Blackhawks

On The Farm: Peoria and Tennessee Win A Couple Of "Wild Ones"

On The Farm: Peoria and Tennessee Win A Couple Of "Wild Ones"

Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010
Posted: 9:45 p.m.
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com
CUBSPeoria A
The Chiefs scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning and edged Cedar Rapids, 1-0, at OBrien Field.

Anthony Giansanti led off the inning with a walk and went to second on a Logan Watkins single. He stole third before Matt Oye uncorked a wild pitch, bringing in the games lone run. Daniel Keefe earned the victory as the result of the errant throw while Corey Martin kept the Kernels scoreless in the ninth for his fifth save.

Watkins and Jae-Hoon Ha each had a pair of hits. Frank Batista started and allowed two hits over six innings for the Chiefs.
Tennessee AA
The Smokies also scored the winning run on a wild pitch, this one coming in the 11th inning to give Tennessee a 4-3 victory over visiting Birmingham.

Jeff Sues let loose with a wild pitch with the bases loaded and two outs, allowing Russ Canzler to score the winning run. He had drawn a one-out walk and then went to third when on an error by Barons shortstop Eduardo Escobar on a Matt Spencer grounder. Steve Clevenger was intentionally walked after Spencer went to second on catchers indifference, setting the stage for Sues wild one.

Spencer had a pair of RBIs while Canzler had a double and an RBI. Chris Archer started and allowed two runs over seven innings. He fanned nine and left with the lead but was denied his 16th victory of the season when Marco Carillo allowed a ninth-inning run. Carrilo would get the win.

In other action, Daytona and Clearwater were postponed at Jackie Robinson Stadium and will make the game up next week as part of a doubleheader on a date yet to be determined at Clearwater. LHP James Leverton was promoted to Tennessee prior to the game. RHP Craig Muschko was placed on the DL at Tennessee. ... The AZL Cubs dropped an 8-1 decision to the Angels while Boise fell to Tri-City, 6-3. Richard Jones had three hits for the Hawks, pushing his hitting streak to four games. ... Iowa held off a late Omaha rally for a 7-6 victory. Jason Dubois' fifth inning grand slam was the difference for the I-Cubs. Jeff Samardzija allowed four runs in 5 23 innings for his 11th victory.
WHITE SOXKannapolis A
The Intimidators kept their faint South Atlantic League playoff hopes alive on Thursday with a 4-1 victory over Lexington at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium.

Justin Collop 9-10 snapped his three-game losing streak, allowing only a run on eight hits over seven innings. It was Collups first win since July 29. Taylor Thompson picked up the save, his sixth, with two no-hit innings.

Juan Silverio had a homer and two RBIs while Ian Gac added two hits and drove in a run. Kannapolis manager Ernie Young was name as the manager of the USA team that will compete for a qualifying spot in both the 2011 Pan American Games and the 2011 IBAF Baseball World Cup. The tournament will take place from Oct. 1-10 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Winston-Salem A
The Dash walked all over Lynchburg, 7-1, on Thursday evening at City Stadium. Winston-Salem scored seven unanswered runs from the sixth inning on. Luis Sierras solo homer tie the score at 1-1 in the sixth before Jason Bours RBI single put the Dash ahead for good. Seth Loman added a three-run shot in the seventh, his 23rd of the season.

Nate Jones picked up the win after tossing a career-high 7 13 innings.

Great Falls Rookie
Ross Wilson's sacrifice fly scored Jared McDonald in the 10th inning on Thursday to give the Voyagers a 6-5 victory over visiting Orem.

Great Falls had scored twice in the bottom of the ninth to tie the score at 5-5, picking up an RBI single from Mike Blanke and a run-scoring sac fly from Ryan Hamme. Wilson scored the tying run on the sacrifice fly.

Blanke finished with two hits and two RBIs as did Andy Wilkins, who extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Wilkins is batting .364 20-for-55 during the streak. ... Nelson Curry pitched a third of an inning and earned the victory.

In other action, visiting Bluefield bounced Bristol, 7-1. Jarrett Casey started and took the loss, falling to 0-7 after allowing two runs in four innings. Jeffer Patino had a solo homer for the Sox. Drew Lee was named to the Appy League post-season All-Star team prior to the game. Jeff Sues uncorked an 11th-inning wild pitch that brought in the winning run as Birmingham dropped a 4-3 decision to Tennessee at Smokies Park. Norfolk overcame a 6-0 deficit and rallied for a 7-6 victory over Charlotte at Knights Stadium. Greg Aquino alloed the final two runs and was charged with the loss. Brent Morel was 1-for-4, extending his hitting streak to 10 games during which he is hitting .450 18-for-40.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit first-place Lightning

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit first-place Lightning

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos.

There hasn't been a more dynamic duo in the NHL so far this season than Kucherov and Stamkos, who have combined for 68 points (27 goals, 41 assists) through 20 games, and sit first and second in the scoring race.

They've each recorded a point in every game except three — which coincidentally have been the same games — and they've lost all three of those contests. Kucherov has also scored a goal in 15 of 20 games this season. That's absurd when you consider he's scoring on a consistent basis; it's not like they're coming in spurts.

To put all that into perspective, he reached the 17-goal mark in his 36th game last year and still finished second in the league with 40 goals. He hit the 17-goal mark in 16 fewer games this season. How many can he realistically finish with? 60?

2. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

Tampa Bay knows how dangerous Chicago's dynamic duo can be as well, as evidenced in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. The Blackhawks' superstars know how to get up for a big game.

In 13 career regular-season games against the Lightning, Kane has 18 points (six goals, 12 assists). Toews has 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in 14 games.

They're both producing at or above a point-per-game pace, and they're going to need more of that against this powerhouse Lightning team.

3. Something's gotta give.

Tampa Bay's offensive prowess is off the charts up and down the lineup. It has four lines that can come at you at waves, and a strong, active blue line led by potential Norris Trophy finalist Viktor Hedman and Calder Trophy candidate Mikhail Sergachev.

Although Chicago allows the fourth-most shots per game (34.0), it actually hasn't been bad at preventing goals — a large reason for that is Corey Crawford. 

The Lightning rank first in goals per game (3.95) and first in power play percentage (28.0) while the Blackhawks rank sixth in goals against per game (2.65) and four in penalty kill percentage (84.9).

Who's going to crack first?

For one writer, Hall of Fame semifinalist selection of Brian Urlacher closes a career circle

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USA TODAY

For one writer, Hall of Fame semifinalist selection of Brian Urlacher closes a career circle

The news on Tuesday wasn’t really any sort of surprise: Brian Urlacher being selected as a semifinalist for the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Some of the immediate thoughts were, however, for one writer who covered Brian from the day he was drafted on through the unpleasant end of his 13-year career as a Bear.

Good thoughts, though. Definitely good.

The first was a flashback, to a Tuesday in late August 2000 when the ninth-overall pick of the draft, who’d been anointed the starting strong-side linebacker by coach Dick Jauron on draft day, was benched.

It happened up at Halas Hall when Urlacher all of a sudden wasn’t running with the 1’s. Rosie Colvin was in Urlacher’s spot with the starters and would be for a few games into the 2000 season. I caught up with Brian before he walked, in a daze, into Halas Hall after practice and asked about what I’d just seen.

"I'm unhappy with the way I'm playing and I'm sure they are, too," Urlacher said. "I don't think I've been playing very well so that's probably the cause for it right there. I just don't have any technique. I need to work on my technique, hands and feet mostly. I've got to get those down, figure out what I'm doing. I know the defense pretty good now, just don't know how to use my hands and feet."

Urlacher, an All-American safety at New Mexico but MVP of the Senior Bowl in his first game at middle linebacker, had been starting at strong side, over the tight end, because coaches considered it a simpler position for Urlacher to master. But he was not always correctly aligned before the snap, did not use his hands against blockers effectively and occasionally led with his head on tackles. His benching cost him the chance to be the first Bears rookie linebacker since Dick Butkus to start an Opening Day.

It also was the first time in his football life that Urlacher could remember being demoted.

"It's not a good feeling," he said. "I definitely don't like getting demoted but I know why I am. I just have to get better."

Coaches understood what they were really attempting, subsequently acknowledged privately that the SLB experiment was a mistake. While the strong-side slot may have been simpler than the other two principally because of coverage duties, "we're trying to force-feed the kid an elephant," then-defensive coordinator Greg Blache said.

"So you see him gag and what do you do? You give him the Heimlich maneuver, you take some of it out of his mouth, try to chop it up into smaller pieces. He's going to devour it and be a great football player. But he wouldn't be if we choked him to death."

Urlacher didn’t choke and eventually became the starter, not outside, but at middle linebacker when Barry Minter was injured week two at Tampa Bay.

We sometimes don’t fully know the import or significance at the time we’re witnessing something. Urlacher stepping in at middle linebacker was not one of those times – you knew, watching him pick up four tackles in basically just the fourth quarter of a 41-0 blowout by the Bucs.

That was the beginning. Over the years came moments like Urlacher scooping up a Michael Vick fumble in the 2001 Atlanta game and going 90 yards with Vick giving chase but not catching him. Lots of those kinds of moments.

And then cutting to the ending, in 2013, when he and the organization came to an acrimonious parting after GM Phil Emery managed to alienate the face of the franchise both with the one-year contract offer and the way it was handled. Butkus had a nasty separation at the end of his Bears years, too, and Bill George finished his career as a Los Angeles Ram after creating the middle linebacker position as a Bear. Maybe that’s just how Bears and some of their linebackers wind up their relationships.

In any case, while there is no cheering in the pressbox, the hope here is that Brian goes into the Hall in a class with Ray Lewis in their first years of eligibility. Somehow that just seems like it all should close out for that confused kid from New Mexico who lost his first job out of college, but responded to that by becoming one of the all-time greats in his sport.