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 Kane County Cougars

Summer Surge Propels Kane County Cougars as One of Baseball's Hottest Teams

July 20, 2015 - Midwest League (MWL1)
Kane County Cougars News Release

Kane County Cougars Celebrate in the Dugout
Kane County Cougars Celebrate in the Dugout
(Kane County Cougars)

GENEVA, Ill. - The recent summer-like weather conditions have finally gotten around to matching the torrid pace shown by the Kane County Cougars over the past month. The Cougars, Class-A Minor League affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, have put together a hot streak that has rivaled any 30-day stretch in the organization's 25-year history.

Led by first-year manager and former Major Leaguer Mark Grudzielanek, the Cougars enter Monday evening's game against Wisconsin with a second half record of 21-3 (.875 winning percentage). The team's overall record of 57-35 is second-best in the 16-team Midwest League, trailing Quad Cities by two games. Kane County has won 26 of its last 29 games and if the Cougars can finish as one of the top two clubs in the league's Western Division for the second half, the team will enter the playoffs in September with an opportunity to defend the Midwest League championship. Through games played on Sunday, the Cougars currently hold a six-game lead over Peoria for the division's second half title.

Last season, Kane County was named Minor League Baseball's "Team of the Year" after winning a franchise record 91 games and 98 overall games that included a perfect seven-win postseason. The historic season culminated in the Midwest League title, the first championship for the Cougars since the 2001 team which featured present-day big league stars such as Miguel Cabrera and Adrian Gonzalez. That team presently holds the franchise record for most wins in a single half to a season, which was 47 wins in the first half of the '01 campaign.

With an ever-changing roster as is typical in Minor League Baseball, a total of 48 players have spent at least one game on the Cougars' 25-man active squad this season. Six players - Colin Bray, Ethan Elias, Cody Geyer, Marty Herum, Cody Regis and Markus Solbach - were named Midwest League All-Stars in June. With nine wins apiece, Elias and Solbach have been cornerstones in the starting rotation for pitching coach Doug Bochtler. If each pitcher can pick up one more win, they will become the first pair of Cougars pitchers to win 10 or more games in the same season since 2007. Elias, Solbach and fellow starter Brad Keller all rank among the top six league pitchers in ERA.

In the bullpen, closer Zac Curtis recently put his name in the Cougars' record book. Curtis, now with 21 saves this season, is tied with Hector Almonte ('98 Cougar) for fourth place on the single-season all-time list. Bryan Moore ('00 Cougar) holds the franchise record with 27 saves. Overall this season, Cougars pitchers hold a team ERA of 2.89 (third-best in the league), narrowly trailing the franchise record set by the '14 team (2.85 team ERA).

Offensively under the leadership of hitting coach Vince Harrison, infielder Cody Regis is fourth in the league with a .321 batting average while infielder Marty Herum is in the top 10 with a .310 mark. Herum's 55 RBI are second-best in the league. Other mainstays in the lineup with a .300 or better average include Ildemaro Vargas, Chuck Taylor, Victor Reyes and Henry Castillo. Starting center fielder Colin Bray was named Midwest League Player of the Week for the week of July 6-12 and leads the team with 15 stolen bases.

The Cougars continue a six-game homestand this evening at 6:30 PM against Wisconsin. Upcoming promotions this week include One Cent Wiener Wednesday with hot dogs for a penny. Thursday's 6:30 PM game is Professional Wrestling Night with guest appearances by wrestling legends The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase and Sgt. Slaughter. Fans can call (630) 232-8811 for tickets or order online at

Images from this story

Mark Grudzielanek of the Kane County Cougars
Mark Grudzielanek of the Kane County Cougars

Kane County Cougars Meet on the Mound
Kane County Cougars Meet on the Mound

Kane County Cougars Celebrate in the Dugout
Kane County Cougars Celebrate in the Dugout

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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