Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tradewater visits Marion for last time

The front-running Tradewater Pirates will visit Guess Field Wednesday for the final time in the regular season. In 2010, the Bobcats are 2-2 at home against their rival, including Monday's 20-8 trouncing. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m.

The ongoing seven-game series will conclude Thursday and Friday at Riverside Park in Dawson Springs, where Marion is 0-2 this year. Each game starts at 7 p.m., with an Independence Day fireworks display slated for the conclusion of Friday's game.

Merril lowers ERA in 9-4 loss

Tradewater scored seven runs in the first inning to cruise to a 9-4 win over Marion Tuesday at Riverside Park.

Though the Bobcats (9-13) outscored the rival Pirates 4-2 after that lead-off inning, it was not enough to overcome the fast start by the Pirates (17-7). Cody Crabaugh (4-0) picked up the win for Tradewater in six innings of work. He allowed all of the offense the Bobcats could manage — four runs and six hits. Zac Treece pitched three hitless innings for his second save

Marion starter Justin Stout (1-2) settled down after the seven-run first, but left after four innings taking the loss. He gave up all nine Pirate runs and nine of their 10 hits. But the Bobcats' relief cleaned up nicely, with Justin O'Brien throwing three scoreless innings with five strikeouts. Kalip Merrill, who was shunned by the all-star selections, went one perfect inning, lowering his league-leading ERA to 1.56.

At the plate, Travis Jankowski went 2-for-4 with an RBI to run his batting average to .540, almost 150 points above the next best hitter in the league. Marion, however, stranded 11 runners.
Click here for box and line scores.

Farmington 4, Owensboro 1
The Browns pulled within a half-game of moving out of the KIT League basement and kept Owensboro just one game ahead and a half-game in front of Marion for third place. Only 3.5 games now separates last place from second place behind front-running Tradewater.
Click here for box and line scores.

Remainder of all-star team named

KIT League all-stars were named today, with six previously mentioned Bobcats named to the team along with one alternate from the Marion squad. Both Marion and Owensboro will be sending six players to the game, the most of any team in the league. Three former Bobcats have also been selected.

The all-star team will consist of the following players from each team:
  • Marion Bobcats: Travis Jankowski (OF), Mike Perez (C), Dylan Rasch (OF), Ryan Chesler (DH), Curran McNeely (RHP), Austin Park (LHP) and Justin Stout (RHP) as an honorable mention.
  • Owensboro Oilers: David Murphy (INF/DH), Deaun Williams (OF), Jordon White (OF), Luke Garmon (INF), former Bobcat Ryan Rogers (LHP), Nathan James (RHP) and honorable mentions Jeremy Dobbs, Mike Maddle and Randy Wienel.
  • Fulton Railroaders: Brett Teschner (C), Mike Bass (INF), Derek Roof (RHP) and former Bobcats Josh Reynolds (INF) and Mitch McClay (OF).
  • Farmington Browns: Bubba Donathan (INF), Bryan Krause (OF), Zach Lewis (RHP) and Derek Casola (RHP).
  • Tradewater Pirates: Justin Juneau (INF), Tyler Duplantis (INF), Adam Culiver (RHP), Zac Treece (RHP) and Tyler Riggs (RHP).
The all-star game between the best players from the KIT League and 2010 interleague opponents in the Tennessee Summer Collegiate Baseball Association will be played in Owensboro Sunday at 6 p.m.

Fireworks to conclude Tradewater series

A fireworks display will take place Friday at Riverside Park in Dawson Springs following the conclusion of the Marion-Tradewater baseball game, the last contest in a seven-game series between the two clubs.

Bobcats General Manager Gordon Guess said the show lasts about 20 minutes and should take place sometime around 9:30 p.m., after the final out of the KIT League game. The game will start at 7 p.m.

"It's probably one of the best displays in western Kentucky," Guess added.

Game 4 of Bobcat-Pirate series Tuesday

The fourth game of an unprecedented seven-game series between the Marion Bobcats and Tradewater Pirates will take place today at 7 p.m. at Riverside Park in Dawson Springs. The series began Saturday when Tradewater took the first game of a double header, but Marion won the second game as well as Monday's third game of the series at Guess Field.

Marion is 2-3 against the Pirates this year, and lost their only game at Riverside Park. A win tonight would give the Bobcats their longest winning streak of the season at three games.

Elsewhere in the league, Farmington and Owensboro close their two game series at Chautauqua Park. Fulton is idle.

Chesler slams two en route to 20-8 win

The fireworks aren't scheduled until Friday at the conclusion of a marathon seven-game series between the rival Bobcats and Pirates, but Marion's offense exploded Monday for a 20-run show at Guess Field. When the smoke cleared, a number of team records had fallen, and Ryan Chesler was looking back at the best night in his baseball career.

"Unbelievable," Bobcat Manager Steve Fowler said after his team's 20-8 rout over Tradewater.

A game that featured three grand slams, all in consecutive half-innings, belonged to Marion (9-12) from the fifth inning on when the Bobcats broke a 7-7 tie with Chesler's second bases-loaded home run in as many innings, a 385-drive over the center field fence. Just one inning prior, his 375-foot shot became the first grand slam in Bobcat history. The 20 runs were the most ever for Marion in its three-year history and the most allowed by Tradewater in its 12-year history.

"Unbelievable," Fowler, a former manager of the Pirates, said repeatedly outside the dugout at the conclusion of the game. "In my 28 years in baseball, I've never seen anything like this."

The win pulled Marion to within six games of league-leading Tradewater with four games remaining in the current series.

On any other night, Mike Perez's 3-for-5, 6 RBI performance — after returning to the lineup following a bout with food poisoning — might be the highlight for Marion's offense, but in just two swings of the bat, Chesler's 8 RBI matched Tradewater's entire output for the game and gave him the record for most runs batted in by a Bobcat in a single game. Hitting in the lead-off spot as a designated hitter, the Pottstown, Pa. native went 3-for-6 and also scored four runs.

"No, I've never had a game like that," Chesler said after the game. "I mean, two grand slams?! I don't think so."

His two big hits — carbon copies with the same runners on base each time — more than put eight runs on the board off Pirate starter Ryan Heinz, they gave him three home runs on the year to tie Mitch McClay for the most of any Bobcat in a single season with 24 games yet to play. They also gave the Bobcats 14 home runs on the season, matching the team's total in its first two years combined.

Travis Jankowski, who scored two runs and batted in one, raised his average to .543 with three doubles and a walk in six trips to the plate.

Jae Leeworthy hit Marion's first triple of the year in the third to bring home one run. Dylan Rasch added two run-scoring singles. Jaron Shimmel was 0-for-1, but reached base on three walks and one hit-by-pitch and scored four times. Boyd scored three runs, reaching four of his five times at the plate on an error, a double and two walks.

Altogether, the Bobcats posted 14 hits and earned nine free passes on walks.

On the mound, Michael Backes picked up his first win of the season to even his record despite giving up seven runs in five innings. Sean Fitzgerald pitched the final four innings for Marion, allowing only one run on three hits by the Pirates.

Heinz (0-2) gave up 12 runs in 4 1/3 innings for Tradewater (16-7), including both of Chesler's grand slams. Both Zach Bargeron and Chris Honeycutt each gave up four Marion runs.

Honeycut, who started the game as Tradewater's designated hitter before climbing the hill in the eighth, hit the other grand slam of the night off Backes in the Pirate half of the fifth to briefly knot the score at 7-7. He had 5 RBI total on the night.

Tradewater catcher Ryan Thomas was 0-for-1 in five plate appearances, but reached four times after being hit by a pitch, three of which came off the arm of Backes.
Click here for box and line scores.

Owensboro 4, Farmington 3 (13 innings)
Farmington fell to a league-worst 7-13 after a 4-3 loss in 13 innings at Owensboro Monday. The win helped the Oilers (8-10) gain a full game on Tradewater and kept them a half-game in from of Marion for third place despite the Bobcats having won more games.
Click here for box and line scores.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bobcats boast seven all-stars

Seven Marion Bobcats were named to the 2010 KIT League all-star team Monday, according to Manager Steve Fowler.

Ryan Chesler, Travis Jankowski, Mike Perez and Dylan Rasch were named from the offense, while Austin Park and Curran McNeely will represent the pitching staff, with Justin Stout added as an alternate. Fowler said McNeely is slated to start Friday's game at Tradewater and will unlikely be able to pitch in Sunday's all-star game at Owensboro, allowing Stout and opportunity to join the squad.

As of Monday, Park had two wins for the Bobcats — most on the staff — and a 4.19 ERA, and McNeely has a save and 4.91 ERA. Stout has recorded one win with a 19 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings pitched. For the offense, Jankowski came into Monday's game with Tradewater hitting .537 with 12 stolen bases, 12 RBI and 14 runs scored. Perez was among the league's top 10 hitters, batting .369 with 2 home runs and 14 RBI. Chesler was hitting .333, having scored 13 runs and knocked in 12. Rasch was fifth in the league in hitting at .385 with 15 runs scored and 7 stolen bases.

All-stars were selected by the coaches from all five KIT League teams. An official announcement as to a complete list of all-stars is expected from the commissioners office on Tuesday.

The all-star game will pit KIT League stars against those from the Tennessee Summer Collegiate Baseball League and will be played Sunday at Apollo High School in Owensboro and will start at 6 p.m. A home run derby will take place two hours earlier.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Stats of note through June 27

  • Marion has hit 12 home runs, the most of any year in team history and only two shy of the combined number from the team’s first two years.
  • The Bobcats, as a team, are batting .303 for the season with 6.3 runs per game.
  • The team has a 5.78 ERA with the staff allowing 7.8 runs per game.

Bobcats host start of Pirate series

With five consecutive games on the schedule against the Pirates this week, Marion could pull to within two games of the league-leader by Friday, the end of the series.

The Bobcats host the first game of this week's series Monday with a 7:05 p.m. start at Guess Field. The third game on Wednesday will also be played at home with the same start time. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday will be played at Riverside Park in Dawson Springs.

Marion is 1-2 at home and 0-1 on the road against the Pirates in 2010. All-time, the Bobcats are 8-5 and 3-8, respectively, against Tradewater.

Friday will be the last of seven consecutive games the two rivals have played. The final contest of the year will be July 8 at Tradewater.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

No Sunday games on schedule

The KIT League will be idle Sunday, with no games scheduled until Monday when Marion will host Tradewater for the third time in two game dates and Farmington travels to Owensboro.

Bobcats split with Pirates

A split in a Saturday double header with Tradewater kept Marion at seven games behind the Pirates in the KIT League standings, with a string of seven consecutive games between the two rivals set to resume Monday.

Marion's Jae Leeworthy took Tradewater to extra innings in the first contest on a game-tying two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh, the last scheduled inning in league double headers. But the Pirates came back with a run in the top of the eighth that the Bobcats could not match in the bottom of the inning, giving Tradewater a 6-5 win at Guess Field.

Starting the bottom of the seventh, the Bobcats trailed 5-3 with the Pirates' Jason Greenleaf and Taylor Riggs combining for six innings of work to keep the hosts at bay. But Dylan Rasch led the inning for Marion's offense with a single off Riggs to put the tying run at the plate. The Pirate hurler would get the league's hottest batter, Travis Jankowski, to fly out, but Leeworthy stepped up to the plate next for his heroic shot. On the ropes, Marion could not deliver the knock-out blow to Riggs, however, allowing him to get the next two batters on a strikeout and ground out.

Marion's Justin Stout, in his second inning of work in relief of starter Curran McNeely, gave up two walks in the top of the eighth with one out. The first pass represented the eventual game-winning run after being pushed across on an RBI-single by Cory Phillips.

The Bobcats were unable to mount a second rally off Riggs in the bottom of the inning, giving him his fifth win of the season against one loss. He is tied with teammate Adam Culiver (5-1) on the league leader board for number of wins. Two other Pirate starters have three wins each.

The loss was Stout's first of the season, evening his record at 1-1. McNeely pitched six innings, giving up only two earned runs of the five that scored off him. Three errors by the Bobcats, all in the infield, led to three of the Pirates' runs.

Marion rebounded in the second game on the arm of Gabe Shaw, a new addition to the pitching staff from the University of Louisville added just two days earlier. Throwing over 90 mph to Pirate batters, Shaw (1-0) was able to shut down Tradewater bats, striking out nine and giving the Bobcats a 6-3 win, their first of the year against the best team in the league.

All of Marion's scoring came in the third with 12 hitters stepping to the plate. Ryan Chesler batted in one on a single, while Leeworthy, Derek Trovillion, Drew Williams and Sean Fitzgerald each earned an RBI after being walked with the bases load.

Chesler had two hits on the night for the Bobcats, as did Travis Jankowski to push his average to .537, best in the league by .125 points over his closest chaser. Jankowski is also tied for second in the league with 12 stolen bases, seven off the pace set by Fulton's Mike Bass. Trovillion, Williams and Fitzgerald also added singles.

Marion (8-12) will face Tradewater (16-6) Monday through Friday for a five-game series. The Bobcats will host Monday and Wednesday's contests. The last remaining game between the two rivals will be July 8 at Dawson Springs.
Click here for Game 1 box and line scores.
Click here for Game 2 box and line scores.

Farmington 2, Middle Tennessee 1, Game 1
Farmington 5, Middle Tennessee 1, Game 2
Farmington (7-12) held Tennessee Collegiate Summer Baseball League opponent Middle Tennessee to one run in each game of their interleague double header, one of three scheduled on the day. With the two wins, the Browns were able to cut Marion's fourth place lead to only a half-game.
Click here for Game 1 box and line scores.
Click here for Game 2 box and line scores.

Fulton 10, Nashville 2, Game 1
Nashville 3, Fulton 0, Game 2
Fulton (11-9) kept pace with Tradewater Saturday in splitting their double header with Nashville. The Panthers managed only five runs on the day, but three runs were enough in Game 2 as the Railroaders were shut out after scoring 10 runs in the first half of the twin bill.
Click here for Game 1 box and line scores.
Click here for Game 2 box and line scores.

Owensboro at Wilson County double header delayed due to rain.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Tradewater visits for two Saturday

Marion will host rival Tradewater Saturday for a double header beginning at 5:05 p.m.

Seven games behind the Pirates who sit atop the league with a 15-5 record, fourth-place Marion will send Curran McNeely to the mound in the first of two seven-inning games. Gabe Shaw, a new addition to the Bobcat staff from the University of Louisville, will start Game 2.

Marion has done no worse than a split in all double headers this year.

Employees of the City of Marion will be the special guests of the Bobcats at Guess Field.

The Marion-Tradewater game is the only KIT League match-up of the day. Elsewhere in interleague play with the Tennessee Summer Collegiate Baseball Association, Farmington travels to South Middle Tennessee, Owensboro visits Wilson County and Fulton hosts Nashville. All games on Saturday's schedule are double headers.

Farmington avoids series sweep

Farmington avoided a series sweep Friday by winning the third game of the match 4-3 and blocking the Bobcats from their first three-game winning streak.

Zack Lewis pitched a complete game for the Browns to earn his third win of the year. Austin Park dropped to 2-2 on the year, having given up all four Farmington runs.

For Marion (7-11), Adam Boyd hit a two-run home run to right center field for the offensive highlight of the game. In the bottom of the eighth, down by one run with one out, the Bobcats sent the go-ahead run to the plate in Drew Williams with Travis Jankowski on first after a single to right field. Lewis, however, was able to get an inning-ending double play on the first pitch to Williams.

Williams, though, helped keep Farmington off the board in the fifth inning on a play at the plate. Up 3-0, Farmington sent Glenn Walker home on a single to center field but Williams kept the runner from scoring by blocking the plate and tagging out Walker on the throw to home. The play was disputed by both Walker and Farmington's manager, leading to an ejection of Walker who argued the play with umpire Curt Dragoo.

Boyd on the night was 2-for-4 with two runs scored to go along with with his 2 RBI on the home run. He also stole a base. Meantime, Jae Leeworthy was 3-for-4.
Click here for box and line scores.

Owensboro 10, Tradewater 9 (10)
Owensboro beat the Pirates for second time in three days, picking up a game on Tradewater and jumping into third place over Marion by a half-game. The Oilers, now 7-10, won the game in the bottom of the 10th by scoring their 10th run.
Click here for box and line scores.

Fowler eyes season 10 games at a time

Ten games at a time. That's how Steve Fowler views his job as manager of the Marion Bobcats.

In 10 games, a coach can get to know the qualities his players possess. In 10 games, 24 individuals can come together and gel as a team. In 10 games, a slump can be reversed. In 10 games, a championship can be won and lost.

In 10 games, just about anything can happen in baseball.

That's why the third-year manager of the club approaches the season two handfuls of games at a time. Each year, Fowler takes the first 10 games of the season to get to know his team — where each player can offer the best defense in the field, where they're best suited in the batting order, who's fast, who has power, who's a starter and who's a reliever, who comes through in the clutch and who is the team leader in the clubhouse.

In those initial 10 games, if former the college catcher's club comes up even at 5-5, he's happy. In his first year, 2008, his team did just that — won as many games as they lost across the season-opening 10-game period. Last year, the team formed more slowly, ending that same period 3-7.

This year, the Bobcats went 4-6 to start the season. That's not quite the start Fowler likes to get off to, but it gave him enough time to size up his team and arm the club for the rest of the season.

"Now that we know who can do what, we've just got to get it done," Fowler said after his first yardstick of the season.

Those in the clubhouse and in the stands by now know that 2010 stands to offer the best offense to ever step onto the field for the Bobcats. Already the team has displayed unmatched power, with five or six guys Fowler said can send the ball out of the park at any time. Travis Jankowski is batting well over .500 after joining the club a few games into the season, and shows some of the best speed the club has ever had.

"We think we've got it figured out, who can hit and who needs work," Fowler said.

It's not just individual talent that's impressed their manager, though, as Bobcat bats have already put six or more runs on the board in nine of their 17 games heading into Friday's contest with Farmington.

"It's all about putting runs on the board," he said.

Of those nine offensive outbursts, there have been five games where 10 or more runs have been pushed across, including an 11-19 loss to Owensboro that showed Fowler the club's mettle.

"The bottom the ninth was impressive," the manager said of a no-quit attitude that put three runs on the board in that game despite heading into the last frame down by 11 runs. "They showed a lot of heart, playing hard once they were down."

But the team's scoring capability has been hampered thus far by the its pitching, which has struggled to hold leads and keep wins within reach of a potent offense.

"The staff is deep, but it's shallow," Fowler said, offering his own Yogiism.

He says the pitching corps is deep in the number of guys he can go to in any situation, but execution has been a bit shallow in holding opponents in check.

"They have got to stay away from the one inning where we have a lapse in concentration," he said of his hurlers.

Fowler said some of his pitchers are overthrowing, trying to strike out everyone. That has led to numerous free passes in walks and hit batters, as well as erratic throws to home.

"(The pitchers) need to remember, that the team is behind you... that you can't do it all yourself," the manager reminded. "The defense is there to back them up."

Three weeks into the 2010 campaign, Marion is on its second 10-game slice of the regular season pie with which Fowler approaches the season. Seven games into that slice, the Bobcats are 3-4, 7-10 overall and still with a chance to be at .500 after 20 games, the last two of which are played Saturday at Guess Field against league-leading Tradewater.

"Five-hundred ball keeps you in the hunt," he said. "Right now, everyone but Tradewater is struggling to maintain that mark."

At the start of play Friday, only Fulton at 10-8 was above .500 in chasing the Pirates.

"We're not too far off," Fowler said of the season thus far. "The games that we've lost, we've learned., and every game a learning experience."

With 31 games left on the schedule and the Bobcats only seven games out of first place, there's still plenty of time to take that experience and make a charge at both Tradewater and Fulton. And Fowler concludes that the organization both on and off the field is equipped to make that run.

"I certainly believe the Bobcats are the best team in the league outside the lines," he said. "And we have the capability to play with any team in league."

Ten questions with the Bobcats' GM

In the June 24, 2010 edition of The Crittenden Press, the newspaper featured as an installment in its regular "Ten questions with..." segment by Pamela Stringer's an interview with Bobcats' GM Gordon Guess. The following is reprinted with permission as it appeared in the current edition of The Press available on newstands through June 30.

Bobcats a true community effort
Gordon Guess, Marion Bobcats general manager, gave an interview on June 10 about the ins and outs of Bobcats baseball.

Guess’ answers have been edited for brevity.

1. What’s the Bobcats’ history?

First, I put a group of people together to improve the baseball park. While I was at it, the head of the Kitty League came to Marion. He said, “you all ought to join the KIT League.” He ran the information by me and it sounded interesting. So I went and talked with Bob Swisher and told him the plan. He gave me a lot of encouragement. He said, “go for it.” And that was all it took.

I went around and started talking to my potential investors. Nobody turned me down. I picked up 20 and said that was enough. I didn’t need any more. As it turned out, I had a few who heard about it and wanted to be part of it. We tried to have a meeting with everyone to elect officers and stuff like that. But I couldn’t ever get them all there, so we just didn’t do it. We still don’t have officers. I sort of self-appointed myself as general manager because I put it together.

The first year, they all put in $1,000 apiece and we used $18,000 of it because of one-time expenses. Once we got advertising on the fence, I figured out it would probably only take $400 per member instead of $1,000. We’ve only had one investor drop out because the economy went in the toilet.

The player fee went from $250 to $400, which is much more reasonable compared to the rest of the country. And that didn’t deter anyone, they just want to play.

This year, I think we can get by making a $200 to $400 profit. And I’ll be thrilled to death if we do that and so will the owners because they don’t expect to take any out.

So we put it all together and we didn’t know we were going to do it until January (of 2008). I knew who our coach was going to be. Once we finally gave ourselves the green light, I put him on the payroll. We put a team together and got to it.

2. What is the recruiting process?

The coach, Steve Fowler, gets on the telephone, he’ll spend about 1,000 minutes or more. He calls coaches he knows or has connected with before in his little black book. He did coach amateur ball in Tradewater for a couple of years and he’s been around the game for a long time. He doesn’t necessarily know the players, but he knows the coaches. He talks to the coaches and fields the roster by position.

3. What’s the furthest you’ll go for games?

Because of travel expenses, we don’t want to do overnights in a motel. We don’t want any team where we have to travel more than 100 miles to play a ball game. From what I can tell, we’re one of the smallest, if not the smallest, communities in the United States to have a summer collegiate, wooden bat team.

4. Are there any plans for surrounding towns to form more teams?

Hopkinsville and Madisonville used to have teams in the KIT League. We’re trying to get some people to start teams over there, but have not been successful. We have two possibilities going right now, but I’m not at liberty to talk about them.

5. What teams do the Bobcats play?

Tradewater Pirates out of Dawson Springs, Fulton Railroaders, Farmington Browns and the Owensboro Oilers. Those are the teams in the current KIT League. We’ve had two drop out, and those were Sikeston and Union City. Sikeston is coming back next year because their owner has been in the Army.

6. Do the Bobcats have a rival in the league?

Tradewater. They’re the closest. They’re the game you shouldn’t miss. They bring the most people. And, it’s usually sort of rowdy.

7. What are the requirements for the players?

They have to be NCAA eligible with at least one year remaining on their NCAA eligibility. If we had a five-year guy with a year of eligibility left, that’s ok. We don’t care about the diploma, we care about the eligibility. We have had guys play four years. Some played before they went into college and were already accepted by a college team. Then they can play that year, plus the end of their freshman, sophomore and junior years. They can get four years in if they want too. I had one with me last year. We prefer sophomores and juniors if we can find them because they have more maturity, more college experience and have hopefully grown up just a little bit.

8. Do the players want to continue to play baseball after their eligibility is up?

Every single one of them would kill for a major league offer or to be drafted. We’ve had two hall-of-famers play in the league, now that covers 80 years. This year we had four guys from last year be drafted, that I’m aware of.

9. Are there any standout players this year?

We’re beginning to find some. I wouldn’t want to predict at the moment. We’ve got a good catcher that can hit and we’ve got a good pitcher from Effingham, Ill. We’ve got a good infielder who looks like he can hit and play reasonably good infield. We’ve got this kid coming in from New York who may be one of the fastest kids in the league. He plays centerfield, but I don’t know how he can hit. I just don’t know yet.

10. What’s the ultimate goal for the season?

We want to win the league through playoffs and be eligible to go the NBC World Series – the National Baseball Conference in Witchitaw, Kan. To do that, after you win the league, you have to win what’s usually a four-team playoff in your region, which is about three or four states. It’s the 64 best teams in amateur baseball in the country. One year Tradewater finished 23rd.

Farmington series concludes

Marion will host Farmington Friday for the third and final game of a series at Guess Field. The Bobcats (7-10) will be looking for a series sweep after taking both ends of a double header Thursday against the Browns (4-12). The two wins put 2.5 games of daylight between the two clubs after Marion entered the game just a half-game out of last place in the KIT League.

Friday's game, which begins at 7:05 p.m., is Salem Night, with the Bobcats hosting residents of the Livingston County community and surrounding area.

Elsewhere Friday, first-place Tradewater (15-4) will face Owensboro (6-10) in the rubber match of that three-game series.

Fulton, 4.5 games behind Tradewater in second place, will be idle Friday.

Bobcats sweep double header

Marion won back-to-back KIT League games Thursday, sweeping last-place Farmington in a twi-night double header and moving back into third place. With 22 combined runs, the Bobcats' offense continued to carry the team, though Kalip Merrill cruised to even his record at 1-1 with a complete game (seven innings) in the first contest.

In Game 1, Marion pounded out 15 hits including a two-run home run by first baseman Tony Gliffe en route to a 10-3 win over the Browns. Travis Jankowski, who continues to lead the league in hitting with a batting average, was perfect in the game, reaching in all five plate appearances with three walks and two singles, scoring once and knocking in two. Derek Trovillion went 4-for-5 with a double, two RBI and a run scored. Gliffe just missed his second home run of the night by a couple of feet in the fourth, chasing the Browns' right fielder to the fence.

The Bobcats recorded at least one hit in all seven innings.

But Merrill's strong performance on the mound was the highlight of the game for a team whose pitching woes have undermined the most potent offense in the Bobcats' three-year history. The right-hander gave up three runs on nine hits, walked only one and grew stronger as the game went on, giving up only one run and two hits after the second inning.

The pitching in Game 2 returned to its struggles, giving up nine runs, but Bobcat bats bailed out the staff with a 12-run performance. Leading the way were once again Trovillion and Jankowski, Trovillion with at three-run homer in the first and Jankowski completing a perfect night at the plate. In the two games, the speedy left-handed hitter reached in all nine appearances, adding three hits and a walk in the nightcap while pushing his average above .500.

Jae Leeworthy added his own punch, batting in three on a two-run shot and a run-scoring single.

The Bobcats scored runs in all but one of their six innings at bat and as in the first game, recorded a hit in each inning.

On the hill, Tyler Smith got 10 outs on the start, but began to struggle with his control in the fourth, throwing three wild pitches and plunking Farmington's Brock Porter in the helmet. After being hit in the left ear flap, Porter slowly dropped to the ground and winced in pain for a couple of minutes before clearing the cobwebs and remaining in the game. Kyle Bugg, who relieved Smith in the inning, was the pitcher of record and pushed his mark to 2-1.

The double header sweep was the first of the season for Marion, and first consecutive wins against  KIT League opponents. The Bobcats previously won back-to-back games on June 11-12, but the second victory came in an interleague game at Nashville.
Click here for box and line scores, Game 1
Click here for box and line scores, Game 2

Tradewater 11, Owensboro 8
The Pirates got back in the win column Thursday with an 11-8 victory over the Oilers at Chautauqua Park after losing to Owensboro (6-10) for the first time just one day earlier. The win pushed the Pirates (15-4) a half-game further ahead of Fulton, who was idle on Thursday and dropped the Oilers to 7.5 games back in fourth place. Tradewater now has five more wins than any other team in the league.
Click here for box and line scores.

UofL standout joins pitching staff

Gabe Shaw, a Paducah native who went 5-2 for the University of Louisville in the most recent college baseball season, has joined the Bobcats pitching staff. The 6-1, 200-pound junior signed with the team on Thursday and should be available to pitch as early as Friday's game against Farmington.

For Louisville in 2010, Shaw appeared in 28 games, starting three and having earned three saves for the 50-14 Big East squad. In 46.1 innings, he posted a 3.88 ERA and struck out 41. Opponents hit .289 of the right-handed thrower.

General Manager Gordon Guess said Shaw's arm should bring some relief to the pitching corps, which had given up 10 or more runs in four of its six games prior to Thursday's contests with Farmington. Guess said Shaw may not finish the season with the Bobcats, as his college coaches are working to get him a spot on a roster in the Cape Cod League, the premiere collegiate summer league in the nation.

In 2009, Shaw made 29 appearances out of the bullpen, which was the fifth best in Cardinals' history. He finished 3-1 overall with team-leading three saves and a 3.73 ERA. Shaw also recorded  47 strikeouts in 50.1 innings two years ago.

Shaw pitched with Marion pitcher Kyle Bugg while in high school at St. Mary's in Paducah.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thursday's game start moved up

Thursday's contest with Farmington has been moved up to a 5:05 p.m. start to accommodate a double header. General Manager Gordon Guess said the change from the original schedule became necessary when a conflict at Farmington forced the cancellation of Sunday's game. The game-night promotion is Fredonia Night, honoring fans from the nearby community.

Marion (5-10) is just a half-game ahead of the Browns (4-10) and will be looking to stay out of the basement with at least a split in the double header. The Bobcats also play the Browns on Friday night at 7:05 p.m., when fans from Salem will be special guests of the team.

Pitching staff implodes in 11-13 loss

Two former Bobcats victimized an old teammate Wednesday, each hitting a ball out of the park and knocking in a combined six runs en route to a 13-11 Fulton win over Marion.

Justin O'Brien gave up all 13 Railroader runs on six-plus inning pitched, serving up five home runs, including a two-run home run to Josh Reynolds and a three-run shot to Mitch McClay. The game was the second loss for O'Brien, who played with Reynolds and McClay on the 2009 Bobcats squad.

O'Brien took a 9-6 lead into the bottom of the sixth, but ended the inning tied on a solo home run by Mike Bass and a two-run homer by Kellen Begeman. The second-year Bobcat started the bottom of the seventh, but failed to record an out. Caleb Luttrell, in relief, finished the inning but the damage on four runs was more than the Bobcats' offense could overcome in the final two innings.

While the pitching staff continues to struggle for the Bobcats, Manager Steve Fowler has his offense running on all cylinders. Wednesday's game at Lohaus Field was yet another showcase for Marion's hot hitters, who scored 11 runs for the third time in the last six games. Dylan Rasch and Travis Jankowski highlighted the Bobcats' 16-hit performance, each contributing three hits including a Rasch solo shot. Derek Trovillion also added a home run and two hits. Mike Perez had three RBI on two hits, while Jaron Shimmel and Adam Boyd also added a pair of hits each. Drew Williams and Ryan Chesler each contributed a single.

Marion also stole 10 bases — a new single-game record for the club — including four by Jankowski, who also leads the league in hitting. Shimmel had three swipes; Boyd, two; and Rasch, one.

Heading into their last time up, Marion trailed 13-9 but added two runs on a bloop hit and ground out RBI. Representing the go-ahead run with two outs, Perez looked to have struck out swinging for the final out of the game with two on. However, the first baseman got an extra life when the umpiring crew called a no-pitch on the play, leading to a delay as Fulton's team and fans disputed the call. The controversy was for naught, though, as Perez would pop out to end the game.

Of the 26 hits recorded in the game, seven were home runs, including five followed by the train whistle blown after each Fulton homer. The only other extra-base hit in the game was a double by Fulton's Mike Bass.

Besides McClay's four RBI and two runs scored, he added a stolen base and made a diving catch in the outfield to save an extra-base hit and thwart a seventh-inning rally by the Bobcats.

The loss, combined with Owensboro's win, dropped Marion to fourth place, 7.5 games behind first-place Tradewater, with whom the Bobcats play two on Saturday.
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Owensboro 5, Tradewater 1
The Oilers picked up a game on first place and moved past Marion into third place Wednesday night with a 5-1 win at Riverside Park. The loss was only the fourth in 18 games for the Pirates, snapping a four-game winning streak, while Owensboro moved to 6-9 on the season.
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bobcats back to the field Wednesday

Marion returns to action Wednesday, traveling to Lohaus Field in Fulton for one game with the Railroaders. The Bobcats hope to get back on track with a win over the reeling Fulton squad. The game can be heard online through the Teamline link on the Railroaders' Web site, www.fultonrailroadersbaseball.com.

In other action Wednesday, Owensboro will try to right its ship against a 14-win Pirates squad at Riverside Park in Dawson Springs.

Marion returns home for four games starting Thursdsay.

Pirates extend lead

With Marion once again enjoying a day off, Tradewater pushed its league lead to five games over second place Fulton with a victory at Riverside Park. Farmington also won Tuesday, downing Owensboro who now has an identical 5-9 record in third place as Marion.

Tradewater 4, Fulton 2
The Pirates doubled up on second-place Fulton to send the Railroaders (9-7) to their sixth loss in the last eight games. Tradewater (14-3) has now won four straight to push their lead over KIT League opponents.
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Farmington 16, Owensboro 15
Combining for a season-high 31 runs, the Browns and Oilers matched offenses Tuesday. With the win, last-place Farmington (4-10) pulled to within a game of third place. Owensboro (5-9) lost its third game in the last four games.
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Monday, June 21, 2010

Idle, Marion drops to fourth

Despite having the night off, Marion (5-9) dropped to fourth place Monday in the KIT League on an Owensboro (5-8) win over last-place Farmington (3-10). The Bobcats, however, rest only a half-game out of third place and three behind second-place Fulton (9-7), who fell to league-leader Tradewater (13-3).

Marion will next play on Wednesday at Fulton, with a chance to close the gap on second place. The Bobcats return home for four games beginning Thursday, hosting Farmington on back-to-back nights and Tradewater for a Saturday double header.

Owensboro 7, Farmington 4
At Owensboro, the Oilers rebounded from dropping both ends of a Saturday double header by beating cellar-dwelling Farmington 7-4. The win moved Owensboro into third place, just percentage points ahead of Marion.
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Tradewater 9, Fulton 6
Tradewater continued its winning ways, beating Fulton 9-6 and pushing the Railroaders to four games back in second place. The juggernaut Pirates are now 13-3, having lost games to Farmington, Fulton and Nashville of the Tennessee Summer Collegiate Baseball Association.
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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Marion takes off two days

Marion takes the next two days off before heading to Fulton Wednesday for one-game with the Railroaders. The Bobcats return to Guess Field on Thursday and Friday, with a 7:05 p.m. start each night against last-place Farmington.

Big inning again sinks Bobcats

It was a big inning and errors that once again were Marion's undoing, with the Bobcats falling 11-6 at Tradewater. The defeat drops the Bobcats to 5-9 on the season, 6.5 games in back of the league-leading Pirates (12-3) and just percentage points ahead of Owensboro for third place.

The night got off to a good start for the Bobcats when designated hitter Ryan Chesler rode the first pitch of the game out of the park. The 350-foot home run over the left field fence was Chesler's first of the year and put Marion up 1-0 on Pirate starter Cody Wren. Tradewater, however, would even the score in the bottom of the inning off Marion's starter, Justin Stout. In the next frame, the Pirates would take the lead off Stout with a four-run rally.

Neither starter would get a decision, though, as the teams battled to a 6-6 tie until the bottom of the eighth when the Bobcats' unraveled, allowing five runs. Reliever Justin O'Brien would take his first loss after walking in the go-ahead run, a runner allowed on a Jeremy Turpin error at shortstop. The next three runs would score on an errant throw from Turpin to first and subsequent throw to home that catcher Drew Williams could not handle. The last run of the inning came on an RBI single by Jeff Heisey. All five runs allowed by O'Brien were unearned.

For the Pirates, reliever Adam Culiver would keep his record perfect with his fifth win of the season, three more than any other pitcher in the KIT League.

Chesler's home run to start the game may have been the highlight of Marion's offense, but it was once again the top third of the order that was the story. Chesler, Dylan Rasch and Travis Jankowski accounted for four of the team's six runs, eight of its 13 hits and two RBI. Rasch and Jankowski each had three hits, and Chesler added a single with his home run. Jankowski now has 10 hits in 21 at-bats for a .476 average to lead the league.

Williams and Jae Leeworthy each had two hits, with Williams driving in two. Derek Trovillion also had two RBI on one hit.
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Bobcat statistics through June 19

Click on the image to the left to view KIT League leaders in both pitching and hitting through June 19. Also included are statistics for all Marion Bobcat players through the same period.

Barrett leaves team

Drew Barrett, an infielder out of Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Ky., has left the team. Barrett cited family issues and will return to their Evansville, Ind. home for the summer. His last game played was June 16 at Owensboro

At third base and shortstop, Barrett had played in 10 games and was batting .267 but had a .389 on-base percentage. Barrett, who also played with the 2009 team,  scored 5 runs and had 2 RBI.

The Bobcats' roster is now at 23 players, one short of the league limit. General Manager Gordon Guess said the team is looking at either a middle infielder or another pitcher to add to the staff.

Marion travels for make-up game

Tuesday's rainout at Riverside Park in Dawson Springs will be made up today. It is the only game on the KIT League schedule.

Today will be the second game of the Marion-Tradewater rivalry in 2010, with the first pitch set for 7 p.m. The contest is slated to be broadcast on Magic 102.7 FM WMJL, as will all eight games remaining in the series.

Thursday's rainout rescheduled

Thursday's Marion-Owensboro game at Guess Field postponed due to rain has been rescheduled as part of a double header in July. On July 21, the Bobcats will now host the Oilers for two games, with the first beginning at 5:05 p.m.

Marion takes one in twin bill, ends streak

Marion ended a five-game skid Saturday, coming back after a 4-2 loss in the front-end of double header to beat South Middle Tennessee 11-6 in the nightcap of interleague competition with the Tennessee Summer Collegiate Baseball Association.

The split, along with Owensboro dropping both games of its double header, put Marion (5-8) back in third place, just one night after the Oilers swapped places with the Bobcats following a 13-5 win in head-to-head competition. Saturday was the third split in as many double headers this year for Marion.

On the night, the Bobcats' hot hitting continued, totaling 13 runs on 17 hits, including three doubles and the team's third home run in as many games. The pitching staff's recent struggles eased a bit, giving up seven hits in each game but issuing only three walks on the night, and none by Kyle Bugg who pitched a complete game in the first contest.

But defensive miscues continue to plague the team, frustrating Manager Steve Fowler who was less than pleased with the four fielding error in the double header. Through 13 games, Marion has committed 28 errors, with only one mistake-free performance. In fact, more than one-third (37) of the 107 runs allowed by the pitching through Saturday have been unearned due to errors.

In the first game, Bugg pitched well enough to win against the Wildcats, giving up only one earned run in seven innings but taking a 4-2 loss on two errors that allowed three additional runs to score. Dylan Rasch had the only RBI for Marion, pushing Tony Gliffe across the plate with a single in the second to tie the game 1-1.

The Bobcats would take a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Jae Leeworthy scored on a wild pitch by Wildcat starter P.J. Francescon. The lead would not as long, as Marion fell behind 3-2 in the sixth when an error put two runners in scoring position before a single by Dalton Bain sent them home. South Middle Tennessee would add an insurance run in the next frame when a single by Drew Turner batted in Hooper Paty who reached on an error with one out.

Judd Stoltz picked up the win for the Wildcats after relieving Francescon for the final two innings.

Marion tallied six hits, two by Travis Jankowski who was batting .500 in three games for the Bobcats coming into the night. Ryan Chesler, Jeremy Turpin and Gliffe added to the hits by Jankowski and Rasch.

Game 2 saw Marion's lineup bat around for the first time this year in the third, scoring five runs on five hits. In the next inning, the Bobcats added four more runs on as many hits, including Tony Perez's first home run of the season, a two-run shot to left field. Two more runs were put on the board in the sixth.

South Middle Tennessee jumped out to a 3-0 lead off Marion starter Sean Fitzgerald with a two-run double in the second and a sacrifice fly in the third. But the Bobcats took control in their half of the inning, jumping ahead 5-3 and not looking back. Though Fitzgerald (1-0) gave up all six Wildcat runs, it was enough to earn the win behind a powerful Bobcat offense. Caleb Luttrell picked up his first save of the year pitching two innings of scoreless ball.

Marion's offense was sparked by the top of the order, with lead-off hitter Perez, Rasch and Jankowski scoring seven of the team's 11 runs. They also batted in four, half off Perez's home run in the fourth.

The other half of the Perez brothers also had a good night. Catcher Mike Perez had three RBI on a double and a single. He now has eight RBI in his last three games and was batting .409 through June 17, adding three hits since then.

Drew Williams, a catcher by trade having played both in the outfield and at first base in recent days, had two RBI and a hit. Jeremy Turpin, Rasch and Jankowski each gave a hit and RBI. Jae Leeworthy and Adam Boyd, the bottom third of the order along with Turpin, also added two hits each.

Turpin, Jankowski and Rasch had hits in both games of the double header.
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Nashville 2, Owensboro 0, Game 1
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 Nashville 7, Owensboro 4, Game 2
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Farmington 15, Tradewater 5, Game 1
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Tradewater 7, Farmington 4, Game 2
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Fulton at Wilson County (TSCBA) double header postponed

Friday, June 18, 2010

Saturday double header starts at 4:05 p.m.

Saturday's double header at Guess Field with South Middle Tennessee (2-10) will begin at 4:05 p.m., rather than the first published start one hour later. In fact, all double headers with teams from the Tennessee Summer Collegiate Baseball Association will begin at 4:05 p.m.

"That's a ruling that came down from the commissioner," Bobcat General Manager Gordon Guess said of the TSCBA commissioner.

The change will affect two more dates, both scheduled as home double headers — July 10 versus the Wilson County Lynx and July 17 against the Middle Tennessee Cougars. All KIT League double headers will remain as scheduled. The schedule found on MarionBobcats.com now reflects the changes.

During Saturday's twin bill with the Wildcats, employees of Crittenden County government will be the specials guests of the Bobcats (4-7).

Elsewhere in the league, two more interleague games are on tap — the Nashville Panthers travel to Owensboro for two games and Fulton travels to Wilson County for a double header. In KIT League action, Farmington will play two contests at Tradewater.

Bobcats fall to 4-7 at Owensboro

Pitching continues to be the Achilles heel for the Bobcats, on Friday putting the team's offense in a deep hole to climb from at the very outset of the game at Owensboro.

But if pitching was the downfall of the Bobcats at Chautauqua Park, it was also the bright spot of the game. After giving up 13 runs in the first inning, starter Thomas Rodriguez (0-2) was relieved by Austin Park who held the Oilers scoreless for the next 7 2/3 innings.

"Austin Park put on a helluva performance tonight," General Manager Gordon Guess said after Friday's game.

The masterful showing, though, was for naught. Bobcat hitters managed five runs off Owensboro pitching, not enough to erase the deficit after only one inning. Ryan Rogers, a member of last year's Bobcat team, earned his second win of the season for the Oilers against one loss.

The Bobcats (4-7) actually took an early lead off Rogers with a three-run home run in the top of the first inning. Mike Perez's shot, his second in as many games, was the offensive climax for Marion. On Wednesday, Perez hit his first homer of the season, a two-run variety.

Coming into the night, Perez was second in the league among hitters with 20 or more at-bats, batting .409 and reaching base in more than half of his plate appearances. For a few moments after his home run, he was actually tied for the league lead with two base-clearing hits. However, Farmington's Gabe Kelly would later pull ahead with his third homer of the season in the Browns' game against Tradewater.

Guess said the night's offensive hero shared the spotlight with his brother Tony and right fielder Drew Williams.

"Tony Perez hit the ball on the button, and Drew got on a couple of times tonight," Guess said.

The Bobcats managed eight hits on the night, but Owensboro (4-6) used its 11 hits to mount their charge. Guess said Rodriguez also struggled with his control, issuing several walks before being pulled with only one out in the first inning. And despite struggles with defense on the middle infield that contributed to four errors, the general manager said the team's center fielder, Travis Jankowski, continued to impress with a couple of nice plays on the outfield grass.

Marion dropped three games below .500 for the first time the season with Friday's 13-5 loss. The defeat dropped the Bobcats to fourth place, swapping positions with the Oilers who now sit a half-game ahead of Marion.

The Bobcats have now lost three straight contests, having been outscored 41-20. The 13 runs given up in the first were the most in team history for a single inning, eclipsing a record of nine allowed just 10 days earlier at Fulton.
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Tradewater 12, Farmington 3
The Pirates continued to show why they are in first place a quarter of the way through the 2010 season, downing Farmington 12-3 at Riverside Park.

Tradewater used the top of its order to jump start the offense. Leadoff hitter Mike Bass batted in three with a home run and scored two runs, while the next batter in the order, Brent Young added two RBI and his own home run.

For Farmington, Grant Kelly maintained his home run lead in the league by adding his third of the year.
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bobcats vs. Owensboro postponed

For the second time in three days, the Bobcats have been rained out. Because of afternoon rains, Thursday's contest at Guess Field with the Owensboro Oilers was postponed. No make-up date has been scheduled at this time, but Marion will head to Owensboro Friday for the final scheduled match of the three-game series. Game time is 7 p.m. at Chautauqua Park.

Tomas Rodriguez (0-1, 9.00) will make the start Friday for the Bobcats. He will likely face Owensboro's Paul Guey, the scheduled starter for Thursday's game. It would be Guey's first appearance on the mound this season.

Also on the slate Friday is Farmington at Tradewater.

The Bobcats return home Saturday for a double header against the South Middle Tennessee Wildcats of the Tennessee Summer Collegiate Baseball Association. The first game begins at 5:05 p.m.

Fulton 7, Farmington 5
The deluge that soaked western Kentucky and canceled the game at Marion had no effect on the game at Farmington, Mo., but the Railroaders rained on their host's hope for a third win in 10 games. In the only KIT League action Thursday, Fulton (9-6) beat Farmington (2-8) by a score of 7-5. The win pulls second-place Fulton within two games of Tradewater. Fulton and Tradewater each have nine wins, though Fulton has lost four more than the Pirates. Thursday's loss drops last-place Farmington to six games behind the Pirates.
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Owensboro series continues Thursday

 Owensboro will send Paul Guey (0-0) to the mound for his first appearance of the year in Thursday's game at Marion. For the Bobcats, the starter is unclear, as scheduled starter Justin Stout pitched 1 1/3 innings in Wednesday's game against the Oilers, making him not likely to be available on Thursday. Game time for this, the second game of the home-and-away Owensboro series is 7:05 p.m. at Guess Field. Marion (4-6) travels to Owensboro (3-6) for the first time this year on Friday.

Elsewhere, Tradewater (9-2) has the night off and Farmington (2-6) will travel to Fulton (8-6).

Bobcats on short end of 30-run game

On most any night, 11 runs would be enough to win a game in the KIT League.

However, despite posting three more runs on Wednesday than at any other time 10 games into the season, Marion (4-6) came out on the short end of a 30-run ballgame, losing to Owensboro 19-11 at Guess Field. Both pitching staffs struggled to keep runners off the bases, combining to allow 58 to reach, which includes five errors along with 30 hits, 20 walks and three hit batters.

Bobcat pitchers fared the worst, with starter Curran McNeely (0-2) taking his second loss of the season. The five pitchers Manager Steve Fowler sent to the mound faced 63 batters, including 13 in the sixth inning alone. McNeely threw the lone 1-2-3 inning in the second when the score was only 1-0 in the Oilers' favor, but Owensboro (3-6) batted around the order twice and had only three innings when fewer than seven batters came to the plate. The sixth inning was the toughest for the Marion staff, allowing seven runs that included back-to-back homers by Jordan White and Todd Martin to score three.

Altogether, the Bobcats gave up 17 earned runs, 18 hits and 13 walks and hit two batters. Four infield errors and one in the outfield led to the other two runs scored by Owensboro.

A silver lining in the dark cloud of Wednesday's game was Marion's offense, coming alive to score the most runs since a 12-6 win over Tradewater on July 6, 2009. Mike Perez had two hits, scored two runs and added two RBI, both coming on a 355-shot to dead center, his first home run of the year. Travis Jankowski also registered two hits — a double and a two-RBI single — and scored a run. Ryan Chesler joined in with three hits, two runs scored, two RBI and a stolen base. Jae Leeworthy had two singles and scored each time, while Drew Williams came in in the eighth as a pinch hitter and went 2-for-2, scoring a run and driving in two.

Faced with a 19-8 deficit in the last inning, the Bobcats would not say die. With one out, four consecutive batters reached, including Williams on a two-run double. The third and last run of the inning scored on a sacrifice to right off the bat of Jeremy Turpin, bringing the score to its final tally of 19-11.

All 11 runs given up to Marion by Owensboro starter Cole Sturgeon (1-0) and reliever Matt Ransbottom were earned. Bobcat hitters reached on 12 hits, seven walks, one hit batter and an error. Jaron Shimmel, Ryan Chesler, Turpin and Perez each contributed a stolen base, as well.

For Owensboro, Martin was 2-for-3 with two runs and three RBI, including one of the Oilers' two home runs on the night. Jacob Weinzappfel added three more RBI on three singles. He also scored a run and added a stolen base, one of three on the night for the visiting team.

The 19 runs given up by Marion were the most in team history.
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Farmington 6, Fulton 2
Farmington (2-6) added its second win of the year returning to action after a five-day break by beating Fulton (8-6) 6-2 at Lohaus Field. All four teams chasing Tradewater (9-2) have lost six games, four back in the all-important loss column behind the Pirates. Without throwing a pitch on Wednesday, Tradewater gained a half-game on its two closest rivals, Marion and Fulton. Meantime, Owensboro and Farmington closed the gap on third-place Marion and picked up a half-game on the idle Pirates.
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday's game rained out

The Bobcats and Pirates will have to wait to renew hostilities from Monday's 9-5 Tradewater win at Guess Field.

Tuesday's game at Tradewater (9-2) was rained out by a storm system that passed through western Kentucky in the early evening hours. It is the first rainout of the season for the Bobcats (4-5), and a make-up date at Riverside Park in Dawson Springs has been tentatively set for Sunday, an open date for both teams. The starting time is yet to be determined, but any rescheduled game with the Pirates will be broadcast on Magic 102.7 FM WMJL.

Fulton at Owensboro was also postponed due to the weather. On Wednesday, Farmington returns to action after five days off, traveling to Fulton. Owensboro visits Marion, and Tradewater is off Wednesday.

The Bobcats' schedule for the remainder of the week will see the Oilers in Marion on Wednesday and Thursday before the final game of the series heads to the Oilers' home at Chautauqua Park. Marion will close the week with an interleague double header on Saturday with the South Middle Tennessee Wildcats of the Tennessee Summer Collegiate Baseball Association.

Curran McNeely will make the start for Marion on Wednesday, Justin Stout on Thursday.

Both weekday contests at Guess Field begin at 7:05 p.m., and the first game of Saturday's twin bill will start at 5:05 p.m. The nightcap will start after a brief intermission.

Family Practice Clinic in Marion will be the corporate sponsor for Wednesday's game. For the weekend double header, the Bobcats will host employees of Crittenden County government as special guests.

Merrill to make Tuesday's start

Part two of the Tradewater-Marion rivalry continues Tuesday at Riverside Park in Dawson Springs, with Kalip Merrill (0-0, 4.50) toeing the rubber for the Bobcats. Marion will be looking to even the score after Monday's 9-5 loss and balance their record at 5-5.

The game will be broadcast on Magic 102.7 FM WMJL with Gordon Guess and Patrick Nielsen making the call. Game time is 7 p.m., with the broadcast beginning about 15 minutes prior to the first pitch.

In other KIT League action, Farmington remains at rest for the fifth consecutive day while Fulton completes its two-game series at Owensboro.

'Cats-Bucs rivalry reignites

What started as a pitchers' duel Monday turned out to be anything but in a 9-5 Marion loss at the hands of Tradewater. The game also saw the league's hottest rivalry spark a few tempers late in the game.

Bobcat starter Justin O'Brien (0-0, 3.77) held Pirate bats hitless for five innings before they began to heat up in the sixth as the 6-4 hurler ran into trouble as he tired. Meantime, his counterpart, Jeff Heisey, allowed only two hits through five despite being an infielder/outfielder pressed into pitching duty due to a staff depleted by three games in the previous two days. But neither starter would factor in the decision as both bullpens struggled to halt the scoring.

Tradewater struck first in the sixth, scoring two runs on a two-out double by Ollie Mattig. They would add two more in the seventh off a tiring O'Brien on a wild pitch and a hit batter with the bases loaded.

In the inning, O'Brien, despite giving up a lead-off single to Kasey Cooper, was able to get two quick outs before his pitch count and throws to home began to soar. After registering the second out, O'Brein struggled to find home plate, walking the next three batters on 3-1 counts. Having thrown more than 100 pitches, his throws were consistently high to catcher Mike Perez until hitting Justin Juneau to force home the Pirates' fourth run of the game. Manager Steve Fowler, a former Pirates skipper, then pulled O'Brien in favor of reliever Austin Park who got the last out without further harm.

Having already scored two runs off Heisey in sixth on an inside-the-park homer by Derek Trovillian, Marion's offense got O'Brien off the hook in the bottom of the seventh. Opening the frame down 4-2, Bobcat bats took advantage of reliever Adam Culiver, scoring two runs on two walks, two stolen bases, an error and a wild pitch.

It was Travis Jankowski, the center fielder who made his first appearance with the Bobcats on Saturday, who sparked the inning with his speed after leading off with a walk. Hitting from the left side of the plate, Jankowski first showed his wheels in his initial at-bat at Guess Field in the third inning, reaching second on a scorching double to right field. But in the seventh, he used that speed again to steal two bases and force an errant throw on his swipe of third base that allowed the tying run to score.

But the 4-4 tie was as close as Marion would get to a win on the night. The Pirates opened the eighth with two quick outs, but scored four runs off Park who had his own troubles finding the strike zone. Culiver, batting in the No. 8 spot, helped his own cause by reaching on a walk and eventually scoring the winning run. Park would give up two more walks, two singles and a double that lead to three more runs before being spelled by Michael Backes. Backes subsequently issued passes to the next two batters, pushing across the final run of the night before striking out Cooper.

In the inning, the Pirates scored five runs, all charged to Park, and sent 11 batters to the plate. Also, five of Marion's 11 walks and its lone error would be registered in the disastrous frame. Taking advantage of the offerings, Juneau earned two of his game-high three RBI in the inning.

Prior to Monday's loss, Marion had won seven of its 10 contests with the Pirates at Guess Field dating back to 2008, the Bobcats' first year in the league.

At the plate for Marion, Jankowski tallied half of the team's four hits. He reached base in three of his four plate appearances, swiped two bases and scored a run. Perez, who scored on Trovillion's non-traditional home run in the sixth, Trovillion and Jae Leeworthy each added hits for the Bobcats.

Trovillion's home run, which landed in dead center field at the 350-foot sign, came at the expense of Pirate center fielder Chase Quarles who crashed into the fence and lay motionless for several minutes. Teammates, his coach, Bobcat players and clubhouse manager David Hunt quickly attended to the downed player. But after walking off his injury, Quarles would stay in the game until being lifted for Culiver in the eighth.

In the Bobcats' final time up, the benches cleared after pinch-hitter Tony Perez and Pirate shortstop Mattig tangled at second on last half of a 3-6 double play. Perez had reached after having been hit by Culiver's fourth pitch in the ninth and slid into second to avoid a tag by Mittag on a Jankowski ground out to first. Perez and Mittag exchanged words and shoves before both dugouts emptied to square off. Quick work by the umpiring crew and cooler heads halted the fracas before blows were traded, however. Home plate umpire Brian Thomas ran Mittag and left fielder Cory Phillips before continuing the game for the last out.

At the end of the game, Tradewater celebrated its league-leading ninth win on the infield, but the teams did not exchange the traditional handshake at the close of the contest, leaving Tuesday's game at Dawson Springs on the line for a heated renewal of hostilities that date back to Marion's entry into the league two years ago.
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Owensboro 8, Fulton 2
The Oilers rebounded after five straight losses to move up a game on third-place Marion and hand Fulton its third loss in the last four games. The win for Owensboro (2-6) moved them within 1.5 games of third place and pushed Fulton (8-5) to two games back of first-place Tradewater, who defeated Marion 9-5 Monday.
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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tradewater adds more distance to lead

In the only contest on the KIT League schedule Sunday, Tradewater defeated Owensboro 12-4 at Chautauqua Park. The Pirate win pushed them a full game ahead of second-place Fulton and three games ahead of third-place Marion. With the loss, Owensboro falls into last place, tied with Farmington with a 1-6 record.

On Monday, Tradewater heads to Marion to face the Bobcats. In its first two seasons, Marion has split the season series with the Pirates 5-5 in both years, but has dominated Tradewater at Guess Field with a 7-3 record across both seasons.
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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Only one KIT game on Sunday slate

Owensboro will travel to Dawson Springs Sunday to face the Pirates in the only game on the schedule in the KIT League. Farmington's double header at Ozark, Mo. was canceled.

Farmington will remain idle on Monday, while Marion hosts Tradewater in the clubs' first meeting of the season, and Fulton heads to Owensboro. The Bobcats' game will start at 7:05 and will be broadcast on Magic 102.7 FM WMJL. The broadcast will begin about 15 before the first pitch.

Nashville cuts Bobcats short

In the Marion's second cat fight of the afternoon, the Nashville Panthers (5-3) beat the visiting Bobcats 5-3 in a game called at the end of six because of a time limit. In the first game of the double header against two Tennessee Summer Collegiate Baseball Association opponents, Marion defeated the Wilson County Lynx 7-6.

Kalip Merrill (0-1) pitched 4 2/3 innings for Marion taking the loss, but not before the right-hander picked off two runners with an effective move to first base.. Sean Fitzgerald pitched the final 1 1/3 innings. Defensively, Marion committed four fielding errors.

At the plate, Dylan Rasch had two of Marion's RBI on a double, while Drew Barrett drove in the Bobcat's only other run. Eight runners were left of base.

Marion's chance at a rally was cut short by an inning due to a two-hour time limit placed on games in the TSCBA. Each game of a double header is scheduled for seven innings in both the KIT League and TSCBA, but only the Tennessee league institutes a time limit on games.
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Tradewater 4, Fulton 3 (Game 1)
The Pirates continued their winning ways, beating Fulton (7-4) in the first game of a double header to push their winning streak to five games. Tradewater (7-1) unknotted a tie with a run in the top of the seventh, the final inning of play, and held on to the lead to keep their record against KIT League opponents perfect.
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Fulton 9, Tradewater 6 (Game 2)
Former Bobcat Josh Reynolds scored one run and batted in two with a home run and closer Cody Gibson added a win to his league-leading four saves in a 9-6 win over Tradewater (7-2). The victory in the second game of Saturday's double header at Lohaus Field ended the Pirates' five-game winning streak, gave Tradewater its first loss against a KIT League foe and helped both Fulton (8-4) and Marion, who split a double header in interleague play, keep pace with the first-place Dawson Springs club.
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Marion registers 7-6 win versus Cougars

In Marion's first interleague game, the Bobcats were victorious, downing the Middle Tennessee Cougars of the Tennessee Summer Collegiate Baseball Association 7-6 in the front end of a double header.

Starter Kyle Bugg (1-0) went the distance in the seven-inning affair, but gave up three runs in the bottom of the last frame to make thing interesting. Bobcat hitters managed 12 hits off of Cougar pitching.

Derek Trovillion had four RBI on two hits, while Ryan Chesler and Dylan Rasch each added three hits. Also with two hits were Jaron Shimmel, Adam Boyd and Drew Barrett. Chesler contributed two RBI.

The win pushed Marion's record above .500 at 4-3 before heading into the last game of the twin bill against the Nashville Panthers, also of the TSCBA.
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Marion heads south for interleague play

Marion travels to Gallatin, Tenn., on Saturday for a double header against two teams in the Tennessee Summer Collegiate Baseball Association. The Bobcats will face the Wilson County Lynx in the first game and Nashville Panthers in the second. The double header begins at 1 p.m., at Volunteer State Community College. Kyle Bugg (0-0, 16.20) will climb the hill for Marion to face Wilson County. Kalip Merrill (0-0, 4.50) is the tentative starter against Nashville.

Also in interleague play, Farmington heads off to face the Ozark Generals of the MINK (Missouri-Iowa-Nebraska-Kansas) League for two games. In KIT League action, Fulton hosts Tradewater for a double header. Owensboro has the night off.

Bobcats even record in extra-innings

Owensboro pushed Marion to extra innings Friday after erasing a two-run lead in the eighth inning, but the Bobcats rebounded in the 12th on a walk-off hit from Drew Williams. The 8-7 win evened Marion's record at 3-3 and gave Austin Park his second victory in relief against no losses.

In the final inning, Dylan Rasch lead off with a walk and moved to third on a double by Drew Barrett. With first base open and no outs, Owensboro (1-5) opted to intentionally issue a pass to Mike Perez for the chance at a force out a home. But the next hitter, Williams belted the 1-0 offering from Paul Guey (0-1) over the head of center fielder Gabe Pirtle who could do nothing but watch the ball roll to the fence as Rasch scored the winning run.

Third place Marion kept pace with league-leader Tradewater (6-1), and picked up a game on Fulton while increasing their lead over Owensboro and Farmington (1-6).
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Tradewater 7, Fulton 2
The Pirates snapped the Railroaders' six-game winning streak and stretched its own to four games. The loss was the first at home for Fulton, handing former Bobcat Josh Reynolds his first loss in as many starts. Reynolds, who joins outfielder Mitch McClay in trading in the blue and red of the Bobcats for the brown and orange of Fulton, played for Marion in 2009.

Chris Honeycutt was 4-for-5 against Railroader pitchers with one RBI. Cody Crabuagh (1-0) picked up the win for Tradewater.
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bobcats back in action Friday

After two scheduled off days, Marion returns to the field Friday to host Owensboro at Guess Field. The Bobcats will send Justin Stout to the mound to right a two-game losing streak. Stout (1-0, 1.80) collected one of Marion's two wins in a start in the second game of Saturday's double header. He pitched five innings, giving up only one run on four hits.

Game time will be 7:05 p.m. Before the game, a moment of silence will be observed in honor of Bob Swisher, a Marion native, Bobcat fan and legendary sports broadcaster who died on Wednesday.

Fulton streaking at six wins

Fulton won its sixth consecutive game Thursday, scoring two runs in the bottom of the eighth to forge ahead of Farmington and set up Cody Gibson for his fourth save of the year. With the 4-3 win over the Browns (1-6), Fulton moved to 7-2 on the season. Though the Railroaders have the most wins in the league, they remain percentage points behind Tradewater, who won their contest Thursday against Owensboro to remain in first place.
Tradewater 8, Owensboro 5
The Pirates (5-1) won their third straight, downing Owensboro 8-5 at Chautauqua Park. With losses Thursday, both the Oilers (1-4) and Browns remain at only one win each. On Friday, Owensboro will try for win No. 2 at Marion, who had the day off on Thursday.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fulton adds to win total

On a night when three of the five KIT League teams were idle, Fulton increased it's league-leading win total to six with an 11-1 victory at Farmington (1-5). In the last three games, the Railroaders (6-2) have outscored their opponents 33-4.

Owensboro at Tradewater was rained out, and Marion enjoyed its first of two off days before taking on Owensboro Friday at Gordon Blue Guess Field.
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Swisher, friend of Bobcats, passes at 82

Bob Swisher (right) broadcasts a few innings of baseball with longtime friend Gordon Guess on Opening Night of the Bobcats inaugural season in 2008. A native of Marion, star athlete and legendary broadcaster, Swisher died today in Paducah at the age of 82. Below, Swisher greets Bobcat players at the July 2009 Old-Timers Night at Gordon Blue Guess Field.

Broadcasting legend was Marion native

Longtime voice of western Kentucky sports and Marion native Bob Swisher died today at Western Baptist Hospital in Paducah. Swisher, 82, was a close acquaintance of Bobcats General Manager Gordon Guess and was a strong influence on and supporter of the team.

"He was a class act," Guess said of his friend and fellow baseball benefactor.

Swisher made his name in broadcasting after graduating from Marion High School and leaving Crittenden County, but he never forgot his heritage. A resident of Paducah, he would often frequent local sporting events, visit with friends and even emcee the annual Marion High School reunion. As a friend of the Bobcats, he threw out the first pitch at the team's first-ever home game at Gordon Blue Guess Field in June 2008.

"He was excited about it," Guess recalled earlier today. "He really considered it an honor."

Swisher was also one of the featured guests at last year's Old-timers Night in July. Not only one of the best broadcasters to hail from western Kentucky, he was an accomplished athlete on the gridiron and the diamond. A slender, hard-hitting shortstop, he starred for his high school team and the community's summer league team. In fact, in 1949 he played on Marion's last organized team prior to the founding of the Bobcats 59 years later. He was also a member of Crittenden County's sports hall of fame, having been elected 10 years ago.

If sports were the love of his life, broadcasting was his way of sharing his enthusiasm with the listener of whatever game he might be calling. Besides high school athletics, Swisher's voice painted the picture of what was happening on the field for Murray State University football and Paducah's franchise in the original Kitty League, the Chiefs.

While aspiring to call games, Guess said Swish—as he was known by many of those close to him— began modeling his call of baseball in the style of then St. Louis Cardinals broadcaster Harry Caray.

"He idolized Harry Carry," Guess said. "We all did."

Guess recalls a story from loyal Bobcat fan Ronald "Tink" Hicklin telling of how Swisher began practiceing his craft with marbles. Yes, marbles. He would mark off segments on the floor for a single, double, triple, etc., and toss a marble at the area. Where the marble landed, Swisher would practice the result as if a call in an actual game.

That story is one that endeared Guess to his friend and mentor behind the mic.

"He's the one guy I looked up to as a broadcaster," said Guess, who has been the radio voice of the Crittenden County Rockets high school baseball team, the Tradewater Pirates and, of course, the Marion Bobcats.

In 1957, Swisher put a face with the voice by becoming one of the original employees of Paducah's new television station, WPSD. In fact, he was the first voice heard by its viewers. He retired from the station in 1989.

But for a man so comfortable in front of the cameras and behind the microphone, according to Guess he was uneasy speaking before a crowd.

"He would get sick with a nervous stomach before speaking to a live audience," Guess said. "He had to do it on an empty stomach, and he'd be fine after it was over."

To Bobcat fans, Swisher could be known as the one who fanned to the flames organized summer league baseball's return to Marion. Almost at the very beginning of his idea to form a team in the new Kitty League of which the Bobcats are now a part, Guess sought counsel from his buddy.

"He was the first guy I went to with this," the founder of the team said. "I asked him what he thought of it, and he said, 'Go for it!' "

In honor of Swisher and his contributions to local sports, the Bobcats will observe a moment of silence before Friday's game with Owensboro.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bobcats limp away from Fulton series

With rain threatening to interrupt the contest at Fulton, it was the storm clouds gathering on the field that drowned the Bobcats and set new franchise records for futility.

For Marion, Tuesday's 14-1 loss at the hands of the Railroaders was the worst in team history. A disastrous sixth inning in which nine Fulton runs scored also set another dubious record, the most runs allowed by Bobcat pitchers in one inning. It was just that kind of night for the club.

After five innings, Marion starter Curran McNeely (0-1) was showing signs of tiring and left the game in the sixth after putting two on without registering an out. In relief, Kyle Bugg fared even worse, allowing five runners of his own without the benefit of an out. By the time Tyler Smith spelled Bugg, the Railroaders had scored five runs with three outs still remaining in the frame. Smith, though, was able to get the first out of the inning on a strikeout before walking the next batter to load the bases. On the subsequent at-bat, Smith ended his own night by pushing a sixth run across when he drilled Fulton's Ryan Conner. Justin O'Brien was finally able to close the inning for the Bobcats, but not before three more runs scored.

In the inning, the Railroaders sent 14 batters to the plate, scoring its nine runs on seven hits, one walk, on hit batter and two errors. Two runs were charged to McNeely; five to Bugg, though two were unearned; and two more to Smith. None of the runs in the inning were charged to O'Brien, however.

Marion's lone run came in the top of the sixth, with a Tony Gliffe single driving in Drew Williams who reached on a double. Williams' two-out hit, in fact, was the first of the night given up by Fulton pitchers, who allowed only three for the game. Reliever Phil Trowbridge (1-0) earned the win for Fulton.

Ex-Bobcat Mitch McClay played an ungracious host to his former team. The 2008 and 2009 outfielder for Marion scored Fulton's 12th run of the night in the seventh after a lead-off double. He also drove in the final two runs of the game with a single in the eighth that just missed getting over the so-called "Little Monster," a rising right field fence just 215 feet from home plate. Altogether, he went 4-for-5, scored three runs, batted in two and also accounted for three of the Railroaders' seven stolen bases, pushing the team's league-leading total to 24.

The Bobcats will surely be glad to wave the Fulton bats good-bye. The Railroaders managed 22 hits and outscored Marion 22-3 in the two-game series, running their record to 5-2.

Bobcat pitchers have given up as many as 13 runs twice in the 2008 season, but have never surrendered more than that prior to Tuesday. Fulton could have easily scored a 15th run in the bottom of the eighth, but the Railroaders' third base coach graciously held up a runner from second on a single with two on. Tomas Rodriguez then got the final two outs of the inning to end the scoring for Fulton.

Despite Tuesday's woeful outcome, Marion (2-3) remains in third place only two games off the pace set by Tradewater (4-1) and Fulton. The Bobcats return home for a single game on Friday, hosting fourth-place Owensboro. Game time is 7:05 p.m. at Gordon Blue Guess Field.
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Tradewater 11, Farmington 7
The Pirates remained tied with Fulton atop the KIT League Tuesday with their fourth win against one loss. Taylor Riggs picked up his second win of the year in the 11-7 victory over visiting Farmington (1-4).
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