Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bobcats, league make changes for 2012

By DEREK McCREE
THE CRITTENDEN PRESS
With six months before the Marion Bobcats begin a fifth season, major changes are happening off the field. The Ohio Valley League president and founder, Gordon Guess, is stepping down from his four-year run as the general manager of the Bobcats due to health-related issues.

Kory Wheeler will take over the reigns as the team's general manager, with Guess remaining as the Bobcats CEO and league president. Wheeler is one of the team's original investors and a member of the Bobcat Executive Committee.

"She is a great detail person and has been actively involved with the Bobcats since the beginning," Guess said of his replacement.

The Bobcats will enter next season with a new skipper at the helm as well. Guess has tapped former Bobcats shortstop Drew Barrett to take over for Kyle Medley who coached the team to a 20-22 overall record last season. Barrett played for the Bobcats in 2009 and his collegiate career has consisted of a stint at Wabash Valley College before finishing his career at Lindsey Wilson College. Barrett was an assistant coach for the Owensboro Oilers last season.

The new Bobcats coach has started the process of filling the roster for the team and Guess said he is hoping to get several players to return from last year's team.

One major shakeup in the league for the upcoming season is with the Tradewater Pirates. Dawson Springs will no longer host a team in the Ohio Valley League. Former Bobcat coach Steve Fowler left his post as the coach of the Oilers and will head a new Pirates franchise, now based out of Madisonville. The new team will be called the Madisonville-Tradewater Pirates.

"We are glad to have Madisonville join our league and are still actively pursuing additional franchises in Hopkinsville, Paducah and Mayfield," Guess said.

As of now, Guess said the league remains at four teams and is working to get games broadcast on the Internet and radio for every home game.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Hall signs with Austin Peay

Hall
Zach Hall, Marion's strikeout leader for the 2011 season, has committed to play for Austin Peay University in Clarksville, Tenn.

All of the Bobcats' 2011 players were from two-year schools, so Hall's signing with the, ironically, Ohio Valley Conference Division I college team, is significant according to Marion Manager Kyle Medley. With the Bobcats, Hall was 2-2 with a 1.55 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 29 innings pitched

League president comments on 2011 season

The inaugural season of the Ohio Valley League turned out to be a real dandy!

The teams provided the fans with an extremely interesting and competitive race with each team leading the league at different times. Three teams were still in the running for the league title with less than four days remaining in the schedule.  It was finally settled when Owensboro won the league title, only to fall to Fulton in the post season playoff.

Rain outs played a large role in scheduling as the area rainy season played havoc with promotions and pitchers arms.  There were a auarter of all games requiring rescheduling and pushed back into July with doubleheaders somewhere almost daily.

Going forward, the league is working on expansion, exploring opportunities into eight new communities in the area. Don Gabbard is the point man in developing what ideally may become an eight team league, with two divisions of four teams each to begin play in 2012.

Gordon Guess, President Ohio Valley League

Raolroaders sweep double header, take title

The Fulton Railroaders swept a double header over Owensboro to win the 2011 postseason championship two games to one. Because of a Game 2 rainout on July 30, the teams agreed to play two seven-inning games on July 31 to decide the playoff title. For a summary of each of the three championship games, follow the links below:

Game 1 box score: Owensboro 19, Fulton 9
Game 2 box score: Fulton 2, Owensboro 1
Game 3 box score: Fulton 10, Owensboro 7

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fowler takes Oilers to championship series

Steve Fowler, the former Bobcats manager, has taken his Owensboro Oillers to the Ohio Valley League championship series in his first year with the club. The Oilers dispatched the Tradewater Pirates Thursday 4-3 at Chautauqua Park, taking the best-of-three series 2-1.

The Oilers broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the eighth with a run on a two-out single. Jim Mulvaney then shut down the Pirates in the ninth for a save and a shot at the postseason title to go along with their regular season crown.

Former Bobcat Drew Barrett was 2-for-4 with a double and RBI for the Oilers.

With the Pirates' exit from the playoffs, 2011 marks the first since 2008 that the Pirates have not won either the regular or postseason or even both titles.

Click here for box score.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fulton ends Marion's season

Szathmary
A defensive miscue by the Bobcats in the bottom of the ninth sent the winning run across the plate for Fulton, sending the Railroaders to the Ohio Valley League Championship Series and ending Marion's 2011 season.

A 3-2 loss in the second game of their first round best-of-three playoff series against the Railroaders was the Bobcats' sixth consecutive loss, including four to end the regular season. An 8-16 July after spending all of June and early July in first place dropped the Bobcats to third at the end of the regular season. Regardless of the disappointing ending for Marion, 2011 was the best year for the franchise since the team was formed in 2008.

For the third time in the team's four-year history, the Bobcats ended the season with 20 wins, but finished only two games below .500. Marion's record in its first three years was 20-28, 20-30 and 22-26.

In Wednesday's playoff game, the Bobcats trailed Fulton 2-1 after four innings until Cody Kottich drove in Kyle Vander Ark in the eighth to knot the score. Reliever Jeremy Jansen held Fulton scoreless in the bottom half of the inning after spelling starter Todd Brazell with two out in the seventh.

Marion failed to score in the ninth, giving the Railroaders a shot at a walk-off win to advance to the championship series. Daniel Szathmary climbed the hill for the Bobcats in the ninth to face the top of Fulton's order. Leadoff hitter Mikee Moore, who had already singled and knocked in both Railroader runs on a two-run homer in the fourth, singled to start the inning. Szathmary then allowed Moore to reach third on a balk and wild pitch.

With the end of the season 90 feet away, manager Kyle Medley brought in the league's best closer with 11 saves, Matt Vollenweider, to face No. 3 hitter Rob Hogenkamp. But Vollenweider's miscue on a ball put in play by Hogenkamp allowed Moore to score safely on the error. Szathmary, who had allowed Moore to reach, took the loss.

Brazell was off the hook when Marion rallied in the eighth, but the home run to Moore in the fourth, the third he had given up on the season, was more than the Bobcats' offense could overcome. Marion's six hits were all singles, coming from Kottich, Vander Ark, Cody Schmitt, Desmond Roberts, Taylor Banks and Landon Weitekamp. Caleb Eickhoff knocked in Marion's first run in the third on a fielder's choice.

Fulton's Joe Mike was perfect at the plate, going 4-for-4. Starter Roman Kelly gave up only one run on four hits through seven innings. Jimmy Ryan gave up the Bobcats' second run in the eight, and the team's closer with nine saves to his credit in the regular season, Tate Glasscock, got the win by holding Marion scoreless in the ninth.

Click here for box score.

Tradewater 7, Owensboro 3
Tradewater set the stage for a showdown in Owensboro by beating the Oilers 7-3 Wednesday in the second game of their opening round playoff series. The winner of Thursday's game will advance the championship series against Fulton beginning Friday.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Owensboro dominates stats leaderboard

Qualifying batters 113+ plate appearances, pitchers 33.67+ innings
pitched, except saves (post-season games not included).
Vollenweider
Marion's Matt Vollenweider was the only Bobcat to make the Ohio Valley League leaderboard in key statistical areas. He had 11 league saves, two more than the next best closer in the circuit. Vollenwieder added another save in interleague action for a new team saves record, besting current manager Kyle Medley's 2008 record of eight.

Fulton takes 1-0 lead in playoff series

DEREK McCREE/The Crittenden Press
Marion must win its next two games to keep their 2011 season
alive in the Ohio Valley League playoffs.
The Railroaders got an early 6-0 jump on Marion Monday and cruised to an eventual 9-3 win over the Bobcats to take the first game of the opening round of the playoffs. It was the fifth consecutive loss for Marion, but this first of the postseason leaves them forced to win their next two games in order to move on to the league championship series that begins Friday.

Fulton put three runs on the board in each of the first two innings off starter Garret Hunt, who was 2-3 with a 3.42 ERA during the regular season. Hunt lasted only 1 1/3 innings against Fulton's bats. Ian Creager got the bulk of the work on the mound for Marion, throwing 5 2/3 innings and allowing only one run. Stephen Glaze threw a perfect eight, but in two innings of work, Kyle Tokunaga allowed two more runs to put Marion down by six with just three outs left.

Glaze
The top four hitters in the lineup did all of Fulton's damage, led by No. 3 hitter Rob Hogenkamp who went 2-for-5 with three RBI. Mike Moore drove in two more runs on three hits, and came home to score all four times on base. Brandon Eggenschwiler was perfect in three at-bats with a run batted in and two runs scored. Cleanup hitter Joe Mike was 2-for-5 with two RBI. The only other hit for the Railroaders was Kahtan Al-Kaissy's single in the second inning. The rest of the order was only 1-for-20.

The Bobcats showed signs of life in the sixth when Fulton starter Tyler Reilly started to show signs of tiring. A single, two doubles and a triple cut Fulton's lead in half at 6-3, but Reilly was able to close out the inning earn the win. Fulton's bullpen shut out Marion in the final three innings.

As he has been all season long, Desmond Roberts was the heart of Marion's offense, reaching on three singles and a walk. He also swiped two bases and score one run. Taylor Banks and A.J. Dokey were each 2-for-4 with a double and run batted in. Dokey added a triple in the run-producing sixth inning. Leadoff hitter Cody Schmitt got three hits and Kyle Vander Ark and Landon Weitekamp contributed a double and single, respectively.

One more loss and the season is over for the Bobcats. They will play the next game of the series at Fulton beginning at 6 p.m., Wednesday. If necessary, they will play another game at Lohaus Field at the same time Thursday.

Click here for box score.

Owensboro 4, Tradewater 2
Regular season champion Owensboro continued their hot streak Tuesday, taking the opening game of the playoffs 4-2 over the Pirates. The best-of-three series moves to Owensboro for the final two games, if necessary.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bobcats hand Owensboro league crown

DEREK McCREE/The Crittenden Press
The Bobcats lost their final regular season game
but will host Fulton Tuesday in the postseason.
It was the shortest game in league history, ending the Ohio Valley League's first regular season with former Bobcats' skipper Steve Fowler and his Owensboro Oilers on top. Monday's resumption of a tie game suspended in the middle of the 11th earlier this month ended in 2 1/2 more innings of play, with visiting Oilers on top 8-6 in 13 innings.

The win for Fowler and his team left them a game ahead of Fulton for the league title. Ironically, the crown was won on the skipper's home field the last three years with the Bobcats, Guess Field.

A season that began with a roar for the Bobcats ended in a whimper, with Marion (19-22, 20-22 overall) losing 10 of their last 14 including the final four games of the season. July saw the first-place Bobcats plummet in the standings with an 8-16 record for the month. The Bobcats fared bettter on the road than at home, going 12-10 with one of those wins coming in interleague play. At home, Marion was only 7-12.

It was still the best season the Bobcats have ever had, and their manager, Kyle Medley, and the team have a new chance at glory beginning Tuesday when they host second-place Fulton for Game 1 of the best-of-three opening round series. The game will begin at 7:05 p.m. The final two games of the series would be played on the road at Lohaus Field. During the regular season, Marion held the advantage, beating the Railroaders eight of 14 times.

In the other first-round series, Owensboro takes on last-place Tradewater, traveling to Dawson Springs for Game 1 Tuesday and heading back home for the rest of the series.

The championship series will begin Friday.

Click here for box score.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Final match with Tradewater cancelled

Because of the late afternoon rains in Marion, Sunday's game against Tradewater has been canceled. Because the game will have no impact on the standings, it will not be rescheduled.

The Bobcats (19-21) end their season series with the Pirates with a 6-7 record, and move their all-time record against their rival to 20-23.

Against Fulton in 2011, Marion was 8-6, matching the number of victories against the Railroaders that the Bobcats had managed in the team's first three years of existence. Marion is now 16-30 all-time versus Fulton.

With one game left against Owensboro, the Bobcats are 5-8 against their old skipper, Oilers manager Steve Fowler. All-time, that leaves Marion at 13-30 against the Oilers thus far.

Monday's game against Owensboro, a resumption of an earlier game suspended as a 6-6 tie, will still be played at Guess Field. The game begins at 7:05 and will pick up after the middle of the 11th inning with Marion at bat.

If the Bobcats win Monday, a one-game playoff between Fulton and Owensboro will be played Tuesday in Marion to decide the league crown. The two teams would end the season with the same record, and league rules call for a playoff game to decide the regular season champion be played at a location that requires the least travel. Marion is the closest league site between Fulton and Owensboro, therefore Guess Field will host the game beginning at 7:05 p.m.

If there is a home field advantage for either team Tuesday, it would probably go to Fowler and the Oilers. Fowler led the Bobcats from 2008-10.

Marion will host a playoff game either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on the need for the Fulton-Owensboro playoff. The game would begin at 7:05 p.m. on either night.

Bobcats will play 1st playoff game at home

Not much is certain about the Ohio Valley League playoffs just two days before they are scheduled to start, but what is assured is that Marion will be at home for its first postseason game of the season.

The Bobcats will finish in third place no matter the outcome of either of its two remaining games—today against Tradewater and Monday against Owensboro in the resumption of a suspended tie game. The means they will host the second-place team, either Fulton or Owensboro, in the first game of the postseason. That game would be Tuesday if Owensboro wins Monday, earning them the league crown. However, the postseason would likely start Wednesday if the Oilers lose Monday at Guess Field, forcing a one-game playoff between Owensboro and Fulton necessary to decide the league crown.

If Marion advances in the playoffs, they will be guaranteed of at least one more game at Guess Field in the championship series.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bobcats assured of 3rd-place finish

Roberts
The Bobcats went down in defeat 5-4 at Fulton Saturday, eliminating them from a shot at the league title and keeping the Railroaders' hopes alive for the same.

Marion (19-21, 20-21 overall) had to play catch-up after being down 4-0 after two, but they cut the lead in half in the top of the third and closed the gap to one run with another score in the fifth. However, Fulton extended their lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh before Marion answered in the next half inning to close the gap to 5-4.

Down a run with one out and no one on in the top of the ninth, a shot at a league title looked grim for the Bobcats. But A.J. Dokey and Cody Kottich reached on back-to-back singles to put the winning run on base. Fulton closer Tate Glasscock, in his second inning of work, turned it up a notch after that, though, striking out Mike Lockett and Cameron Chestnut to end the game and cementing a third-place finish for the Bobcats.

Jeremy Jansen (1-1) gave up all five of Fulton's runs, including three in the first, and took his first loss of the year, putting on 13 runners through 6 2/3 innings with 11 hits and two walks. Garret Hunt pitched near flawlessly in the final 1 1/3 inning, allowing only one bases on balls and keeping the hopes for a rally alive.

At the plate for Marion, Desmond Roberts went 2-for-5, including a two-run shot in the third. It was his third home run of the year to lead the team. Caleb Eickhoff was 3-for-4 with a double and run batted in, and Cottich, Chestnut and Landon Weitekamp each added two hits. Chestnut added Marion's only other RBI.

Together, the Bobcats tallied 12 hits on the night, but left 14 runners on base.

The victory for the Railroaders, combined with Owensboro's win over Tradewater Saturday, left Fulton (23-19) at a half-game in back of the Oilers (23-18) at the end of their season. Though Saturday was Fulton's last scheduled game of the season, their shot at a league title is still alive. They will have to wait until at least a couple of more days for their fate to be determined. On Monday, Marion and Owensboro will have to resume an unfinished game from July 10 that ended in a 6-6 tie.

If the Bobcats lose that game, which will be picked up in the bottom of the 11th at Guess Field with Bobcats at bat, Owensboro would win the title by one game over Fulton. If the Oilers lose, however, that would force a one-game playoff between them and Fulton, likely coming on Tuesday and pushing the start of the postseason back a day.

Marion (19-21) and Tradewater (17-24) will face one another at Guess Field Sunday. It is the only game on tap in the league and will have no effect on the standings for either team. Tradewater, the team that has won the last three regular season crowns and last two playoff titles, albeit in the now defunct KIT League, will finish in last place. Marion can do no better than third.

July has been a struggle for the team that was in first place most of the season. For the month, the Bobcats are 8-15. With two more wins, though, the Bobcats could still finish at .500 in league play for the first time in their four-year history. Technically, those two victories would put the team at 22-21 overall, counting their win in an interleague game in June, when they finished the month 12-6.

The postseason picture at this point is a blank canvas. Pairing of the teams based on seeding will have to wait until at least Monday. Even the date the playoffs are to begin is in question, pending the outcome of Monday's Marion-Owensboro game. Currently, they are set to begin July 26, but could be pushed back a day of Fulton and Owensboro are left to face-off for a 43rd game to decide the regular season crown.

Owensboro 6, Tradewater 5
Owensboro holds a half-game lead over Fulton for the league crown, but will have to wait for Monday to secure that with a win over Marion in resumption of an earlier game suspended as a tie. A loss would force a one-game playoff with Fulton for the regular season title.

Jankowski makes Cape Cod League all-star team

CHRISTINE HOCHKEPPEL/Cape Cod Times
Former Bobcat Travis Jankowski has been selected to
play in the 2011 Cape Cod League All-star game.
Former Bobcat and KIT League All-star Travis Jankowski on Friday will get to fulfill a dream of many a young ball player: take a swing at the Green Monster in fabled Fenway Park. Jankowski was selected as on of six Bourne Braves to play in the Cape Cod League All-star game next week. Playing the premiere summer league for college players, Jankowski is leading his team in hitting with a .346 average and is second in the league, only 12 points off the lead.

Bobcat fans may remember Jankowski as the best batter and base runner the team has known. He ended the season with a .484 average, 62 hits and 45 stolen bases, each leading the team and the entire league. Jankowski was invited to play in the Cape Cod League last summer at the end of the 2010 KIT League season. While there, he saw only limited action as the New England league's season wound down.

Starting the season in the league, Jankowski has proven his all-star credentials and helped the Braves to the second-best record in the league. Besides the second best average at this stage of the season, the 20-year-old Stony Brook (N.Y.) sophomore has more hits than anyone (47), is second in runs scored (24), third in RBI (21) and has showcased his trademark speed and base running with three more triples than anyone in the league (7) and has the fourth highest number of stolen bases (11).

Below is a reprint of a story by Dan Popko of the Cape Cod Times. The story originally appeared on the July 8, edition of the Times.

Jankowski
What a difference a year makes for Bourne’s Travis Jankowski.

The Stony Brook sophomore impressed with a near .500 average for the Marion Bobcats of the (KIT League) last summer and earned a late-season cameo with the Braves last August. In nine games between the regular season and playoffs Jankowski hit .306 for Bourne, but didn’t have a single RBI.
 
At the halfway point of the 2011 season, the speedy center fielder already has 14 RBIs hitting out of the Braves’ leadoff spot, good for third place in the Cape Cod Baseball League. Sitting one spot ahead of Jankowski is his college roommate, Brewster’s Tanner Nivins. Even though Stony Brook isn’t known for producing a lot of baseball talent, six Seawolves are in the league this summer.

You’ve had a lot of success so far. Why, and and what are the keys to continuing it?

I’ve really got to contribute it to the coaching staff here in Bourne. They changed my swing early on. I started off struggling a little bit, but since they’ve talked to me and tweaked some things I’ve been doing all right. Up here, you know you’re going to struggle against the pitching because it’s the best. You’ve just got to kind of take the mental aspect into the game and not get down on yourself. When things are going good it’s easy to play, but when you start slumping you’ve got to keep your head in it and your mind focused.

You wouldn’t call yourself a run producer, at least not like you’ve been so far. Are you surprised you’re near the top in RBIs?


It’s really cool. At school I was in the seven hole, but up here the leadoff guy. The guys at the bottom of the lineup are getting on base and getting over. If they aren’t on base I can’t drive them in so I’ve got to give them most of the credit.

What would you say your game normally involves?


It’s just speed. I’m always running around, putting the ball in play and getting on base. Usually I’m a run scorer, not the one driving in the runs.

You were with Bourne for the end of the season and the playoffs last year. How did that taste of the Cape League help with the transition coming back this season?


Mainly it kind of just killed my nerves. I wasn’t nervous coming up here at all. I knew the coaches, I got a feel for the competition. (Last summer) was almost like a tryout, that’s how I took it. I knew what to expect (this summer) so it definitely helped.

You’re one of six players from Stony Brook in the league, including (catcher Patrick Cantwell) on your Bourne team. What is that experience like?

It’s always fun to look on the opposing team and see a teammate. My college roommate (Tanner Nivins) is with Brewster. On off days we meet up and hang out. It’s a lot of fun and it really says a lot about the program, too.

Stony Brook used to be known as “that school Joe Nathan went to.” 
We’re not a big-time school and to have six guys up here on Cape Cod, it just says that we’re getting our name out there and turning into a mid-major school, and hopefully it gets better from here on out.

Any kind of trash talk going on?


Not too much. Usually if there is trash talk, it’s all fun and games. Probably.

Have there been any benefits of this being your second time on the Cape when you step away from baseball?


Yeah, definitely. I know all the hot spots, the beaches to go to, where to take the guys who are first-year players up here. I know where to get food, which is the important thing. Knowing the town is always good.

What sort of things do you like to do off the field?

I like hanging out with my friends. I like golfing and there are a couple good golf courses up here. Of course, there is always going to the beach and getting a tan, going to the gym.

How do you see this time playing at such a high level impacting you going forward?


Hopefully it gets my name out to the scouts and I can really take my game to the next level, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Bobcats issue walk-off walk in 5-4 loss

Anders
Marion fell below .500 in league play for the first time this year after 5-4 extra-inning loss at Owensboro and lost any chance to win the Ohio Valley League title in the season's 42-game regular season.

Josh Anders walked in the winning run with one out in the bottom of the 10th to put Owensboro one win away from taking the regular season title. Anders (2-4), who has seven starts on the year, pitched the last 1 2/3 innings after relievers Matt Vollenweider and Stephen Glaze failed to get an out after spelling starter Kyle Tokunaga in the eighth.

Anders was able to get the Bobcats out of the bases-loaded jam created in the eighth by the three previous pitchers and in the ninth got out of his own bases-full predicament without a run. Marion ended and exited the top of the 10th without having scored since a run in the second took their lead to 4-1, setting up the Oilers to end the contest in walk-off fashion.

In the bottom of the 10th, Anders led off with a walk issued to designated hitter Ty Broady. With Broady in scoring position after a sacrifice bunt, Gabriel Pena then singled but failed to get Broady home. An intentional walk to lead-off hitter Luis Mila then left Anders with no wiggle room for the final two outs. The next batter, Ty Stetson, drove in the winning run with a careful eye at the plate, drawing four pitchers out of the strike zone to force in the game winner.

Tokunaga had allowed only one run on four hits until the eighth, when he allowed the cycle—a single, double and triple—in that inning before being pulled. All three runs that scored in the inning, including one on a wild pitch, were charged to Tokunaga.

Owensboro pitchers buckled down after Marion's fourth run in the second, allowing only four hits across the final eight innings. The Bobcats had scored three runs to start the game with an RBI-single from A.J. Dokey and a run-scoring double from Taylor Banks, who also scored a run on a rare steal of home. In the second, Desmond Roberts' single drove in Mike Lockett after the second baseman reached on an error and landed 90 feet from home on a wild pitch and passed ball.

That's all the scoring Marion would do Friday. Roberts was 2-for-3 and Dokey 2-for-5. Caleb Eickhoff, Lockett also added singles to accompany Banks' RBI-double.

Marion travels to Fulton Saturday. The game will be the last of the season for the Railroaders, who, at a half-game behind the Oilers, have a chance to take the league title with a win at Lohaus Field and help from Tradewater, who takes on Owensboro Saturday. That scenario would force resumption of a Marion-Owensboro tie on July 10 in order for the Oilers to play their 42nd game Monday, hoping to force a tie atop the standings with Fulton. Monday's game would also be necessary if both Fulton and Owensboro win Saturday, with Fulton pulling for a Marion win in that game so that both Fulton and Owensboro would end the season at 23-19.

Marion still stands an outside shot at the title, but would require three straight wins. The Bobcats would need to win Saturday and Sunday combined with an Owensboro loss Saturday in order to force Monday's resumption of the tie game. The Bobcats would have to win that game, as well, in order to end tied with Owensboro with a 22-20 record.

Fulton 2, Tradewater 1
Fulton kept their hopes alive for a league title with a 2-1 win over the Pirates.

Click here for box score.

Friday's loss could call for Monday showdown

Marion's 5-4 loss at Owensboro Friday  just may call for a July 10 tie between the two clubs to be played on Monday. But the Oilers would have to lose tomorrow's game with Tradewater and Marion win its last two games at Fulton on Saturday and at home against the Pirates on Sunday.

At best, though, that would leave the Bobcats a full game behind with Monday's July 10 tie-breaker at Guess Field left with significant impact on the regular season standings. If Marion then won the resumption of that of that suspended game, which ended at 6-6 with the Bobcat offense up in the 11th inning, then the two clubs would be then be tied again—in the standings with identical 22-20 records.

That would leave the league with the decision of when and where to play the one game would determine the Ohio Valley League regular season crown. It could be played at Guess Field immediately after the 6-6 game was decided, or could be moved to Owensboro, in which case the game would likely be played on Tuesday, when the playoffs are scheduled to start.

There is another scenario that could create a need for the suspended game to be finished. If Owensboro wins Saturday's game at Chautauqua Park and Fulton ends Marion's hopes the same day with a win in their last scheduled game, that would put the Railroaders in first place with a half-game lead over the Oilers. Owensboro would then likely want the chance to complete its 42nd game with the resumption of the July 10 game in order to force a tie in the standings with Fulton, forcing a one-game playofff between the Railroaders and Oilers.

That would most assuredly call for the postseason to be pushed back a day, because Tuesday would be needed for the Fulton-Owensboro tie-breaker.

Of course, either of those complicated situations could be avoided with a Fulton loss and Owensboro victory on Saturday. That would end the season with the Oilers at 23-18 and the Railroaders at 22-20, 1.5 games out in second place. Then, completion of the Owensboro-Marion suspended game would have no effect on who earns the league crown.

However, another perplexing situation could then arise. Marion could force the issue with wins in its last two games, leaving a battle for runner-up with the Bobcats a half-game behind second-place Fulton. If the Railroaders lose Saturday at the hands of the Bobcats as in the scenario above, resumption of the suspended game on Monday would give the Bobcats a chance to end the season at 22-20 along with Fulton. In that case, second and third place would likely be determined by the winner of head-to-head competition between the Railroaders and Bobcats during the regular season. Marion would have the advantage in that scenario, having gone 8-6 against Fulton in 2011.

All of that confusion, however, could be completely avoided and leave Monday's suspended game moot. Owensboro would have to win Saturday and Fulton lose, then Marion lose to Tradewater on Sunday. The regular season would end as follows:
  1. Owensboro...........23-18 - OVL champion
  2. Fulton...................22-20 - 1.5 games behind
  3. Marion..................20-21 - 3 games behind
  4. Tradewater...........18-24 - 5.5 games behind
That is the only scenario that would leave resumption of the suspended Owensboro-Marion game with no impact on the standings.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Split keeps Marion 1.5 games behind Oilers

Creager
After Thursday's double header split, the Bobcats must win outright with three games on the schedule and hope for some help in order to win the 2011 league crown. It is also still possible that resumption of a July 10 game with Owensboro suspended as a tie could be needed on July 25 to decide the title. That game will not resume at Guess Field unless its outcome could affect league standings.

Marion's 5-4 win over Owensboro in the first game Thursday was thanks to a mix of old and new. Newcomer Ian Creager (1-0) took his first win, giving up four runs in 6 1/3 innings. To end the game, the club's season-long closer, Matt Vollenweider, notched his 11th league save by getting the final two outs of the game before the largest crowd at Guess Field in 2011.

The Bobcats broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the sixth on a Mike Lockett sacrifice fly that scored Landon Weitekamp who had reached on a one-out single. Lockett just joined the team this week, and went 2-for-2 with two RBI on Thursday. Cody Scmitt also drove in two runs without the benefit of a hit, pushing runs across on a fielder's choice and sacrifice fly.

The Bobcats registered only four hits in the game, but Owensboro's Brandon Flora (0-2), who allowed only one hit, took the loss having given up the game-winning RBI in the sixth.

Cameron Chestnut and Weitekamp each scored two runs for Marion, including Weitekamps eventual game-winner.

Lead-off hitter Luis Mila was perfect for the Oilers, going 3-for-3 with a run scored. Ryan Stephens batted in two.

Click here for Game 1 box score.

Kottich
The Bobcats (19-19, 20-19 overall) missed a chance to overtake the Oilers (21-18) in the standings by dropping the second game of the twin bill 8-7. Vollenweider (1-3), having just earned his record 11th save a couple of hours earlier, failed to nail down another, giving up the eventual winning run in on a Ryan Messex single in Owensboro's last time up.

The Oilers had jumped out to a 5-1 lead after their half of the fifth, adding four runs in the inning with the help of an Eric Barnes two-run home run. But Marion marched back with three runs of their own in the bottom half, closing the game to 5-4. Singles in the inning by Desmond Roberts and Cody Kottich drove in one and two runs, respectively.

Roberts would add two more RBI on a three-RBI night in Marion's next at-bat, with Jake Hirniak contributing another RBI in the inning on a sacrifice fly. The back-to-back three-run innings for Marion put them ahead 7-5 over the league-leading Oilers.

Owensboro's seventh-inning rally started of Jeremy Jansen, who put on the eventual tying run in the last frame after giving up two hits. Jansen failed to record an out before manager Kyle Medley called on his closer for the second time on the night.

Of the combined 22 hits—the Bobcats with 10—six were extra-base hits including two doubles from each team, a triple from Marion's Mike Lockett and Barnes' home run.

Lockett, Roberts and Cody Schmitt each went 2-for-4 for the Bobcats. Hirniak and Kyle Vander Ark doubled. Schmitt and Vander Ark scored two runs apiece.

Marion has just one more head-to-head match with Owensboro, and that comes Friday night on the road. After that, only two games remain for Marion, and one for the Oilers. Owensboro controls its own destiny in the hunt for the first-ever Ohio Valley League regular season crown.

Click here for Game 2 box score.

Fulton 4, Tradewater 3
The Railroaders picked up a game on front-running Owensboro with a 4-3 win over Tradewater in the first game of a twi-night double header. The victory ensured a shot at first place remains, being only a half-game behind Owensboro with the Oilers' lost in the first game of a double header at Marion. Second-place Fulton can finish no worse than third.

Fulton 13, Tradewater 9
The Pirates were eliminated from contention for the league crown by being swept with a 13-9 loss in the second game of a double header. In fact, Tradewater can finish no better than third place.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Marion win helps team control own destiny

A 6-5 win at Riverside Park halted a short two-game skid for the Bobcats and kept the Owensboro Oilers to within a 1.5 game lead with just five more games left in the season for Marion. The next three of those games are with Owensboro, in fact, giving the Bobcats a chance to control their own destiny in their hunt for a first-ever league title.

Matt Vollenweider notched his 10th league save in the 6-5 win, but not before the Pirates managed a furious comeback against the bullpen in the final two innings.

Vollenweider came on in the ninth with the bases full of Pirates and one run already in to make the score 5-2 with the winning run at the plate. He got the next two batters out, but two walks and a single later, Tradewater had closed the gap to just one run. With the bases full once again in the inning, league's top closer was able to get Eric Silakowski to ground out to end the game and the Bobcats' two-game skid.

Garret Hunt (2-3) earned the win in six innings of four-hit, shutout work. But Marion's bullpen that was automatic in June, once again withered in the July heat. Jeremy Jansen came on in relief of Hunt and threw a perfect seventh inning, but Stephen Glaze, who entered the game to start the eighth, gave up all five of Tradewater's runs. The Middle Georgia College product gave up one run in his first inning of work, and despite not recording an out in the ninth, all four runs belonged to him.

Marion's offense, which had managed only 13 hits in the last four games, put 10 hits on the board, including doubles from Caleb Eickhoff and Cody Schmitt. Eickhoff's only hit of the night drove in the first run for the Bobcats. Two innings later, lead-off hitter Schmitt's double cleared the bases, bringing in three runs for a 6-0 lead.

The lead could have been larger heading into the bottom half of the frame, but Marion's first two runners to reach were thrown out at the plate before Schmitt's eventual hit, the only one of inning, gave him his 11th, 12th and 13th RBI on the season.

Also at the plate for Marion, new infielder Mike Lockett went 2-for-5 with a run scored. The team's leading hitter with a .270 average, Kyle Vander Ark also added two hits and drove in his 10th run. A.J. Dokey had a hit and scored two of Marion's six runs.

The Oilers come calling for a double header at Guess Field beginning at 5:05 p.m. Thursday. Thanks to The Crittenden Press, all fans enter the twin bill for free. Gifts will also be given away throughout the game.

The last of the three-game set will take place Friday at Chautauqua Park in Owensboro.

After Owensboro, Marion has one more game with each second-place Fulton and last-place Tradewater.

Though only five games remain on the schedule, if necessary, a fourth game with Owensboro might be required on July 25 to settle an unfinished game on July 10 settled as a tie between the two clubs. The game would only be played out to its completion only if the outcome could drastically affect the league standings. The game would pick up with the Bobcats at bat in the bottom of the 11th inning.

Click here for box score.

Owensboro 11, Fulton 0
The wins are gushing near the end of season for Steve Fowler and his Oilers. An 11-0 drubbing of Fulton Wednesday extended Owensboro's lead to 1.5 games over the Railroaders and Bobcats.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pirates take both ends of twin bill

Tradewater took the first game of Tuesday's double header 4-3 at Dawson Springs. Marion managed only three hits and Josh Anders took the loss. The Bobcats are 6-11 in July after the loss.

In the second game, the Pirates won 3-2, dropping the Bobcats into third place for the first time this year and only a half-game out of the basement. Marion (17-18, 18-18 overall) also dropped below .500 in league play for the first time.

Click here for Game 1 box score.

Click here for Game 2 box score.

Owensboro 13, Fulton 2
The Oilers took over first place Tuesday with a 13-2 win at Fulton.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Additions fill holes in roster

Hall
Injuries and exits have made for a few roster changes for the Bobcats.

According to manager Kyle Medley, pitchers Andrew Edwards and Zach Hall and infielder Matthew Fears have left the team in the last week. Hall was 2-2 with a 1.55 ERA and 40 strikeouts to lead the team in that category. Edwards was 2-0 with a 3.42 ERA. Fears, who joined the team in mid-season, was batting .286 with two hits in seven at-bats.

Added to the team are right-handed pitchers Jeremy Janson of Olney Central College in Illnios and Ian Creager from Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. Also added is middle infielder Mike Lockett of Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Bobcats, Oilers split double header

Tokunaga
A split in a double header at Owensboro Sunday left the league standings unchanged with Marion percentage points ahead of the Oilers for second place and a half-game off first place.

In Game 1, the Bobcats managed only three hits and were blanked in seven innings, the third time the team was shut out this year. The 3-0 win for Owensboro put them briefly in second place. Marion starter Kyle Tokunaga (1-3) went the distance, giving up only four hits, but the three runs he allowed were more than enough with Owensboro's staff shutting down the Bobcat offense.

At the place, Cody Kottich doubled and Landon Weitekamp and Cody Schmitt singled for Marion.

Click here for Game 1 box score.

In the second game, Marion retook second place by percentage points with a 4-3 win. Down 3-2, the Bobcats came within three outs from being swept, but an error in the top of the last inning allowed two runs to cross for the eventual win.

Weitekamp and Taylor Banks started of the seventh with back-to-back singles and scored on a ball put in play by Desmond Roberts. Banks was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Weitekamp scored Marion's other two runs.

On the mound, newcomer Jeremy Jansen (1-0) earned a win in his first appearance, limiting the Oilers to only three runs on 10 hits. One of the runs was unearned.

Click here for Game 2 box score.

Win at Tradewater reverses Bobcats' fortunes

Vander Ark
An 8-4 win in 10 innings Saturday at Riverside Park ended a three-game skid and moved the Bobcats back to within a half-game of first place.

After trailing most of the game, the Bobcats evened the score at-3-3 in the eighth and pulled ahead 4-3 in the next inning. But closer Matt Vollenweider, who came in for the last out of the Pirate eighth, couldn't hold the lead, allowing Tradewater to battle back, sending the game into extra innings.

It appeared for a moment, though, that the Pirates had walked away with a 5-4 win off Vollenwieder. With the bases full and two out in the last frame of a 4-4 game, an infield grounder by George Kalousek seemingly moved the winning run across the plate with a single. However, the field umpire ruled the throw to first on the play was in time despite protest from the Pirates that the throw had pulled Marion's first baseman off the bag.

The call allowed the Bobcats new life, which they took advantage of with four runs in the visitor's half of the 10th. After Taylor Banks led off with a double, two quick outs seemed to have any rally the Bobcats may have been putting together. However, A.J. Dokey reached on walk followed by a game-winning RBI single by Landon Weitekamp. Cameron Chestnut followed with another single to load the bases for Kyle Vander Ark, who came through with a two-RBI single. Chestnut would later score on a wild pitch for the fourth run and final run of the inning.

Vollenweider threw the last of the 10th, allowing the first two batter to reach, but he left them stranded to earn the win and even his record to 1-1 with 10 saves.

For the Bobcats, two new names figured big in the game. Ian Creagor threw seven innings in his first start for Marion, allowing only four hits and one earned run. Mike Lockett, who came in to run for Banks after his lead-off double in the top of the 10th, scored the winning run.

At the plate, the Bobcats mounted 12 hits. Vander Ark was a perfect 2-for-2 with three RBI. Chestnut was also 2-for-2, scoring a run. Cody Schmitt, Banks and Desmond Roberts each added two hits. Weitekamp and Dokey accounted for the other two hits.

Click here for box score.

Owensboro 11, Fulton 7
The Oilers slowed the runaway Railroaders with an 11-7 win Saturday, pulling to within a half-game of the league-leaders. Owensboro ended the night in third place, though, just percentage points behind the Bobcats who also rest at a half-game out of first.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Disputed July 10 game settled as tie

Marion and Owensboro have agree to let the July 10 game suspended due to a protest, go into the books as a tie. The game will only be finished if the result would dramatically change the final league standings as of July 24, scheduled as the last day of the regular season. The contest would be played at Guess Field on July 25.

The game had initially been slated to be completed next Thursday before the regularly-scheduled game at Owensboro.

Bobcats lose 3rd straight

Schmitt
Marion lost its third straight game Friday, falling 9-0 to Tradewater and dropping to 4-9 on the month. The Bobcats (15-15, 16-15 overall) share second place with Owensboro (16-16), 1.5 games in back of a surging Fulton team in first place. Tradewater is in last place, albeit only three games off the pace and 1.5 games behind the two second-place clubs.

Tonight, the Bobcats will try to expand the divide between their second place position and the Pirates when they travel to Riverside Park in Dawson Springs.

Friday's was the third time the Bobcats have been shut out this year. Marion managed only five hits in the game, with two coming from Cody Schmitt in three at bats. Taylor Banks, Landon Weitekamp and Matthew Fears each contributed singles.

The Pirates were led by J.B. Sapienza, who went 2-for-2 with a double and two-run home run. He drove in three runs on the night and scored three times. Three other batter had a multiple-hit night.

Marion's starter, Garret Hunt (1-3) took the loss, giving up seven earned runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. Cody Schmitt, an outfielder, made his first appearance on the mound to spell Hunt. He finished the game on the hill, allowing two more runs on three hits.

Click here for box score.

Fulton 12, Owensboro 2
The Railroaders jumped all over Owensboro Friday, continuing their hot July with their 11th win in the month and extending their first-place lead to 1.5 games over second place.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bobcats drop into 2nd with 5-3 loss

Weitekamp
Since June 10, the Bobcats have had a firm grasp on first place in the Ohio Valley League. But a 5-3 loss at Fulton Thursday night moved the Railroaders past Marion in the standings, putting the Bobcats in unfamiliar territory, looking up at the league lead. In fact, Marion had held at least a share of first place since the season began on June 3. 

Only two of the five runs given up by Marion pitchers were earned. Stephen Glaze took the loss. At the plate, Landon Weitekamp and Caleb Eickhoff each drove in a run on a hit. Cameron Chestnut had the only multiple-hit night with two.

A lackluster July for the Bobcats, has allowed the rest of the league to tighten the race for the first-ever league title. Marion's 4-8 record so far this month is last among the four teams, giving Fulton at 10-5 a chance to go from worst to first, picking up ground on everyone, including 4.5 games to overtake Marion.

And after falling from first, the Bobcats enjoy second place by just percentage points. Owensboro, 7-5 in July, and Marion are both at a half-game back, but the Bobcats' winning percentage has them on top of the Oilers. Tradewater rests 4.5 games out with a 5-8 record in the second month of the season.

Click here for box score.

Owensboro 2, Tradewater 1

Oilers push across winning run in 11th

Dokey
Marion played its fourth extra-inning affair in five days, losing 3-2 Wednesday to Owensboro in the 11th.

The Bobcats put a run on the board in the third and then the seventh, tying the game after the Oilers scored two runs in the top of the inning. The bullpens kept runs off the board until the 11th when Marion's closer, Matt Vollenweider, let the winning run cross the plate to move Owensboro to 3-2. The run and ensuing loss, however, were charged to Garret Hunt (1-3, 3.12 ERA) who allowed the eventual winning run to reach on a lead-off double.

In his third inning of work for Owensboro. Austin Clay sat down the Bobcats 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 11th, securing his third win of the season.

A.J. Dokey had Marion's only RBI of the night, coming of a double in the third inning. Dokey would factor in the Bobcats' only other run as well. In the seventh, Dokey led off the inning with a walk and eventually came around to score on a wild pitch.

Owensboro's two runs scored in regulation came off Josh Anders, who started the game for Marion. Both runs were unearned, however, thanks to an error.

Click here for box score.

Fulton 7, Tradewater 0
The Railroaders notched their league-leading 17th win Wednesday, dropping Tradewater into last place, 3.5 games behind Marion. Despite the 17 wins, Fulton's 16 losses puts the team a half-game behind the 15-13 Bobcats. Owensboro is in third place, a game off the pace.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tuesday's delay officially ruled a rainout

Tuesday's game with Owensboro has been ruled a postponement to be made up at a later date.

The game was suspended in the fourth inning due to lightning and wind, but heavy rains that followed forced an end to action for the night. The game will not be picked up where it left off, with Owensboro up 5-3 and Marion at bat in the bottom of the fourth with the tying run at the plate. Instead, a new date will be scheduled to start the game from the very beginning.

To become an official game, the trailing team must have had five innings at bat.

League ruling snatches win from Bobcats

Sunday's game with Owensboro at Guess Field, which ended under protest from Oilers' manager Steve Fowler, has been ruled incomplete by the league and will be picked up where the controversy over a substitution began.

The contest will resume as a 6-6 tie in extra innings, taking away a 7-6 Marion win on a walk-off RBI single by Joey Xavier in the 11th. The game will resume with the same line-ups at the time of the suspension in the bottom half of the 11th with the first batter—nobody on and nobody out.

The contest will be played on July 21 prior to an already scheduled game in Marion. An adjustment in standings and stats have been removed, and will be reinserted upon completion of the game.

The controversy began when Fowler and his assistant coach were ejected from the game, forcing former Bobcat Drew Barrett from the field at shortstop and into the role as coach. Barrett was replaced in the field and when Xavier's would-be winning hit was grounded between short and third base, Fowler registered an official protest. Further review of the situation by league officials determined that Barrett should not have been forced to vacate his defensive position in order to coach along the baseline while the Oilers were at bat.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Weather delay leads to rainout

A lengthy delay Tuesday due to severe lightning and wind turned into another postponement due to Mother Nature. There have been numerous rainouts and rescheduled dates already this summer, but on Tuesday night, the game with Owensboro had already gotten under way when it was called due to the elements.

The Oilers left town around 9:30 p.m. with a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the fourth. The game had paused with the tying run at the plate for the Bobcats, but before play could resume, the skies opened up and heavy rains left the field unplayable for the night.

It is unclear at this time whether the game will be picked up where it left off or if it will be restarted at another time.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Win extends Bobcats' lead

Bailey
A 6-4 decision Monday over the Pirates gave the Bobcats their third win in the last four games and extended the club's lead to 2.5 games over their rival.

Marion scored all of its runs in the first inning when six of the first seven batters reached safely off   Tradewater starter Dylon DeLaune, thanks mostly to some poor defensive play behind him.  The big blow in the inning, however, came on a Tyler Bailey two-RBI double with two out. Three errors accounted for all but one of the runs in the inning.

In six innings, the Pirates offense managed only one run on two hits off Kyle Tokunaga in his third start, but reached Marion's struggling bullpen with three runs on four walks and a single off Daniel Szathmary in the ninth. After Tradewater chased Szathmary from the game, though, Stephen Glaze came on to shut the door, striking out two of the three batters he faced to end the game. Tokunaga earned the win, his first against two losses.

Despite the rough first that led to his third loss of the year, DeLuane kept the Bobcat hitters off balance for the next six innings. Bailey had the only two-hit night for Marion. Jake Hirniak, Cody Schmitt and Landon Weitekamp were the only other Bobcats to register a hit.

David Zorn had big night for Tradewater at the plate, accounting for half of their six hits in four at-bats and scoring a run.

Tradewater left 12 runners on base to the Bobcats' six.

Click here for box score.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Xavier drives in 4, hits game-winner in 11th

Because of a disputed substitution in the 11th inning, this game was played under protest and later ruled an incomplete game to be picked back up at the point of controversy. As of July 15, however, the two clubs agreed the game would result in a tie, to be completed on July 25 only if the league standings would be affected. Click here for details.

Glaze
For the third night in a row, fans got some free baseball at Guess Field. And for the second time in three games, the hometown fans left the park as winners with a walk-off hit.

On Saturday, after an extra inning victory the night before, the Bobcats were unable to rally from a run down in the 10th to prevent their fifth loss in the last six games . But on Sunday, Joey Xavier's single in the 11th ended the game with Marion (15-12, 16-12 overall) on top of Owensboro 7-6. The run was the fourth of the night driven in by Xavier on a 3-for-5 night.

Entering the eighth inning up 6-3 on the Oilers behind a strong performance by starter Andrew Edwards, Marion's bullpen couldn't close the door. Manager Kyle Medley's normally reliable tandem of set-up man Daniel Szathmary and closer Matt Vollenwieder each got touched for runs in the eighth and ninth, respectively, to allow Owensboro (13-15) to send the game to extra innings. For Vollenweider, who gave up two runs in the last frame of regulation to tie the game, it was his first blown save of the year and the first runs charged to his ERA.

Vollenweider had not allowed a single runner to reach home all season until Saturday's game winner in Fulton's half of the 10th inning.

But Marion's bullpen redeemed itself in extra innings. Stephen Glaze pitched two hitless innings to give the offense another chance to end a game in walk-off fashion.

With the heart of the order up in the bottom of the 11th, the offense did just that. Desmond Roberts led  with a single off reliever Jim Mulvaney, but Mulvaney rebounded for two quick outs before an error allowed Cody Schmitt to reach and Roberts to move to third. With the winning run just 90 feet away and the count full, Xavier drove a hard grounder between third and short to end the game.

Glaze (1-1) got the win, his first of the year. Mulvaney (3-3) took the loss.

After combining for eight errors the night before, the defense on Sunday was not much better. Seven errors were committed in the game, leading to an unearned run for each team, including the game-winner.

Early in the game, Owensboro scored first with a Brent Weinzapfel two-run homer off Edwards in the second. Marion would answer with three runs in the next half inning, led by Xavier's first RBI of night when he drove in Caleb Eickhoff who started the inning with a double. The second run was forced in on walk from Owensboro starter Brad Pressley. The final run came home on a fielder's choice on a ball put in play by A.J. Dokey.

In the third, Edwards balked home the Oilers' third run of night, tying the game at 3-3. But Marion's bats once again had an answer, adding two of their own on another run-scoring single from Xavier. The Bobcats added their final run in regulation in the sixth when Roberts drove in Dokey with a single.

On the base paths, Dokey and Jake Hirniak each had two stolen bases and Roberts added one of his own.

The Oilers' manager, Steve Fowler, was tossed from the game after arguing a substitution with the umpire. Prior to this year, Fowler was the only manager to have led the Bobcats.

The game was the only action on tap Sunday in the Ohio Valley League, giving Marion a chance to extend their first-place lead by a half-game over Tradewater, who comes to town on Monday 1.5 games in back of the Bobcats. The game starts at 7:05 p.m.

Click here for box score.

Marion falls in extra innings

Hirniak
For the second consecutive night, the Bobcats and Railroaders needed extra innings to decide the contest. On Saturday, however, Fulton was the team to walk off the field with a 5-4 win.

In a game that saw porous defense from both squads, it was perhaps fitting that an error played a part in the winning run. In the 10th, a defensive miscue to start the inning put Fulton's Mikee Moore on base, setting up a showdown between cleanup hitter Kahtan Al-Kaissy and Marion's closer, Matt Vollenweider. With two outs and Moore on second, Al-Kaissy was able to touch Vollenwieder for his first run of the year on an RBI single. The unearned run kept Vollenweider's ERA at 0.00, but put the first blemish on the record of the league's saves leader—a loss.

The Bobcats would commit another error in the inning, the team's fifth of the night, but no further damage was done—or needed. In the bottom half of the 10th, Fulton's Miles Canady was able to nail down his first save after walking two. Altogether, the two teams combined for eight errors with only four of the nine runs in the game charged to pitchers.

Just like on Friday, Marion rallied late to send the game into overtime. In the home half of the ninth, the Bobcats, down 4-3, tied the game on a two-out RBI single off the bat of Jake Hirniak. With Vollenweider, his perfect ERA and nine saves already on the mound since relieving starter Garret Hunt in the ninth, chances looked good that the Bobcats might again be able to end the game with an extra-inning score. But with the top of the order due up for Fulton in the 10th, Marion's closer was unable to overcome the error that put the leadoff hitter on.

A second Bobcat rally fell short in the final inning despite back-to-back walks issued by Canady. With one out, Taylor Banks reach base on four balls but was soon erased when trying to steal second. Cody Schmitt followed Banks on first via the bases on balls but was left on first when Joey Xavier grounded out to end the game.

Both teams put runs on the board early, each scoring a pair of runs in the first with Marion's coming on a Desmond Roberts home run. But Hunt and Fulton's Roman Kelly settled down, but poor defense behind them allowed each to be touched for another pair of runs. Kelly, who earned the win, threw nine innings, allowing only four hits while walking four. Hunt pitched eight innings, giving up six hits and walking four.

A.J. Dokey added a double and Cameron Chestnut a single to account for Marion's only other hits outside of the run-scoring hits from Roberts and Hirniak. Roberts' home run was his second of the year.

For Fulton, Friday's losing pitcher, Brock Downey, was 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored. Moore scored three runs, including the game winner. Rob Hogenkamp tallied two RBI.

Marion faces Owensboro Sunday at Guess Field beginning at 5:05 p.m.

Click here for box score.

Owensboro 7, Tradewater 1
The Oilers' 7-1 win at Riverside Park allowed the Bobcats to remain on top of the league all alone. Tradewater still rests a game in back of Marion. Only one run separates all four Ohio Valley League teams. Marion, Fulton and Tradewater all have 14 wins on the season with last place Owensboro at 13.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Extra-inning affair ends losing streak

(NOTE: Initial reports had Friday's game ending in a three-run home run, but upon further review the hit was ruled a ground rule double resulting in a 3-2 decision for the Bobcats.)

Kottich
Marion broke a four-game skid Friday in dramatic fashion. After tying the game in the eighth at 2-2 with their first scores of the night, Cody Kottich ended the game for the Bobcats in the bottom of the 10th inning with a walk-off hit. The 3-2 win over Fulton was Marion's 14th of the season, but the first in an eight-day, 10-game homestand that began Thursday.

Going into the bottom of the eighth, Fulton led 2-0 with both runs coming off starter Todd Brazell. But Brazell, who gave up only one earned run in this, his fifth start, was taken off the hook when the Bobcats rallied for a pair of runs on a Kyle Vander Ark single. But the Railroaders threatened in both the ninth and 10th innings off reliever Desmond Robert, putting runners on third in both frames. Roberts, though, was able to get out of each inning unscathed, including the 10th when manager Kyle Medley left him in to work out of his own one-out, bases loaded jam.

The win was Roberts' second against no losses. Brock Downey (1-1), who gave up Kottich's game-winning hit after registering only one out, took the loss for Fulton.

Downey, in the 10th, walked Jake Hirniak to lead off the inning then hit Vander Ark to put runners on first and second. Cameron Chestnut came in to run for Vander Ark for insurance against a double play, but a fly out by Caleb Eickhoff failed to advance the runners. It became academic, however, when Kottich stepped in and ended the game with his only hit of the night, a ground rule double that bounced over the fence. The hit was initially reported as a home run.

Coming into the night, Marion threatened to relinquish sole possession of first place for the first time since early June. Tradewater, after sweeping a three-game set at Guess Field Thursday, had moved to within one game of the league-leading Bobcats. Friday's victory preserved the game lead over Tradewater, who beat Owensboro 5-3 to remain a game back in second place.

For Marion, Brazell allowed seven hits and struck out seven in eight innings. At the plate, Vander Ark was 2-for-4 and Hirniak, Eickhoff and Cody Schmitt each added singles.

For Fulton, Alex Azeredo was 2-for-4 with a double. Pudlo also doubled for his only hit in three at-bats. Brandon Eggenschwiler had the Railroaders only RBI, with a one run in the fifth scoring on an error.

The two teams square off again Saturday at Guess Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Click here for box score.

Tradewater 5, Owensboro 3
The Pirates kept pace with Marion while the Oilers fell to 2.5 games out in last place. Fulton is also 2.5 games behind Marion in third place, just percentage points ahead of Owensboro.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tradewater leaves town with sweep

Anders
For the first time this season, the Bobcats have dropped four in a row, thanks in part to a series sweep by a surging Tradewater club. The Pirates left town Thursday with a 6-1 win to preserve the sweep and move to within one game of first-place Marion.

The Bobcats are 2-5 in July and 4-8 since returning from a four-day layoff on June 22. 

Marion (13-11, 14-11 overall) took an early lead Thursday with a run in the second, but Tradewater (13-13) tied the game in the sixth. The Pirates pulled away with a five-run explosion in the next frame, touching starter Josh Anders (2-1) for four runs. Stephen Glaze came in to finish the game for the Bobcats, but also surrendered a run in the five-run seventh.

Anders, who gave up three earned runs in 6 1/3 innings, came into the game with a minute 0.67 ERA. After the performance, his 1.35 ERA is still among the best in the league.

On the mound for Tradeater, former Bobcat hurler Logan Thomas (3-0) did in his old club Thursday, going the distance and allowing only one run. He gave up six hits, walked one and struck out nine.

Lately, it's been ex-Bobcats hurting the club's grasp on first place. Late last week, former manager Steve Fowler and shortstop Drew Barrett took a two-game series at Guess Field. And for the Pirates, Thomas is the second winning pitcher in as many nights to have worn the Bobcats tunic in the past. Caleb Luttrell was the first, doing in his old club with a 2-1 win in the second game of Wednesday's double header.

The bottom of the order for Marion saw solid production out of Landon Weitekamp and Jake Hirniak, each going 2-for-3 as the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters, respectively. Desmond Roberts and Taylor Banks also contributed hits. But Cody Schmitt, who was hitless on the night, drove in the Bobcats' only run, his seventh RBI of the season.

For Tradewater, Brock Bontrager drove in half of the team's six runs in the No. 2 slot, going 2-for-5. J.B. Sapenzia got three hits in four trips to the plate, including a double.

Click here for box score.

Fulton 4, Owensboro 2
Fulton move out of the Ohio Valley League cellar Thursday with a 4-2 win over Owensboro, though by only one one-thousandth of a percentage point. In fact, all teams except Marion ended the night in a different spot in the standings than the night before.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tradewater sweeps double header with pair of 2-1 wins

Tradewater took both ends of a double header at Marion Wednesday, walking away with a 2-1 victory in each of the pitching duels. The sweep cuts the Bobcats' lead over rival Tradewater in half. At the end o of the night, Marion (13-10, 14-10 overall) led second-place Owensboro (12-12), who split a twin bill with Fulton, by 1.5 games and Tradewater (12-13) by two.

Szathmary
In the first game, Daniel Szathmary gave up both Pirate runs in his first start, which ended in his first loss of the year. Szathmary (2-1) threw six strong innings, but Tradewater's Russ Gilliam bested him, giving up only one run on seven hits for a complete-game victory. Szathmary, who has served as closer Matt Vollenweider's set-up man for most of the season, gave up only five hits and one of his runs allowed was unearned.

A lead-off triple from Pirate slugger Derek Etsell in the sixth proved to be the difference in the game. He was promptly driven in by a sacrifice fly from the next batter to face Szathmary.

Garret Hunt, normally a stater for Marion, pitched a scoreless top of the seventh, giving the Bobcat bats a chance to tie or win the game in the final frame of regulation. Gilliam, however, remained sharp and sat down the Marion offense in order to end the game.

At the plate, Cody Kottich, Caleb Eickhoff and Kyle Vander Ark all went 2-for-3, with Vander Ark driving in Marion's only run with one in the bottom of the fourth with one of his two doubles on the night. Taylor Banks, who scored the sole run, accounted for the only other hit for the Bobcats.

Click here for Game 1 box score.

Banks
In the nightcap, all of the scoring came early with the Pirates posting a run in each of the first two innings and Marion putting its lone run on the board in the home half of the second.

Like in the first game, Marion's starter sparkled on the mound, but came up short thanks to a defensive miscue in the second that allowed Tradewater's Chris Mitko to score on a one-out double. Zach Hall dropped to 2-2 with the complete-game loss for the Bobcats, but pushed his strikeout total on the year to 40 in 29 innings pitched. At the end of the night, he had struck out more batters than any other pitcher in the league.

But Hall and the Bobcats would have gladly traded the strikes for a couple more runs of former Bobcat lefty Caleb Luttrell. Luttrell (1-2) threw five innings for the Pirates, nailing down the win by allowing only one run on two hits. The Pirate bullpen would allow only one more hit in keeping Marion scoreless over the final two innings.

Tradewater pitchers allowed only singles to Schmitt, Banks and Desmond Roberts. Marion would put three more runners on courtesy of the walk, one of which led to the team's only run of the night. A lead-off walk issued to Vander Ark would be Luttrell's worst mistake of the night. Vander Ark would come around to score on an RBI-single from Banks.

Marion will try to right the ship and prevent a series sweep Thursday at Guess Field. The 7:05 p.m. start against the Pirates will be just the third game of an eight-day, 10-game homestand.

Click here for Game 2 box score.

Fulton 4, Owensboro 2
The Railroaders doubled up Owensboro in the first game of a double header, send the hosts to a 4-2 defeat.

Owensboro 8, Fulton 4
Owensboro returned the favor in the second game to split the bill, defeating the Railroaders 8-4 to remain in second place.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Bobcats' game with Oilers postponed

Another game for Marion was postponed, with holiday rains keeping the field at Chautauqua Park in Owensboro unplayable. No make-up date has been scheduled yet. Meantime, at 10-5 win over Tradewater move Fulton out of the Ohio Valley League basement and left the Pirates in last place.

Fulton 10, Tradewater 5
The Railroaders double-up the Pirates to move up in the standings, 3.5 games behind first-place Marion. Tradewater fell to four games back.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Marion splits twin bill with Fulton

Roberts
The Bobcats (13-8, 14-8 overall) took the first game of a double header Sunday at Fulton (10-13) by a score of 8-6, but fell to the Railroaders 3-2 in the second game.

The win in the front-end of the twin bill gave Desmond Roberts (1-0) his first win and allowed Matt Vollenweider his 10th save.

The teams were tied 6-6 going into the seventh and final inning, but a lead-off home run by Cameron Chestnut in the top of the inning proved to be the game-winning hit. An A.J. Dokey single drove in Jake Hirniak for an insurance run. In the Fulton-half of the inning, Vollenwieder, who has not blown a save this year, was again perfect to nail down the win for the 13th win of the season for the Bobcats.

Each team managed 12 hits, but four extra-base hits from Marion—Chestnut's second home run of the season and doubles by Taylor Banks, Roberts and Dokey—each drove in a run. All of Fulton's hits were singles.

Both teams also gave up their share of unearned runs, with half of each team's run total coming off errors.

Bobcats starter Andrew Edwards gave up all six of Fulton's runs, but Marion touched the Railroaders' bullpen for runs. Fulton's Kahtan Al-Kaissy, the league's No. 2 hitter, was held hitless by Marion pitchers for the second time in as many nights. Roberts earned the win in relief by setting down all four Fulton batters he faced before leaving after the sixth inning.

Marion had four hitters contribute multiple hits with Roberts going 3-for-5, Chestnut 2-for 3, Joey Xavier 2-for-4 and Dokey 2-for-5. Dokey drove in two and Roberts added a stolen base, as did Hirniak.

Click here for Game 1 box score.

Vander Ark
In the second game, Kyle Tokunaga pitched the entire contest for Marion, giving up only three hits, but took his second loss of the year in the 3-2 win for the Railroaders. Fulton starter Taylor Reilly gave up six hits allowing two runs. All of Fulton's runs came in the fourth inning off Tokunaga (0-2), but it was all they would need to split the double header.

For Marion, Kyle Vander Ark had a multiple-hit night, going 2-for-3. Cody Scmitt had the only RBI for the Bobcats coming off a single in the fourth. An error in the inning prior gave Marion its only other run of the night.

Click here for Game 2 box score.

Owensboro 5, Tradewater 1
The Oilers retook sole possession of second place with a 5-1 win Sunday at Riverside Park. Owensboro (11-11) is now 2.5 games out of first place, one game ahead of Tradewater (10-12).

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bobcats use 12 strikeouts, suicide squeeze to beat Fulton 1-0

Vollenweider
A lone run in the seventh inning was enough to give Garret Hunt his first win and snap the Bobcats' two-game losing streak. Closer Matt Vollenweider also earned his ninth save in Saturday's 1-0 victory over Fulton, giving him the new team record for saves.

Hunt (1-2) struck out 12 Fulton batters and allowed only two in seven innings en route to Marion's second win at the end of a four-game homestand. As he has done so many times this season, set-up man Daniel Szathmary threw the eighth, holding the Railroaders at bay by setting down all three runners he faced. Manager Kyle Medley then handed the ball over to his closer in the ninth and, in turn, handed over his own team saves record to Vollenweider.

Vollenweider shut down Fulton (9-12) after a lead-off walk to the league's top hitter, Kahtan Al-Kaissy, who came into the game batting .375 but failed to register a hit Saturday. The save was Vollenweider's eighth in league play, but another registered in interleague action allowed him to overtake Medley. The first-place Bobcats still have 24 games to offer Vollenweider a chance to extend his mark.

For Marion, (12-7, 13-7 overall) the shutout was the second of the season.

Fulton's B.J. Sieverding (1-3) pitched his own masterful seven innings, giving up three hits and striking out eight Bobcats, but a lead-off walk that led to a single run in the bottom of the seventh on a rare suicide squeeze was his undoing. The bases full of Bobcats and one out, Landon Weitekamp laid down a perfect bunt to score Desmond Roberts. Marion lost a shot at a second run when Caleb Eickhoff was tagged out at home trying to score.

No Marion batter had more than one hit, but of the four, Weitekamp's bunt single was by far the biggest of the night. Cody Kottich added a double while Tyler Bailey and Kyle Vander Ark registered base hits.

Click here for box score.

Tradewater 5, Owensboro 4
The Pirates once again pulled even with the Oilers with 5-4 win Saturday, putting both teams at 10-11 an three games back in second place.