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Can't zap 'Nuke' connections

The Cougars ended their eight-season affiliation with the Oakland A's in September 2010. Still, it's easy for some fans to see a green and gold A's jacket and think that's their team.

Beloit caused that conundrum this week as a first-season Oakland affiliate in town. The A's Midwest League farmhand was in Burlington for the two seasons before that.

Cougars all-time managerial wins leader Aaron Nieckula managed the Bees then, and a few current Beloit players were under his tutelage.

"Nuke is a good guy. Very emotional," Snappers second baseman Sam Roberts said. "I liked to play for him. He's just an all-around good guy."

Nieckula, a Stickney native and University of Illinois product, was promoted before the season to manage the A's Double-A affiliate in Midland, Texas. He was in the visitors' dugout Thursday when former Cougars righty Brooks Pounders threw a no-hitter for Northwest Arkansas.

– Kevin Druley, kdruley@shawmedia.com

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