Friday, December 4, 2009

Rogers out; signs with Owensboro

Last season's top pitcher for the Bobcats will be throwing for Owensboro in 2010, not Marion as was reported earlier this week.
Bobcats management reports that Whitesville, Ky. native Ryan Rogers has opted to next year play closer to home around more familiar surroundings. Rogers hometown is only 15 miles from Owensboro, and a former coach will be on the staff for the Oilers in the club's next campaign.
"(S)eems his old (high school) coach will be an assistant there this summer," said Marion's general manager, Gordon Guess, on reporting the change.
On Wednesday, it was reported that Rogers, who posted a 1.50 ERA and four wins in 2009 for the Bobcats, had signed with Marion. However, Rogers' declared his intention to return nearly a year ago, on Dec. 11, 2008.
With the move, all 17 players now signed for 2010 will be putting on a Bobcat uniform for the first time next May.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

McClay moves to Fulton roster

The owner of six Marion all-time or single-season hitting records and one of only two players to spend the entire season with the team in each of its first two years will be playing on the other side of the ball in 2010.
Mitch McClay, who holds Bobcat records for games played, RBI and hits, has signed with the Fulton Railroaders. The lefty who hits from the right side of the plate was granted his release by Marion last month, allowing the Carterville, Ill. resident to sign with Fulton.
A 6-1, 200-pound junior at Lambuth University, McClay was a regular starter in the outfield for Marion in each of the club's first two seasons. Last year, he hit .293 with three home runs and 13 RBI in 48 games for the Bobcats. His home run total in 2009 led the team and tied him with Jacob Martin for the all-time club record. Martin is the only other player to spend all of both seasons with Marion.
While McClay's .399 on-base percentage in 2009 and a team-record 33 RBI over two seasons will be missed at the plate, making contact has proved a weakness. Among his multiple team-leading stats are 72 strikeouts, 36 in each of his seasons with Marion.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Assistant coach chosen; 18 players signed

A former collegiate league all-star and assistant coach at tiny Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Ky. will be spending next summer in Marion.
Jason Stowers has signed on as an assistant coach for the Bobcats in 2010, joining manager Steve Fowler in the dugout. He is in his fourth year as a coach for the Alice Lloyd Eagles, and is a physical education instructor at his eastern Kentucky alma mater. As pitching coach for the Eagles, the team has produced eight conference pitchers of the week, and has registered three no-hitters and two one-hitters. A 12-1 start in 2009 was the best in school history.
"I have recruited three straight freshman of the year in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference," Stowers added.
He also holds an impressive record as a high school coach.
In three years (2003-06) at the helm of the baseball club at June Buchanan High School, also in Pippa Passes, he earned more wins than any other coach in the team's 21-year history. His teams set 17 school records in 2003 and went 20-14, doubling the previous school record for wins.
His coaching extends to numerous baseball camps throughout the southern United States, including Vanderbilt University, University of Kentucky, Clemson University, University of Tennessee and Louisiana State University.
As a player for the Eagles, Stowers spent time at shortstop and on the mound. While there, he earned a team MVP award, 110% Award, was named defensive player of the year and was recognized as student athlete of the year in 2001. In the summers of 2000 and 2001, he laced up for the Southern Collegiate League's Asheville (N.C.) Thunder and Johnson City (Tenn.) Redbirds, respectively. While there, he was named to the league's all-star team.
In 2003, Stowers earned his bachelor's degree in physical education with honors at Alice Lloyd. He received his master's degree in exercise and sport science from Eastern Kentucky University in 2007. His resume also includes work in radio as a sports analyst and general manager in charge of sports.
Stowers is single and has no children.
General manager Gordon Guess is also well on his way to filling the Bobcats' on-field positions. In fact, he has received commitments from 18 players - two-thirds of the 24-man roster - including Ryan Rogers returning from the 2009 pitching staff. On the hill for the Bobcats, the Whitesville, Ky. native led the team in wins with a 4-3 record and a 1.50 ERA. He also registered 68 strikeouts in only 48 innings.
Other players signed include:
  • Tony Gliffe, 21, of Skokie, Ill., a first baseman at Aurora University outside of Chicago. A KIT League alum, Gliffe hit three home runs and had 14 RBI for the Owensboro Oilers in 2008. He had a .408 on-base percentage in 35 games.
  • Carlos Xavier Medina, 19, of Lititz, Pa., a second baseman at Millersville University in Pennsylvania.
  • C.J. Bell, 20, of Georgetown, De., a shortstop and third baseman at Delaware State University.
  • Ryan Chesler, 19, of Pottstown, Pa., a catcher at Millersville University.
  • Adam Boyd, 19, of Coatesville, Pa., a center fielder at Millersville who bats from the left side of the plate.
  • Walter Bishop, 18, of Westbury, Wyo., a left-handed pitcher at Millersville.
  • Kalip Merrill, 21, of Marion, Ill., a right-handed pitcher at Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, Ky.
  • Tyler Hall, 21, of Wingo, Ky., a left-handed pitcher at Mid-Continent.
  • Allen L. Haaze Jr., 18, of Benton, Ky., also a left-handed pitcher at the Mayfield college.
  • Cody Tellor, 21, of Anna, Ill., a right-handed pitcher at Mid-Continent.
  • Zach Adkins, 19, of Laurel, De., a left-handed pitcher at Delaware State.
  • Michael Backes, 20, of Hubbard, Ohio, a right-handed pitcher from Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio.
  • Jae Leeworthy, 20, of Newton Falls, Ohio, a first baseman at Lake Erie.
  • Mike Brucchieri, 18, of Brunswick, Ohio, an outfielder at Lake Erie who bats left.
  • James Malast, 19, of Paducah, Ky., a right-handed pitcher at Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg, Ill.
  • Dylan Rasch, 18, of Harrisburg, a center fielder at Southeastern Illinois.
  • Ben Blaize, 19, of Henderson, Ky., a right-handed pitcher at Southeastern Illinois.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fulton ends Bobcats' season

The Marion Bobcats’ season came to an end Tuesday with an 0-2 first-round playoff loss at Fulton. A makeshift lineup that saw four Bobcats forced to play out of position due to an injury-depleted clubhouse was able to hold the Railroaders to just two runs, but failed to produce any scoring of its own. In fact, the Bobcats accumulated only two hits off Fulton starter Tyler Farley, who threw all nine innings.
For Marion, Justin O’Brien, the team-leader in strikeouts, threw seven innings, giving up only a solo home run to Phillip Dean and an unearned run that came home on a Mike DeSanto throwing error. O'Brien recorded 13 strikeouts and gave up only four hits.
At the plate, only Jake Martin and Bo Daves, one of two pitchers who started in the field, registered hits, both singles. Pitcher Josh Reynolds was used as pinch hitter in the eighth, but struck out looking.
"Most everybody got in the game," said General Manager Gordon Guess.
Defensively, Daves played right field while fellow pitcher Jason Long played in left. Zach Thomas and Fred Rossi, both catchers, played third and first base, respectively.
Marion left seven runners on base in the game, including the second inning when Long left the bases loaded by striking out.
"It went downhill from there," Guess said of the offense.
The Bobcats finished in last placed, 20-30 on the regular season and 0-1 in the postseason. In two years of play, Marion is 41-56 in the regular season and 1-3 in the playoffs.
In other KIT League play:
  • Sikeston's playoff game at Owensboro was rained out and will be made up Wednesday.

Monday, July 27, 2009

KIT League playoff schedule set

Click below to enlarge playoff pairings

The KIT League playoff schedule:

First round: Tuesday

  • Marion at Fulton, 7:05 p.m.
  • Sikeston at Owensboro, 7:05 p.m.

Second round, Game 1: Wednesday

  • Union City at Marion/Fulton, 7:05 p.m.
  • Tradewater at Sikeston/Owensboro, 7:05 p.m.

Second round, Game 2: Thursday

  • Marion/Fulton at Union City, 7:05 p.m.
  • Sikeston/Ownesboro at Tradewater, 7 p.m.

Second round, Game 3 (if necessary): Friday

  • Marion/Fulton at Union City, 7:05 p.m.
  • Sikeston/Ownesboro at Tradewater, 7 p.m.

Championship series, Game 1: Saturday

  • Higher seed at lower seed, TBA

Championship series, Game 2: Sunday

  • Lower seed at higher seed, TBA

Championship series, Game 3 (if necessary): Monday

  • Lower seed at higher seed, TBA

Marion splits double header to end season

Bo Daves went seven innings for Marion a complete-game victory against Fulton in the first game of Monday's double header at Guess Field. In the nightcap. Josh Reynolds also threw a complete game, but came up on the losing end of a 3-2 game.
In the first game, the Bobcats won 3-2 with the Railroaders threatening in their last at-bat with a one-out double. However, Daves was able to strike out the next two batters and earn his third win of the year and 20th for Marion.
Reynolds pitched well, but Marion's offense provided only one run until the final inning when the surprise of the night, pitcher Jason Long, scored a second run and the tying run reached scoring position. However, Fulton outfielder Tyler Monkman was able to shut the door on the rally, earning a save.
Pressed into duty as a position player in the outfield, Long went 2-for-2 and reached on an error. The curveballer's run in the seventh kept Marion's hopes alive, but Mike DeSanto was left stranded on second with one out after Mike Rizzuto struck out and Pat Murphy hit a bouncer that Fulton's third baseman was able to make a play on to end the game.
Marion finishes the season in last place at 20-30, one win less than last year's fifth-place regular season finish.
In the only other KIT League action Monday, Owensboro earned a win and fourth place in the league without throwing a pitch. Sikeston forfeited Monday's game at Owensboro, but will travel there tomorrow for the first-round playoff game.
In the other first round game, Marion will face the Railroaders for the third time in only two days. The Bobcats will travel to Fulton where they struggled during the regular season, winning only one of fives games. Due to injuries and early exits by players with other commitments, Marion will be playing with only 16 players.

Marion's playoff roster down to 16 players

Click below to enlarge
The Bobcats are hobbling into the KIT League playoffs.
On Sunday, Daniel Pugh became the latest roster casualty, injuring his hamstring, and Mike Rizzuto will be exiting Tuesday for a prior commitment, leaving Marion entering the playoffs with only 16 players, split evenly between position players and pitchers. However, Commissioner Randy Morgan said at Monday's Marion-Fulton double header that all six KIT League clubs are suffering similar problems as the postseason begins.
Eight players on Marion's 24-man roster are inactive for the playoffs. The players an reasons for their departure are as follows:
  • Shortstop Drew Barrett, hernia
  • First baseman Rob Dyer, broken finger
  • Third baseman Andrew Harris, back
  • Outfielder Daniel Pugh, hamstring
  • Outfielder/pitcher Mike Rizzuto, prior commitment
  • Pitcher Tory Doerr, arm
  • Pitcher Evan Vinyard, arm
  • Pitcher Ethan Utley, personal reasons

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Playoff picture finalized... mostly

Tradewater won its second KIT League title in as many years Sunday by beating Union City 4-3 in the first game of a double header for the team's ninth consecutive win after struggling early in July. Union City took the nightcap 8-0 to finish 28-22 on the season, just one game behind the Pirates, who end with a 29-21 record.

The only remaining regular season game that will have any bearing on playoff seeding will be Monday's Sikeston at Owensboro game. Both teams will finish either in fourth or fifth place, which means they will once again face on Tuesday for the opening round of the playoffs. However, which team hosts could depend on the outcome of Monday's game. Sikeston would have to win to have any hope of hosting.

Bobcats playoff opponent set

A split of double header at Sikeston Sunday ensures that Marion will travel to Fulton Tuesday for the first-round playoff game.

The Bobcats entered play Sunday with chance to catch the Bulls for fifth place had they won both games of the twin bill at Sikeston and both ends of Monday's double header against Fulton. However, Sikeston (22-27) took the first game Sunday 4-1, removing any possibility of the Bobcats clawing out of the KIT League basement.
In the second game of the double header Sunday, outfielder Mike Rizzuto climbed the mound again for Marion (19-29), making his second start in a 7-1 win for the Bobcats. The Colorado native notched his first win, throwing a seven-inning, complete game, allowing only one run.
By finishing in sixth place, Marion will have to face third place Fulton Tuesday for a third consecutive time to start the playoffs. The two teams will end the regular season Monday at Guess Field, with a double header starting at 5 p.m. The outcome of either game will not change league standings.
Meantime, Sikeston and Owensboro will play one another Tuesday in the other first-round contest. If Owensboro wins in Monday's regular season finale between the two teams, they will host the opening round playoff game. If Sikeston wins, both teams will finish with identical records and a 5-5 record in regular season match-ups.
Tradewater and Union City get to set out the first round of the postseason with a bye because of their first and second place finishes. The will each have homefield advantage in the second round, which begins Wednesday.

All-star selections made; 3rd added for Marion

Though there'll be no all-star game in the KIT League this year, managers and general managers have chosen the best performers from each of the six teams, making the selections final on Thursday.
For Marion, three players were selected – Rob Dyer, Ryan Rogers and Justin O'Brien, who was added Friday.
Dyer, a first baseman from Seldon, N.Y., is hitting .308, third in the league among batters with 100 or more at-bats. He leads the team in RBI with 24 and rates among league-leaders in that category. Of Dyer's 44 hits, he has 13 doubles and two home runs.
Rogers, primarily used as a starting pitcher, has one of the league's lowest earned run averages at 1.54. In fact, his ERA is third among pitchers who have thrown 40 innings or more.
A lefty from Owensboro, Ky., he leads Marion in wins with four. He also has 64 strikeouts in 41 innings of work, sixth in the league.
O'Brien, who ranks third in the league with 75 strikeouts, has a 2.08 ERA in 47 2/3 innings of work.
An honorable mention from the Bobcat roster was outfielder Mitch McClay, who leads the Bobcats with three home runs, ranks second on the team in batting with a .277 average.

Complete KIT League All-star selections:
  • Fulton: Alan Stoupa (C), Jacob Daniel (2B), Kory Burkhart (OF), Philip Dean (OF), Travis Tingle (SP), Tyler Farley (SP), Tim Dunn (SP).
  • Marion: Rob Dyer (1B), Ryan Rogers (SP), Justin O'Brien (SP).
  • Owensboro: Haskel Fink (C), Mike Finigan (SS), Cody Pack (OF).
  • Sikeston: Kody Campbell (DH), Logan Lawson (SP), Zach Secoy (RP).
  • Tradewater: Cass Via (IF), Sean Mahley (OF), Ryan Tabor (SP), Dustin Williams (SP), Christian Stutts (RP).
  • Union City: Brian Yeung (3B), Justin Guidry (UT), Chad Boughner (SP), Michael Wills (SP), Brett Wilson (SP), Jon Ivie (RP).

Bobcats roster down to 19

Click below to enlarge

Marion hosts Fulton for two Monday

Marion will end its 2009 regular season with a double header Monday at Gordon B. Guess Field against Fulton. The first game of the twin bill starts at 5 p.m.

Playoff picture clears

Due to scheduled KIT Leagues for Sunday and Monday having not been posted on the league's Web site, earlier attempts to clarify the playoff picture were erroneous.
What is clear at the beginning of play Sunday is that Tradewater and Union City have secured a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Who will finished in first or second, however, depends on tonight's double header between the two teams.
Tradewater, cemented its position Saturday with a win over Fulton. One win against Union City tonight and the Pirates will achieve their second league title for back-to-back crowns. At the start of action Sunday, Union City was one game behind the Pirates. The Greyhounds will have to win both ends of the double header at Dawson Springs tonight to win the league title, their first-ever regular season title.
Fulton, who could finish with an identical record as the second-place team, can finished no better than third due to its head-to-head record with both Union City and Tradewater.
Remaining KIT League schedule
  • Marion at Sikeston, double header
  • Union City at Tradewater, double header
  • Fulton at Marion, double header
  • Sikeston at Owensboro

Oilers score only run of game to beat Bobcats

Portions taken from
The Owensboro Oilers won Saturday's game with the visiting Marion Bobcats by a 1-0 score. It was the third shutout of the four-game series, and Marion's second. The loss also ensures that Marion will be on the road Tuesday for the first-round playoff game.
Owensboro scored the only run of the game in the bottom of the first inning off Marion starter Ryan Rogers (4-3). Though Rogers lowered his ERA 1.50, Owensboro starter Tyler McCay (4-1, 2.80) bested the Marion lefty, keeping the Bobcats off the scoreboard for a complete game shutout.
Mike Finigan led off for the Oilers with a single. Jordan White sacrifice bunted Finigan to second base. Following a fly out, Haskell Fink delivered a runs-scoring single to drive Finigan across the plate.
At the plate for Marion, Mitch McClay collected two of Marion's five hits. Drew Williams, Zach Sutton and Daniel Pugh each added a hit. No Marion batter reached further than second base.
The Bobcats' best chance to score came in the fifth when Williams doubled to lead off the inning. However, he subsequently picked off to end the threat.
Infielder Drew Barrett did not play, and could be out for the season with a hernia. Because of injuries to three of Marion's regular infielders – first baseman Rob Dyer (broken finger), third baseman Andrew Harris (back) and Barrett – Manager Steve Fowler will be forced to juggle his line-up the remainder of the season. In fact, Williams, normally a catcher, started at third Saturday, and outfielder Daniel Pugh played first.
In other KIT League action:

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fulton falls from first; Bobcats split at Oilers

Fulton dropped its fourth game in a row Friday, falling 9-2 to Tradewater and dropping out of first place one game behind the Pirates and Union City, who are tied for top spot in the league with a 27-20 record.
Meantime, Marion split at double header at Owensboro. In the first game, the Oilers beat the Bobcats 6-0, but Marion turned the tables on the Oilers in the nightcap, shutting out Owensboro 2-0.
In Game 1, Trey Smith took the loss for Marion, giving up three runs in five innings. Kyle Bugg pitched one inning, giving up three more runs. Mike Rizzuto, Jake Martin and Mitch McClay each singled, accounting for Marion's only hits.
In Game 2, Marion starter Jason Long pitched a two-hit shut out for the win. In fact, Long allowed only four runners in his seven innings of work, a complete game due to the shortened length of each game in a double header. Rizzuto went 3-for-3, and McClay added two hits. Martin, Daniel Pugh, Zach Sutton and Drew Williams contributed singles.
The Bobcats will have to win all five remaining games, including Saturday's series finale at Owensboro, if they hope to leap Sikeston and Owensboro for fourth place and homefield advantage in Tuesday's first round playoff game. However, with only one game remaining for the Oilers and three for Sikeston that include a double header Sunday, Marion (18-27) controls its own destiny for securing a postseason game at Guess Field.
In other KIT League games:

Owensboro ends hopes of .500 season

Portions taken from Owensboro
The Owensboro Oilers won Thursday's game against the Bobcats 4-2, moving into third place and pushing Marion two games out of being able to host a playoff game next week.
Nathan Ball was given the loss for Marion in six innings of work. An error by Owensboro's official scorer initially showed catcher Fred Rossi as having started Thursday's game for Marion, which is not unheard of for Manager Steve Fowler who has been pressed into using position players to get outs for an injury-depleted pitching staff.
Owensboro began the scoring in the bottom of the first inning against with one out, Jordan White was hit by a pitch, Cody Pack walked and Tyler Choate hit a two-run double to drive in both runners in ahead of him before getting tagged out trying to take third base. Haskell Fink added a solo home run for the third score of the game.
The Bobcats cut into the lead with one run in the top of the second inning. With two outs, Pat Murphy and Drew Williams both singled. Mike DeSanto walked to load the bases, and Mike Rizzuto came through with a RBI-single, scoring Murphy before a fly out ended the frame.
The Oilers reclaimed that run in the bottom of the fifth inning off Rossi. White led off with a walk and stole second base. With two out, Fink delivered on the scoring opportunity with an RBI-single that plated White.
The Bobcats moved closer with a run in the top of the seventh inning. Drew Barrett led off with a walk. One out later, Daniel Pugh was hit by a pitch. Mitch McClay drove in Barrett with an RBI-single. The Oilers defense checked the Bobcat rally, and the score held at 4-2 the rest of the way.
Oilers starter Joe Devine went five innings for the win, with Skyler Shown picking up the save.
Ball gave up four runs on only four hits while walking six and striking out 11. Justin O'Brien pitched the final two innings for Marion, adding four to his team-leading strikeout total.
At the plate for Marion, McClay and Rizzuto each had two hits, accounting for half of the team's total on the night.
The loss for Marion killed any hopes of reaching .500 by season's end. Marion is now 17-26 with seven games remaining.
In other action around the league, Tradewater forced a three-way tie for first place by beating Fulton in both ends of a double header. Meantime, Union City split their twin bill with Sikeston.
Going into Friday's games, Fulton, Tradewater and Union City set atop the league with identical 26-20 records. Either Fulton or Tradewater are assured of ending the night one game behind first place, as the two teams play again in their final head-to-head contest of the season. Union City will once again host fifth-place Sikeston. Owensboro remains in fourth-place, five games out.

Playoffs pushed back a day

Due to this season's excessive number of rain-outs, the KIT League postseason has been pushed back one day, beginning now on Tuesday.
The call to adjusted the schedule comes, primarily, from Marion's need finish its home schedule. Two games against Fulton were rained out this week, but no off-days remained before the playoffs were initially set to start on Monday. So, the Bobcats will now host Fulton for a double header on Monday before the first round of the postseason starts the following day.
Marion has three double headers remaining, including tonight's at Owensboro. The Bobcats will finish the schedule Sunday with a double header at Sikeston and Monday's twin bill against Fulton. No other KIT League games are schedule for either day.
All three double headers begin at 5 p.m., at the respective host ballparks.

Dyer out for remainder of season

Marion's all-star first baseman Rob Dyer is out for the season after breaking a finger on his right hand during batting practice before Thursday's game at Owensboro.
General Manager Gordon Guess said Dyer fractured the pinky finger on his throwing hand field balls during batting practice. He apparently fell trying to make a catch and landed awkwardly on his right hand. Guess said a bone below the first knuckle was broken.
Dyer will remain with the team the remainder of the season, but will be unable to play.
Marion is ending its 2009 season much the same as in 2008, surging to a strong finish and riddled with injuries. The Bobcats are now down to 20 active players, with only eight pitchers.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday games postponed

Due to poor field conditions at Guess Field from overnight rights, tonight's double header in Marion has been postponed, as have other KIT League set for this evening.

Marion General Manager Gordon Guess said ponding of water on the field will prevent what was scheduled as the Bobcats' home finale. Instead, the games will be made up later, as will the Tradewater-Union City double header scheduled for tonight at Dawson Springs. Guess said the postseason will probably be pushed back a day, possibly two, which would set the first round of the playoffs starting on July 29 or 29.

More rain is scheduled for the week, leaving the potential for additional rain-outs. Guess said Sikeston has expressed an interest in cancelling Sunday's double header with the Bobcats there, so that date could be used as a make-up for tonight's rain-out. Guess said details would be forthcoming.

Due to the number of postponements due to weather this season, Guess said the league is considering lowering the number of regular games from 50 so that more dates would be open for make-ups. That decision won't be made until off-season meetings between owners and the commissioner.

As for next year, Guess said it is about "80 percent" that Marion will field a team in 2010. Manager Steve Fowler and Guess have already reached a gentleman's agreement on the skippers' return.

Harris out with bad back

Marion infielder Andrew Harris is likely out for the season with a bad back.

The Nashville native has suffered from nagging back injury all season, but an MRI this week confirmed that rest was the best cure Harris. He will remain with the team, but is not likely to see action during the last week of the regular season or playoffs.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Vinyard out due to injury

Evan Vinyard, a right-handed thrower on Marion's pitching staff, has headed back to his St. Louis-area home for the remainder of the season. According to General Manager Gordon Guess, Vinyard's doctor ordered him to quit throwing for the summer in order to allow an ailing arm to heal.

Marion's pitching corps is now down to only eight pitchers, after starting the season with 11. Eight games remain for the Bobcats in the 2009 regular season, forcing Manager Steve Fowler to to turn to some position players to eat up innings to finish out the campaign.

Tuesday's game rained out

Two of three KIT League games scheduled for Tuesday were rained out, including the second contest of Fulton's three-game set at Marion.

The games were to be made up Wednesday as scheduled double headers. In Marion, the first of two seven-inning games against the Railroaders were to begin at 5 p.m., with the second game following completion of Game 1. With feild conditions uncertain at press time Wednesday, if the games are postponed, it is likely the playoffs will be moved back at least one day, beginning on Tuesday so that the regular season schedule can be completed on Monday.
With only two game separating first and third place, all games have become important as the playoff picture comes into focus. Fulton and Union City, in first and second place, respectively, are hoping to hold off Tradewater in order to retain a first-round playoff bye. As of Wedensday, Tradewater has two games remaining with Union City and three with Fulton.
For Marion, third place and a home-field advantage in the first round playoff game is within reach. Achieving .500 at 25-25 is also still possible, but at 17-25 the Bobcats would have to win outright to reach that goal. Six more wins would eclipse the 22-win total from last year, Marion's debut in the KIT League.
On Monday, Marion continued its hot July with a 6-5 win over first place Fulton.
Now 9-7 in July, the Bobcats used an 11-hit night off three Railroader pitchers to break a 6-all tie in the bottom of the seventh with a game-winning RBI by Daniel Pugh. Bo Daves pitched six innings, giving up seven hits while striking out as many in the no-decision. Ryan Rogers, who struck out seven in three innings of work to end the game, earned his fourth win of the season.
At the plate, lead-off hitter Drew Barrett went 3-for4 with a run batted in, while Jake Martin and Pugh went 2-for-3 with an RBI each. Rob Dyer added two RBI with a double as his only hit. Fred Rossi, Mike Rizzuto and Zach Sutton each added a single.
In other KIT League play Monday:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bobcats eliminated from playoff bye

Tradewater came from behind Sunday to win a make-up game from the week before, keeping Marion in last place and mathematically eliminating the Bobcats from a first-round play-off bye.

Marion jumped out to an early lead and tallied 12 hits on the night, but a make-shift pitching corps used by Manager Steve Fowler could not hold the lead, allowing the Pirates to erase a 3-1 lead after five and half innings and cruise to a 7-3 win.
With 10 games left in the regular season, an injury-depleted pitching staff and only eight days remaining in the season, Fowler turned to three position players comfortable enough on the mound to account for nine innings of work. Mike Rizzuto, who had pitched on previous occasions in middle relief, started the game for the Bobcats, giving up only one run in three innings of work. Outfielder Pat Murphy then made his pitching debut, but lasted only 2 1/3 after giving up four runs. Rob Dyer, who had climbed the mound away from his usual position at first on only one other occasion, closed the game, allowing two more Pirate runs. Murphy took the loss.
For Fowler, there was little choice. Marion is in the midst of a 13-game, 11-day period without an off day due to make-ups of earlier rain-outs. The Bobcats' schedule has them playing three more games in the last two weeks of the regular season than any other KIT League team and that is with a pitching staff of nine hurlers, down two from a full roster due to injuries.
At plate, Mitch McClay kept his bat hot, going 2-for-5, as did Rob Dyer, who is sixth in the league in batting by players with 100 or more plate appearances. Austin Messersmith and Murphy – who served as all three designated hitter, pitcher and outfielder for the game – also contributed a double and single each. Mike DeSanto, Fred Rossi, Drew Barrett and Daniel Pugh also added a hit each. Jake Martin was the only starter to not reach safely.
The bottom of the order, Murphy and DeSanto, accounted for the Bobcats' RBI, with one each.
All other teams in the KIT League were idle Sunday.
Sunday's loss eliminated any shot Marion had of sitting out the first round of the postseason, a one game playoff set for next Monday. With 10 games remaining for Marion and only six for Fulton before Sunday's game, the Bobcats, 8.5 games out, had already been eliminated from the possibility of reaching first place. Sunday's loss, however, also removed any chance Marion had of catching second-place Union City. Owensboro, eight games out in fifth place, has also been eliminated from a first-round bye.
The win for Tradewater kept their hopes alive at three games out of first place. With three head-to-head games left with each first-place Fulton and second-place Union City, Tradewater is the only team in the league that holds its own destiny. Three games out of first place and two out of second, the Pirates host a three-game series with Union City beginning tonight. On Thursday, Tradewater travels to the Railroaders for a three-game set to end the season.
Fourth-place Sikeston, however, will have to win outright and hope for some help to earn a playoff bye. The Bulls have three games each with Owensboro and Union City.
Meantime, the Bobcats can still play spoiler, leap over fifth-place Owensboro and hope for hosting the July 27 playoff game. Marion has three games left with Fulton, starting tonight with the first contest of a three-game series to end the home schedule. The team then travels to Owensboro for four games, where the Oilers as of Monday were only one game ahead of the Bobcats in the standings. Marion finishes the season Sunday with a double header at Sikeston, hoping a third or fourth place finish can earn them home-field advantage for the first round of the postseason.
As of Monday, Fulton's magic number is 6, meaning any combination of Railroader wins or losses by second-place Union City will earn them first place.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Marion takes 2 of 3 from Union City

A 4-2 win Saturday gave Marion the series win over Union City, continuing the Bobcats' hot July and putting Union City a game out of first place behind Fulton.

Marion is now 8-6 in July, only a half-game behind Owensboro from climbing out of the KIT League basement. Owensboro fell to Fulton Saturday 11-16, giving the Railroaders sole possession of first place and allowing the Bobcats to pick up a game on the Oilers. However, Marion remains 8.5 games out of first place.
After being shut-out by Union City 7-0 Friday, Marion pitching staff held Greyhound bats in check most of the game. Starter Justin O'Brien pitched seven innings, allowing only one run on three hits. O'Brien also registered 11 strike-outs to push his season total to 71, second in the league. Kyle Bugg, in relief, pitched two innings, allowing another run on only two hits for the save.
Union City's Brett Wilson took the loss, giving up three runs in the first five innings. Kevin Henry gave up the only other Bobcat run in the seventh.
Mitch McClay led the Bobcats with a two-run homer in the third. He now leads the team with three home runs on the season. McClay also added a singled in the sixth inning, going 2-for-3 on the night.
Drew Barrett and Fred Rossi also added two hits each, each registering a single and double. Pat Murphy and Mike DeSanto each singled, with DeSanto and Barrett adding an RBI apiece.
Defensively, Marion committed three errors for the second night in a row.

In other KIT League action Saturday:
On Friday, Union City's Michael Willis shut down the Bobcats, giving up only four hits in nine innings of work for the complete-game 7-0 win.
For Marion, Mitch McClay accounted for half of the teams hits with two singles. Drew Barrett and Mike Rizzuto also added singles for the Bobcats.
On the mound, Nathan Ball took the loss in 4 1/3 innings, giving up all seven of Union City's runs. Trey Smith finished the game for Marion, pitching 4 2/3 and giving up only a walk while striking out seven.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Doerr out for season

Tory Doerr, Marion's left-handed pitcher from Bethalto, Ill., is out for the season.

General Manager Gordon Guess said Doerr, who last pitched Tuesday giving up eight runs, was pitching with a cracked vertebra. That injury will now keep Doerr off the mound the rest of the season. He will not be replaced on the roster.