Cougars Maul Railroaders, Dogs, Explorers Toss Shutouts, Barnum Homers Twice
American Association Daily provides insights, features, and recaps of the action from around the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions. In today’s edition, Robert Pannier recaps a busy opening night in the American Association as the Chicago Dogs blank the Gary sounds to RailCats and the Sioux City Explorers shutout the Kansas City Monarchs, Keon Barnum homers twice in his debut for the Milwaukee Milkmen, and the Kane County Cougars maul the Cleburne Railroaders. This and much more.
Johnson, Cougars Devour Railroaders
The Kane County Cougars set a franchise record for runs in a game on opening night of their second season in the American Association, downing the Cleburne Railroaders, 20-6. Kane County found themselves trailing early when Chase Simpson hit a two-run homer in the top of the first inning to stake Cleburne to the early advantage. However, Kane County blew this game open with a nine run third inning. The club would then score runs in four of the next five frames, including four in the fifth and five in the seventh.
Every starter in the Cougars lineup had at least one hit and scored one run in the game. Sherman Johnson was impressive in his debut for Kane County, going 1-3 with three runs scored and five RBI. Johnson also homered. Ernie De La Trinidad also had an impressive debut for the Cougars as well, going 3-5 with two runs scored and three runs driven in. Catcher B.J. Lopez went 3-4 with three runs scored and two RBI. Ryan Tapani was the recipient of all that offense, earning his first victory in a Cougars uniform. Tapani struck out seven in 5.0 innings pitched.
Simpson finished with two hits and two RBI for Cleburne. Hector Sanchez had three hits. Kody Bullard suffered the loss.
McCanna Outduels Hall to Lead Explorers to Victory
The Kansas City Monarchs raised their championship banner on Friday evening, but Kevin McCanna spoiled the celebration in his return to the Sioux City Explorers, tossing 5.0 shutout innings to lead Sioux City to a 2-0 victory over the Monarchs on opening night. McCanna had not pitched in an Explorers uniform in five seasons, but was brilliant on this night, throwing 72 pitches, 44 for strikes, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out four. Four relievers helped to close out the shutout, including Thomas McIlraith, who closed out the night for his first save of the season.
Nick Franklin and Sebastian Zawada provided all the offense that McCanna needed. Kansas City starter Matt Hall had been perfect through the first three innings, but the Explorers were able to break through in the fourth when Zawada drove home Nate Samson to give his team a 1-0 lead. Franklin added his first homerun of the season in the eighth inning to close out the scoring.. Hall was impressive, allowing one run on three hits and 5.0 innings. He struck out six.
Barnum Homers Twice in Milkmen Debut
Former American Association MVP Keon Barnum made his return to the league a grand one, homering twice to help lead the Milwaukee Milkmen to an 8-4 victory over the Lake Country DockHounds on Friday. These teams were tied at three heading in the bottom of the eighth, when Milwaukee scored five runs to blow this contest open. Will Kengor gave his team the lead for good with a two run double, and Barnum followed with a three-run blast two batters later, his second homerun of the game.
Barnum finished a perfect 4-4 with three runs scored and four RBI. Myles Smith struggled in his opening start of the season, allowing three runs in 4.0 innings. Jake Matthys was spectacular in relief, tossing three shutout innings. Juan Echevarria tossed a scoreless inning of relief to earn the victory.
Aaron Takacs was impressive in his Lake Country debut, going 2-4 with a walk. Lamar Briggs hit a solo homer, becoming the first player in DockHounds history to hit a homerun. Duncan Snider took the loss.
Byrd Powers Saltdogs Past Canaries
Justin Byrd homered as part of a two-hit night to lead the Lincoln Saltdogs to a 5-1 victory over the Sioux Falls Canaries. Kyle Kinman was impressive in his debut, tossing five shutout innings to earn his first victory of the season. Kinman allowed two hits and a walk while striking out seven. The bullpen did the rest, allowing one run and three hits in four innings of work.
This game was scoreless through the first four frames, but Lincoln took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth when Byrd turned on an Angel Ventura 1-1 pitch, blasting his first homerun of the season. The Saltdogs added single runs in the sixth and the seventh to take a commanding lead.
Ventura pitched well for Sioux Falls, only tossing one bad pitch in the game. The right-hander allowed three runs on five hits in 5.0 innings. Kona Quiggle had an impressive debut for Sioux Falls, going 3-4, including hitting his first homerun of the season.
Murphy Dazzles in Dogs Victory
Kyle Murphy tossed five shutout innings to lead the Chicago Dogs to a 4-0 victory over the Gary SouthShore RailCats. Chicago scored all four of their runs in the bottom of the fifth inning as the team sent nine men to the plate. Grant Kay scored the only run Murphy needed on an error to make it 1-0. Michael Crouse drove home Harrison with an RBI double. A bases loaded walk to Ryan Lidge followed by a hit by a pitch of Anfernee Grier drove home two more runs.
Murphy did the rest, holding Gary to two hits and one walk in his five innings of work. The Dogs starter struck out six. Three relievers took over from there, tossing for shutout innings of relief. Josh Vincent suffered the loss, giving up all four runs.
RedHawks Rally to Down Goldeyes
The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks found themselves trailing 6-1 two innings into Friday night’s contest, but rallied for three in the third and four in the fourth to take the lead. The Winnipeg Goldeyes were able to tie the score, but two runs in the top of the eighth inning gave Fargo-Moorhead a lead they would not relinquish, as the team defeated Winnipeg, 10-9.
Kevin McGovern had a tough night in his return to Fargo, allowing six runs in 3.0 innings. Luke Lind earned the victory despite giving up a run. Joe Jones came on in the ninth and walked the bases loaded, giving up a run, but was eventually able to close out the contest for his first save of the season.
John Silviano picked up where he left off last season, going 2-5 with two runs scored and three RBI. Silviano hit his first homerun of the season, as did Drew Ward. Deon Stafford produced one of the three homeruns hit by Winnipeg on the night. Max Murphy and David Washington also went deep for the Goldeyes. Stafford drove in three and Washington a pair of runs. Travis Seabrooke took the loss.
Three Stars of the Night
No. 3 – Kyle Murphy (Chicago dogs) 5.0 IP, 2 H, BB, 0 ER, 6 K
No. 2 – Kyle Kinman (Lincoln Saltdogs) 5.0 IP, 2 H, BB, 0 ER, 7 K
No. 1 – Keon Barnum (Milwaukee Milkmen) 4-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB
American Association Daily Notes
Keon Barnum set the American Association record for homeruns in a season in 2019 when he was named the league MVP. In his return to the American Association, Barnum looks ready to recapture his single-season mark, homering twice on opening night… Sioux City Explorers right-hander Kevin McCanna also had a triumphant return. After five years in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, McCanna returned to tossed five shutout innings to lead the Explorers to a victory…Not every return was as triumphant. Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks left-hander Kevin McGovern struggled in his return, giving up six runs in three innings of work…The Kane County Cougars set a franchise record for runs in a game, scoring 20 against Cleburne on Friday. The previous mark was set on May 29 in their inaugural season when they defeated the Winnipeg Goldeyes, 17-8. The Cougars made the most of their baserunners, only recording 16 hits and three walks, but still managed to plate 20.
Chicago: Released RHP Francois Castillo
Cleburne: Released RHP Jacob Garcia
Milwaukee: Released RHP Tyler Smith
Sioux Falls: Released C Robbie Barham
By Robert Pannier