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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:54 pm 
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I'll be waiting for George or 'Sleepy' to throw to Villanueva against Aurora - reunion time! I always liked Hall - though he looks like he's struggled with his control this spring.It's kind of amazing that 'Sleepy's rating have held up as much as they have - but he never did figure out how to throw strikes consistently...

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:36 am 
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Borealis wrote:
I'll be waiting for George or 'Sleepy' to throw to Villanueva against Aurora - reunion time! I always liked Hall - though he looks like he's struggled with his control this spring.It's kind of amazing that 'Sleepy's rating have held up as much as they have - but he never did figure out how to throw strikes consistently...


Let's see if Aurora gets Parker on a rest day for Villanueva to catch!

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:10 pm 
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I’ll be interested to see how “Nitro” does in his first opening day start, and how Vega does with his full time role! Lots of interesting storylines to watch with the Gnats. Nice preview!

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:59 am 
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Cool to see Klein with the club for 11 years! Enjoyed reading about the Gnats of '28

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:07 am 
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Opening Week 2028 (28/5)
By: Stephanie Dole
April 10, 2028 at 05:00 AM CST


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What an exciting week of baseball to start the season for Crystal Lake! With an average game time temperature of 37 to 45 degrees, there's nothing like spring baseball in the Great Lakes! However, the Gnats were able to heat up the excitement down at Ellison Field at Dole Park to start the season. The Gnats were able to take 3 of 4 games from Duluth in 3 extra inning games that all came down to the wire with clutch performances by young and veteran players alike. That excitement was followed by the Gnats winning 2 of 3 at home verse Canton for a record of 5-2 to start the season.

Taking the mound for the home opener was Jim 'Nitro' MaCowan against Duluth's ace Bartolo Esquivel. The Gnats struck first in the 3rd inning with a 2B Jim Klein RBI single to take a 1-0 lead. Duluth struck back in the 7th when David Morrison launched a line drive home run into left field. But the Gnats came buzzing back with power of their own in the bottom of the 7th with a Stephen Hooper solo home run to tie the game, 1-1. The game would remain tied and go into extra innings. Joshua Hall and Yasutoki Ine would keep Duluth off the board through the 10th, 11th and 12th innings after 'Nitro' pitched through 9th innings. The Gnats would in the bottom of the 12th inning reach deep against Duluth reliever Felipe Soriano. 3B Ed Brown started off the 12th with a single right over the short stop, John Dickson's, head that landed in shallow left center field. SS Hikaru Arai would then draw a walk. CF Orlando Reyes then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Brown to 3rd and Arai to 2nd base. Duluth then would intentionally walk Dave Yarbrough, which would bring Jim Klein to bat with the bases loaded and one out. And with 4 pitches and 4 balls, Klein draws a walk to score Brown with a literal "walk-off".

Game two would feature a match up between the Gnats, Dean McNeil, and Duluth's rookie 33 year old pitcher, Won-taek Kim. Kim got the better of McNeil in this game giving up only one earned run, but the Gnats were able to chase him out of the game after 6 innings. Duluth took a 4-2 lead going into the bottom of the 9th inning with José Campos coming into close out the game, but the Gnats were able to dig deep again in the clutch. Hikaru Arai lead off the bottom of the 9th with a walk followed by Orlando Reyes's line drive double into the right field corner. António Vega would then strike out bringing up Jim Klein with men on 2nd and 3rd. Klein would then with 2 strikes hit a ground ball that drove right passed the short stop for a single which drove Reyes and Arai home to tie the game! Yasutoki Ine would enter the game and hold Duluth scoreless in the 10th. The Veteran Ray Kimball led off in the bottom of the 10th, taking 2 pitches for balls. On the 3rd pitch Kimball launched a 383 ft home run into right center field for the walk off home run giving the Gnats the first 2 games!

Duluth would then get revenge in game 3 with some 9th inning magic of their own breaking a 2-2 tie going into the 9th inning with 2 runs scored to hold onto a 4-2 lead. To-wai Zhou still would impress with 7 solid innings, striking out 9 and giving up 2 earned runs.

The last game of the series would be no less dramatic with Duluth scoring 5 runs in the 8th inning to take the 5-4 advantage into the bottom of the 9th inning. Juan Garcia would lead off the 9th inning as a pinch hitter for Merlin Ricks and launch a solo home run to tie the game. Ed Brown came up next with no outs and hit a line drive double. Arai then grounded out to move Brown over to 3rd base. Orlando Reyes as intentionally walked to bring up 2B Derrick Dwyer. Dwyer took the first 3 pitches for 2 balls and 1 strike. He then fouled off 3 pitches in a row before driving a deep line drive to center field, where Ed Brown was easily able to tag up for the walk off victory!

In the next home series the Gnats were able to win the the series with a strong first start in Gnat green by new coming starting pitcher Juan Cervantes. In the final game of the series, the Gnats offense and power came alive with a 13-1 victory which included home runs by Antonio Vega, Orlando Reyes, Jarrod 'Merlin' Ricks and Ray Kimball. Dean McNeil in his second start would hold Canton to 1 run in 6 innings pitched giving up only a solo home run to 23 year old star Felix Rodriguez.

This week, the Gnats will head out on a bus trip to Kalamazoo before returning home to face the Codgers for 3 games at Ellison Field.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:57 pm 
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Gnats Hit Their Stride against Kalamazoo and Palm Springs (28/6)
By: Stephanie Dole
April 16, 2028 at 11:00 PM CST


The Gnats opened week two of the season with 6 straight wins only to have the streak broken by a 5-3 loss to Palm Springs on Sunday. The Codgers were able to beat up on To-wai Zhou as he surrendered 5 hits and 5 earned runs in the defeat. Chris Long bolted a 2 run home run in the 3rd and the ever youthful and former Gnat Rob Raines chipped in with a solo home run of his own for good measure in the 6th. The Gnats would still take the series with 2 wins in the 3 game series with a pair of 4-2 victories on Friday and Saturday at Ellison Field. Gnats closer, Yasutoki Ine, earned his first save in his first opportunity on Saturday night with putting out 3 of 3 batters in the top of the 9th. The night before, Ine put out 3 of 3 earning his first win setting up the Gnats Derrick Dwyer with a walk-off 2 run home run in the bottom of the 9th.

The Gnats also earlier in the week took the sweep in a 3 game series at Kalamazoo. The Gnats brought out their power bats with Orlando Reyes, Jarrod 'Merlin' Ricks, and Antonio Vega all hitting home runs in the series. However, the MVP of the series goes to Ray Kimball who hit 3 home runs in the series. The 33 year old Kimball is hitting .275/.351/.588 with 5 walks and 7 home runs.

At the moment the Gnats lead the SL with runs allowed at 37 and earned run average at 2.60. The starters right now are 3rd in the SL with 3.30 ERA and relievers 1.54 ERA. Most improved so far is a Gnats defense, that ranked last in the SL last season, who as improved their mark to 5th in the SL to begin the season.

Hot Starts:
3B Ed Brown .383/.455/.426 and 6 walks in 55 plate appearances

Ice Cold:
2B Jim Klein .206/.308/.206

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 7:32 pm 
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You think Klein is ice cold? He’s a convection oven next to the Claymores’ starting center fielder, Jack Flynn, who just came off an 0-21 week. His slash line is 111/.149/.200.

Seriously, though, another nice blog entry. Sounds like Crystal Lake can do some damage this year!

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:16 pm 
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Thanks Vic!

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