Close, but no walk to River Bandits | Midwest Baseball League
With one bat, Kale Emshoff demonstrated what the second half of the Midwest League season openers look like for the Quad Cities River Bandits.
Emshoff drove a ball against the wall with two out and two out in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday, denied a game-tying home run from Peoria left fielder Tyler Reichenborn in a 3-2 loss in front of a crowd of 7,093 at Modern Parc des woodcutters.
“When it came off the bat, I thought the fireworks were going to start early,” Quad Cities manager Brooks Conrad said. “I thought he had it, then I looked at the flag on the left and he was straight up. He wasn’t getting any help there.
That’s how things have been for Quad Cities since the start of the second half of the season on June 24.
“We’re right there, almost every game has been close, one, two points. These guys, they keep fighting, playing hard. They go there for nine innings every game,” Conrad said.
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Of the River Bandits’ first nine games of the half, five were decided by a single point. Two others were two-pronged decisions.
” We are close. We just have to stick with it. We will get there,” Conrad said.
Throwing and defense weren’t a problem in Sunday’s backhand.
Rylan Kaufman, Emilio Marquez and Kasey Kalich of the River Bandits limited Peoria to five hits, one more than Quad Cities managed with Zane Mills, Nathanael Heredia and Andre Granilo of the Chiefs.
The Peoria pitchers combined to take out 11 River Bandits while the Quad Cities pitchers enjoyed exceptional defense.
Peyton Wilson delivered a perfect deep left center strike to third baseman Morgan McCullough to deny Jacob Buchberger an extra base after a double in the round of 16.
It came after shortstop Tyler Tolbert flashed the leather on six outs, including a pair of accurate throws on back-to-back outs to complete the top of the fifth inning.
“I’m not sure I’ve seen a better throw than the one Wilson made from left center. To be this deep and right on the money like that was impressive and Tolbert continues to play great defense,” Conrad said.
Averaging .128 in his last 10 games at the plate, Tolbert was moved up to seventh in the batting order Sunday after hitting first or second in his first 70 games of the season.
“He continues to work on it and understands his job,” Conrad said. “He plays great defense and continues to be a leader in our clubhouse. He makes a difference in our team.”
Peoria scored his three runs in the first four innings, using a two-run brace from Francisco Hernandez in the second to grab a lead he wouldn’t give up.
Buchberger stole home for the Chiefs’ final run two innings later as Francisco Hernandez was picked at first base.
Quad Cities, which left 11 runners on base, scored its runs on a pair of RBI doubles.
Dillan Shrum hit first field to right center in the fourth and Emshoff drove one over the line to bring Herard Gonzalez home and pull the River Bandits to a run in the seventh.