Can the Snappers get the sweep that the Twins couldn’t?

Well we already know the Twins phoned it in on yet another sweep opportunity, but how about their Midwest League (low-A) affiliate, the Beloit Snappers? The Snappers took the first two games of a 3-game series with MWL-West Division leaders, the Cedar Rapids Kernels, on Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon. That sets up Thursday night’s opportunity to get out the brooms.

I sat through the 3.5 hour game Tuesday night, mostly because the Snappers seemed to fall asleep after putting up 6 runs in the second inning, allowing the Kernels to sneak back to within a run heading in to the final couple of innings. The Snappers added a couple of late runs, however, for an 8-5 win.

Michael Gonzales works out during Spring Training under the watchful eye of Tom Kelly

The Snappers’ big first baseman, Michael Gonzales, hit one of the longest, hardest, home runs I’ve seen in the 30+ years I’ve been going to minor league games here. The 6’6″ 245# Gonzales entered the game hitting only about .170 but he had 7 home runs and wasted no time racking up #8, hitting the first pitch he saw way beyond the RF wall. It would be an exaggeration to say the ball was still on the rise when it cleared the fence, but the ball WAS still nearly the height of the RF foul pole (40-45 feet up) as it cleared. The sound of the ball on the bat is just different with some guys when they connect. That was the case with Gonzales’ HR.

As a consolation prize, the Kernels clinched a MWL playoff spot when 3rd place Clinton lost their game Tuesday night.

Wednesday’s game was a noontime matinee game and I hoped to get to see 3-4 innings or so over my lunch hour. It was not to be. For the second consecutive game, the Snappers put a 6-spot on the board in the second inning. This time it was infielder Anderson Hidalgo and catcher Danny Rams who went yard for the Snappers. I was happy for Rams, in particular. He had a tough night Tuesday night, hitting in to a bases-loaded, inning-ending double play once and leaving runners in scoring position in at least a couple of other plate appearances (which makes you wonder a bit if the Twins are starting to TEACH that crap in the lower levels, doesn’t it?).

There was a bit of a scare early when CF Aaron Hicks fouled a ball off of his back foot. He stayed in the game but definitely favored that ankle. In the end, this time the Snappers kept the pedal to the metal and came away with an 11-2 win.

I’d like to have a few pictures to share, but I discovered something about photography the hard way, Tuesday night. Apparently, rechargeable AA batteries have to actually be recharged after they’ve been used up in order for them to pr0vide enough power for a camera to operate properly… or at all, for that matter. Ah well, live and learn, right?

Which brings us to tonight’s game. BJ Hermsen (an Iowa kid out of West Delaware HS) is pitching for the Snappers as they go for the sweep. Check back later for results and, hopefully, a few pictures from the game (both sets of batteries have been recharged).

No word yet on whether the Snappers will be following what has become the parent Twins’ standard procedure of resting many of their regulars in an excessively sportsmanlike attempt to avoid hurting the feelings of an opponent by sweeping them. – JC

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