The books are closed on the first half of the AAA-level Cow League’s 2017 regular season, capped off by an exciting All-Star Game, the first-ever such contest for that minor league.
So far, the Portland Timberwolves (Montreal Metros) hold a commanding edge in the Frontier League with a 30-14 record, while the Hillsborough Dinos (California Tidals) are in 1st overall in the newly-formed Atlantic Coast League (which replaced the North-East League), at 28-16.
Among the struggling clubs, the Windsor Wild (Norfolk Sharks) are at the bottom of the heap, struggling to find starting pitching who can consistently win games, and with only one batter hitting better than .250.
Some of the more notable players for the month of June include Portland’s Dave Sparkes. The veteran right-hander went unbeaten in June, going 5-0 and crafting a 0.80 ERA, earning the Cow League’s Pitcher of the Month trophy. The highly talented 34-year-old pitcher has patiently waited for a spot on the Montreal Metros rotation for several seasons, but has had to wait as the Metros extremely talented staff have left no room for Sparkes.
Arizona has a young and talented first baseman to look forward to soon. Puerto Rican Tony Varela had an impressive month of June for the Baie Verte Vikings (Arizona Cowboys), hitting .385 (37-for-96) through 25 games and knocking in 3 home runs and 18 runs batted in. Varela’s efforts earned him the Batter of the Month nod for the Atlantic Coast League.
Meanwhile, back on June 5, right fielder Adam Hussey of the Mobile River Bandits (Dallas Deputies) had a notable game against Hartford, going 5-for-6 in an outing that included a double, a solo homer, and three singles.
Several Cow League players hit the disabled list during June, including Vincent Barlow of the Hillsborough Dinos (California Tidals), expected to miss 4 months with a broken hand suffered while running the bases at a home game on June 24.
Other June injuries include:
- Jose Medrano, Mobile River Bandits (Dallas Deputies) – radial nerve compression (4 months)
- Sung-hyo Ko, Portland Timberwolves (Montreal Metros) – torn PCL (9 months)
- Nari Mascagni, Ft. Worth Spectres (Denver Danger) – shoulder inflammation (4 months)
- Mike Lewellyn, Kelowna Inferno (Rimouski Fighting Moose) – bone chips in elbow (4 months)