By John Bohnenkamp
The Burlington Bees opened the second half of the Prospect League season on Thursday.
The Bees closed the first half at 15-14, 1/2-game behind the Normal CornBelters for the Great River Division first-half title.
A look at the Bees’ numbers for the first half:
• Record: 15-14 (9th best in Prospect League)
• Batting average: .283 (2nd)
• ERA: 5.17 (5th)
• Fielding percentage: .952 (T-12th)
• May batting average: .294
• May earned run average: 4.15
• June batting average: .280
• June ERA: 5.36
Some superlatives for the month:
• Jackson Jones had an 11-game road hitting streak.
• Kevin Santiago had an 8-game home hitting streak.
• Mason Land had three sacrifice flies in the June 4 game against O’Fallon.
• Ben Nippolt tied for the league lead with 23 walks.
• Jones had 115 at-bats, third most in the league. He led the league with 12 doubles and 20 extra-base hits, and was tied for fourth in the league with 8 home runs. He had 41 hits, tied for third.
• Pitcher McLain Harris was eighth in the league in ERA at 2.80, and tied for second in the league in strikeouts with 41. Harris led the league with 35 1/3 innings pitched.
• Reliever Garrett Langrell had four wins.
TAKING CARE OF THE FIELD
You can often catch Bees manager Gary McClure and his coaching staff working on the field before the game.
It’s something McClure said he appreciates.
“It can be a little bit soothing at times, if you’re not in a big, big rush,” he said. “I’ve always enjoyed working on the field.”
It was especially challenging in the last couple of weeks, considering the rain. Burlington had 5.18 inches of rain for the month.
“The field drains well,” McClure said. “It does a great job of taking in the water.”
The rain, of course, leads to one thing McClure doesn’t like — putting the tarp on the field, and then taking it off after the rain.
“I don’t like the tarp, at all,” he said. “Hate it. The other stuff, I’m fine with.”
THE WEEK AHEAD
• Tuesday, vs. Clinton. After an off-day on Monday, the Bees play host to the LumberKings in a Great River Division game.
• Thursday, at O’Fallon and Friday, at Alton. The Bees make a two-game road swing through the Prairie Land Division.
• Saturday and Sunday, vs. Normal. It’s a two-game home series with the CornBelters in a key division showdown.
Photo: Jackson Jones led the Prospect League in doubles and extra-base hits in the first half. (Steve Cirinna/Burlington Bees)