Boomers looking to bounce back after tough season
For the second straight season, the Schaumburg Boomers were home earlier than hoped.
This season, the Boomers posted a Frontier League-worst 41-55, which was a one-game improvement on their 2015 record of 40-56. Schaumburg didn't qualify for the league playoffs in either season -- a turnaround from the franchise's run of two straight league titles in 2013 and 2014.
“Obviously, we need to do a better job in the win-loss category,” Boomers Manager Jamie Bennett recently told North Cook News. “That being said, I thought we competed very well.”
One area the team was successful, Bennett said, was pitching. According to the Frontier League's website, the Boomers were second in the league in strikeouts with 726 and walks allowed with 282, and ranked in the middle of the league in earned-run average (4.22), walks and hits per inning (1.36) and home runs allowed (71).
Schaumburg's staff allowed the most hits with 865.
Gunnar Kines had the team's best ERA at 2.96, which ranked fourth in the league, and also fourth in strikeouts with 104. Seth Webster was third in the league in strikeouts, with 108.
At the plate, the Boomers were last in the league in runs scored (350), home runs (36), on-base percentage (.312) and on-base plus slugging percentage (.644).
Paul Kronefeld led Schaumburg with a .279 batting average and 10 home runs.
Bennett said health was an issue with the squad this season. According to the league's website, the Boomers put 10 players on one of the league's disabled lists this season, with two of them going on the 60-day list.
“Injuries have hampered us the last couple of seasons, and I will need to do a better job of preparing for those scenarios,” Bennett said. “I thought our chemistry and leadership was great, and that is something that we will need to maintain in order to get back to the postseason.”
Losing players to affiliated baseball also affected the team, he said.
Bennett couldn't say for sure who would be back with the team next season, given that it is still early in the postseason.
“We saw some good things out of several players that we think could help us in the future,” he said. “Turnover is always a big part of independent ball. Several guys may retire and move on from baseball, and there is always the issue of salary demands and staying under the salary cap.”
Off the field, Schaumburg was named the league's Organization of the Year and led the league in attendance with 172,996 fans over 48 home games, for an average of 3,604 per game. That average was an increase of more than 500 fans per game compared to 2015's figures.
“Our front office has done an outstanding job the last five seasons in getting fans to the ballpark; they have gotten our name out and created a great environment at the ball park,” Bennett said. “With a promotion nearly every night, there is always something exciting happening. From an on-the-field standpoint, despite not making (the) postseason, we competed very well and had a lot of exciting games this season.”