Cubs Minor League News
Patrick Gorski - USA Today Sports

Cubs Minor League News

by - Senior Writer -

For the first and only time this season, there was no Minor League baseball across the Cubs organization on a Sunday. Due to Fourth of July scheduling and whatnot, all Rookie League teams were off as is the norm for them, but they were joined by the full-season Leagues, as they will get a rare multiple-off-day stretch.

Even with no actual Minor League baseball taking place, there was still plenty of baseball action on the docket as Independent Baseball took center stage. While the Independent Leagues are not part of the Cubs or Minor League systems per se, several leagues operate as Partner Leagues to both the Minors and MLB.

Those leagues include the Atlantic Baseball League, the Pioneer League, the American Association of Professional Baseball, and the Frontier League. The latter two are where you will find the teams that we have been covering since the start of the season, as that is where you will find the Chicago area teams in the Chicago Dogs and Windy City Thunderbolts in action.

With the Dogs and Kane County getting rained out and no future makeup game in sight, Windy City took center stage as they tried to avoid the sweep at the hands of the Washington Wild Things. Unfortunately for them, they couldn't get the win as the Independent squads posted a 0-1 mark on Sunday.

CHICAGO DOGS vs. KANE COUNTY COUGARS (canceled due to heavy rain)

With no make-up game in sight, the Dogs and Cougars will finish their series with a 1-1 split this weekend. The Dogs took game one 18-12, and the Cougars responded 7-3 on Saturday.

The Dogs are currently sitting at 27-25 on the season, good for fourth place in the East Division and three games behind first-place Cleburne. The Dogs are led offensively by 1B Jacob Teter, who came into the game hitting .342 while leading the team with 16 homers and 55 RBIs. Former Iowa Cubs OF Narcisco Crook is also having a great season, as he has added 14 homers and 38 RBIs. Kenny Serwa tops the pitching staff with three wins and a team-high 53 punchouts.


Things haven't gone smoothly for the Thunderbolts, who just went winless on a six-game trip. However, if there were a moral victory to take away from this game, it would be that the offense showed up in a big way and did a ton of damage.

The Thunderbolts didn't waste any time getting things going, with Christian Kuzemka starting the scoring with a two-run shot in the first before the Brennen Dorighi single extended the lead to 3-0. As bad as things were for Jordan DiValerio in the first, he still managed to get through five innings, allowing six runs (4ER).

Despite trailing by three in the bottom of the first, the Wild Things offense took it to Michael Barker, who allowed nine runs in four innings. Six came in the bottom of the first as a quartet of RBI doubles led to five runs, with Caleb McNeely adding a single to put the Wild Things in front 6-3 after one. They extended their lead to 7-3 in the second off the Tyreque Reed homer, but the Thunderbolts wouldn't go away quietly.

Another Dorighi single brought home another run in the third, with Joe Johnson picking up a sacrifice fly to make things 7-5. Kuzemka kept the line moving with another RBI hit in the fourth, part of his four-hit, four-RBI day, and just like that, this was a 7-6 game. As things have been for this team for the better part of a week, whenever the Bolts get close, their opponents had answers, with Reed going deep for a second time in the fourth to extend the lead to 9-6.

Not to be outdone, Kuzemka added his fourth RBI with a single in the sixth, and Johnson added an RBI triple in the seventh to make things 9-8. Johnson came home to score later in the seventh off an error as the Thunderbolts came all the way back to tie things up. However, all good things must come to an end, and the incredible comeback effort ended in the eighth with Andrew Czech launching a game-winning two-run shot in the eighth to close out the 11-9 win.

As things sit right now, the Thunderbolts are sitting in last place at 20-31, 13 games behind first-place Washington. The Bolts are led by Christian Kuzemka, who has eight homers and 43 RBIs, while Joe Johnson has five homers and 32 RBIs. Henry Kusiak paces the team in average and is the only player above .250 at .311.

From a pitching side, Kevin Pindel has been the ace of the staff, leading the way with five wins and an impressive 1.90 ERA. He also leads the team with 51 strikeouts with Greg Duncan picking up five saves.

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