GENEVA – Cougars left fielder Shawon Dunston, Jr. fell prey to the hidden ball trick during Sunday's game against Quad Cities, an embarrassing moment that might not be soon forgotten in the team's clubhouse.
At the plate, though, Cougars hitters weren't so easily fooled.
The Cougars notched 17 hits – all nine men in the order had at least one – as they swept the Rivers Bandits with a 9-5 win at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark.
Dunston drew a walk with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, and moments later, he was tagged out by first baseman AJ Reed, to the confusion of many among the 7,149 spectators.
"I've tried to do that sometimes when I've played first, fake-throw back to the pitcher," Cougars catcher Cael Brockmeyer said. "There's only like a two or three second gap there when you can tag him and I think he got him right as his hand was coming off … It was definitely kind of an interesting play.
"Fortunately it didn't cost us too much [today] but it will be fun to make fun of him for a while."
The Cougars (25-17 second half, 70-42 overall) overcame three home runs by Quad Cities (21-21, 56-55), accounting for four of the Rivers Bandits' five runs. Cougars starting pitcher Daury Torrez (10-5) allowed two of them but won his 10th game of the season, becoming the first Cougar pitcher since Dan Straily in 2010 to win 10 games in a season.
Cougars manager Mark Johnson said "the kid just loves to throw."
"It's a credit to his durability and the way he competes," Johnson said. "Sometimes he does get hit around and sometimes his stuff does get a little flat, but 10 wins, first full season, that's a heck of a milestone, and he's still strong."
Torrez struck out six in six innings, allowing five hits and walking one.
Brockmeyer supplied the lone long ball for the Cougars, swatting a solo shot to left field in the bottom of the sixth that gave Kane County a 6-3 lead.
Brockmeyer gave new Cougars catcher Victor Caratini a break behind the plate but Caratini remained in the lineup as designated hitter and notched a pair of singles with an RBI.
Brockmeyer, Daniel Lockhart and Chesny Young had three hits apiece for the Cougars.
All that offensive production ensured Quad Cities' hidden ball trick would be cold comfort at the end of a three-game sweep for the Cougars.
Johnson wasn't impressed with the River Bandits' ploy.
"I don't really buy into all that trickery [stuff]," Johnson said. "That's kind of like Little League."
Cougars (Underwood, 5-3) at Peoria (TBD), 7 p.m. today, AM-1280
Back on track
The Cougars returned to Geneva for the weekend series reeling from a season-high six-game losing streak and with their offense in a major slump.
But the Cougars shook off their struggles in emphatic fashion, sweeping Quad Cities for their seventh home series sweep of the season.
The Cougars are 44-15 at home this season.
"There's no rhyme or reason," Cougars manager Mark Johnson said. "I don't know what it is, I really don't. Sometimes it happens. It's always good to come home."
He's got range
The Cougars turned a flashy double play to end the top of the eighth as shortstop Daniel Lockhart ranged deep into the hole before firing to second baseman Chesny Young, who threw to first in time to nip burly Quad Cities left fielder Chase McDonald.
Lockhart has played more second base than shortstop but looked like a natural on that one.
"What a play," Johnson said. "That was an unbelievable play.
"That also shows his maturity. The last year or two, he probably would have rushed that throw and probably would have thrown it into right field, but he got to the ball, he knew it was a slower runner and he had to make a good throw to second, first, instead of thinking about turning a double play and throwing the ball away."