Chicago Cubs

Elgin uses tough 'D' to beat St. Charles East

615104.png

Elgin uses tough 'D' to beat St. Charles East

By Michael O'Brien
YourSeason.com

Kory Brown and Arie Williams dont have jaw-dropping talent. Neither player is heading to Duke or North Carolina or even the Big Ten -- but they have the intelligence and drive that makes Elgin a serious contender to advance to Peoria in March.The Maroons suffered an early-season loss to Geneva, but Friday against visiting St. Charles East, they proved they had learned a valuable lesson from the loss.Coach Mike Sitter told us St. Charles East tries to score 70 every game, Brown said. Every person on that team has a jump shot we respect. We learned in the Geneva game that we had to focus on our defense.Brown, Williams and the rest of Elgin (7-1, 2-1) kept those jump shots from falling, holding the Saints scoreless for the first six minutes of the game on the way to a 55-39 victory in Upstate Eight River action.We were pretty excited coming in with all the hype, Williams said. It was our first Friday night game of the year and I think that energy helped us get out to the hot start.Brown, a 6-4 senior, led the way with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Cortez Scott added 13 points and Williams finished with 12 points and four steals.Stealing the ball is just my skill, Williams, a 5-8 junior, said. I sneak up on them. Youve got to be quiet and approach them. Im like a little lion.St. Charles East threatened to mount a late comeback after Kendall Stephens three-pointer with 4:52 to play cut the Elgin lead to 44-36. But Brown drove the lane and elevated for a jumper on the next possession, igniting an 8-0 run that put the game away.Stephens, a Purdue recruit, is one of the top juniors in the country. He led the Saints (6-3, 3-1) with 17 points and four rebounds. He shot 6 of 18 from the floor and 2-for-10 from three-point range.We knew we had to get up and make sure we had a hand in their face at all times, Brown said. We practiced getting around the screens and piggybacking all week.

Cubs are about to find out how Brewers will counter Jose Quintana move

Cubs are about to find out how Brewers will counter Jose Quintana move

MILWAUKEE – It’s nice that the Cubs like their dugout vibe again – except when John Lackey bumps into Anthony Rizzo – and Jose Quintana comes with three additional years of club control and Jake Arrieta says: “We expect to remain in first place.”

But after making it this far – ahead of schedule in a long rebuilding project – the Milwaukee Brewers are not at all conceding the National League Central.

The Cubs experienced a playoff-like environment in late July during Friday night’s 2-1 loss in front of a sellout crowd at Miller Park. Every year is different, the Cubs kept saying during all their stops and starts in the first half, and these next 60 games should feel like a real pennant race, not the cruise-control settings from last season.

How will the Brewers counter the Quintana move? Well, Harvard guy Brent Suter, a 31st-round pick from the 2012 draft, outpitched Quintana, a player the Brewers targeted and discussed in depth with the White Sox before Theo Epstein made his blockbuster deal during the All-Star break.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon sees an American League East-style lineup stocked with patient, powerful hitters, one that has kept the Brewers (55-50) within a half-game of first place, even after last week’s six-game losing streak.

Milwaukee also has an aggressive, involved owner (Mark Attanasio), a 30-something, Ivy League general manager (David Stearns), a top-10 farm system and the reality that chances like this don’t come around that often for small-market franchises with the July 31 trade deadline looming.

“You’re looking at what everybody else is doing,” Maddon said. “We’ve already been proactively in front of some other groups by getting that done. So now anything we can do on top of that in a positive vein, absolutely, is going to benefit us. I don’t doubt that the Brewers are probably going to do something.

“But at the end of the day, we just got to worry about what we’re doing. I think it’s going to be hard to duplicate what we’ve already done in regards to getting Quintana.” 

So much about his new existence is different, but Quintana has seen this movie so many times before with the White Sox, a tough-luck loss where he only gave up two runs in six innings. Jason Heyward also bailed out Quintana in the third inning with a spectacular leaping catch at the right-field wall to take a two-run homer away from Ryan Braun.

“It was a battle,” said Quintana, who is 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA in three starts for the defending World Series champs. “Every game counts. I’m really happy to feel that atmosphere every night when I go to the mound. It was a tough night for me, and we’ll come back tomorrow.”

After Suter limited the Cubs to four singles and a walk during seven scoreless innings, Javier Baez generated all the offense with a John Daly swing. Baez drove a pitch from Anthony Swarzak – the reliever making his Brewer debut after getting traded from the White Sox – off a stadium club window above the second deck in left field.

Baez admired his shot, stared out at the field and spit out a sunflower seed as he slowly began his home-run trot. Part of the crowd of 42,574 started chanting: “Let’s go, Cubbies!” The day before on the South Side, Maddon listened to a question about Arrieta’s prediction and talked about “baseball karma,” saying it’s “out there” and “it’s going to come back and bite you.”

“Milwaukee is not going anywhere,” Maddon said. “I don’t take anything for granted, man. I really approach the day the same all the time. My experience tells me that. If you are not doing that – if you start getting full of yourself and believe in whatever – it’s going to go away real quickly.

“There’s nothing wrong with saying: ‘I feel it. I like where we’re at. I like the way the guys are reacting. I like the energy.’ Those are all good thoughts, good words. But when you start getting full of yourself and thinking it’s going to come easily – that’s the trap.”

Whether or not the Cubs and/or Brewers make a splash on July 31, these two teams will clash nine more times within the next two months.

“It will be cool,” said Kyle Schwarber, who struck out swinging at Corey Knebel’s 97-mph fastball with a runner on third base to end this game. “We’re going to be playing our baseball. We can’t be worried about whatever the division is. We got to worry about ourselves and play our game and go from there.”

Wake-up Call: Jose Quintana picks up first Cubs loss; White Sox lose again

Wake-up Call: Jose Quintana picks up first Cubs loss; White Sox lose again

Cubs are about to find out how Brewers will counter Jose Quintana move

Frustrated Derek Holland disappointed by 'unprofessional' umpire

David Accam on being left off MLS All-Star roster: 'I’m disappointed my coach ignored me'

What's next for Bears OLB Pernell McPhee after undergoing knee surgery

Don’t stop now: Joe Maddon expects Cubs will keep dealing before trade deadline

Why red hot Jose Abreu might best understand Tim Anderson's struggles

Fire GM Nelson Rodriguez still 'searching' for potential summer additions

Tommy Wingels on 'cloud nine' getting to suit up for hometown Blackhawks

Bears’ 'other' Staley has a more important role than mascot