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Wild Things logo

The Frontier League begins its all-star break today, and analyzing the Wild Things’ first half of the season and their chances for a successful second half can easily be done by two groups of people.

The glass-half-empty movement will note that Washington’s 21-30 record is the second-worst at this point in the season in the franchise’s 18 years.

On the other hand, the glass-half-full group will point out that the Wild Things are only 5½ games out of first place in the balanced East Division.

After watching his team get dominated 7-1 Sunday by the Schaumburg Boomers, Washington manager Gregg Langbehn knows some things must change quickly or his team’s glass is going to be empty.

“We had no offense this week, or inconsistent offense. We fall behind and can’t fight back,” Langbehn said after Washington lost for the sixth time in nine games.

“Our offense is just not good enough right now. You can look at the numbers and spin it any way you want, but our hitting with runners in scoring position has not been good enough.”

Matt Rose, Schaumburg’s third baseman, was very good in those situations Sunday. Rose went 4-for-5 with a double, two home runs and six RBI. That was the kind of production Schaumburg envisioned when it signed Rose in the offseason. Rose played 115 games at the Class AA level last season, and two years ago was one of the four prospects the Chicago Cubs traded to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for pitcher Jose Quintana.

“A game like this is why we bring in a guy like that,” Schaumburg manager Jamie Bennett said. “Matt is a threat every time he steps into the batter’s box.”

Rose hit a run-scoring double in the first inning off Washington starter John Havird (4-4), smacked a two-run homer off the scoreboard in the fifth that made it 4-0 and capped his big day with a three-run homer in the ninth off reliever Jesus Balaguer.

Rose and some key pickups during the season have Schaumburg only a half-game behind first-place Lake Erie.

“The team that is going to win the division is the one that rolls out the most consistent offense in the second half,” Washington general manager Tony Buccilli said.

To which Langbehn added, “Schaumburg’s offense is trending in the right direction.”

Boomers starter Payton Lobdell (1-4) threw his best game of the season, scattering five hits, not walking a batter over six innings and allowing only one run, a solo homer by Cameron Baranek in the fifth inning.

The Boomers used three relievers and they combined to strike out seven of the 11 batters they faced.

“The division is tight and I don’t think anybody is out of it,” Bennett said. “Nobody has done well against the other (division). It’s going to come down to the end. We still need to clean up some things.”

Extra bases

Prior to the game, Washington released first baseman Mikael Mogues and starting pitcher Eric Morell. Mogues was batting .202 with five home runs and 15 RBI in 25 games. He was on a 1-for-18 slide. Morell was signed in June and made four starts. He had a 1-1 record and 6.05 ERA. Washington is expected to sign a pitcher during the all-star break and activate infielder Shaine Hughes from the disabled list. … Washington right fielder Hector Roa was chosen to participate in the Home Run Derby at the all-star game that matches the Frontier League against the Can-Am League. The game will be played Wednesday in Pomona, N.Y. The Home Run Derby will be contested Tuesday night.

Sports Editor

Since 1986, Chris Dugan has been covering local sports for the Observer-Reporter, and named sports editor in 2006. Before joining the O-R, he was sports editor at the Democrat-Messenger, and a former member of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

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