Dogs, Cougars, Boomers move on to playoffs
More than 24,000 fans poured into Northwestern Medicine Field in Geneva this weekend for a high-stakes four-game series between the Kane County Cougars and Chicago Dogs.
Kane County won three of the four games, but the Rosemont-based Dogs managed to clinch the East Division title of the American Association. Both teams now head to the playoffs and could meet again in a three-game division championship series if they can advance past the first round.
By winning the division, the Dogs got to pick their first-round opponent. They chose the third-place Milwaukee Milkmen, leaving the Cleburne (Tex.) Railroaders for the Cougars. Kane County will have to travel to Cleburne, located about 30 miles south of Fort Worth, for Game 1 of their first-round series Wednesday.
Dogs catcher Ryan Lidge, a Barrington High School graduate, talked about the playoff decision on the American Association's Facebook live show.
"It's kind of a tough responsibility to get that first seed and now you've got to pick," Lidge said. "It's like you put a target on your back almost. We're excited to just play. We could have picked any team and it's going to be a hard-fought series no matter what."
Kane County won Monday's regular-season finale 10-5 as starting pitcher Jack Fox picked up his 11th win. The Dogs clinched the division by winning 3-0 on Sunday as starter Jordan Kipper pitched a 1-hit shutout over 6 innings.
After playing Game 1 on the road, both the Cougars and Dogs return home for Game 2 on Friday and Game 3 on Saturday, if necessary.
There's suburban minor league playoff baseball on Tuesday as well. The Schaumburg Boomers, who play in the Frontier League, will host a wild card game against the Evansville Otters at 6:30 p.m. at Wintrust Field. The winner moves on to face the top-seeded Washington (Pa.) Wild Things in a best-of-three series and host Game 1 in Friday.
The Boomers finished the season with a 53-43 record, a half-game ahead of Evansville. In the final game of the regular season on Sunday, Schaumburg's Mike Hart played all nine positions.