Tag: 2015

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.

Blackhawks win, Hounds tie

The Chicago Hounds tied the Vikings 2-2 at Taft High School after 10 innings today, the game was called due to lateness/darkness (an inning cannot start after 8 pm on a field without lights as per CMBA rule).

The Hounds had outstanding pitching and defense today. Brian Hearns (#30, P) held the Vikings to only 2 runs over 5 innings–his changeup was devastating. Then Kurt Kerrigan (#12, DH/P) held the Vikings scoreless with another 5 innings on the hill, firing fastballs and sliders. Joe Wietecha (#19, 3B) had several fantastic plays at 3B, including catching a fly ball on the top of the hill at Taft by the tennis courts, and making a stab at a ball screaming down the line at third as well (while also completing the long throw to first).

The Hounds were down 2-0 in the bottom of the 7th, needing 2 to tie. Kerrigan walked, and then Mike Mudd (#29, RF) hit a scorching liner to left, scoring Kerrigan. Mudd reached third on the triple, and then scored as the ball scooted away from the 3rd baseman on the throw from in from left field.

The Hounds and Vikings then played 3 extra frames without scoring, and the game was called due to the league rule. It was a fun game–a win would have been preferred, but coming back down 2-0 in the bottom of the last inning was a big boost.

The Hounds are now 2-5-1 on the 2015 campaign, and next play the 2014 champion Browns on Saturday at 9:30 am at Winnemac Park.

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Hope to see you there!

Hounds Slaughter Orioles 12-0 in 5 innings

The Hounds were in dire need of an easy win. So they took extra batting practice before the game and started Matt Burch (#6, P) on the hill–he had a complete game win against the Yankees on 5/17, the only Hound win so far on the season.

Mike Mudd (#29, RF) turned down family time with the grandparents because of the need for the win. The Hounds are very happy to have him back after a season away from baseball.

Burch mowed the new-to-the-CMBA Orioles down with a quick 1-2-3 first inning, and then the Hounds took the game over as the Orioles pitcher simply could not find the strike zone. Matthew Steffens (#5, SS) walked on 4 straight pitches. Nolan Bielinski (#4, C) then dropped down a perfect bunt for an infield single. Proud papa Brent Schoenbach (#7, 3B) walked to load the bases. TJ Rinaldi (#1, CF) worked a full count and then he walked too, for an RBI for the first Hound run of the game. Mudd grounded to short and reached on an error for another RBI. Brian Hearns (#30, 1B) also walked for an RBI, and then Joe Wietecha (#19, EH) took the angry, cursing pitcher’s wrath with a fastball to his back, a HBP for yet another non-hit RBI in the inning.

Up 4-0 with no outs, Mudd then inexplicably tried to steal home when the ball bounced just a few feet in front of the plate on a wild pitch. Bad read, but great result, as he slid under the tag for a 5-0 lead. His shirt may need some mending, however.

Max Kiefer (#21, LF) also walked to load the bases again, Tony Correa (#13, 2B, pronounced “Korea,” just like the country) grounded out for an RBI, and then Steffens got up again for an infield single and an RBI. The Hounds led 7-0 without a single ball being hit out of the infield!

Burch then got out of the second inning with a 6-4-3 double play, with a great turn by Correa at 2nd, and the Hounds were up again to score 4 more runs in the 2nd, with a Winnemac Hop (W.H.) single by Schoenbach, walk by Rinaldi, fielder’s choice by Mudd, walks by Hearns and Anthony Camacho (#14, DH), RBI for Camacho. Wietecha walked for another free RBI, and then Kiefer got the first legit line-drive single to the outfield for yet another RBI. Correa followed with a line-drive sacrifice fly, and the Hounds were up 11-0.

Burch did it all himself in the 3rd, with 2 strikeouts and 1-6 assist to Steffens at 2nd base. The Hounds went quietly in the bottom of the third as well (save a W.H. by Bielinski), as the Orioles turned a nice double play.

In the 4th inning Burch picked off an Oriole baserunner at 2nd base as Steffens used his “nimble feet” (Mudd quote, his other quote was “you were not lined up for the cut, sir!”) to sneak behind the runner. Steffens then made a nice play on a slow grounder, getting called (perhaps sarcastically?) a “gazelle.” Sarcastic or not, at 44 years old, I will take even mocking compliments.

The Hounds needed to either win by 15 in the 4th or 12 in the 5th, so the Hounds needed just 1 more run to give the Orioles only 1 more at bat. And Mudd predicted: “I am going to hit a home run.” And he did exactly that, with a towering shot over the left fielder’s head. He ran so hard around the bases that he probably could have made it to second base again before the ball got there.

Burch pitched a fine 5th inning and Correa ended the game with a great stab at second base, throwing to Eduardo “Soleto” Sotelo (#25, 1B) for the final out of the game.

Overall, an easy breezy win for the Hounds, and they needed it.

Sponsor bar K’s Dugout cooked the team and their fans brats, and all was good.

Hounds get reprimanded at Outback

The Chicago Hounds are now 1-4 after losing 7-1 to the Marlins at SW Park.  As catcher Nolan Bielinski aptly said, “I’d like to say ‘good game,’ but . . . (it wasn’t).”

Highlight of the game came at the Park Ridge Outback, where the Hounds were given a verbal warning by the manager at Outback for being too loud and using a profanity.  In the bar.  But, as she said, “we have children here.”  And they did.  In the bar.

Hounds lose 3-2 in extra innings

Another disappointing walk off loss for the Hounds tonight at the gorgeous turf field at Columbus Park (under the lights), this time v. the Browns, and in extra innings to boot.

 
Great game, simply superb pitching from rookies Matt Burch (#6), Tim Riggenbach (#8), and the newly engaged Jeremy Schmitz (#3).  In the middle of the game the umpire asked Manager Matthew Steffens–“where did you get all of these solid pitchers this year? great recruiting!”  Schmitz in particular made some of the Browns batters look like Little Leaguers, never good when you completely bail out on a pitch in fear that turns out to be a strike!
 
Great defense by the Hounds as well, particularly from the infielders with key plays from Keith Richardson (#17, 1B) (multiple scoops, great assist), rookie Harold Honeyman-Bloede (#40, 2B) (diving play, amazing coverage of first on a 3-4 putout), and Steffens (#5, SS) (full out diving play on a line drive and multiple assists).
 
And the Hounds — as always, just crazy how this works each and every year (remember Josh Stahl, Chris Lawton, Marc Anderson, Jim McArthur, and Lucas McKinney, among others) — again, simply have the best catcher in the league–this time with rookie Nolan Bielinksi (#4, C), who had 3 assists–picking off a runner at first, gunning a would-be base stealer at second, and throwing another runner out at second on a bunt.  In addition, Nolan proved so strong at the plate that he got a rare intentional walk late in the game.
 
Overall a bummer since it was a loss, but the Hounds showed that they have an excellent team in 2015 as they went toe-to-toe with last year’s CMBA champs.
I cannot find the book/scorecard, so I cannot do a full write-up (this is all from memory), but suffice it to say, the Hounds played a fantastic game, just came up short, and look to even their record with a sweep of a doubleheader v. the Yankees this Sunday May 17 at Winnemac Park.  Game 1 is at 9:30 am, Game 2 is at 12:15 pm, see you there!

Hounds lose exciting opening day game 7-6 in bottom of 7th

The new-look* Chicago Hounds dropped their first contest of the 2015 CMBA season on a beautiful 80 degree day at Taft High School. The Red Sox won the game in the bottom of the 7th inning with a walk off hit to center field that took advantage of the cement-like fielding conditions at Taft, as the ball bounced 30 feet to the right of our centerfielder unexpectedly, driving in the runner from 2nd. Red Sox won 7-6.

And yet, after spending the past hour doing the stats, it seems simply amazing that the Hounds were even in this game.

The Hounds walked only 1 time, were not hit by any pitches, reached safely on only 1 Sox error, and had 10 hits (including 2 doubles and 2 triples), which = 12 total baserunners. 50% of those runners scored, with only 6 L.O.B. (left on base).

But the Red Sox reached on 8 hits (including a double, a triple, and a home run), 10 walks, 4 hit-by-pitches, and a solitary Hound error which = a whopping, mind-numbing 23 baserunners.

With those numbers, how was this a 1-run game?

Simply put, great Hound defense, and 11 Red Sox men being left on base by the 6 Hound pitchers.

The Hounds picked 2 Red Sox off at first base, threw a runner out at third base from center field, and in one of the most amazing Hound plays in history, threw 2 runners out at the plate on the very same play!! The bases were loaded, the Sox batter hit what should have been a grand slam home run, but the 7-6-5-2 double cut relay from deep, deep in left field gunned down two Red Sox at the plate nearly simultaneously. The Hounds and their fans (and yes, there were quite a few today!) went wild, particularly as at the time it preserved a 5-4 Hound lead.

Unfortunately the Sox scored 1 more in both the 5th and 6th. So the Hounds needed a run to tie in the 7th to keep the game going (and they did, with 2 outs!), but then the Sox scored in the 7th on the aforementioned bad bounce.

Despite the loss and the 14 free-passes to Sox batters, overall it was a great first effort for the Hounds. I will introduce you to the veterans and new players in later write-ups (for new readers I usually try to involve details on each player, but combined with the stats and this write-up I am a couple hours in and ready to quit for now).

The next Hound game is Saturday 5/9 at Winnemac Park at 12:15 pm v. the Yankees. Bring all moms for mother’s day weekend!

* (Did you make it all the way to the end to the asterisk/footnote? I say “new-look” because of 8 rookies playing in their first Hound game today, and also because the Hounds were wearing new blue temporary jerseys with red letters, numbers, and names on the backs while their regular fill-in jerseys are on back order.)