Crystal Lake “Flies” Low in April

By
Updated: November 19, 2017

CRYSTAL LAKE HERALD

SPORTS – GNATS NOW
Crystal Lake “Flies” Low in April
Updated: April 30, 2026 – 11:55PM CDT

By Howard Heskin, Staff Writer – Twitter @HowardHeskin1

Crystal Lake continues its April habit of slow starts the past couple of seasons with an April 2026 to forget. With a record of 10-13, The Gnats are second to last in the Great Lakes – 4 games back of Fargo. April started with losing 3 of 4 on the front range and another losing series against, new to the GL and SL, Canton. The Gnats returned, after the first 2 series on the road, to win the home opener and series against Yuma. “Air Gnat” would head back out for 3 more road series against Kalamazoo, Toyoma and Duluth. The Gnats won 2 of 3 at Kalamazoo before dropping another 3 of 4 series for the month at Toyoma. The saving grace of April was a sweep of rivals Duluth, but then laying an egg at home against Bakersfield.

Who was hot and who was not in April 2026?

HOT: 1B Rubén Memde showed that he still has a role on the team with the addition of future Hall of Famer Rob Raines. Memde starts at first base against Right Handed pitching with Raines taking DH on those days. The move has paid off for Memde. He posted .349/.438/.524/.962 for April with 8 doubles, 8 RBIs in 63 at bats.

NOT: With a team built around On-base percentage and power hitting, April’s woahs can be evident no more than in SS Orlando Barrón‘s numbers for April. The lead-off man posted a pedestrian .208 batting average and OBP of .280. Barrón is a career .341 OBP hitter so we can only expect him to warm up into the summer.

HOT: Jim ‘Nitro’ MacCowan made a statement this April that he was worth the 8-year multi-million dollar deal he signed in the 2024 off-season. He went 3-0 with an ERA of 2.31 in 5 starts with a WHIP of 1.03.

NOT: Someone might need to tell Miguel Cantú that the season started or at 34 years old is this the end of the line? Miguel went 0-4 in 5 starts with all 5 resulting in losses. His 1.46 WHIP was also nothing to write home about as well as the .306 OBA.

Impressive to start the season is the contribution of 40 year old Rob Raines. Raines in 87 at bats is hitting at .276/.373/.460/.832 with 3 home runs and 10 RBIs and a team leading 7 doubles. “I’m just happy to be here.” stated Raines. “I hope that we can get the engine started the rest of the season. I believe in this crew. They’ve proved resilient and I think we have more potential to show out there.”

Notable injury this month was an elbow strain sustained by RF Jarrod ‘Merlin’ Ricks which will cost him 6 weeks likely into June given he will need some rehab starts in AAA before returning to PEBA. “I’ll get back out striking the magic wand soon enough! Don’t worry about that proclaimed Merlin”, when I caught up with him at the Sandgnats training center last week.

May 2026 will see the Sandgnats away for 4 series verses 5 home. If the Gnats can weather the away series storm to start this series hopefully a summer at home will bode well for down the stretch.