Bears

On The Farm: Iowa Hanging On In PCL American North Division

On The Farm: Iowa Hanging On In PCL American North Division

Sunday Aug. 29, 2010
Posted: 7:25 p.m.By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com
WHITE SOXBirmingham AA
The Barons banged out 20 hits and took out a seasons worth of frustration Sunday evening, trouncing Tennessee, 16-1, at Smokies Park. Birmingham scored seven runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to break open what had been a 2-1 game.

Tyler Kuhn had four hits, including a homer, and five RBIs. Cole Armstrong had two hits, including a fifth-inning grand slam, and five RBIs. Josh Phegley added two hits and an RBI.

Matt Long 7-8 picked up his first victory since Aug. 13, allowing a run on six hits over six innings.
Winston-Salem A
Drew Garcias RBI single in the bottom of the 13th inning gave Winston-Salem a 5-4 victory over Myrtle Beach at BB&T Ballpark. Seth Loman slid home and beat the tag, which catcher Braeden Schlehuber couldnt apply because he dropped the ball. The victory gave the Dash a series sweep.

Charlis Burdie picked up the victory after the Pelicans tied the score with a run in the top of the ninth. Nick Ciolli had a pair of hits, including his first Carolina League homer, and an RBI. Jon Gilmore also had a homer and drove in two. RHP Taylor Thompson was promoted to Winston-Salem from low-A Kannapolis. The former Auburn Tigers was 0-1 with a 2.05 ERA in 19 appearances between the Intimidators and Great Falls.
Bristol Rookie
The Sox swept a doubleheader at Kingsport, taking the opener, 4-3, at Hunter Wright Stadium before topping the Mets in the nightcap, 3-1.

Bristol scored four times in the seventh inning to rally in the opener. The Sox parlayed back-to-back walks to lead off the inning into four runs. Drew Lee brought in a run with a sacrifice fly, Daniel Black doubled in a run, Rangel Ravelo tripled in a run before Robert Cummings closed things off with a run-scoring single.

Spencer Arroyo 7-2 went the distance, striking out five. He allowed all three runs in the fourth inning.

Spencer Shelton 2-1 tossed six shutout innings in the nightcap. He struck out five and gave up only three hits. Jeffer Patino had two hits and drove in a run.

In other action, Durham outlasted Charlotte, 8-5, at Knights Stadium. Chris Richards three-run homer in the seventh inning off Greg Aquino was the difference for the Bulls. Dayan Viciedo had a pair of hits while Brent Morel had a solo homer. The victory was Durhams franchise record 84th at the Triple-A level. ... Ryan Hamme and Andy Wilkins each drove in a pair of runs to propel Great Falls to a 9-5 victory over visiting Ogden. Charlie Delk 6-3 won his second consecutive start.
CUBSIowa AAA
The I-Cubs maintained their slim lead in the PCLs American North Division on Sunday with an 8-7 victory at Omaha. Iowa remains a half game ahead of Memphis, which also won on Sunday. The I-Cubs have nine games remaining in the regular season and finish with four games at home against Memphis.

Iowa rallied for four ninth-inning runs in Sunday to remain in first. Brad Snyders two-run, two-out single was the rallys first big hit before Jason Dubois two-run double finished off the rally and pushed Omaha 3 games back of the I-Cubs. Snyder and Dubois each had three hits.

Despite giving up three runs in 1 13 innings, Jeff Gray picked up the victory.
Daytona A
The Cubs gained some ground in the Florida State Leagues North Division race on Sunday with a 6-1 victory over Lakeland at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Brooks Raley 8-6 allowed a run over 6 23 innings to pick up his second consecutive victory. He hasnt lost since July 10. Evan Crawford had a triple and two RBIs.

In other action, Tennessee got trounced by visiting Birmingham, 16-1. TyRelle Harris allowed seven runs in four innings before Jeremy Papelbon gave up six runs in 13 of an inning. Still, the Smokies wrapped up the second half Southern League North Division title. They also won the first half and will host four games in the opening round of the playoffs as a result. Peoria split a doubleheader with Clinton, rallying for a 2-1 victory in the nightcap to salvage a split at OBrien Field. Clinton won the opener, 6-2. Anthony Giansantis RBI single in the seventh provided the margin of victory in the second game. Brett Wallach took the loss, allowing two runs in four innings of the opener to fall to 0-3 since coming over from the Dodgers. He had been 6-0 with Great Lakes.

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

Alex Bars is ready to take his shot with Harry Hiestand and the Bears

6-12alexbars.jpg
USA Today

Alex Bars is ready to take his shot with Harry Hiestand and the Bears

Alex Bars was cleared to practice last week, allowing him his first chance to put on a helmet since tearing his ACL and MCL Sept. 29 while playing for Notre Dame. The undrafted guard was able to participate in veteran minicamp, allowing him to shake off some rust before his real push for a roster spot begins in training camp next month. 

Many speculated Bars would’ve been as high as a mid-round draft pick if not for that devastating knee injury. It didn’t take the 6-foot-6, 312 pound Bars long, though, to decide where he wanted to go after not being picked in April’s draft. Call it the Harry Hiestand effect. 

Bars played under Hiestand’s tutelage at Notre Dame from 2014-2017, and said he always wanted to wind up with the Bears to work with his former coach — just as 2018 top-10 picks Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey hoped to as well. 

“I remember talking about that, because they both wanted to play for him,” Bars said. “They understand where he can take you and how phenomenal a coach he is, so they both wanted that. And I’m just the same way.”

While Nelson transformed the Indianapolis Colts’ playoff-bound offensive line and McGlinchey showed plenty of promise with the San Francisco 49ers, the reunion of Bars and Hiestand carries some intriguing possibilities for the Bears. Bars has always had upside — he was a four-star recruit out of Nashville in 2014 — and getting to work with Hiestand may be the best way to tap into that potential. 

“He knows me very well, I understand his technique very well,” Bars said. “So having that connection, that player-coach connection all four years through college is huge.”

Hiestand called Bars after his injury last fall and offered some words of encouragement, which only furthered Bars' wish to play for his former college coach in the NFL. 

"That meant everything," Bars said. "He cares so much off the field as well as on the field. That’s who he is."  

Bars wasn’t able to participate in OTAs or rookie minicamp, but Hiestand doesn’t see that as putting him in a tough spot to make the Bears' 53-man roster. And there will very much be an opportunity for Bars to make a push during training camp, given 10-year veteran Ted Larsen only has $90,000 in guaranteed money on his one-year contract. 

It may not be the more eye-catching roster battle during training camp, but the Bears hope they can find interior offensive line depth through competition in Bourbonnais. And Bars, now cleared to practice, will get his shot. 

“He’ll have the chance because he’s smart, he understands the technique, he knows what to do,” Hiestand said during OTAs, when Bars hadn’t practiced yet. “He’s learning the offense even though he’s not doing it. But when we put the pads on that’s when you make or don’t make the team.” 

It’s often unfair — yet far too easy — to place high expectations on undrafted free agents. For every Cameron Meredith or Bryce Callahan who gets unearthed, there are dozens of anonymous players who struggle to stick on an NFL practice squad. 

But Bars is among the more important undrafted free agents on the Bears given his connection with Hiestand and the position he plays. While Kyle Long is healthy, he hasn’t played a full season since 2015, underscoring the Bears’ need for depth on the interior of their offensive line in the immediate future. 

And the Bears would save a little over $8 million against their 2020 cap if they were to make the difficult decision to cut Long in a year. If Bars develops into the kind of player plenty in the NFL thought he could be before his knee injury, that would make releasing Long a little easier to swallow at Halas Hall. 

For now, though, Bars is just hoping to make the Bears. Anything else is a long ways away.

“I’m excited to be here, thrilled for this opportunity and it’s all about productivity,” Bars said. “Just need to be productive and prove you belong on this team.”

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2019 NHL Draft Profile: C Trevor Zegras

2019 NHL Draft Profile: C Trevor Zegras

From June 10-20, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile one top prospect per day — 11 total — leading up to the 2019 NHL Draft as the Blackhawks prepare to pick third overall.

Trevor Zegras

Position: Center
Height: 6-foot-0
Weight: 169 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report from Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley:

"Trevor is a high skilled centerman, very good skater, very, very creative, comfortable and creative with the puck."

Zegras describes his own game:

On his creativity: "I think growing up, watching a bunch of guys in the NHL like Patrick Kane mess around the ice, just something I’ve always done as a little kid. Maybe I rolled into the driveway and work on fun passes. It’s what I’m really good at."

NHL player comparable: Patrick Kane

Fit for Blackhawks:

Talk to any player on USA Hockey's National Team Development Program and they'll say Zegras was the most offensively gifted player of the group, which is saying a lot when you consider some of the names he's up against (Matthew Boldy, Cole Caufield, Jack Hughes, Alex Turcotte, to name a few).

At the NHL scouting combine, Zegras mentioned Kane several times as somebody he tries modeling his game after. The vision, the passing, the skating, the playmaking ability, the hockey IQ. He has it all offensively, and also doesn't get enough credit for his two-way game.

Zegras is somebody that has quickly been rising on draft boards, and it's because he has the potential to be a 90-point player in the NHL as a center. His name has been discussed by the Blackhawks at No. 3 and he's certainly a tempting option. Pair Zegras with Kane for the next decade and it's scary to think about the numbers the two could put up together.

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