Midwest League: Cougars all-stars struggle in showcase
By Mike Knapp For Sun-Times Media June 19, 2012 10:10PM
Kane County's Jorge Bonifacio can't make the catch Tuesday during the Midwest League All-Star Game at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 19, 2012 11:51PM
It was a tough night at the plate for the West Division team at the Midwest League All-Star Game, and the representatives of the Kane County Cougars followed suit.
While the East squad scored five runs in the first and added eight in the second on the way to an 18-2 win in the 48th annual contest, the West managed just seven hits and the triumvirate of Lane Adams, Jorge Bonifacio and Danny Mateo combined to go 0-for-7 on the night.
“It wasn’t our night,” Adams said. “It was a complete 180 from their dugout to ours, they got stuff to fall in and we hit balls hard right at people. That’s just how it goes and that’s baseball.”
Bonifacio and Adams were both in the starting lineup, with Bonifacio playing right field and hitting third, while Adams was playing center and batting cleanup. The 19-year-old Bonifacio, the second youngest player in the game behind Lake County shortstop Francisco Lindor, went 0-for-3, popping out in the first inning, grounding into a fielder’s choice in the third and grounding out to short in the sixth.
Adams, meanwhile, flew to right in the second and grounded out to the second in the fourth. Still, Adams called the game a great experience, as for one night a year winning and losing isn’t the whole point.
“It was a blast, it was a great time,” Adams said. “It didn’t go the way anyone wanted it to in this dugout, but we had fun. I enjoyed it and hope I can do it again sometime.”
Mateo was the final Cougars’ position player to enter the game, pinch hitting in the seventh and grounding out to first. He later came to the plate with two outs in the ninth and hit a liner into center that was caught for the final out.
Matt Ridings, the only member of the Kane County pitching staff to make the squad, had a very quick night, taking the mound with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. Facing Great Lakes infielder Joe Winker, it only took three pitches to finish his outing, Winker fouled off the first two pitches and took a called third strike to end the inning.
“Any time you get in front of all these people and all of the other guys around the league, you get amped up a little bit,” Ridings said. “I felt good and wished I could have kept going but it was fun and we got everyone in there and that is most important.”
Like Adams, Ridings will take the memories of the experience with him for a long time.
“Getting to talk to some of the guys that you play against every day was fun,” Ridings said. “Everyone has the same thing in common, just living the dream and trying to make it.”
The Cougars are off today and Thursday, then start the season’s second half Friday in Clinton, Iowa.