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Middle inning resurgence powers South Bend Cubs to victory

Velazquez has been South Bend’s best hitter this season, even with the likes of Cubs top-10 prospects Brennen Davis and Chase Strumpf starting off their season in South Bend.
Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 11:53 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (South Bend Cubs) - South Bend’s comeback victories have become a routine this year, especially at Four Winds Field. Today the Cubs decided to start that process early.

Wisconsin struck first, after an RBI single from Thomas Dillard plated the Timber Rattler shortstop David Hamilton in the first inning. But South Bend got the run back in the second, on Matt Burch’s first hit for South Bend. Burch took an 0-1 pitch deep into right field for a standup double that scored Yonathan Perlaza from first.

Then the home run ball came into play.

A leadoff walk of Chad McClanahan in the third set up Hamilton to do some damage for Wisconsin. He obliged, taking a Ryan Jensen fastball over the right centerfield wall. It wasn’t an automatic homer, but it just kept carrying over the wall to give Wisconsin a 3-1 lead. South Bend chipped away in the bottom half of the frame, scoring a run to make it 3-2 on a single rocketed up the middle by Tyler Durna.

A scoreless fourth set up a changing of the tide.

Josue Huma led off the fifth with a base hit, and stole his first bag of the season. The next two batters were retired by former South Bend Cub Zach Mort, and up came Nelson Velazquez with two away.

Velazquez has been South Bend’s best hitter this season, even with the likes of Cubs top-10 prospects Brennen Davis and Chase Strumpf starting off their season in South Bend. Velazquez had been sitting on fastballs all night, and finally got one he could turn on from Mort after two high fly ball outs coming on previous Mort heaters.

The first pitch Velazquez saw in the fifth was all he needed.

Nelson hit a laser to centerfield to give South Bend the lead 4-3, and gave the Cubs outfield prospect his sixth big fly of the season.

From then on it was all South Bend, who added three more runs in the sixth as well. Jake Washer led off the sixth with a double, and scored on a sacrifice fly that Korry Howell dropped. The Timber Rattler’s first error of the game would prove costly, as Slaughter would end up at second base and later score on an RBI single from Bradlee Beesley. Some smart baserunning and Wisconsin miscues plated Beesley to bring the Cubs’ lead to 7-3.

The Timber Rattlers wouldn’t go away quietly, however, adding a run in the eighth on a Thomas Dillard groundout and another in the ninth on a sacrifice fly to make it 7-5. Wisconsin had the tying run at the plate with two outs, but Juan Gámez struck out the Brewers top prospect Garrett Mitchell for his first save of the season.

South Bend moved into third in the High-A Central West Division and back up to .500 with the victory. Edmond Americaan led the way from the leadoff spot, going 4-5 with a triple and two runs. Nelson Velazquez (1-4, HR, 2 RBI) clubbed his team-leading sixth home run to give South Bend a lead they never looked back from.

On the hill, Tanner Jesson-Dalton pitched two scoreless innings of relief and struck out four of the six batters he faced to earn his first victory of the season. Scott Kobos followed him up with a scoreless inning in his home debut for South Bend, fanning three of four Timber Rattlers in the seventh.

Next Up: Chris Kachmar (0-2, 5.16 ERA) vs Freisis Adames (2-1, 7.11 ERA). South Bend returns home to continue the series against division foe Wisconsin. First pitch is at 7:05 pm.