Kane County Cougars at Cedar Rapids Kernels

April 12th, 2002

Anthony Brewer CF 4 0 1 0
Heath Kelly SS 4 1 1 0
Scott Hicks 1B 4 0 2 0
Jason Stokes DH 3 0 0 1
Charlie Frazier RF 4 0 1 0
Hunter Wyant LF 4 0 0 0
Michael Tucker 3B 3 0 0 0
Winton Zapey C 3 0 2 0
William Arroyo 2B 2 0 0 0
Ransel Melgarejo CF 4 0 1 1
Jeff Mathis C 4 1 1 1
Casey Kotchman 1B 4 0 0 0
Dallas McPherson 3B 4 0 1 0
Mike Napoli DH 4 1 1 0
Greg Porter RF 3 0 1 1
Tommy Murphy SS 3 1 1 0
Ed Welch LF 3 1 2 1
Justin Turner 2B 3 0 0 0

Kane County 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 7 0
Cedar Rapids 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 X 4 8 0

LOB KC-5, CR-6, 2B-Melgarejo, McPherson, Napoli, Murphy, HR-Mathis (Akens), SB-Zapey, Welch, HBP-Porter, SACF-Stokes

Name IP H R ER BB SO Decison
Phil Akens 6 5 3 3 1 6 L (0-1)
Tyler Banks 2 3 1 1 0 2 ND

Name IP H R ER BB SO Decison
Ervin Santana 5.2 3 0 0 1 11 W (2-0)
Jonathan Rouwenhorst 2.1 2 0 0 0 3 ND
Adam Thomas 1 2 1 1 0 1 ND

HB-Banks, WP-Banks, SO-Brewers 3, Kelly 3, Stokes 3, Frazier 3, Tucker, Arroyo 2, Mathis, Kotchman, McPherson, Napoli, Murphy, Turner 3, BB-Arroyo, Murphy
T-2:21, A-3,027
U-Kaylor, Stewart

Voice Of A Season Ticket Holder
by David Malamut

The Cougars ran into a hot pitcher today in Kernels starter Ervin Santana. Santana struck out 11 in five and two third innings of work. He gave up three hits, and walked one. At one point from the second till the sixth he retired 13 in a row, striking out eight. He gave up a first inning single to Scott Hicks, then promptly caught him off of first base for the final out of the inning. He ran out of gas in the sixth inning.

In the sixth inning the Cougars loaded the bases with one out and came away empty handed. With one out, Winton Zapey singled to right, the Kernels did not hold him on first so he stole second. William Arroyo then walked. Athony Brewer made it bases loaded when he singled to left. Heath Kelly then struck out. That was the last hitter that Santana would see. The Kernels then brought in John Rouwenhorst to face Hicks. Scott broke his bat, in the process he grounded to first base to end the inning.

The Cougars had Phil Akens make his second start of the season. He went six inning, giving up five hits and three runs. Phil walked one and struck out six. After the third inning, that is the inning that he would give up his last run. After that inning, he settled down and retired the next eight hitters till he was removed from the game after the sixth inning.

In the second inning, after the Kernels scored their run, with a man on third. Tommy Murphy walked. Ed Welch then bunted down the third base line. The ball was for some reason picked up just before it was going to go foul. This loaded the bases. Phil Akens then beared down and struck out Justin Turner. Ransel Melgarejo then poped up to second. Jeff Mathis who had homerd the inning before, then struck out to end the inning.

The scoring started in the first inning for the Kernels when, Jeff Mathis extended his seven game hitting streak with a home run to right field. After the homer Akens struck out the next two hitters to end the inning.

The Kernels added another run in the second when Mike Napoli lead things off with a double to right. Greg Porter followed with a single to left. On the play left fielder Hunter Wyant overan the ball, which allowed Napoli to score.

Adding one more run in the fourth the Kernels took a commanding three to nothing lead. With one out Tommy Murphy doubled to right. Ed Welch then grounded out to second. On the play Murphy was running and made it all the way around to score.

Tyler Banks came on for the Cougars in the seventh and struck out the first hitter he faced. Ed Welch then bunted for a single, the ball made it just back to the pitcher and he beat the throw., Welch would then steal second, and advance to third on a wild pitch. One out later, Ransel Melgarejo then doubled to left to score Welch.

The Cougars did make a run at the Kernels in the ninth when, Heath Kelly laid down a perfect bunt to third for an infield single. Scott Hicks then singled to right to get Kelly over to third. Jason Stokes then hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Kelly.

Cedar Rapids Gazette
by Jeff Johnson

You watch him throw, and he reminds you so much ofanother young pitcher from the Dominican Republic that so dominated the Midwest League for the Cedar Rapids Kernels a few years ago.

of course, Ervin Santana isn't Ramon Ortiz. Ortiz is in the major leagues right now, Santana is in low Class A.

But you can understand why the Anaheim Angels see another Ortiz when they watch the talented young right hander from the Dominican Republic. The comparisons might be a little unfair, but they're also pretty obvious.

It's hard to compare an 18 year old guy to a major league player." said Kernels Manager Todd Claus, after Santana helped pitch the Kernels to a 4-1 victory over the Kane County Cougars before 2,638 fans Friday night at Memorial Stadium. "If you want to compare them, compare them at the same age at the same time."

Claus said Ortiz had a better slider at this stage. But Santana has a beter fastball. I think he creates a little better angle than Ortiz," Claus said. "He's taller, he throwsa little more downhill. But at the same time, they're similar animals. Wheater or not he is going to be a Ramon Ortiz or someone like that remains to be seen."

The Angels shelled out $700,000 to sign the 18 year old Santana two years ago. Tall and lean at 6 foot 2 and 150 pounds, he dominated the Rookie level Arizona league last summer, leading the league in strikeouts despite a late season promotion to Provo of the Rookie leavel Pioneer league.

He was regularly blowing estimated 94 to 95 mile per hour fastball past Kane County hitters Friday night, mixing in a hard slider and changeup for extra effectiveness. It all added up to 5 2/3 innings of three hit, 11 strikeout shutout ball, and a second straight win for Santana, who threw five innings of one hit shutout ball in his first start against Quad City.

"Early in the game he had an explosive fastball," Claus said, "It was fun to watch. He tired in the sixth inning and that's why we took him out. He mixed his pitches, he threw strikes. That was just an outstanding performance from an 18 year old kid."

Santana, who retired 13 hitters in a row at one point in the game, loaded the bases in the sixth, but left handed reliever Jonathan Rouwenhorst got him out of trouble by getting Kane County's Scott Hicks, also a lefty, to ground out routinely to first with two outs to end the threat.

Like any good pitcher, Santana spent lenghty postgame time lifting weights and doing other strength enhancing things from Kernels strength and conditioning coach Curt Lamb.

"He was just zoned in tonight," said Kernels catcher Jeff Mathis, "His fastball was coming out of his hand tremendously. His slider was good tonight. So just hat's off to him tonight man. It was a wonderful performance."

Mathis helped the Kernels improve to 6-2 with another good perfomance. In the top of the first, Mathis threw behind a Kane County runner at first and nailed him for the third out.

Then in the bottom of the first, he hit another home run, going the opposite way to right field against Kane County starting pitcher Phil Akens (0-1). Mathis has three in eight games as a Kernels.

"I don't know, man", said Mathis, who added 15 pounds of muscle by weight training vigorously in the offseason. "I'm just trying to see the ball in and trying to put a good barrel on it. Luckily, it's going out of the park."

The Kernels added single runs in the second, fourth and seventh innings.

You could pinpoint pitching as the main reason for the Cedar Rapids Kernels hot 5-2 start to the Midwest League season.

Manager Todd Claus also thinks there is something else a little less noticeable involved too.

"Pitching has definitely been the main contributor on the field," Claus said. "But really we've prepared very well for games. I'm proud of the way our guys are going about their business on a daily basis."

Claus is a departure from Tyrone Boykin, last season's manager, in that he is a disciplinarian but also still a "player's manager". He stresses fundamentals and demands amximum effort from his players, something he seems to have gotten the first week of the season.

Despite a relative lack of team speed, the Kernels have been aggressive on the basepaths and have not hesitated to take the extra base. They have fielded well, with only three errors in the first seven games, and they have pitched well, with a 1.92 team ERA.

"We've been fundamentally sound," Claus said, "I think the reason we've done that is because of the preparation we've done, not only in spring training, but while we've been here."

Outfielder Nick Gorneault was assigned to Cedar Rapids from extended spring training Friday.

Gorneault is a 22 year old right handed hitter and thrower who was a 19th round draft pick of the Angels last June out of the University of Massachusetts. He hit .315 with 6 home runs and 30 RBI in 168 at bats last season for Provo of the Rookie level Pioneer league.

Gorneault takes the place of first baseman Mike Eylward on the Kernels roster. Eylward was placed on the disabled list earlier this week with a fractured thumb.

Kane County shortstop Rex Rundgren is the son of well known rock singer Todd Rundgren. Rex Rundgren is hitting .111 (2 for 18) this season.

Play By Play

Cougars 1st
Anthony Brewer, strikes out
Heath Kelly, strikes out
Scott Hicks, singles to center.
-Hicks out, caught off first base, catcher Mathis to first baseman Kotchman.
Cougars 0, Kernels 0

Kernels 1st
Melgarejo, grounds out second baseman Arroyo to first baseman Hicks
Mathis, hits a home run.
Kotchman, strikes out.
McPherson, strikes out
Cougars 0, Kernels 1

Cougars 2nd
Stokes, strikes out
Frazier, strikes out
Wyant, pops out to centerfielder Melgarejo
Cougars 0, Kernels 1

Kernels 2nd
Napoli, doubles to right
Porter, singles to left, Napoli scores
Murphy, walks
Welch, bunt single in front of plate, bases loadedTurner, strikes out
Cougars 0, Kernels 2

Cougars 3rd
Tucker, flied out to centerfielder Melgarejo
Zapey, grounds out shortstop Murphy to first baseman Kotchman
Arroyo, strikes out
Cougars 0, Kernels 2

Kernels 3rd
Kotchman, pops up foul to leftfielder Wyant
McPherson, grounds out to second baseman Arroyo to first baseman Hicks
Napoli, pops up to rightfielder Frazier
Cougars 0, Kernels 2

Cougars 4th
Brewer, strikes out
Kelly, strikes out
Hicks, grounds out second baseman Turner to first baseman Kotchman
Cougars 0, Kernels 2

Kernels 4th
Porter, grounds out to pitcher Akens to first baseman Hicks
Muprhy, doubles to right
Welch, grounds out to second baseman Arroyo to first baseman Hicks, Porter running on the play scores
Turner, strikes out
Cougars 0, Kernels 3

Cougars 5th
Stokes, strikes out
Frazier, strikes out
Wyant, grounds out second baseman Turner to first baseman Kotchman
Cougars 0, Kernels 3

Kernels 5th
Melgarejo, grounds out to short stop Rundgren to first baseman Hicks
Mathis, lined out to centerfield Brewer
Kotchman, flied out to centerfielder Brewer
Cougars 0, Kernels 3

Cougars 6th
Tucker, strikes out
Zapey, singles to right
-Zapey, steals second
Arroyo, walks
Brewer, singles to left, bases loaded
Kelly, strikes out
Pitching Change:Jonathan Rouwenhorst replaces Ervin Santana
Hicks, grounds out to first baseman Kotchman unassisted
Cougars 0, Kernels 3

Kernels 6th
McPherson, flied to right fielder Frazier
Napoli, strikes out
Porter, lined out to right fielder Frazier
Cougars 0, Kernels 3

Cougars 7th
Stokes, strikes out
Frazier, singles to left
Wyant, grounds out second baseman Turner to first baseman Kotchman
-Frazier, caught stealing third, pitcher Rouwenhorst to third baseman McPherson
Cougars 0, Kernels 3

Kernels 7th
Pitching Change:Tyler Banks replaces Phil Akens
Murphy, strikes out
Welch, bunt single back to the pitcher
-Welch, steals second base
Turner, grounds out second baseman Arroyo to first baseman Hicks
-Welch, moves to third on wild pitch
Melgarejo, doubles to left, Welch scores
Mathis, pops up foul to left fielder Wyant
Cougars 0, Kernels 4

Cougars 8th
Tucker, lined out to second baseman Turner
Zapey, singles to left
Arroyo, strikes out
Brewer, strikes out
Cougars 0, Kernels 4

Kernels 8th
Kotchman, grounds out third baseman Tucker to first baseman Hicks
McPherson, doubles to center
Napli, pops up to shortstop Rundgren
Porter, hit by pitch
Murphy, grounds out second baseman Arroyo to first baseman Hicks
Cougars 0, Kernels 4

Cougars 9th
Pitching Change:Adam Thomas replaces Jonathan Rouwenhorst
Kelly, bunt single to third.
Hicks, singles to right, Kelly to third.
Stokes, sacrifce fly to right fielder Porter, Kelly tags up and scores
Frazier, strikes out
Wyant, grounds out short stop Murphy to first baseman Kotchman
Cougars 1, Kernels 4