GENEVA – Cougars fans acquainted themselves with the club’s patriotic red, white and blue uniforms during an Independence Day weekend homestand.
With the organization hosting the Team USA collegiate national team in two games at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark next week, look for that color scheme to reign again.
Team USA will oppose the Crystal Lake Cardinals of the Metropolitan CBL of Illinois at 6:30 p.m. Monday before facing a group of the summer league’s all-stars at 1 p.m. Tuesday. Cougars officials plan to assign the standard Midwest League treatment to the wood bat games, operating the scoreboard, public address and concessions as usual.
“We’ve never really had this opportunity to host a couple of games like this, and we’re hoping that we can build a relationship with these people and continue into the future,” Cougars general manager Curtis Haug said. “I think it’s something that can really become interesting when you bring in maybe teams from Japan or China or Cuba and have some games out here. That’ll be real interesting for the community to see.”
Team USA brass contacted the Cougars earlier this summer about bringing the games to Geneva. The events promise a full week of action at the ballpark, as the Cougars are set to return for a six-game homestand beginning Wednesday.
Cougars left-hander Michael Heesch, a Prairie Ridge product whose family now lives in Bartlett, is a Cardinals alumnus. Outfielder Albert Almora and first baseman/designated hitter Dan Vogelbach, both Floridians, both played Team USA age-group ball.
Holm game: West Michigan first baseman Jeff Holm, a St. Charles North alumnus, gets a crack at his boyhood MWL team beginning today when the Cougars visit the Whitecaps to open a three-game series.
An Eastern Division All-Star after batting .281 with six home runs and 42 RBIs in the first half, Holm entered Friday hitting .295 overall. He has hit two homers and driven in 17 runs since the All-Star break.
The parent Detroit Tigers selected Holm in the 12th round of the 2011 draft. He rose as high as Advanced-A Lakeland last season, but separated his right shoulder in his sixth game with the team after flipping over the dugout railing in pursuit of a foul ball.
Et cetera: The Cougars went 7-5 against Eastern Division competiton in the first half, including a five-game winning streak against Lake County, Bowling Green and Dayton. ... Right-hander Scott Baker will be the second Cub to rehab with the Cougars when he starts Sunday. Recently-released righty Shawn Camp made two appearances with the club in June.