Hounds suffer yet another 1 run loss

The 2015 Chicago Hounds are a good baseball team, make no mistake about it, record be damned. And yet, they suffered yet another 1-run loss today at Winnemac Park, this time 6-5 to the Marlins in only 6 innings (shortened because of the no inning can start after 8pm rule, employed in large part because the Marlins pitcher was the slowest pitcher we have ever faced–slowest in terms of time in between pitches, not the velocity of his throws–as Brent Schoenbach (#7, 3B) said, it is like he is trying to “decode a cipher” with every read of the catcher’s signs).
The Hounds were solid on defense and on the mound yet again. And this time the Hound batsmen scored 5 runs, which is pretty good against the Marlins, and considering the few runs the Hounds have scored this year. But, it wasn’t enough.
The Hounds stranded 3 runners at 3rd base, twice with no outs, and in the 7th inning, with only 1 out. That was the difference in the game. And, as Brent and I often do, we blame ourselves–this time it was me, up with the bases loaded in the bottom of the last inning–a hit and we win, and out and we lose, and I just didn’t get the job done. This after walking, getting a single, and having a great defensive game–but my takeaway will be letting the team down in the end. Such is this sport.
The Hounds got fantastic pitching from Jon “he turned out to be a 2-inning ringer” Rivera (#20, P). Rivera only allowed 1 run in his 2 innings pitched. We hope he moves from North Carolina back to Chicago to play with us next season. Max Kiefer (#21, RF/P) also pitched 3 scoreless innings in the 4th through 6th. Keith Richardson (#19 today, usually #17, 1B/P/LF) took the loss as the Marlins scored 5 runs in the critical 3rd inning as the Marlins batted around.
Richardson scored 2 runs for the Hounds in the leadoff position, and Schoenbach, Matthew Steffens (#5, SS) and Patrick Stacy (#16, LF/RF) also scored. TJ Rinaldi (#1, CF), Steffens, and Kiefer all had RsBI (Rinaldi had 2). Nolan Bielinski (#4, C) reached base safely 3 times (with a single and 2 walks), but was stranded on the bases all 3 times.
The Hounds have 2 games this weekend, and really need to get back in the win column. But again, despite the record, they are a solid baseball team. In a major league season of 162 games these 11 games would be but a blip. Small sample size and all that. Blah blah blah. The Hounds just need to get some wins.

Hounds lose another 1 run game

The Chicago Hounds lost 3-2 to the league-leading Aviators tonight at Winnemac Park, and now have a 3-6-1 record after 10 games. The Hounds have lost 3 games by 1 run (1 in 9 innings), lost another game by 2 runs, and also tied a game (in 10 innings). But really, the key is that the Hounds just need to score more runs. The defense has been solid, the pitching has been outstanding–in fact, the Hounds have given up the fewest runs per game by all teams in the CMBA–allowing only 4.2 runs per game (league average is 6.32). Unfortunately, the Hounds have also scored fewer runs per game than all teams but 1 (the Vikings).

Jeremy Schmitz (#3, P) deserved the win tonight. Prior to the game he was not sure he could even play, due to a hamstring pull in the last game. But instead, he pitched a complete game, striking out 7 (those strikeouts came in the final 4 frames, as Schmitz kept getting stronger as the game moved on). Schmitz only gave up 1 earned run, as the first 2 Aviators scored on 2 Hound errors in the first. The Aviators scored again in the 2nd, taking a 3-0 lead, but Schmitz completely shut the Aviators down in the next 5 innings, allowing only 2 batters above the minimum the rest of the way. Schmitz gave up 6 hits in the first 2, but then only 1 hit and 1 walk in the next 5. His performance was Burch-like (except for the W).

The Hounds got their scoring in the 2nd and the 6th, but in both innings left a runner at third base. In the 2nd Nolan Bielinski (#4, C) led off with a single. After 2 quick outs, Anthony Correa (#13, 2B) doubled, driving in Bielinski for a 3-1 Aviators lead. Harold Honeyman-Bloede (#40, LF) singled, but the potential rally ended with the next batter and Correa at third. In the 6th inning Brent Schoenbach (#7, 3B) doubled, and then Mike Mudd (#29, RF) singled to drive in Schoenbach for the second Hound run. Unfortunately Mudd got deked by the second baseman as he tried to stretch the single into a double, and was thrown out at 2nd by the right fielder. Bielinski then tripled, but was stranded at third. No more Hound scoring the rest of the way.

The Hounds play the Marlins on Thursday at Winnemac–a rare sighting by the Marlins at Foster and Damen, as the Marlins play 90+% of their games at Southwest Park. The Hounds are in need of a winning streak, and hope to start it Thursday.

Hounds defeat Browns 4-3 at Winnemac

The Hounds won 4-3 today, defeating the 2014 CMBA champion Browns at Winnemac Park. Was it the batting practice before the game? Having Matt Burch on the mound? Mike Mudd’s pre-game inspirational speech that ventured into chaos theory? Whatever it was, Hounds win!

Matt Burch (#6, P, 3-0), was simply outstanding, getting his (and the Hounds’) third win on the 2015 campaign. Burch gave up 2 in the first, and a single run in the 5th, but held the Browns scoreless in the other 5 innings. Burch saved his best stuff for last, striking out the side in the 7th inning for the win.

The Hounds were fantastic on defense. Three Hounds made plays at 2B–including Kyle Hanson (#2, 2B), who had to leave the game after throwing his arm out of his arm socket on a double play attempt. Literally. Threw his arm out of his socket, then put it back in himself. Keith Richardson (#17, 1B/2B) filled in for Hanson, making a few plays at 2B, and then returned to 1st. Then Tony Correa (#13, 2B) came in to make 2 plays at 2B as well. Matthew Steffens (#5, SS) had 5 assists and a putout at shortstop, and Brent Schoenbach (#7, 3B) had 4 plays at the hot corner. In addition, Patrick Stacy (#16, CF) filled in for TJ Rinaldi (#1, at a wedding or something), as the Hounds had a rare CF other than the staple Rinaldi who has probably missed only 10-15 games in the past 9 years. Stacy made a diving catch and also tripled in the game, and then Stacy introduced the Hounds to a ringer pitcher who may be facing the Marlins on Thursday. Quick side note on the defense, with Jack Deichl (#31, LF) in left field, the Hounds had an all-Libertyville starting outfield.

The Hounds’ top of the order did all of the scoring. In the 4th inning, down 2 runs, Tim Riggenbach (#8, DH, after hurting his arm in warmups), tripled to lead off the inning. Schoenbach then singled, driving in Riggenbach. Schoenbach stole second, and then Mike Mudd Jr. (#29, RF/LF) tripled onto the running path in deep right field, close to the driver’s ed instructor who was yelling at his driver’s ed students throughout the game. Mudd’s RBI drove in Schoenbach, and the game was tied 2-2. Richardson then singled, driving in Mudd and the Hounds led 3-2.

The Browns tied the game in the 5th, and the Hounds came to bat in the 6th with the score 3-3. Riggenbach continued his hot hitting with a double. Riggenbach has only 8 plate appearances on the 2015 season, but has a single, a double, and 2 triples, for an insane OPS of 1.750. Schoenbach then sacrificed Riggenbach to third–a key play in the game, and Mudd singled him home for the game winning RBI.

Burch then shut the Browns down in the final frame, striking out the side. Hounds win 4-3, and are now 3-5-1 on the young season.

The Hounds play the Aviators on Tuesday (Winnemac), the Marlins on Thursday (Winnemac), the Orioles Saturday (Ridgewood), and the Electrons next Sunday (Winnemac). With 4 games in 6 days, we will get a chance to see just how good the Hounds team is this year.