Year: 2016

2016 season ends, we look forward to 2017

The Chicago Hounds lost to the Marlins 6-3 yesterday, and were swept in the best-of-three series. This means that the 2016 season is over, which is always a bummer, but it was a great year. We wish Keith Richardson the best as he is moving to Cleveland soon, but we hope he will make it back for a few games next year just like Vasont Miller did this year.
The Hounds look forward to the 2017 season and thank you for all of your support throughout this year’s campaign!

Hounds lose game 1 v. Marlins 4-3

The Chicago Hounds lost game 1 of the 3 game wild-card playoff series v. the Marlins at Southwest Park in Park Ridge today, by a score of 4-3. The Hounds were leading 3-2 going into the bottom of the final frame, but a base on balls and 3 infield errors led to a disappointing walk-off error win for the Marlins.
Tim Riggenbach (#8, P), the Hounds 2016 Cy Young candidate, was masterful on the mound, and he (and the Hounds) should have gotten the win. Until the last inning Riggenbach had only allowed 2 runs, and those were the only 2 earned Marlin runs of the game. Riggenbach struck out 5 fish and only walked 2 batters, giving up 5 hits.
The Hounds had 10 hits on the day, but only managed 3 runs, as they stranded runners in nearly every inning, striking out 6 times with runners on base. Keith Richardson (#17, 1B) had three hits on the day, including a double, and scored a run. TJ Rinaldi (#1, CF) was hit by a pitch on his elbow guard, and also scored. Kurt Kerrigan (#12, EH) singled and scored. Mike Marra (#15, LF) drove in 2 runs in the 6th with a single. Matthew Steffens (#5, SS) had three singles on the day, and drove in a run. Riggenbach also singled, and was robbed on a ball hit deep to right that dropped in fair territory, but was inexplicably called foul (despite the well-chalked SW Park field). Brent Schoenbach (#7, 3B) reached by a walk and Tony Correa (#13, 2B) singled.
The Hounds look to even the CMBA opening round series tomorrow morning at 10 am at Winnemac Park. As this is a best-of-three affair, the Hounds must win tomorrow to force game 3 on Tuesday at 5:30 pm at SW Park.

Cy Young / MVP

The votes are not unanimous, but they are pretty dang close, and with the votes we have, no one else could overcome as there are not enough votes left, so I move that we suspend the nominating rules, count the votes as counted, and I further move that the following are our CMBA nominees:
Cy Young–Tim Riggenbach MVP–Nolan Bielinski (for the second year in a row!)
Again, it was pretty close to unanimous on both counts.
Congrats to both!

Hounds clinch playoff spot with perfect game

The Chicago Hounds clinched a 2016 CMBA playoff spot in fine fashion today, behind a perfect game. No walks, no hits, no runs, no errors, no hit by pitches allowed. Nada. Nunca. Nein.
Cy Young candidate Tim Riggenbach (#8, P) was 100% perfect on the mound at Winnemac today, likely inspired by his trip down memory lane with Anne and Tony at the Cork & Kerry in Beverly last night after the Hounds lost 8-3 to the Browns at the Kroc Center (yes, that is the extent of the writeup for last night, except we are sorry that Tony’s dad finally saw a loss). Riggenbach was simply masterful with his pitches, and his calling of the pitches frankly, as he gently guided Tony Correa (#13, C) to the offering he preferred on many occasions, often cycling through all 4 possible choices. His perfect game is temporarily memorialized on the CMBA webpage–please see here:
A new ump helped the cause, as he literally had the largest strike zone we have seen this year (maybe ever?), and Riggenbach took advantage, as he struck out 10 Pirates on the day. The opposing pitcher was quite good too, striking out 11 Hounds and giving up only 3 hits. But he was bested by Mr. Riggenbach, who knew from the first pitch that today was something special. Riggenbach started and ended the game the same way–striking out the first 2 men he faced, and striking out the side in the 7th and final inning.
The Hounds only needed 1 run to win, and that is all they got, crossing the plate for their only time in the 5th inning with 2 outs. Max Kiefer (#21, LF/EH) drew one of the 2 walks on the day, then moved to second after Matthew Steffens (#5, SS) reached on an error. Both runners advanced on a passed ball, and then Keith Richardson (#17, 3B), who really, really wanted to win the game, and really, really wants to win the championship this year, singled, driving in Kiefer for the winning run. RIchardson also had a double on the day, and Garrett Eddy (#22, RF) had the only other Hound hit. #perfectforrichardson
The Hounds are now 17-10 on the year and clinched the playoff spot thanks to the win combined with a loss by the Red Sox today (the Hounds have 34 points and the max the Red Sox can get is 33). The Hounds lost on Friday to the Browns, beat the Pirates today, and were granted a forfeit victory against the Yankees for the game scheduled on 7/17, due to the Yankees forfeiting two games on the year (the Yankees are done for the season, possibly forever, and all remaining games are forfeits to their opponents). This means the Hounds have only 3 games remaining before the playoffs begin on Saturday July 30, still giving them a shot at a 20-win season.
Final 3 games:
Sunday 7/10 – Marlins – SW Park – 10 am Tuesday 7/19 – Browns – Winnemac – 5:50 pm Saturday 7/23 – Pirates – Winnemac – 12:15 pm

Hounds beat Orioles 8-5

The Chicago Hounds defeated the Orioles 8-5 at Winnemac Park on a hot and steamy night on Tuesday. This report has been delayed by my suffering from a stomach virus the past few days.
Kurt Kerrigan (#12, P) hurled 6.1 innings, striking out 7, to lead the Hounds to victory, and Tim Riggenbach (#8, DH/P) closed out the game on 1.5 days rest to pick up the save. Luckily Anne had brought his gear and jersey, otherwise he was going to have to use the materials the team had cobbled together, including a mitt for the wrong hand.
Both teams hit the ball hard, there were a lot of extra base hits, line drive singles, and line drive outs. And some balls were just crushed, despite little to no wind.
The Hounds took an early lead in the first inning with Nolan Bielinski (#4, C) singling, stealing second, and Brent Schoenbach (#7, 3B) singled him in for the first run of the game. Keith Kerrigan (#10, CF) then had his first hit as a Chicago Hound, doubling in Schoenbach for the Hounds 2-0 lead. The Orioles batted around in the 3rd inning, scoring 4 to take a 4-2 lead, but also left the bases loaded. The Hounds countered with 2 of their own in the bottom of the 3rd, tying the game at 4-4. Bielinski doubled, Keith Richardson (#17, RF/1B) also doubled (according to the book, I actually remember it as a triple), scoring Bielinski, and then TJ Rinaldi (#1, LF) launched a ball into outerspace, but didn’t have enough gas in the tank to round the bases, getting thrown out at home (but the triple scored Richardson).
The Orioles scored another run in the 4th and again left the bases loaded, and the Hounds came to bat in the bottom of the frame down 5-4, knowing that they have won every game that they have scored more than 5 runs in, and knowing that in every single loss they have scored 5 or fewer. So the Hounds wasted no time with Tony Correa (#13, 2B) and Matthew Steffens (#5, SS) singling to start the inning. Stephen Correa Jr. (#20, 1B/EH) then bunted them over to second and third, setting up Garrett Eddy’s (#22, RF) two-run single, giving the Hounds a 6-5 lead. The Hounds tacked on some insurance runs in the 6th as Richardson singled, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Keith Kerrigan. The second Keith then scored on a double down the line by Correa (Tony).
The Orioles threatened again in the 7th inning, but once again the Hounds stranded the bases loaded as Riggenbach ended the game on a strikeout.
The Hounds next play tomorrow at the Kroc Center (White Sox field, apparently a somewhat replica of the MLB field) way down on 117th street. Game is at 7:15 pm under the lights. Anyone who lives south, we would love to see you there!

Hounds lose 8-0

The Chicago Hounds lost 8-0 to the Aviators today on an absolutely gorgeous day at Winnemac Park. The Hounds are now 14-9 and look to start a winning streak against the Orioles on Tuesday at Winnemac.
The Hounds only had 4 hits today: singles from Mike Marra (#15, EH), Matthew Steffens (#5, SS, P), Brent Schoenbach (#5, 3B), and Stephen Correa Jr. (#20, 1B) were it for hitting. Max Kiefer (#21, LF) and Tim Riggenbach (#8, P) also walked.
That is it for offense, 6 guys on base. Can’t win with that. Tim Riggenbach was solid to start despite giving up 6 runs, Matt Burch (#6, P) pitched a quality inning on 0 days rest, and Steffens made his first appearance of the year on the hill, giving up no runs over 2 innings.
The Hounds had some nice defensive plays–Riggenbach picked off a runner by himself (running him down and tagging him between third and home), Nolan Bielinski (#4, C) threw out a would-be basestealer at third in the first, and Garrett Eddy (#22, RF) threw out 2 runners from right field. Brent Schoenbach (#7, 3B), Kurt Kerrigan (#12, 2B), and Correa Jr. also combined for a 5-4-3 inning ending double play in the 3rd.
The Hounds then worked the field at Winnemac (batter’s box and mound) for 2 hours after the game) and then finished the afternoon at K’s Dugout. I truly love these guys.

Hounds look to rebound tomorrow v. Aviators

The Chicago Hounds lost a close one today, dropping the game 5-4 to the Aviators on a beautiful day at Winnemac Park. The Hounds gave up 5 runs in the first 3 innings, all 5 were via the walk (4 were walked in with the bases loaded in the 2nd, the fifth run walked to start the next inning). Mike Marra (#15, P) relieved Matt Burch (#6, P/1B) in the tough second inning, and Marra pitched a fine 4.1 innings the rest of the way.
The Hounds came crawling back after being down 5-0, scoring 2 in the 5th and 2 in the 6th, but just did not score enough to win. The Hounds have lost 8 games this year, and in each and every loss they scored 5 or fewer runs. So the Hounds look to get at least 6 tomorrow to beat the Aviators for the first time this season.
The Hounds threatened in the first when Nolan Bielinski (#4, C) walked and stole second, but 3 Hounds failed to hit him in. The Hounds threatened again in the 3rd. Matthew Steffens (#5, SS) walked and Bielinski singled. Tim Riggenbach (#8, RF) reached on a fielder’s choice, and then Brent Schoenbach (#7, 3B) loaded the bases with a walk. But the Hounds failed to score again. The Hounds finally touched home plate in the 5th, scoring 2 runs after the first 2 batters were retired to start the frame. With 2 outs Steffens singled, Bielinski singled, and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Riggenbach then doubled, driving in 2 runs.
The Hounds scored 2 more in the 6th–TJ Rinaldi (#1, CF) doubled, and Kurt Kerrigan (#12, 2B) placed a flypop in no man’s land between first, second, and right field. Max Kiefer (#21, LF) then singled, driving in 2 runs.
But that was all the Hounds could muster, and they went 1-2-3 in the 7th inning to lose 5-4.
The Hounds defense was solid today, Stephen Correa Jr. (#20, 1B) threw a guy out at the plate from his knees, the Hounds turned a lineout double play from Schoenbach to Correa Jr. in the first, and the Hounds recorded no errors. But too many walks for the Aviators, and just not enough scoring for the Hounds.
We play the Aviators again tomorrow at Winnemac at 9:30 am. The fans deserve a win and the team deserves a celebration at K’s Dugout after a victory.
Also, Tony Correa (#13, EH) looked into the possibility of the team camping out at Winnemac after the Friday night game and before the Saturday morning game, but the Winnemac supervisor said “absolutely not.”

Hounds win, now 14-7

The Chicago Hounds and Chicago Cubs both won 7-2 tonight, but while it took the MLB club 15 innings to secure the victory, the Hounds managed it in only 7, beating the Vikings decisively at Taft High School. The prior 2 contests v. the Vikings were close, both won in the bottom of the final inning, but today the Hounds dominated throughout. The Hounds are now 14-7, matching their win total from 2015 with 9 more games to go in the regular season.
Brian Hearns (#30, P/1B) ate up 6.2 valuable innings tonight, and should have had a shutout victory were it not for an ill-timed error by yours truly in the final frame. The Hearns is on vacation for the next few games, so he gave it all it had and the Hounds needed every bit of it.
The Hounds were a bit shorthanded tonight, as several regulars are hurt, 2-3 players are on the permanent disabled list, and some Hounds were simply unable to make this rainout reschedule, including TJ Rinaldi, who missed his first game of the year, and Nolan Bielinski, who missed only his 3rd. So we were pleased to have Keith Kerrigan (#10, CF) out for his second game as a Hound, and he played a fine outfield (including a great catch in the final inning) and walked twice.
Despite all of the missing players, the remaining Hounds–including a hurt Stephen Correa Jr., who showed up to be the 9th/10th, just in case we needed guys, and kept a great scorebook–were able to score enough to keep the Vikings at bay. Mike Marra (#15, RF) and Kurt Kerrigan (#12, 2B/P) both had triples in the game, Keith Richardson (#17, 1B/2B) was hit by a pitch, stole a base, scored, and was picked off by at least 5 feet (but ump Chris Loy missed the play). Marra was picked off first base as well (but his was actually a recorded out). So, the Hounds will have a baserunning clinic before the playoffs, probably taught by Professor Daddy Burch, as he leads by example. (Yes, that is at least a double pun.)
The Hounds defense was pretty solid despite the field conditions–as Brent Schoenbach (#7, 3B) called it prior to the game, the infield at Taft was playing like a parking lot with dust on it. The mound was awful, making Hearns’ 6.2 innings all the more remarkable. Tony Correa (#13, C) caught a fine game in Nolan’s absence, and Tony’s father (also named Tony Correa, but *not* a Sr., and our Tony is *not* a Jr.) is now 4-0 in attendance this year–clearly Tony’s dad needs to get to more games!
Max Kiefer (#21, LF) hit the ball hard today, Matthew Steffens (#5, SS) squeaked out an infield hit and stole third base when the pitcher inexplicably pitched from the lineup, but we had no pickles, no water from TJ, and the DJs were terrible as most innings were completely without music, and we had no Taylor Swift. All in all, a solid win, but we can clearly do better with the intangibles.
The Hounds have two games v. the 12-2-1 Aviators this weekend–both games are at 930 am, both games are at Winnemac. Hope to see you there!

Hounds lose in extra innings

The Chicago Hounds lost to the Electrons at Winnemac today a full MLB 9 innings. The Hounds played a great game and were tied through the complete CMBA 7 innings and then had 2 extra to play as the score was still tied at 3-3 after 7. Unfortunately the Electrons scored in the top of the 9th and the Hounds were unable to counter. Final was 7-3, but it was really much more like a 1-run loss.
Tim Riggenbach (#8, P) had a bevy of fans at the game celebrating his recent birthday, and they watched him throw a gem for 8 innings, only giving up 3 runs, 2 earned. He dominated the Electrons for the second time this season, and we hope to get a chance to face them again in the playoffs with Riggenbach on the mound again.
The Hounds scored 3 runs themselves, and 2 were on Electron errors. Keith Richardson (#17, RF) reached on an error in the first frame, was moved to 3rd by a single by Brent Schoenbach (#7, 3B), and then Mike Marra drove Richardson home with a sac fly. TJ Rinaldi (#1, CF) scored in the bottom of the 4th after reaching by error, then moving to second on a wild pitch. Matt Burch (#6, DH) singled and stole second, and then Brian Hearns (#30, 1B) drove in Rinaldi with a single. The only earned Hound run came in the 6th. Kurt Kerrigan (#12, 2B/P) reached on a fielder’s choice and Big Daddy Burch drove him home on a crushed double. The Hounds threatened in the bottom of the 8th, with the bases loaded with only 1 out, but the Electron pitcher struck out consecutive batters to prevent the Hound win.
The top of the 9th was won by Winnemac, as it ate up shortstop Matthew Steffens (#5, SS) who bobbled a possible double play, and then the very next batter hit another possible double play ball, and this one hit the Winnemac lip and bounced several feet over second baseman Tony Correa (#13, 2B) for a Winnemac hop “hit.” Winnemac had taken its toll on others this day, but Schoenbach made one of the most spectacular plays we have ever seen at third, as a ball bounced straight up at the last second at his head and he whirled his glove hand like Daniel-san in Karate Kid to make the play. Schoenbach and Kerrigan also turned a nifty 5-4-3 double play with Hearns to end the top of the 6th.
In any event, the Hounds had a few chances to win today, and it was an especially hard loss. But Annie’s sandwiches, beer, and Doritos made it a little less difficult for several Hounds who participated in a picnic after the game.
The Hounds are now 13-7, which is a great record after 20 games. With 10 to go the Hounds still have 20 wins in sight. To put it in perspective, last year the Hounds had 14 wins on the entire season, but still made the 2015 playoffs.
The Hounds next play on Tuesday 6/28 at Taft High School in a rainout makeup game v. the Vikings. The rest of the Hounds will need to hustle to tay and top Tim’s fan base.

Vasont returns, where is Dan Braz?

The Chicago Hounds welcomed back veteran Vasont Miller (#2, CF) today after a season’s absence from moving to South Carolina. Vasont is in for the Phish concerts at Wrigley, so we wondered, where is Dan Braz, is he here for Phish too?
The Hounds bounced back from last night’s loss with a 15-3 drubbing of the Rangers at Winnemac via the slaughter rule (game ended after 6 innings). As you may recall Miller patrolled the Hounds outfield from 2009 through 2014, and he didn’t skip a beat today, subbing for TJ Rinaldi (#1, CF) in center, and Miller had a single, a walk, and a run scored. A fine return. The game was never in question as the Hounds dominated from the start, and we swept the season series from the Rangers 3-0. (But to be fair, the Rangers had a much better squad today than the last time, so it was an even more satisfying crushing).
Vasont will be there for tomorrow’s game as well, might we see Kevin Robinson too? Again, Dan Braz? Mike Kavelski? Brian Zumwinkel? Bueller?
Lots of offense for the Hounds today, but one of the big stories was Mike Marra (#15, P) eating up some valuable innings on the hill. Matt Burch (#6, P) started, but his arm was feeling dead and he pulled himself in the 3rd. Marra was expected to only pitch 1 or 2 innings, but he made it for 3.2 innings, completing the game into the final 6th inning of the slaughter shortened game. With a lot of baseball in few days, this is huge for the pitching staff, as both Tim Riggenbach (#8, LF) and Kurt Kerrigan (#12, DH) will be fresh for tomorrow’s contest against the Electrons.
We play the 12-3-1 Trons in our 3rd and final contest at 12:15 pm at Winnemac tomorrow to decide the season series, be there or be square, we will have pickles, music, and of course, Hounds baseball.