South Bend Cubs: Erick Leal – “yes” to the no-no but “no” to the win?

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So when is a no-hitter not a no-hitter? Tuesday evening I was looking forward to seeing Ian Happ’s home debut with the South Bend Cubs but was treated to so much more. What a bizarre game! Erick Leal was spectacular – pitching 9 full innings of no hit baseball. Unfortunately, Kane County’s pitcher held the Cubs’ offense scoreless through those same nine innings. When Leal walked off the field after the top of the ninth, the crowd was pumped for a walk off win. Alas, it was not to be as the Cubs failed to score, sending the game to extras. And then – It. Got. Weird.

In the top of the 10th, reliever Corbin Hoffner came in to pitch. Kane County managed a hit in the 10th but failed to score. In the bottom of the 10th, the Cubs had bases loaded with no outs as Amaya, Encarnacion and Bote got on. Rashad Crawford grounded into a fielder’s choice as Kane County threw out Amaya at home.

Then it looked like the Cubbies had won the game when Jeffrey Baez got hit by a pitch with the bases still loaded. However, the home plate umpire called it strike three which enraged Cubs’ manager JImmy Gonzalez, Baez himself, their first base coach and, well, basically everyone. SB Cubs radio thought the call was right.

Having watched Anthony Rizzo play, I have to agree it was probably the right call. At the time, however, I will admit that I just wanted to game to be over and the Cubbies to get the win. After the dust settled, newcomer Bryant Flete struck out for the third out.

Hoffner gave up another hit in the top of the 11th but the batter was thrown out trying to stretch his double into a triple. Again they failed to score off of Hoffner. And again, the bottom of the inning got weird. Ian Happ struck out and Yasiel Balaguert was picked off first after a walk. Jesse Hodges appeared to get hit but again the ump called it a strike. ( I have video of Hodges getting hit or not getting hit as the case may be. However, I can’t get it uploaded right – and since it’s 2:44 am, I’m giving up – ugh). Hodges ended up walking as did Amaya before Kevin Encarnacion hit a pop up for the third out.

In the top of the 12th, Jordan Minch came in to pitch. After a walk, a sac bunt and a wild pitch, Kane County had a runner on third with one out. A sacrifice to center scored the only run of the game – on no hits! In the bottom of the 12th, the Cubs failed to score and thus Erick Leal’s no-hitter ended up a no decision for him and a loss for the team. It was a strange game all around, something I’m not alone in thinking.

So how about some highlights because, despite the loss, there were a lot of highlights.

Have yourself a game David Bote! He had a number of great defensive plays including this in the second and two even better ones in the seventh.

Erick Leal certainly appreciated David Bote’s play tonight.

Actually, pretty much everyone appreciated David Bote tonight! My daughter even “allowed” him to sign her baseball:)

Any no hitter will likely have a number of great defensive plays and this one was no exception. Check out this one by catcher Gioskar Amaya which, as you will see, did not sit well with the Cougars’ coaching staff.

So how about that newcomer I was so pumped to see? Ian Happ got his first hit in front of the home crowd in the bottom of the 7th inning. He ended up going 1 for 5 with 3 strikeouts.

So back to that no-hitter. Leal’s final line was 9 full innings, 0 hits, 1 walk and 4 Ks. The three South Bend pitchers combined to throw 12 innings with 2 hits, 1 run, 2 walks and 4 Ks. The crowd gave Leal a standing ovation as he left the field in the ninth and he seemed genuinely touched. He and one of the ball boys have a special handshake that is adorable. Unfortunately I was too busy clapping to get good video of it. Here is video of Erick Leal’s final out.

Check out the bullpen’s valiant attempt at a rally cap. That’s pitcher Michael Wagner with the tower o’ cups rally cap.

Jeffrey Baez also had a great game until, of course, the hit by pitch/strikeout. His first two hits were doubles and he was thrown out trying to stretch his third hit from a single to a double.

In other news, the South Bend Cubs are looking for input and would like fans to fill out a short fan satisfaction survey. More info is available on their page at SouthBendCubs.com. You can also buy tickets there for upcoming games including the recently announced September 2nd game. Tickets for that game are only $1.50 in honor of the City of South Bend’s 150th birthday.

Also here are pics of my 11 year old daughter’s foul ball that Erick Leal, David Bote and Yasiel Balaguert all signed.

   

The baby Cubs continue their series with the Kane County Cougars Wednesday and Thursday at Four Winds Field.

About Sharon

I am a lifelong fan of the Chicago Cubs who happens to live in South Bend, Indiana. My life was made complete when Theo & Co. moved the Cubs' Class A Midwest League affiliate to my hometown. Being invited to write for WSD about the South Bend Cubs is just icing on that cake. I used to be @ClaireBDesigns but am now just @SharonHolston. Come find me on Twitter!

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