Baseball: Like father, like son as Shawon Dunston Jr. delivers winning single for Cougars in 10th

Cougars 2, Burlington 1

Recap: With his father making a rare visit to watch him play, Cougars outfielder Shawon Dunston Jr. delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the 10th to give the Cougars a 2-1 win in the series opener against Burlington.

Cougars record: 81-45, 36-20 second half

Up next: Burlington (Daniel Hurtado 2-2) at Kane County (Paul Blackburn 9-4), 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, WBIG-AM (1280), ( kccougars.com).

Cougars manager Mark Johnson said that sometimes he just knows in his gut what the right thing to do is, and so far this season, his gut has been right far more often than not.

So with Trey Martin on second base in a 1-1 game in the bottom of the 10th, Johnson had a feeling that Shawon Dunston, Jr. would be able to get the job done.

Playing in front of his father for the first time in a professional game outside of spring training, Dunston Jr. delivered.

Johnson never put the bunt sign on for Dunston with no outs, but Martin reached second on a wild pitch. Martin told Dunston “if it hits the grass, I’m going to score and we’re going to win,” and Dunston placed a two-strike offering into shallow right and Martin did the rest.

The 2-1 win runs the Cougars’ win streak to eight games, their record in extra innings to 12-4, their home record to 48-15 and their season mark to 81-45.

“Shawon is swinging one of the hottest bats we’ve got,” Johnson said of Dunston, whose father is the San Francisco Giants coach and former Cubs shortstop of the same name. “He’s our guy. I’ve got all the trust in the world in Shawon right now. After the wild pitch, with two strikes, he still got it done.”

Dunston’s approach in the final at-bat changed nearly every pitch. Initially, after Martin walked, the thought was to get him into scoring position. The wild pitch changed that into an attack situation. But with two strikes, Dunston had to adjust again. Grant Gordon made a mistake, and Dunston pounced on it with his dad sitting a few rows behind the Cougars’ on-deck circle.

“It was pretty nice,” Dunston Jr. said. “He told me awhile ago that he was going to come out since they had an off day (before starting a series Tuesday against the Cubs). He’s only seen me play in spring training, so that doesn’t really count.”

Jen-Ho Tseng was dominant once again, keeping the Cougars in the game. He went six innings, allowing a run on four hits, walking none, and striking out five. He left in a 1-1 tie which was provided when Dunston scratched out an unearned run in the third.

Dunston also showed off a tool that his father was known for ­— his arm — by gunning down Bo Way at the plate from left to end the first inning.

“He’ll never forget this,” Johnson said. “It’s a very special day.”

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Cougars 2, Burlington 1

Recap: With his father making a rare visit to watch him play, Cougars outfielder Shawon Dunston Jr. delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the 10th to give the Cougars a 2-1 win in the series opener against Burlington.

Cougars record: 81-45, 36-20 second half

Up next: Burlington (Daniel Hurtado 2-2) at Kane County (Paul Blackburn 9-4), 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, WBIG-AM (1280), ( kccougars.com).

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