Monday, December 22, 2008

Bobcats will host 30 games

Bobcat fans got a Christmas wish granted early this year with the announcement two months ago that the franchise would return in 2009. But Santa continues stuffing the stockings just days away from the holiday.

Last week, Marion Bobcats General Manager Gordon Guess received final word that changes in the KIT League format and scheduling will allow for 30 home games at the Marion field that carries his name – five more than in 2008. Each team will continue to play a 50-game schedule, however.
The change is part of a larger revamping of the summer collegiate baseball league. In 2009, the league will expand to eight teams with the addition of a Mayfield franchise and the return of the Sikeston (Mo.) Bulls after a one-year hiatus. The Mayfield team, the West Kentucky Mavericks, will play all of its games on the road, allowing other teams additional opportunities to host games.
And because of the new squads, the league will be able to have divisional play for the first time. The split is as follows:
KIT League East
  • Marion Bobcats
  • Owensboro Oilers
  • Tradewater Pirates
  • West Kentucky Mavericks
KIT League West
  • Farmington Firebirds
  • Fulton Railroaders
  • Sikeston Bulls
  • Union City Greyhounds
At the end of the regular season, division playoffs will be held for the top two teams in each division. The league championship would pit division champs against one another. And the mid-season all-star game will be an East vs. West match.
Teams will also play a weighted schedule within their own division. Squads will play 30 intradivisional games – 10 each against its three divisional rivals. Except for the Mavericks, those 10 games will be split evenly at home and on the road. Each team will also play five games – one road and one home series – against all interdivisional foes for a total of 20. 
League play begins May 29, 2009.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fences to remain same depth

Don't let the removal of the fences and ongoing dirt work along the outfield of Gordon B. Guess Field fool you. The dimensions of the baseball diamond that is home to the Marion Bobcats will be the same in 2009 as in the team's inaugural season.

Despite initial indications that municipal contributions in early 2008 would help fund moving the fences back at Guess Field for KIT League action, a change in plans will leave the power alleys at 340 feet. The turnabout, according to the man for whom the field was named years ago, Bobcats General Manager Gordon Guess, is due to needed upgrades and repairs at other Marion-Crittenden County Park facilities.
Grading and other dirt work has already started along the outfield of Guess Field, but the fences that were taken down to allow the work will be put back up where they stood at the end of the Bobcats' first campaign – 340 in the power alleys, 310 down the left field line, 290 in right and 350 to straight-away center.
The cost to erect the additional fencing it would take to grow the outfield was too much after the funds were allocated for other park facilities in need of repairs, Guess said.
So, at least for the 2009 season, the Bobcats will continue to host opposition in a rather pitcher-friendly park despite the shallow dimensions.
Guess explains that a more expansive outfield forces fielders to play deeper in order to prevent extra bases on long drives, allowing more bloopers and short flies over the infielders' heads to drop in for base hits. Thus, the shorter field keeps outfielders in close, turning would-be hits into outs.
Despite its relatively shallow dimensions, Guess Field was hardly a haven for home runs last season. Only 12 home runs were hit there in 26 games, most over the left field fence along Old Morganfield Road. The shortest part of the field – 290 down the right field line – invited only a couple of home runs.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Marion buys into future of KIT League

The future of organized baseball in Marion has never looked brighter.
On Monday, elected officials went to bat for the Marion Bobcats by agreeing to pay the $7,500 franchise fee that will give the city a stake in the KIT League for the duration of the summer collegiate league's existance. Though the franchise technically belongs to the City of Marion, Bobcats General Manager Gordon Guess brought Monday's request before city council members on behalf of the second-year team's investors. Unanimous approval means the Bobcats and city now have a stake in each other's future.
"That's a helluva committment," Guess said of the city's backing.
With 21 local investors, municipal backing and a strong fan base, the Bobcats truly are a community effort, Guess said.
The franchise fee is a one-time outlay, said league president and commissioner Randy Morgan, who made the trip from his Paducah home Monday to be at the city council meeting to represent the Bobcats' interest. Even if Marion Baseball Club, LLC – the corporation under which the Bobcats operate – ceases to exist, the city maintains a right to field a club in the KIT League so long as a new organization can be formed. If not, Marion can also sell the franchise rights to another city with league approval.
"That means this has value for the city," Guess said.
Morgan said most sports franchises, including those in the so-called "Kitty" League, are owned by individuals, but a municipally-owned franchise is not unheard of.
"It does happen," he said.
Guess also explained that if the club lays out of the league for a year due to financial or other concerns such as the Sikeston Bulls did in 2008, the franchise agreement allows the Bobcats to return to league play without paying another fee. In that manner, the license acts a placeholder in the wooden-bat league.
The Bobcats joined the league in 2008 without having to pay a franchise fee. A provisional waiver was granted to keep the league at six teams when the Sikeston club opted to take the year away from action. It is unclear if Sikeston plans to return to the KIT League in 2009.
Currently, the league consists of frachises in Marion, Dawson Springs, Fulton and Owensboro in Kentucky, and in Union City, Tenn., and Farmington, Mo.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Roster adjustment ads Sturgis native

Right-handed pitcher Chris Buckman, who led the Bobcats with five wins last year, has pledged his return to the team for a second season.
Buckman (5-1, 3.41 ERA) will replace Matt Nichols, another right-handed pitcher, on the early 23-man roster. General Manager Gordon Guess said Nichols would be unable to play next year, so Buckman's return to the squad was a welcome surprise.
"Spaz," the nickname Buckman acquired from Manager Steve Fowler and teammates, made most of his appearances in relief last season, making only three starts. He allowed only 13 runs in 34 1/3 innings.
Buckman joins Dustin Kennon as the second Mid-Continent University (Mayfield, Ky.) player to return from last year's 20-28 Marion team.
Fowler's roster must be parred down to 22 players by opening day in June, but Guess said several college coaches are still contacting both he and Fowler seeking places for some of their players for the summer. One recent Division I inquiry came from the University of Kentucky, Guess added.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fowler selects 23 for early roster

2008 Marion Bobcats
Seven players from the Marion Bobcats' inaugural season look to return for next year's campaign.
Manager Steve Fowler has tapped seven players from last year's squad to account for nearly a third of his early 23-man roster. The roster includes 10 pitchers and 13 position players.
General Manager Gordon Guess released the roster last week.
Though opening day is still seven months away, Fowler has received commitments from as near as Mid-Continent University in Mayfield and as far as New Mexico State in Las Cruces. Many of the players are drawn from connections Fowler had with universities and colleges that helped fill the dugout in 2008.
Last season, Fowler was unable to start recruiting until January, when investors were secured for a commitment to the KIT League franchise. The earlier recruiting start for 2009 has provided a better selection of players from which to choose.
Contrary to last year when the Bobcats started with only one lefty on the mound, Fowler plans to start 2009 with four southpaws, including Chad Adcock, a late addition that struck out 59 in 38 2/3 innings as both a reliever and starter on the 2008 staff. Adcock, of Eddyville, joins Ethan Utley (2-2) of Madisonville and Bo Daves (2-1) as the only pitchers to return from the 20-28 squad. Daves is the only returning pitcher who was on the 2008 opening day roster.
In the field, scrappy second baseman Jacob Martin and outfielder Mitch McClay, two fan favorites in the Bobcats' first season, join catcher Drew Williams, of Paducah, and outfielder Dustin Kennon. Both Williams and Kennon left the Bobcats early last summer with season-ending injuries, but are in shape for a 2009 return.
Martin, the only pure left-handed bat in the line-up in 2008, led the team in runs scored (37) and home runs (2) while batting .269. He spent much of the season in the lead-off spot but was dropped a spot when his bat began to cool off. He swiped 16 bases, second only to Matt Little's 22.
Kennon hit .282 and tied for the team lead in doubles with 10. And while last year's team had little power, McClay and Martin accounted for three of the Bobcats' four home runs in 2008. Williams batted .400 in only four games before being injured.
Morehead State University in northern Kentucky will send four of its players to Marion for summer 2009, more than any other college baseball team.
The 23-man roster as released last week is:
  • Anthony Thomasett, SS, Crichton College
  • Jacob Martin*, 2B, Cumberland College
  • Drew Williams*, C, Morehead State University
  • Mitch McClay*, OF, Upper Iowa University
  • Dustin Kennon*, OF, Mid-Continent University
  • Pat Murphy, OF, Bates College
  • Rob Dyer, 1B, Stoney Brook College
  • Fred Rossi, C, Spring Hill College
  • Brett Cleveringa, 1B, Upper Iowa University
  • Paul DeSanto, SS, Millersville Univerisity
  • Daniel Pugh, OF, Morehead State University
  • Matt Shiring, 3B, Ohio Dominican University
  • Ryan Kincherlow, OF, Belmont University
  • Matt Nichols, RHP, Morehead State University
  • Jason Long, LHP, Millersville University
  • Mike McMonagle, RHP, Millersville University
  • Kyle Wuestenfeld, LHP, New Mexico State
  • Bo Daves*, RHP, Cumberland College
  • Chad Adcock*, Western Kentucky University
  • Jared Long, LHP, Lindsey Wilson College
  • Trey Smith, LHP, Morehead State University
  • Ethan Utley*, RHP, Lindsey Wilson College
  • Paul Chiampa, RHP, Bates College

*Returning from 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bobcats will return in 2009

When the summer sun begins to bear down on Marion, the umpires will be back to dust off home plate for another season of Bobcats baseball.
"That's good news to me," said die-hard fan Lefty Towery Monday upon learning of the team's return. "I love it."
General Manager Gordon Guess confirmed Monday that a second season of summer collegiate league baseball will return to the city in 2009. The decision was finalized over the weekend with support from an overwhelming majority of the team's 21 investors.
“It looks like the experiment has pretty much worked,” Guess said of the effort to field and keep a squad in an organized baseball league.
He said it appears the Bobcats will join the rest of the KIT League line-up from last season – Owensboro, Fulton and Tradewater (Dawson Springs) in Kentucky; Union City, Tenn; Farmington, Mo. – with the additions of Sikeston, Mo., and Olney, Ill., possible. Depending on the number of teams in the league, the Bobcats will likely play a 49- or 50-game schedule in June and July.
Steve Fowler will return as manager for the Bobcats, as well as eight or nine players from the final 2008 season roster.
One of the returning investors calls the decision a win for the community.
“We feel like it has more benefit than the dollars reflect,” said Charlie Hunt, co-owner of Marion Feed Mill. “I think the community enjoyed having the team here.”
And judging by the response of Towery, who could be found last summer in the grandstand along the third base side of virtually all 26 of the Bobcats' home games, Hunt is right.
“I think it’s the best thing to happen to the summertime in Marion since Dr. (Richard) Brandon was practicing,” Towery said of the late physician.
Little will change from 2008, said Guess. The game will be played under the same rules as last season – 22-man roster, wood bats, designated hitter, nine innings, etc. – but the outfield fences at the park which bears Guess' name will be deeper and the new concession stand should be completed.
“That'll give us the opportunity to sell pizza and popcorn,” the general manager said.
Fowler already has tentative agreements with 16 players, Guess said. One of those will be right-handed pitcher Joey Haston, who joined the team late last season but made a big impact with a 1.80 earned run average in 35 innings pitched. Guess said Haston will likely serve as a player-coach, leading the team in the dugout when he's not on the mound.
One thing that will change will be the approach to marketing the team, said Marion Tourism Director Michele Edwards.
“I think we learned (last year) that we can draw people from out of town if we advertise it,” she said Monday from a state tourism conference in Bowling Green.
Baseball gives Edwards a unique weapon in her arsenal to draw out-of-town money to the county.
"People are looking for different types of entertainment they may not have in their community," she said. "Tourism is all about bringing in new dollars."
But Towery, who stuck with the team through the thick and thin of a 20-28 debut season and was not above grumbling about some lackluster play on the field, is not concerned with the bookkeeping aspect. He's got his eye on another set of numbers – wins and losses.
"You tell Gordon we need two more good left-handed hitters," he said.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Kennon recovering at home

Dustin Kennon, the right fielder for the Marion Bobcats injured in a playoff game last week at Tradewater, continues to recover at home.
Kennon was hurt July 29 making a play on a fly ball in the first inning of an 11-1 loss to the Pirates. In a collision with a post holding the outfield fence, the Collierville, Tenn., native chipped his pelvis bone. He was taken to Regional Medical Center by ambulance but later transferred to Memphis for orthopedic treatment.
"He's on crutches," Marion Manager Steve Fowler said. "They're waiting for the swelling to go down to see if they need to put in pins."
Gordon Guess, general manager of the team, said Kennon was in a great deal of pain when he spoke with the 22-year-old over the phone.
"There are two cracks in is hip bone," Guess said, adding that Kennon has been working out as much as he can with the ailment. "They'll check back in three or four weeks to see how well he's healing."
Guess said doctors believe there is a chance proper healing can take place without inserting pins to stabilize the bone.
Kennon played his college baseball at Mid-Continent University in Mayfield.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Owensboro takes 2008 title

With five straight postseason wins, Owensboro took the 2008 KIT League crown, rolling over the league's top two teams en route to their first title.
The Oilers lost eight of their last 10 regular season games, but swept through the postseason, claiming the championship Saturday with an 11-1 win at Tradewater after taking the first game in the best-of-three series 9-4 in Owensboro. 
The Oilers' late-season collapse allowed Fulton to finish in second place behind league-leading Tradewater, forcing the Owensboro club to play a one-game first round playoff against Farmington while the top two teams earned byes. Owensboro moved past Farmington in the first round with a 6-2 win, then snuck past Fulton 5-3 and 6-5 in the best-of-three semi-finals. Meantime, Tradewater defeated Marion 11-1 and 4-3 to move to the championship series against the Oilers.
Taking a 3-7 regular season record against the Pirates into the league championship, Owensboro on Friday hosted Tradewater and the league's top pitcher for Game 1. The Pirates saved George Hebert, who was perfect in eight starts for the Pirates during the regular season, for the first game of the title match, while the Oilers sent three-game winner Pat Crider to the hill. But thanks to back-to-back three-run innings in the third and fourth, Owensboro handed Hebert his first taste of defeat in 2008, giving Crider (3-3, 2.55 ERA) the win against the Pirate ace. 
Hebert had given up only 10 earned runs in 53.2 innings pitched for the Pirates, but the Oilers touched him for six earned runs in only four innings for the 9-4 win in Game 1. Right fielder Maykel Makorem knocked in five of the eight runs for the Owensboro club.
In Saturday's Game 2, the Oilers put four runs on the board in the top of the first and never looked back en route to the 11-1 title-winning game. Owensboro sent two balls out of the park in the first frame against the other half of Tradewater's undefeated tandem, Don Pugliese. Maykorem, the hero of Friday night's win, accounted for three of the first-inning runs with a home run off the Tradewater starter.
On the season, Pugliese (7-0, 1.94) and Hebert (8-0, 1.68) combined for 15 wins in 17 starts for the Pirates. Pugliese's seven wins were second in the league only to Hebert's total in the regular season, but in the postseason, saving the two starters for the championship series backfired for Tradewater. After taking Game 1, Owensboro sent its own undefeated pitcher, Neil Holland (4-0, 0.75) to toe the rubber. Holland outshone Pugliese by pitching six innings, allowing only one run on three hits to earn the championship pennant for the Oilers.
(The entire Marion Bobcat organization wishes to congratulate the Oilers on their postseason run and 2008 championship. The club also hopes for the best as the regular-season champion Pirates represent the KIT League in the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kans.)

KIT League, established 2004
Marion Bobcats
Joined league in 2008
Owensboro Oilers
Joined league in 2006
2008 Champions, 2006 regular season champions
Tradewater Pirates
Joined league in 2007
2008 regular season champions
Farmington Firebirds
Charter member of league
2005 regular season champions
Fulton Railroaders
Charter member of league
2007 regular season champions
Union City Greyhounds
Charter member of league
2007 Champions

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bobcats' season over

One hit away.
Those were the words Steve Fowler has muttered too many time this season.
"One hit away. We were just one hit away," the Marion Bobcats manager grumbled Wednesday after a rain-shorted 4-3 playoff loss to Tradewater. "All season, we've been one hit away."
The victory sends Bobcat players home for the season and Tradewater to the KIT League championship series to face Owensboro, which on Wednesday also won its second game of a best-of-three series against Fulton. Marion dropped the first game of its semi-final series Tuesday 11-1 at Tradewater.
"It's disappointing," General Manager Gordon Guess said of the season-ending loss called after six innings. "A fitting end."
Guess nor Fowler protested the decision by umpire Brian Thomas to call the game amid a downpour, but a rally mounted by the Bobcats in the bottom of the sixth made the outcome a bit harder to take.
As the last of the fans hurried to their cars in the drenching rain, Thomas made the official decision inside the press box overlooking the diamond. Seated next to Guess in the booth with the GM's full blessing, Thomas made the call that recorded Lucas Cramsey as the final out of the Bobcat's inaugural season.
"You did all you could do," Guess said of Thomas' patience in letting the game continue as lighting bolts drew nearer.
At the end of the sixth, Marion left the tying run just 90 feet away, the go-ahead run on first, and ultimately, the team's hope for extending the season in the hands of Thomas.
With only one out and the score 4-2 in the Pirates' favor, it look as if the Bobcats might strike to tie the game or take the lead in the last half of the sixth as the weather front approached. A fielding error on a ball hit by Jacob Martin allowed Adam Blair to score to cut the lead to one run. That left Matt Little on third and Martin on second after a stolen base, but Adam Enloe hit into a fielder's choice that allowed Little to be cut down before he could cross the plate. 
Cramsey, carrying a .296 average, the highest on the Marion team, came to bat with Martin on third and his college teammate, Enloe, on first. But Kevin Belk was able to get Cramsey to fly out to right field, sending the teams to their respective dugouts to wait out the approaching storms. 
The storms, however, would not pass until enough rain was dumped on Guess Field to seal the Bobcats fate with a 4-3 loss. The one-run contest was the 19th of the year for Marion, the 10th of which the Bobcats came out on the losing end. One of the one-run victories came two days earlier at Union City in the opening round of the playoffs.
Dylan McCurry, Marion's starter, threw three innings, giving up all four of the Pirate runs on five consecutive hits in the third inning. Bo Daves took over in the fourth, tossing three innings of hitless ball through the sixth, but the damage was already done by the Tradewater. 
For the Pirates, Sean Mahley earned the win with 5.1 innings pitched. Belk earned the save despite giving up the final run of the Bobcats' season.
Marion took a 1-0 lead in the first when Danny Tejeda earned a  bases-loaded walk that scored Martin. Little would pick up the team's second RBI on a single that scored Scott Cashman after the shortstop lead off the inning with a double. 
Cashman, who has struggled at the plate all year with a .131 average and a league-high 56 strikeouts, went 2 for 3 on the night. Little had two hits of his own, as did Tejeda. Enloe and Mitch McClay also added singles to the Bobcats' hit total of eight, but Marion left more than enough runners on base to easily win the contest. Ten runners, in fact, were stranded on the base paths in only six innings.
"Clutch hitting," Guess said after the game. "It's what's been missing all year."
Cramsey, who ended the regular season with a 25-game on-base streak, actually earned a trip to first base in his last 29 ball games including the postseason and the July 21 All-Star Game.
On the year, Marion added a 1-2 postseason record to its 20-28 regular season campaign. 
Bobcat fans now await a decision by the team's 20 investors as to whether the Bobcats will return in 2009 for their second season. Though General Manager Gordon Guess gave no indication the team would not return, he said nothing will be official until the investors vote on the matter later this year.
Notes of interest:
  • Bobcat outfielder Dustin Kennon will be transferred to a Memphis hospital for orthopedic surgery on his chipped pelvis, an injury sustained in the first inning of Marion's 11-1 playoff loss Tuesday at Tradewater. Metal pins will be inserted to aid the proper healing as the Memphis-area native recovers from the result of a collision with a wooden outfield post as he attempted to make a play on a fly ball to right field.
  • After 35 wins against 15 losses for the Pirates during the regular season, the Dawson Springs club is hoping to earn a championship this weekend by adding two more wins to its 2-0 playoff record. Tradewater's foe, Owensboro, is now 3-0 in the playoffs after dispatching Fulton Wednesday and Farmington on Monday. The Oilers were 27-20 on the regular season.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bobcats drop Game 1 to Pirates

Marion lost the first game of a best-of-three playoff series to Tradewater Tuesday, making Wednesday's game at Gordon B. Guess Field a must-win for the Bobcats.
Tradewater won Tuesday 11-1, but Marion lost more than the game. Outfielder Dustin Kennon will not only miss the rest of the postseason for the Bobcats, but he will probably be out of baseball for some time with an injury sustained Monday in a collision with the right field fence.
Kennon, batting .282 with 11 RBI for the Bobcats during the regular season, suffered a serious hip injury when he slammed into one the 4x4 outfield posts at Riverside Park. The 22-year-old Memphis-area native hit the post attempting to make a play on a deep fly ball in the bottom of the first inning. There is no padding on the posts that hold up the fence at the park and no warning track to let players closing on a ball know of the nearing fence.
Manager Steve Fowler said Kennon shattered his right hip on the play. He lay in the outfield for several minutes before being carried off into the dugout. Fowler said he was upset that the game continued while Kennon suffered in a great deal of pain in the visiting dugout.
"Our guys were pretty unnerved with him in there wailing," Fowler said of his team's focus after the injury.
By the third inning members of Dawson Springs Rescue Squad had stabalized Kennon while waiting for an ambulance outside the field of play. Groggy from the pain in the hot, humid air, Kennon grimmaced while emergency medical personnel attemped to keep him cool with ice and an electric fan as he lay on the ground.
"Memphis," as his teammates call him, was transported by ambulance from Riverside Park in Dawson Springs to Regional Medical Center in Madisonville. What Fowler feared was perhaps a dislocated hip, bruise or "pointer" was, in fact, the worst case scenario - a broken hip.
Meantime, on the diamond, Kennon's teammates were listless and finished the game with a makeshift lineup.
"There's never been a game we placed as bad as tonight," Fowler said after the game, en route to visit his outfielder in the hospital. "Everybody likes (Kennon) and was worried about him."
Kennon's mother was also headed to the hospital Tuesday night from Collierville, Tenn.
"Our hearts and prayers are with him," Fowler said. "We should know more tomorrow."
Dylan McCurry will start Wednesday's game at Guess Field. The game begins at 7:05 p.m. If the Bobcats win, the final game of the series will be played Thursday at Riverside Park.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bobcats advance in playoffs

The Marion Bobcats (20-28) won their first-ever postseason game Monday, eliminating Union City (26-24) from the KIT League playoffs with a 4-3 win at Union City.
Starter Joey Haston pitched six strong innings, but faltered in the seventh, allowing Union City to close a 3-0 deficit to tie the game. 
"He had such a quick six, I thought I'd leave him in for the seventh and save my staff," Manager Steve Fowler said of his initial plan to pitch Haston, 1-2 with a 1.61 ERA in the regular season, for only six innings.
But Marion, as they have tended to do during the regular season, won the game with some late-inning drama.
"We had flawless execution in the ninth," Fowler said.
Jacob Martin led off the last frame with a walk and was moved to second on a sacrifice by Adam Enloe. Lucas Cramsey, who ended the season with a 25-game on-base streak, moved Martin to third, allowing Mitch McClay to score Martin on bloop hit. Closer Kyle Medley, with eight saves on the regular season, finished the game with a postseason save by throwing a perfect inning.
Chad Adcock, who pitched the eighth inning against the Greyhouds, earned the win.
"It's pretty big," the manager said of the first-year team's first playoff win.
Marion now advances to the second round of the playoffs, traveling to Tradewater (35-15) Tuesday for the first game of a best-of-three series against the league's best team. The second game of the series will be played at Gordon B. Guess Field in Marion. Game 3, if necessary, will return to Riverside Park in Dawson Springs.
"It's going to be an all-out war," Fowler said of the series. "They want us!"
The winner of the Marion-Tradewater series will advance to the championship to face the winner of the Owensboro-Fulton series, which also gets under way Tuesday. Owensboro (27-20) beat Farmington (8-38) Monday 6-2 to advance to the second round.
Marion beat Union City Monday for the seventh time this season. The Greyhounds are the only team against whom the Bobcats had a winning record in the regular season, 6-4. 
Fowler's club faired almost as well against his old team, the Pirates. The Bobcats were 5-5 against Tradewater this season, including three consecutive wins against Tradewater to end the season series. Tuesday's playoff game should be a continuation of the hottest rivalry in the KIT League.
"We're either going to wreck their season, or ours is going to come to an end," Fowler said after Monday's playoff win.
Fowler has not yet decided on his starter for Game 1 of the Tradewater series, but the Pirates have the league's top two winning pitcher in George Hebert (8-0) and Don Pugliese (7-0). The game at Dawson Springs will start at 7:05 p.m.
Game 2 of the Marion-Tradewater series will be at Gordon B. Guess Field in Marion, with a 7:05 p.m., start time.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Results from July 22

Marion 4, Tradewater 3
The Marion Bobcats ended their season at home like they began, with a win over the top team in the KIT League.
For the second time in the last seven games, Scott Cashman pushed across the winning run Tuesday in the Bobcats’ last at-bat. The 4-3 victory over Tradewater (32-14) kept the Pirates from clinching first place on the Bobcats’ home turf and evened the season series at five games each. The contest was Marion’s last regular season game at Gordon B. Guess Field this year. On June 4, the Bobcats won their first game at home against then first-place Fulton with a 4-1 record. On the season, Guess Field has been friendly to Marion. The team, 18-26 after Tuesday’s win, finishes 12-13 at home.
The Bobcats have four road games left and can finish no better or worse than fifth place. Games remaining include a two-game set at Union City beginning Wednesday and the final series of the regular season at Fulton on Friday and Saturday.
When postseason begins Monday, Marion will travel to the home of the fourth-place team for a one-game playoff. Joey Haston, 1-2 with a 1.61 ERA, will start for Marion.
If the Bobcats win Monday, they will return to Guess Field two days later for Game 2 of a three-game Round 2 playoff. The winner of that series will also play another home game either July 31 or Aug. 1, depending on seeding, during the three-game championship series. If necessary, the final game of the championship series will be on Aug. 3.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Results from July 19

Michael LeMon earned his first win of the year Saturday with a complete game shutout for the Bobcats, while the offense gave him more than enough run support behind a 3-run double by Adam Enloe and solo home run by Mitch McClay.
LeMon's 7-0 win over Farmington Saturday was before one of the largest crowds of the year at Gordon B. Guess Field. More than 250 fans packed the stands for Merchants Night and Fan Appreciation Night and saw the Bobcats split the season series with the Firebirds 4-4.
As entertainment, the fans saw Marion's fifth man in the pitching rotation pitch like an ace Saturday. LeMon faced only 29 batters – two over the minimum – and never allowed a man past second base. While he allowed only six runners from on three hits and three walks, four of the Firebirds were erased on the basepaths. In fact, through the first seven innings, the Albuquerque, N.M., native faced the minimum number of hitters by working quickly and staying ahead of batters.
McClay continued his hot hitting with his first home run of the season, and Adam Enloe added three more RBI to his team-leading total before Monday's trip to the All-Star game.
Lucas Cramsey also reached base for the 20th consecutive game with a hit.
Tradewater 4, Owensboro 0
Tradewater now need win only 1 more game or Owensboro lose another to claim KIT League regular season title. The Pirates beat Owensboro Saturday to push their lead to 6 games over Owensboro and reduce their magic number to 1. The win also guaranteed Tradewater of a first-round playoff bye and made it impossible for Fulton to repeat its 2007 league title. Fulton lost 8-2 to Union City with only 5 games remaining on the Railroader's schedule.
Because of the All-Star break, Tradewater will have to wait to clinch the league title. Tradewater's next game isn't until Tuesday at Marion and Owensboro doesn't play until a doubleheader at Farmington Wednesday.
The best Fulton can finish is now second place after being topled from league title contention with a loss Saturday against Union City. Though Owensboro is not yet mathematically eliminated from the finishing first, the best the Oilers can now do is tie Tradewater. Another Oiler loss or Pirate win will cinch the title for Tradewater, leaving Owensboro, Fulton and Union City to battle for second place and a first round playoff bye. A half-game now separates the three teams.

Results from July 18

Playoff picture
Tradewater's magic number is down to three with a win Friday and losses by both second-place teams, Fulton and Owensboro, now each five games behind the Pirates. Union City, with only 5 contests left and 6.5 games out of first, has been officially eliminated from the KIT League regular season championship. However, Union City, now in fourth place, can still finish second or third. Both the first- and second-place teams avoid a one-game, first round playoff. Meantime, Marion and Farmington, having secured fifth and sixth place, respectively, will go on the road for their one-game playoff. Marion will play at the fourth-place team's park, while Farmington will hit the road to face the third-place team.
Game summary pending.
Jon "Sweet Tea" Lee came on in relief of middle man Payne Spence and closed out the Owensboro Oilers Friday night, as the Pirates held on for a hard-fought, come-from behind victory. Don Pugliese, the Pirate starter, had an uncharacteristic rough first two innings, and the Oilers took advantage of Donny Baseball's inconsistency, racing out to a 3-0 lead, but not for long. The Pirates chipped away at Oiler starter Ryan Harper, closing to 3-2, and then in the sixth, the Bucs chased Harper, taking a 6-3 lead. Sean Mahley had a base-clearing triple to add to Harper's misery. Mahley was thrown out at third earlier, after a right-field blast sent him digging for third, only to be taken out by some good relay action by the Oilers. Pugliese, leaving early, gave way to Payne Spence, who did a masterful middle job, giving him the win. Lee received the save, and the respect of the adoring Riverside Park crowd, who gave the big man quite a hand for his night's work. The Bucs race out to a 5 game lead in the KIT, ahead of Saturday night's contest with the Oilers. Tradewater is now 31-13 on the season.
The Railroader pitching served up 15 hits and 7 earned runs in their loss on Friday to the Greyhounds. While Fulton's defense kept Union City's run production low, the Railroader offensive could not repeat last night performance of power hitting and could only muster 6 hits on the evening. Union City's mound effort took 4 pitchers to stop several Railroader rallies and resulted in Fulton stranding 12 men on base. Starter Brad Lawrence got the win only throwing 3 + innings before leaving in the 4th with an apparent injury. Spencer Clifft was the last Union City pitcher and went 1 2/3 innings with a 2 run lead to pick up his 12th league leading save on the season. Taking the loss for Fulton was Kevin Kirksey going for 5 1/3 innings allowing 11 hits and 6 runs. The win gives the Greyhounds a 5-4 lead on their season series with the Railroaders, the final regular season contest between the two teams is on Saturday in Fulton. Fulton moves to 5 games back of the 1st place Pirates, and they remain tied in 2nd with the Oilers who also lost on Friday to the Pirates. The Greyhound move up only a game and a half behind the Railroaders in 3rd place.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

CHS Night arrives Friday

Crittenden Health Systems has more than baseball on its mind when it hosts Crittenden Health Systems Night at the ballpark Friday.
Besides give-aways for t-shirts, water bottles and CHS 65th anniversary items, the hospital will open a health booth one hour before the 7:05 p.m., first pitch in order to provide free blood pressure checks and distribute health information. 
Dr. Amy Ratley will be singing the national anthem, three $50 gas cards will be handed out by CHS CEO Jim Christensen and staff at the end of the second, fifth and eighth innings.

Day at Marion Baptist cancelled

Bobcats Sunday at Marion Baptist Church has been cancelled.
General Manager Gordon Guess said Thursday that the services and afternoon barbecue dedicated to the baseball team has been cancelled due to a mutual agreement between the club and the church. 
The KIT League All-Star break begins Sunday, and Marion will be sending five players Monday to Huntington, Ind., for the game and tryouts in front of a number of baseball scouts. Joining All-Stars Adam Enloe, Lucas Cramsey, Matt Little and Kyle Medley will be catcher Adam Blair, who hopes to show off his arm and bat to scouts.

July 17 results

Farmington 5, Marion 2
Matt Little showed hometown fans why he was an All-Star selection this year for the Bobcats, but it wasn't enough to overcome a pesky last-place club whose own All-Star made his presence felt.
Little, center fielder for the Bobcats, went 4 for 5 Thursday, collecting a double, three singles and a run scored. With the performance, Little raised his batting average 18 points to .265 and added a stolen base for 13 on the season. 
Lucas Cramsey, also an All-Star for Marion, extended his on-base streak to 18 games.
The offense, though, failed again to put enough runs on the board for a victory, falling to Farmington 5-2. The win was only the sixth of the year for the Firebirds against 35 losses, but the Missouri club appears to have Marion's number. Four of their six wins have come against the Bobcats, who are now 2-4 against the last-place Firebirds.
Dallas Williams batted in three runs off Marion starter Ryan Stauffer (0-4), who gave up eight hits and four runs for the loss. Williams' biggest hit was a double down the third base line that scored two for the Firebirds to take a 4-2 lead.
Ethan Utley spelled Stauffer in the ninth and was touched for a 340-foot solo shot off the bat of pinch hitter Casey Jones, one of only two All-Stars selected from the Firebirds.
Mitch Guemmer (1-2) with an ERA over 8.00 got the win with Grant Miller (2-7) recording his first save of the year. 
Guemmer came in to pitch the seventh and eighth innings after Kirt Drimyer, the starter, and Dan Kuntz each pitched three innings, giving up one run each. In the third, Little scored off Drimyer on an error, and three innings later, Cramsey was batted in from second on a double by Mitch McClay.
Farmington's multiple pitching changes became a scorekeeper's nightmare.
Kuntz was brought in from second base to pitch the fourth with an unconventional five-man switch that sent Drimyer to first and moved Mike Reed from first to right field, Zane Walker from right to left field and Nick Johnson from left to second base. When Guemmer took the mound in the seventh, Kuntz took his spot in short.
Other notes:
  • With Thursday's loss, Marion's record dropped to 15-26, securing a fifth place finish in the six-team league. The Bobcats have only seven games remaining and are 7.5 games behind fourth-place Union City, while Farmington, 22.5 games behind first-place Tradewater and trail the Bobcats by 8.5 games.
  • Reed, who started the year as a catcher for Marion, played first base and right field for Farmington. He collected a hit and made a shin-high grab in right on a seventh-inning ball scalded by Jacob Martin with two runners in scoring position. At the time, the the Firebirds were leading 4-2. Reed batted only .077 with one hit in five games for the Bobcats before receiving his release. Since joining Farmington, he is batting .134 with nine hits.
  • Stauffer walked only one batter in eight innings. On the year, the sole lefty on the Bobcats' pitching staff has give up only three bases on balls in 34 innings pitched.
  • Marion committed only one error to Farmington's five, and stranded six to Farmington's seven men left on base.
  • Marion would have to win both Friday and Saturday to secure a 4-4 season split with Farmington, the league's worst team. But, the Bobcats could also earn a 5-5 season split with Tradewater, the league's best team, with a win Tuesday at Gordon B. Guess Field. In the only completed season series for Marion, the Bobcats were 2-8 against second-place Owensboro. 
Tradewater 4, Owensboro 0
The Pirates pushed their first-place lead to four games with a 4-0 win over Owensboro Thursday. Owensboro (25-16) and Fulton (26-17), which also lost Thursday, have only nine and six games, respectively, to catch Tradewater (30-13)
Tradewater's magic number for the KIT League championship is now 5.
Fulton 18, Union City 12
Fulton's is keeping its repeat league title hopes alive with its third consecutive win, but Tradewater won its sixth in a row to step one day closer to taking the regular season crown from the Railroaders. With only nine games left, Fulton trails the Pirates by 4 games in the standings, tied with Owensboro. However, the Railroaders have two head-to-head match-ups with the Pirates.

Results from July 16

Fulton 8, Marion 4
The Railroader complete this road with a another big win over the Marion Bobcats on Wednesday. Justin Rogers got the win going 6 innings, walking 1, and striking out 7, he allowed 3 earned runs. Allen Bolden, Elliot Frey, and Stuart Meinhart all got doubles for Fulton. Bryce Law takes the loss for Marion. The Bobcats will now host the Firebirds for 3 games and the Railroaders return home for 3 games with Greyhounds.

Tradewater 8, Farmington 4 Game 1
The Pirates dug out of a 2-1 hole in the first with a huge sixth inning, to take two from Farmington. The Bucs ended up winning 8-4 in the first contest, as they drove Firebird starter Wes Dagestad from the game in the sixth. The Pirates played small ball to turn the tide, and the Birds watched their hopes dashed for victory.

Tradewater 3, Farmington 1 Game 2
Sean Mahley pitched a brilliant complete game victory for Tradewater in the second game of a doubleheader at Riverside Park. In the nightcap, the Pirates led 2-1, and added an insurance run late, to aid Mahley. Kevin Belk won the first game, going the distance, in a well-deserved effort. The Pirates now prepare for Owensboro, for three nights at Riverside, in a battle for the brass ring.

Union City 8, Owensboro 5
The Owensboro Oilers lost Wednesday night's game against the visiting Union City Greyhounds, 5-8. The Oilers got out to a lead with two runs in the bottom of the 1st inning. With one out, Kevin O'Hair walked, Maykel "Makorum" Mokorem beat out an infield single, and moved to second on an errant that also allowed O'Hair to score. Tom Freeman followed with a RBI single to score Makorem. The Greyhounds tied the game in the top of the 2nd inning. Tyler Acker led off with a single, and scored two outs later on a RBI single by Jon Ivie. Luke Putnam followed with a RBI double to plate Ivie. The Oilers reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the 4th inning. Haskel Fink led off with a single, and stole second. Two outs later, Harry Turney RBI singled to plate Fink. Union City tied the game again in the top of the 5th inning. Putnam began with a walk. With one out, Drew Hayes singled, moving Putnam to third. With two out Justin Miller reached on an error that allowed Putnam across home. Owensboro scored again in the bottom of the 5th, as Makorem hit a solo RBI home run with two out. The Oilers added another run in the bottom of the 6th inning. With two out, another RBI single by Turney plated Justin Ritchhart (singled). The Greyhounds rallied for four runs in the top of the 7th inning to take the lead. Ace Williams walked, Hayes singled. Trey Horn RBI doubled to score Williams. Acker reached on an error that allowed Hayes to score. Anthony Tomassetti RBI singled to score both Horn and Acker. The Greyhounds added a final run in the top of the 8th inning. With one out, Putnam doubled, and scored on a two-out RBI single by Hayes. Greyhounds starter Jud Stoltz was the winner, Spencer Clifft notched a save. Owensboro starter Nathan "Humphries" Humphrey gets the loss.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Results for July 15

Fulton 9, Marion 0
The strikeout helped Chad Adcock keep Fulton in check through six innings after he gave up an early 2-0 lead Tuesday, but the well went dry in the seventh when the Railroaders sent seven batters to the plate to tack on three more runs en route to a 9-0 victory at Marion.
Fulton's win just one night after falling victim to Scott Cashman's game-winning single in the Marion's last at-bat snapped the Bobcats' first three-game winning streak of the year and handed Adcock (0-2) his first loss as a starter. 
On Stuart Meinhart's six RBI and a complete game two-hitter from Jacob Donze (6-2, 2.63 ERA), Fulton kept pace with Tradewater and Owensboro in the hunt for the KIT League title. Fulton is only 3.5 games behind first-place Tradewater and two behind Owensboro for second place.
Tuesday's victory at Gordon B. Guess Field was decided early for the Railroaders as Adcock stumbled out of the gate, allowing the first two batters of the night to reach on a single and a walk. Both would eventually score in the inning, the only runs either team would allow through the first six innings. Adcock would get out of the first by leaving the last two batters standing at the plate mystified on called third strikes.
Using his unconventional side-arm delivery, the "K" would remain the right-hander's best friend on the night, accounting for 9 of the 20 outs he recorded in six and two-third innings. But strikeout abandoned Adcock in the seventh when Fulton loaded the bases with a single, hit batter and walk, setting up a three-run double by Meinhart. That would be the last batter Adcock would face. 
Ethan Utley was brought in to get the final out of the seventh inning and would continue into the eighth. After getting the first two batters on routine infield grounders, 19-year-old Utley finished his night much like Adcock – allowing the next four batters to reach before Bobby Woods was brought in to get the final out of the eighth. Before that happened, however, Meinhart would add two more to his RBI total with a double to center field.
Meantime, Donze kept the Bobcats off the scoreboard for the fifth time this season. The only hits the 6-1 lefty would give up were two singles to Jacob Martin – an infield bouncer in the seventh and a line drive to center in the ninth. In fact, Donze allowed only four runners on the entire night.
Meinhart was the hitting star for the Railroaders, recording six of the team's eight RBI. Elliot Frey accounted for the other two RBI, while the Railroaders' other run scored on a first-inning passed ball allowed Adam Enloe.
For the Bobcats, Lucas Cramsey reached for the 16th consecutive game when he was hit by a pitch in the second inning. His 11-game hitting streak was ended against Fulton Monday, but the first baseman has reached base in every game since the second game of a doubleheader June 21 at Farmington.
Bryce Law (2-2, 1.78) will start for Marion Wednesday in the rubber match of the three-game series.
Other notes:
  • Only nine games remain for Marion, making first or second place in the KIT League regular season unattainable for the Bobcats. The best the team could finish in its inaugural season is third place. With any combination of two Bobcat losses or Fulton wins, Marion's best hope will be fourth place, which Union City currently holds. Any combination of three wins by Union City or losses for Marion will mean the Bobcats will finish in fifth place. With the number of contests remaining for Farmington, they cannot overtake Marion for fifth place no matter the teams' respective records from here on out.
Game summary pending.
Game summary pending.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Four Bobcats named All-Stars

Marion will send four players to next week's All-Star game in Huntingburg, Ind.
Adam Enloe, Lucas Cramsey, Matt Little and Kyle Medley were named to the 24-man KIT League All-Star roster on Monday. Only league-leading Tradewater and third-place Fulton will send more players to next Monday's contest.
Manager Steve Fowler said he was able to petition for a fourth player on the team when league managers and coaches met Monday afternoon to hammer out selections. The four Marion players are more than will represent second-place Owensboro on the squad. Tradewater placed the most on the team with six.
The 2008 All-Star Game will pit the Central Illinois Collegiate League All-Stars against the All-Stars of the KIT League. The Dubois County Bombers will be hosting the game next Monday at League Stadium in Huntingburg.  The game will begin at 6:30 p.m., following the annual Home Run Derby which will start at 5:30 p.m., and last 45 minutes.
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by contacting the Bombers at (812)683-3700 or dcbombers@psci.net. Tickets prices are $9 for red chair back, $8 for orange chair back and $6 for general admission. The game will also be televised on Teamline on a pay-per-listen basis. More can be found by visiting www.dcbombers.com
The 2008 KIT League All-Stars are as follows:

Marion Bobcats
  • Adam Enloe - .307, 42 hits, 6 doubles, 24 RBI, 16 runs
  • Matt Little - 262, 34 hits, 1 home run, 16 runs, 17 RBI
  • Lucas Cramsey - .291, 37 hits, 15 runs, 14 RBI, 11-game hitting streak
  • Kyle Medley - 2-2 record, 6 saves, 29 strike outs in 18 innings, 0.50 ERA
Owensboro Oilers
  • Jon Herendeen
  • Joe Devine
  • Kevin O'Hair
Farmington Firebirds
  • Andy Moss
  • Casey Jones
Union City Greyhounds
  • Drew Hayes
  • Ace Williams
  • Justin Miller
  • Trey Horn
Tradewater Pirates
  • Justin Long
  • George Hebert
  • Don Pugliese
  • Eric Faint
  • Nathan Wright
  • Kevin Schlegel
Fulton Railroaders
  • J. D. Ashbrook
  • Hunter Dawson
  • Justin Rodgers
  • Elliott Frey
  • Louis Haseltine

Results from July 14

Marion 3, Fulton 2
Marion wins its third game in row with a walk-off single by Scott Cashman in the bottom of the ninth, the second win for the Bobcats in their final at-bat in as many games.
Other notes:

  • With only 10 games left for Marion, the Bobcats were mathematically eliminated from winning the KIT League regular season title. Farmington has already been eliminated from contention.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

2008 All-Stars named Monday

Players for the July 21 All-Star Game will be named Monday. At least three Bobcats are expected to make the team.
The 2008 All-Star game will pit the Central Illinois Collegiate League All-Stars against the All-Stars of the KIT League. The game starts at 7 p.m., July 21 at League Stadium in Huntingburg, Ind., home of the CICL's Dubois County Bombers. This year's game will feature the annual Home Run Derby which will start at 5:30 p.m., and last 45 minutes.

Results from July 13

Tradewater 15, Owensboro 7
Tradewater retook first place over Owensboro with a 15-7 win Sunday. The Pirates had fallen out of first place with two consecutive losses to Marion at Gordon B. Guess Field. 
All other KIT League teams are idle Sunday.
On Monday, Marion will host third-place Fulton at 7:05 p.m. Monday is Peoples Bank Night at Gordon B. Guess Field. The bank will honor the ballpark's namesake and reward fans with give-aways. President and CEO Terry L. Bunnell will recognize Guess, former president and CEO of the institution, for his hard work and dedication in organizing the baseball club.
The Peoples Bank has purchased 100 tickets to share with its employees, friends and family on the special occasion.
Special give-aways at the end of the third, sixth and eighth innings, as well as several Bobcat t-shirts, The Peoples Bank pens, cups and paper cubes given throughout the evening will also be open to fans in the park. The first give-away of the night will be an ice chest full of goodies. During the sixth inning, a $50 gas card will be awarded to a lucky fan, and in the eighth, someone will take home a fresh, crisp $100 bill.
Joey Haston will be starting for Marion. Haston is 1-2 in three starts with a 2.21 ERA. He has allowed only 5 runs in 20.1 innings pitched with 7 strikeouts and 15 hits allowed. The McMinnville, Tenn., native last pitched against Owensboro on Sunday, receiving a loss in 1-0 complete game. Haston joined the team June 16 and plays his college ball with Matt Little at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss.

Results from July 12

Union City 6, Farmington 4
No game summary available.
Fulton at Owensboro
Postponed due to rain. Reschedule date to be be announced.
Tradewater at Marion
Postponed due to rain. Reschedule for 7:05 p.m., July 22 in Marion. Game will remain Par 4 Plastics Night.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bobcats-Pirates game rained out

A sweep will have to wait.
The Tradewater game at Marion was rained Saturday and will be played later this month after the All-Star Game. The final game of a three-game series, the Bobcats were looking for the sweep Saturday against the Pirates after taking the first two games at Gordon B. Guess Field. Because of a heavy rain that fell just before game time, the field was too muddy for action.
The final Bobcats-Pirates game of the year will now be July 22, one day after the All-Star Game. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be the final home game of the year for Marion, with Par 4 Plastics Night rescheduled as the sponsorship for the game.
The Bobcats then hit the road the following day for the final four games of the season.
Marion continues its homestand Monday against Fulton. Game time is 7:05 p.m.
The postseason begins July 28, with a one-game Round 1 playoff. In the first round, fifth place will play fourth, and sixth will play the third-place team. Marion is currently in fifth place.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Results from July 11

Marion 5, Tradewater 4 (12 innings)
The hits keep coming and the wins are getting sweeter for the Bobcats.
On Friday, Marion beat the Tradewater Pirates 5-4 on a 12th-inning walk-off single from Lucas Cramsey that fell just shy of right fielder Nathan Wright's glove. The looping liner was Cramsey's third hit of night and scored Scott Cashman from third after leading off the inning by taking a pitch on the elbow.
The loss dropped Tradewater (24-13) out of first place with Owensboro's 6-5 win over Fulton at home. For Marion (14-23), it was the first back-to-back victory since June 9 an sets the stage Saturday for a possible series sweep of the Pirates, Bobcat's first of the season. 
"This beats it," Manager Steve Fowler said of Friday's thrilling Bobcat victory, just one night after dubbing a 5-0 win over Tradewater the sweetest of the season. "This was the best one yet."
Marion collected nine hits, and has tallied nine or more in four of the last five games after scoring only 24 runs in its previous 13 games. Cramsey was 3 for 6 and has hit safely in his last 11 games, including Friday's game winner. 
For Fowler, who managed at Tradewater for seven seasons, any victory against his old team is special. Despite harboring no animosity toward the Dawson Springs-based club, Fowler feels he has something to prove to the Pirate faithful who used to cheer him on, many of whom were in the stands at Marion Friday. 
After almost four hours of baseball Friday, the old Pirate skipper showed the last two nights that his fifth-place club can beat the best in the league. His nearly bald head covered in sweat on the muggy summer night, Fowler explained away some aggressive base-running that lead to outs at the plate, but still kept a grin as big as the moment Cramsey's ball fell just out of Wright's reach. In his head, he kept replaying the moment his team erupted from the dugout to rush Cashman who had just crossed the plate for the winning score.
But the final inning started to look like it might play out in the way so many others had during the Bobcats' recent slump. After reaching third on a stolen base and wild pitch with nobody out in the 12th, four batters later he remained at third with two out.
"I knew if I got Cashman to third with no outs and he didn't score, we'd lose the game," Fowler said.
After saving the go-ahead run in the previous inning by keeping his cool on a grounder that took a bad hop at short, Cashman stood just 90 feet from pushing the Bobcats over the top and sending the fans the friendly confines – including his parents all the way from Gig Harbor, Wash. – into a frenzy.
"It hit him right in the cup," Fowler said of the bad hop of the bat of Kevin Schlegel in the 11th.
But Cashman had enough presence of mind with the bases loaded to make the only play that had a chance a chance of keeping the scored knotted at 4. He knocked down ball, picked it back up and made a perfect throw to Cramsey at first to end the Pirate threat. 
Cramsey would repay his fellow infielder in the next inning with his own two-out, bases-loaded theatrics. 
Pirate reliever Mike Ritson looked to be working his way out of his first jam since taking over from Pirate starter Justin Long in the 10th. After hitting Cashman and walking Troy Ellis, Ritson got Matt Little to bounce out to third and set up an inning-ending double play possibility by intentionally walking Jacob Martin. The next batter, Adam Enloe went down swinging, however, leaving it to Cramsey to save the Bobcats from wasting a lead-off runner at third.
Cramsely obliged, taking a two-strike pitch and poking it to the opposite field in right for Marion's first walk-off win of the year.
"And I thought last night was sweet," Fowler said.
What might be even more savory would be the Bobcats' first series sweep. A win Saturday would not only be the first time Marion left a series undefeated, it would also mark the first three-game winning streak for the young club.
And, it would end the season series with Tradewater with five wins apiece.
"Wouldn't they just hate that," Fowler heard after the game from Bobcat General Manager Gordon Guess, who has his own history with the Pirate club. 
Guess, for several years, has called Tradewater games on the radio, and has even continued to do so this year. In fact, that is how Guess came to know Fowler, which made him the perfect choice for Guess to lead the Bobcats upon their entry into the KIT League.
In search of evening the season series, Fowler will send Joey Haston (1-2, 2.21 ERA) to the hill Saturday. With a depleted bullpen, Fowler is looking to Chad Adcock, who threw an inning of relief Friday and is scheduled to start Monday, as Haston's only backup in the Bobcats final game against Tradewater.
"That's it," Fowler said of his relief choices.
Kyle Medley (1-2) was spent Friday, throwing three and two-thirds innings. The closer, who came in a 4-4 game with one out in the ninth, normally works only an inning, but after Fowler replaced Adcock with Bobby Woods to start the eighth, the bullpen was out of arms.
"He was done," Fowler said of Medley after pitching the top of the 12th inning.
But Fowler didn't have to make a pitching choice for the 13th inning, and Medley came away with the win, his first of the year.
Ritson got the loss in his first pitching appearance of the year. Justin Long, who earned complete-game win in his last start against Marion, worked the first nine inning for Tradewater and was left with a no-decision.
Dylan McCurry (1-2), the Bobcat starter, pitched six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits. One of the runs was unearned, keeping his ERA at a low 2.68. Medley struck out six Pirates in his three and two-thirds innings. Woods struggled a bit in one and third innings, walking three and allowing a run to tie the game at 4-4 in the ninth.
Besides the game winning RBI, Cramsey had Marion's first RBI of the night, scoring Little on a single. Cashman, Cramsey's late-inning heroics partner, also had an RBI. Marion's two other runs scored on errors.
Game summary pending.

Food Giant paying for admission

The first 100 visitors to Gordon B. Guess Field on Friday will gain free entry to the Marion Bobcat-Tradewater Pirates game courtesy of Food Giant Supermarkets. The promotion, one of nine slated by various business during the Bobcats’ final homestand, will also see those first fans take home a goody bag from the food store chain.
Friday is also Ladies Night, with a reduced ticket price of $3 for all women not among the first 100 in the ballpark. The contest, like all Bobcat games, begins at 7:05 p.m.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Results from July 10

Marion 5, Tradewater 0
Some wins are sweeter than others.
For Steve Fowler, Thursday's 5-0 over Tradewater was one of the sweetest ever for his Marion club.
"It was the biggest win of the year," Fowler said after the game, his third win this season against the club he managed for seven years.
After dropping a pair of one-run losses at Union City to fall six games out of fourth place, the Bobcats returned home Thursday to begin their final homestand of the year. The nine-game stretch got off to a good start before a large crowd, with Marion earning a victory against the league's first-place team. 
Marion (13-23) scored its first run on a wild pitch from Payne Spense (0-2) in the second inning. That's all Sturgis, Ky., native Chris Buckman would need, pitching seven innings of shutout baseball before Ethan Utley threw the final two scoreless innings for his first save of the season.
"He now knows there's life after four," Fowler said of the seven-inning performance by Buckman, who made his first start on the mound this year.
The right-hander earned the win, his fourth against zero losses on the year. Spense took the loss.
The game was Marion's second shutout of the year, equalling a complete game performance by Bo Daves against Farmington on June 22. Tradewater is now 24-12, just a half-game ahead of Owensboro.
Fowler said the Pirates came in to the friendly confines of Gordon B. Guess Field with a bit of swagger after taking two of three at Fulton to reach the top spot in the league.
"I'd bet we see a different Tradewater team tomorrow," the Bobcat skipper said.
Despite earning only two victories in the last 13 games, Fowler said he's proud of his club.
"They scratch and claw their way back," he said. "These guys don't realize they're a fifth-place team."
Marion has now lost eight games by only one run – 10 by two runs or less. For Fowler, that shows moxie for a young club.
"We've accomplished our first-year goal of being competitive," he said.
When the Bobcats take the field against the Pirates Friday, there will be only 12 regular season games left for the Marion team. Though fourth place and a home playoff game will be an uphill climb for the Bobcats, the club is beginning to gel near the season's end. 
But it took a bit of coaxing on the recent road trip.
"I lost it," Fowler said of clubhouse grumbling during the 2-11 skid. "I had a fit and they seemed to respond as a team."
All six KIT League teams will reach the playoffs, and if Marion can continue hitting like Thursday and the previous three games at Union City, Fowler likes the team's chances in the postseason.
In fact, on Thursday, Mitch McClay stroked three hits and Lucas Cramsey continued his hot hitting with a double and a single. On the night, Marion amassed nine hits, leaving only six on base. The defense performed flawlessly as well.
"I'm proud of them," Fowler said of his team after Thursday's win.
One of the club's starters, though, is out for the year. Logan "Tex" Thomas will not return to the mound in 2008 after suffering ligament damage in his right arm, his throwing arm. Fowler said Thomas will remain with club through the season, but won't be playing.
"That hurts us," the coach said.
Thomas was 3-2 with a 5.46 earned run average. Fowler said the pitcher will not be replaced on the roster at this stage of the season.
Another pitcher on injured reserve returned to action this week, however. Bryce Law tossed three and a third innings in relief at Union City Wednesday. Law, 2-2, will return to the starting rotation during the homestand.
Dylan McCurry (1-3, 2.62) will start Friday against the Pirates. Joey Haston, who pitched a complete game 1-0 lost against Owensboro Sunday, will start Saturday. Both games times are 7:05 p.m.
In other notes:
  • Thursday's game went the dogs, err, dog in the middle innings. A black lab made his way onto the field during the fifth inning, cordially retrieving a foul ball and dropping it into the hands of home plate umpire Brian Thomas. Two innings later, the same dog would streak across the field, holding up action briefly until he made his way back outside the fencing. Could the black dog be a foretelling of things to come for the Pirates? Consider this... In 1969, a black cat darted in front of the Chicago Cubs dugout at Shea Stadium in New York. At the time, the Cubs maintained a 10-game lead in the National League East, only to fall into a late-season slump after the cat's curse, eventually relinquishing first place to the Mets. The 1962 expansion team who would go on to win their first World Series that same year.
  • All the way from Gig Harbor, Wash., Scott Cashman's parents made their way to Guess Field Thursday to see for the first time their son play in a Bobcat uniform. The Cashman's, as well as the shortstop's girlfriend from Utah, where he attends college, will remain in town for the weekend series against the Pirates.
  • Friday night is Food Giant Supermarkets Night, where the first 100 fans gain free entry into the game and a goodie back from the grocery chain.
Game summary pending.
The Owensboro Oilers won Thursday night's game against the visiting Fulton Railroaders by a 2-0 score. The Oilers scored first in the bottom of the 1st inning. With one out, Kevin O'Hair executed a bunt single. He advanced to second on a throwing error, then scored when Anthony Gliffee smacked a RBI ground-rule double under the centerfield fence. The score remained 1-0 until the bottom of the 6th inning. With two out, Joe Grinstead parked a solo RBI home run over the rightfield wall. The pitching of Oilers starter John Carbonell, Patrick Crider in relief, and closer Jon Herendeen made the two runs stand up. The mound staff notched 13 Ks and allowed just three hits in the game. Carbonell went seven innings, fanned 9 and walked 1 for the win. The Railroaders threatened in the top of the 7th, loading the bases against Crider with no outs. Then Crider got a 1-2-3 double play, and followed that up with a strike out to end the inning -- without a run crossing the plate. Jon Herendeen worked a perfect top of the 9th for another save. The Oilers player of the game was Kevin O'Hair for going 4 for 4 with a run scored