Thursday, September 18, 2014
WEDNESDAY'S SCOREBOARD - COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL - Culver-Stockton 3, Mount Mercy 0 ..... Coe 3, Dubuque 0
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Cedar Rapids Kernels Baseball

Fort Myers wins Florida State League title

In his first playoff game, Twins prospect Jason Kanzler delivered a game-tying grand slam for Fort Myers. In his last, he managed to deliver an even bigger blow.

The 24-year-old outfielder drove a go-ahead home run in the top of the 11th inning and Fort Myers held on to beat Daytona, 4-2, in Game 4 to win the Florida State League championship.

"It's surreal," said Kanzler, one of may former Cedar Rapids Kernels on the club. "Winning a championship is amazing. It's an amazing feeling. Everyone on this team is all fired up. It's indescribable."

The title is the first for Fort Myers in its 22-year history, and also the first for second-year manager Doug Mientkiewicz. The 12-year Major Leaguer made the final out when the Miracle lost to the Cubs in the 1995 Florida State League Championship Series, Mientkiewicz's first season as a pro player.

"I lingered on that for a long time," Mientkiewicz said. "To get my first Minor League championship means the world."



Kane County KO's Kernels from playoffs

GENEVA, Ill. - John Curtiss faced a lot of high-pressure situations on the mound during his days as the closer for the Texas Longhorns, but he never faced a situation as unique as what he faced Sunday night in Geneva, Ill.

Curtiss made his Midwest League debut Sunday after being called up to join the Kernels on Saturday.

He threw five shutout innings for Cedar Rapids, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Kernels’ season going as they fell, 4-2, to the Kane County Cougars in a back-and-forth ballgame before 1,239 fans at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark.

Curtiss spent his spring with the Longhorns and his summer in Elizabethton with the Twins’ rookie level team in the Appalachian League after Minnesota made him its sixth-round pick in the June draft. But with the Kernels’ starting pitching corps running thin, Curtiss got the word he needed to board a plane to Cedar Rapids on Saturday morning and by Sunday night he was starting a game the Kernels needed to win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

All Curtiss did was throw five innings of one-hit baseball at the team with the Midwest League’s best record. He did not give up a hit until the fifth inning, though he did walk a pair and gave up a couple of warning-track sized fly balls.



English helps Kernels in playoff loss

Tanner English was back home in South Carolina Friday when he got an unexpected phone call from the Minnesota Twins.

A day later, he was the starting center fielder and leadoff hitter for the Cedar Rapids Kernels in their 5-2 loss to Kane County in the semifinals of the Midwest League playoffs at Veterans Memorial Stadium before 973 fans.

English sparkled with his new team with three hits, a triple, an RBI and arun scored. He thought his season was over when Elizabethton lost in the Appalachian League playoffs last week, but the Kernels needed a new player and he was it.

"I got called about 2 o'clock yesterday," he said. "I was going to Subway and they said if Cedar Rapids wins, get on a plane in the morning. So I'm here now."

English had to wait and see how the Kernels did Friday night in the decisive game of their opening-round series against Burlington. When the Kernels won the series, he hopped on planes from Columbia, S.C., to Chicago to Cedar Rapids.




Curtiss, English join Kernels for playoffs

The Cedar Rapids Kernels and Minnesota Twins announced Saturday that pitcher John Curtiss and outfielder Tanner English are joining the Kernels from Elizabethton of the Appalachian League.

Curtiss and English replace pitcher Lewis Thorpe and catcher Mitch Garver, who have been placed on the 7-day Disabled List.

The Twins selected Curtiss in the sixth round of the 2014 draft from the University of Texas. In nine games (six starts) at Elizabethton, he posted a 2-1 record and 2.30 ERA, allowing 35 hits and eight runs (all earned) with seven walks and 41 strikeouts in 31.1 innings.

The Twins selected English in the 11th round of the 2014 draft from the University of South Carolina. In 32 games at Elizabethton, he hit .316 with three home runs and 16 RBIs.

Thorpe goes on the DL with a left UCL sprain. In 16 starts for the Kernels, he posted a 3-2 record and 3.52 ERA, allowing 62 hits and 37 runs (28 earned) with 36 walks and 80 strikeouts in 71.2 innings.

Garver goes on the DL with a concussion suffered in the Kernels' first playoff game against Burlington. In 120 games for the Kernels, he hit .298 with 16 homers and 79 RBIs.

Curtiss and English will be active and available for Game 1 of the MWL Western Division Championship against Kane County Saturday night.




Kernels sting Bees, brace for Cougars

BURLINGTON - The Cedar Rapids Kernels came to Burlington Thursday night needing two straight wins over the Bees to advance to the second round of the Midwest League playoffs and that’s exactly what they accomplished.

The Kernels sent the Bees home for the season after topping them, 4-2, before 406 fans on a wet night at Community Field in Burlington.

Kernels won the best-of-3 series, 2-1, after losing the first game at home Wednesday.

The victory moves the Kernels into the semifinals of the Midwest League playoffs Saturday night at 6:35 against Kane County at Veterans Memorial Stadium in the Western Division finals in another best-of-3 engagement.

The second and third games (if necessary) are scheduled for Kane County Sunday and Monday.




Kernels nip Bees, knot series 1-1

BURLINGTON - The Cedar Rapids Kernels lived to play another day in the Midwest League playoffs by edging the Burlington Bees, 2-1,Thursday night before 526 fans at Community Field in Burlington.

The best-of-3 series is tied, 1-1, with the decisive third game scheduled for Burlington Friday night.

Logan Wade socked a solo home run in the eighth inning to snap a 1-1 tie and give Cedar Rapids the decisive run.

Burlington put runners on first and third with nobody out in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Cedar Rapids relief ace Jake Reed got a strikeout and 6-4-3 double play to end the game.

Burlington ace Sean Newcomb was the starting pitcher with top-prospect pedigree as the Los Angeles Angels’ No.1 pick in this year’s draft, but it was Kernels lefty Mat Batts who won the duel and kept his team alive in the postseason.



Garver hurt as Kernels drop opener

The Midwest League playoffs have just started, but the Cedar Rapids Kernels are already in deep trouble in their best-of-3 series after the Burlington Bees after losing 2-0 at Veterans Memorial Stadium Wednesday night.

Chih-Wei Hu, their best pitcher, tossed five scoreless innings Wednesday but it wasn't good enough.

The Kernels bullpen, nearly flawless the past two months, gave up two runs and took a rare loss.

Mitch Garver, their MVP and Midwest League all-star, took two nasty foul tips off his mask and could be done for the playoffs with concussion-like symptoms for the second time this summer.

The Kernels will have to defeat the Bees in Burlington Thursday night and Friday night to reach the second round of the playoffs. Right now it does not look good.



Kernels enter playoffs with 3-1 win

CLINTON - Ryan Eades pitched seven strong innings Monday as the Cedar Rapids Kernels finished the regular season with a 3-1 victory over Clinton before 1,241 fans at Ashford University Field.

The Kernels (73-67) will host Burlington (68-71) in the opening round of the Midwest League playoffs Wednesday night at 6:35 at Veterans Memorial Stadium before the best-of-3 series shifts to Burlington for Games 2 and 3 (if necessary).

Eades (10-11, 5.14 ERA) allowed one run on three hits. He struck out two batters and walked one.

Hudson Boyd tossed a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth and Jake Reed tossed a perfect frame in the ninth for his fifth save. Reed has not allowed an earned run in 22.2 straight innings.

Alex Swim and J.D. Williams went 2-for-4 for Cedar Rapids. Swim and Max Murphy collected RBIs.

The other quarterfinal pairings in the Midwest League playoffs feature Kane County against Wisconsin, West Michigan against Fort Wayne, and South Bend against Lake County.

The Cedar Rapids-Burlington winner will face the Kane County-Wisconsin winner in the Western Division finals Sept. 6-7-8.

Chih-Wei Hu (7-2, 2.29 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Kernels Wednesday night.

KERNELS (3): Hinojosa, 3b, 3 1 1 0, Vielma, ss, 3 1 1 0, Christensen, 1b, 3 0 0 0, Garver, c, 3 1 0 0, Swim, rf, 4 0 2 0, Williams, dh, 4 0 2 0, Murphy, cf, 3 0 0 0, Wade, lf, 4 0 0 0, Walker, 2b, 3 0 0 0. Totals 30 3 6 2.

CLINTON (1): Barbosa, cf, 4 0 0 0, Thomas, dh, 3 0 0 0, O'Neill, rf, 4 0 0 0, Seager, 1b, 3 0 1 0, DeCarlo, 3b, 3 0 1 0, Ward, 2b, 3 1 1 0, Carmichael, c, 3 0 0 1, Martinez, lf, 3 0 0 0, Caballero, ss, 3 0 0 0. Totals 29 1 3 1.

Kernels    102 000 000 - 3 6 1
Clinton    000 010 000 - 1 3 2

Eades, Boyd (8), Reed (9) and Garver. Misell, McCoy (4), Brooks (7) and Carmichael. W - Eades (10-11). L - Misell (8-12). S - Reed (5). 3B - Ward (2). SB - Hinojosa (2). E - Vielma (18), Misell (3), Caballero (11). T - 2:14. A - 1,241.





Mauer could return to Kernels in 2015

Jake Mauer is a loyal member of the Minnesota Twins organization and will happily return to Cedar Rapids as manager of the Kernels again next season if that's what the Twins want.

"There's a chance," he said. "Without a doubt."

He'd also like to reach the Major Leagues as a coach or manager of the Twins some day, ideally while his brother Joe is still playing for Minnesota.

Mauer, 35, has no control over the situation, other than to handle each assignment to the best of his ability and remain patient. The Minnesota organization thinks highly of him, but so far he's spent nine years in the low minors as a coach and manager.

He's considered an excellent teacher and has done a terrific job with the Kernels the past two years with a 161-117 overall record and two straight trips to the Midwest League playoffs.



Kernels blanked by Clinton, 1-0

CLINTON - The Clinton LumberKings beat the Cedar Rapids Kernels, 1-0, Sunday afternoon in a Midwest League game before 1,623 fans at Ashford University Field.

Clinton tallied the lone run in the fifth inning.

The Kernels have lost four games in a row and look to avoid a sweep to the LumberKings Monday at 2 p.m. in the final game of the regular season.

Lewis Thorpe started for the Kernels and went four scoreless innings in a no-decision. He allowed three hits while striking out four and walking four.

Clinton scored the game's only run in the bottom of the fifth inning against Kernels reliever Chris Mazza. Martin Peguero led off the frame with a double. He advanced to third base on a one-out groundout by Jeff Zimmerman. Peguero then scored on a wild pitch by Mazza with two outs.


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Kernels Calendar

April 3
2014 season opener

Midwest League Standings

Western Div.
xz-KERNELS (Twins) 48
Championship (Best-of-5)
x-Quad Cities (Astros) 43
.623 4.5
Wednesday, Sept. 11
xy-Beloit (A's) 34
35 .493 13.5
Quad Cities 3, South Bend 2
x-Clinton (Mariners)
.486 14.0
Thursday, Sept. 12
Burlington (Angels) 30
Quad Cities 5, South Bend 0
Peoria (Cardinals)
Saturday, Sept. 14
Wisconsin (Brewers) 30
Quad Cities 4, South Bend 2
Kane County (Cubs) 25
(Quad Cities wins series, 3-0)
Eastern Div.
xz-Bowling Green (Rays)
.629 --
x-Great Lakes (Dodgers)
.580 3.5
Dayton (Reds)
.529 7.0
xy-South Bend (D-Backs) 37
.529 7.0
West Michigan (Tigers)
.522 7.5
Lake County (Indians)

x-Fort Wayne (Padres) 29
Lansing (Blue Jays)

FINAL (2nd Half)
x-Clinched playoff; y-won 1st half; z-won 2nd half

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