walked.
Junior Garcia lasted only 4.1 innings, scattering nine hits and two walks, with a pair of strikeouts. Austin Mason got the win, stranding a pair of inherited runners in the fifth, then posting a zero in the sixth. Missoula had to come back from deficits of 2-0, 3-2 and 4-3, but it was a three-run fifth inning that gave them the lead for good, starting with Flores's home-run. The inning then saw three wild pitches, two of which scored runs. Cody Clark allowed a run in the seventh, on a wild pitch of his own, but Gabriel Moya put up a zero with a perfect eighth and Keegan Long followed with a 1-2-3 ninth for the save, including two strikeouts. The decider is in Missoula tomorrow, Bo Takahashi starting for the Osprey.