Snappers drop opener to Cougars

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Josh Flickinger/Beloit Daily News Beloit's Joseph Pena slides into second base during Thursday night's game at Pohlman Field.

BELOIT - The only thing constant in Minor League Baseball is change.

Rosters are manipulated all across the 30 organizations, with under-performing players sent down, achieving players promoted, and injured players sent to recover.

So when a roster move is made, besides the parties involved, it causes barely a ripple in the average clubhouse.

But when the floundering Beloit Snappers made nine roster moves in the last week, well, there's bound to be some impact.

The Snappers have begun to emerge from their slumber that took their season off the tracks just a few weeks into it.

Though they fell 2-1 Thursday night in the series opener to Kane County, there were signs that a resurgence is in the air.

Beloit manager Lloyd Turner said the team has benefited from its new additions.

"There is a different energy in the dugout now," Turner said. "Not to say that the guys who left here were bad guys. But you just have a new energy and leadership with these new guys. And the pitchers, they've been doing well. You've got to give a lot of credit to them, too."

The pitching certainly held up its end of the bargain Thursday night, led by starter Bryce Nightengale, who allowed two runs in 5 1-3 innings.

The bullpen behind Nightengale was flawless, pitching the final 3 2-3 innings without allowing a run.

The Snappers grabbed a 1-0 lead when a groundout by Payton Squier plated Marcos Britos in the third inning.

Kane County bounced back with a run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly, then scored the game's final run in the sixth on an RBI single by Buddy Kennedy.

The Snappers had their share of opportunities, including in the ninth inning when the tying run was on third before Cooper Goldby struck out swinging. The Snappers left seven men on base and went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

Turner said the impact of a good clubhouse can be felt on the field.

"You would like to say the good would outweigh the bad," Turner said. "But from my experience in the game, it just takes one rotten apple or bad seed to change the environment of the locker room. You just hope and pray that you have strong enough leadership on the good side that it will flush out the bad.

"I'm not saying we have a bunch of bad seeds here, but the more good ones you can get, the better your odds are of having a good atmosphere. And that is so important in this sport."

Snappers third baseman Cobie Vance said the recent

"The guys that are coming in are excited," Vance said. "They aren't really sure what to expect, and it's been nice because they have come up when the weather is nice and not 30 degrees or snowing. So it's been good. I do think they've brought a good energy and it's part of the reason that we are starting to play better."

The Snappers and Cougars will battle in game two of the series Friday at 6:30 p.m.

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