Arjona Dazzles as Schaumburg Draws First Blood
The Schaumburg Boomers picked up where they left off from the first round of the playoffs, dominating the Washington Wild Things to win Game 1 of the Frontier League Championship Series, 4-0. Kyle Arjona was spectacular for Schaumburg, tossing 7.2 shutout innings to earn his second playoff victory. The Boomers hit three homeruns in the contest.
Both teams found their offenses shutdown through the first four innings as Arjona and Wild Things starter Ryan Hennen were both spectacular.
Schaumburg had their chances early. In the bottom of the first, Alec Craig reached on an error and Clint Hardy followed with a single into center. However, Craig was thrown out trying to advance to third. That proved to be huge as Chase Dawson walked and Braxton Davidson followed with a ground out that moved up both runners. With two runners in scoring position and two down, Hennen struck out Angelo Gumbs on three pitches to end the threat.
Arjona was on fire early on. He allowed two singles through the first three frames, and both of those runners were thrown out trying to steal by Boomers catcher Nick Oddo.
The Boomers put together another rally in the third looking to take the lead but Hennen came up big again. With one down, Craig walked and moved to second on a sacrifice. Dawson and Davidson followed with back-to-back walks to load the bases, but Hennen struck out Gumbs on three pitches once again to end the threat.
In the fourth, the Boomers had another opportunity to take the lead. Matt Bottcher led off with a single and moved to second when Oddo singled two batters later. However, Hennen continued his Houdini act, striking out Matt McGary and then getting Craig to popout.
Hennen had been tested but had kept Schaumburg off the board. However, his luck ran out in the bottom of the fifth. Hardy led off the inning and fell behind 1-2, but drilled the fourth pitch he saw over the right field wall to give the Boomers the lead. With two down, Gumbs had the opportunity to redeem himself. After striking out on six pitches, ending two previous rallies, the second baseman drilled a shot down the right field line that eluded Bralin Jackson. Jackson dove trying to make a spectacular catch, but missed. That allowed the ball to roll into the corner. Gumbs got on his horse, racing all the way around for an inside the park homerun to give his team a 2-0 lead.
Two innings later, the Boomers extended the lead to four. Craig led off the inning with a walk, bringing a call to the bullpen. Kevin McNorton came on and got Hardy to ground into a fielder’s choice. That brought Dawson to the plate, who drilled a two-run homer to make this a 4-0 Boomers lead.
That was more than enough support for Arjona. The right-hander cruised into the eighth. He allowed a leadoff single but then retired the next two batters. After throwing his 98th pitch, his evening was over. Arjona allowed six hits and no walks while striking out eight.
Darrell Thompson came on a retired the final batter of the frame. In the ninth, Thomas Nicoll took over. He retired Washington in order, striking out all three batters to finish the shutout.
Game 2 of this series is scheduled for Wednesday. Daren Osby (0-1) will go for Washington. Schaumburg counters with Geoff Bramblett (0-0). First pitch is scheduled for 6:30.
By Robert Pannier