Monday, September 01, 2014
MONDAY'S SCOREBOARD - MWL - Kernels 3, Clinton 1
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Cedar Rapids Kernels Baseball

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.



Kernels trimmed by Clinton, 7-5

CLINTON - The Clinton LumberKings topped the Cedar Rapids Kernels, 7-5, Saturday night before 3,125 fans at Ashford University Field in the opener of a three-game series.

Mitch Garver and Jonatan Hinojosa had three hits for the Kernels and Garver had two RBIs, both times driving in Hinojosa.

The teams meet Sunday at 2 p.m.

The Kernels jumped in front 1-0 in the first inning when Garver's RBI single to left plated Hinojosa from second base. Hinojosa led off the game with a single and advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Tanner Vavra.

The LumberKings took a 6-1 lead with a five-run fourth inning, sending 10 batters to the plate.

The Kernels cut into the deficit with a pair of runs in the sixth inning, making the score 6-3. The Kernels loaded the bases with a walk and two singles.



Kernels fall to Kane County, 6-1

The plan was pitcher-by-committee for the Cedar Rapids Kernels Friday night, with Manager Jake Mauer rationing the innings of his pitching staff as they near  prescribed limits.

With one of the best bullpens in the Midwest League, turning the game over to the pen early might not be a bad strategy, but it did not work for the Kernels this time.

Cedar Rapids fell to the Kane County Cougars, 6-1 ,in a rain-shortened home finale that ended one out short of six complete innings.

Fans waited 52 extra minutes before the first pitch could be thrown and the rain started back up during the fourth inning. With two outs in the Kernels' half of the sixth inning, home plate umpire Matt Bates called for the tarp. After waiting the mandatory 30 minutes, the game was declared over due to unplayable field conditions.

Both the Kernels and Cougars already have their postseason seeds locked in place, making the results of the game of little consequence to either team.

Mitch Garver provided all of the Kernels’ firepower on the night with a deep solo home run to lead off the second inning.

Kane county tallied two unearned runs in the fourth inning, three runs in the fifth and its final run in the sixth.

Kernels starting pitcher Mat Batts worked two perfect innings to start the game before stepping aside in favor of reliever Jared Wilson. Mauer explained the unusually brief appearance of his starting pitcher after the game.

“We’re going to run into innings (limit) with him,” Mauer said of Batts, who he's hoping to use in the playoffs, despite the looming innings limit. “We’re hoping we get the okay to throw him Thursday (game 2 vs Burlington)."

The skipper has already named Chih-Wei Hu his Game 1 starting pitcher on Wednesday.

“After (Thursday), we’ll see where we’ll be. With the off day (Tuesday), the other two lefties (Stephen Gonsalves and Lewis Thorpe), we could go with either one.”

Mauer wouldn’t rule out the potential need to turn to relief arms for a spot start in the playoffs.

“We’re trying to stretch Jared Wilson out a little bit, just in case thesituation comes up (where he’s needed to start)," said Mauer. “These long relief guys have been kind of spoiled these last two months. They haven’t been asked to work so much.”

That could change in the playoffs, when a struggling starter could get a quicker hook than usual.

“These guys have to understand, in a playoff situation, you’ve got to try to give your boys a chance to win. You get in playoff time, you’re trying to develop, but we’re trying to win. We owe it to your teammates and we owe it to everybody here.”

Wilson added a perfect third inning to Batts’ two perfect stanzas, but ran into trouble after Cougar left fielder Mark Zagunis reached on shortstop Enjelb Vielma’s fielding error to start the visitor's fourth inning.

Brandon Bixler relieved Wilson with two outs in the fifth inning and also worked the sixth.

Pitcher Kohl Stewart, who has been on the shelf with shoulder discomfort for most of the past month or more, threw a bullpen session on Friday and Mauer indicated the 19-year-old righthander felt good afterward.

No decision concerning reactivating Stewart will be made at least until he’s evaluated on Saturday, but Mauer was hopeful that he’d be getting Stewart back before the regular season finale on Monday in Clinton.

An announced crowd 3,257 fans entered the turnstiles at Veterans Memorial Stadium on the evening, pushing the total attendance for the Kernels to 171,011. That total is 9,677 fewer fans than the 180,688 that watched the Kernels at home a year ago, in the first year of Cedar Rapids’ affiliation with the Minnesota Twins.

The Kernels wrap up their regular season with a Labor Day Weekend series in Clinton Friday through Sunday.

The Kernels will host Wednesday’s playoff Game 1 against the Burlington Bees at 6:35.


Kernels clinch No.1 seed with dramatic win

Those champagne-style bottles with the long necks had cider in them instead of the real stuff, but the Cedar Rapids Kernels were too happy to care about the contents as they celebrated in their locker room Wednesday night.

All they wanted to do was spray everyone in sight, smear thick icing on their teammates and enjoy the special moment.

The Kernels clipped Kane Country, 3-2, in 11 innings before 2,005 fans at Veterans Memorial Stadium to claim a No.1 seed for the Midwest League playoffs that start next Wednesday night at home against Burlington.

Those playoff tickets are now on sale.

The cider in those long-necked bottles tasted very, very sweet. There was no alcohol to be found in the clubhouse.

"We're still a young club, so we don't have everybody that's 21 yet," explained Tanner Vavra, who scored the winning run with a terrific slide. "We have to play it safe."



Kernels release MWL schedule for 2015

The Cedar Rapids Kernels released their 2015 Midwest League home schedule Wednesday with Opening Day set for Sunday, April 12 against the Beloit Snappers at 4:05 p.m.

The Kernels will begin the 2015 Midwest League season on the road at Kane County on Thursday, April 9.

The Kernels will begin taking group outing reservations for the 2015 season the week of Sept. 15, after the Midwest League playoffs end. Contact Andrea Brommelkamp at (319) 896-7603 ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) to reserve one of the Kernels' many group outing areas.

Areas include the Plumbers and Pipefitters Pavilion, Arctic Insulation Party Plaza, Miller Mezzanine, Cedar Rapids Area Association of Realtors Grand Slam Suite and Kernels Diamond Suites.

Season ticket packages for the 2015 season will go on sale in late September. Individual game tickets for the 2015 season will go on sale to the general public on Monday, March 23 at 10 a.m.


Kernels can clinch No.1 seed at home

DAVENPORT - Mitch Garver and the Cedar Rapids Kernels are coming home with a great chance to clinch a No.1 seed for the Midwest League playoffs before their own fans at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The Kernels tripped Quad Cities, 6-1, Tuesday night before 1,943 folks at Modern Woodmen Park to finish with a 4-2 record on their commuter road trips to Burlington and Davenport the past six days.

Cedar Rapids owns a six-game lead over Wisconsin with six games left in the regular season for the No.1 seed in the Western Division for the second half of the campaign. That means their magic number is now 1 for getting that No.1 seed.

The Kernels can secure the No.1 seed by defeating Kane County at home on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. The Kernels also can secure the No.1 seed with a loss by Wisconsin, but they'd rather not back into the honor.




Weary Kernels whiff 18 times in loss

DAVENPORT - Five hot days. Five road games. Five bus rides to the Mississippi River and back.

It's been an exhausting stretch for the Cedar Rapids Kernels, but at least the end is in sight with the Midwest League playoffs starting next week.

The weary Kernels struck out a season-high 18 times Monday night and lost to the Quad Cities River Bandits, 3-2, before 2,673 fans at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport.

"Eighteen strikeouts," said Kernels Manager Jake Mauer with an unhappy whistle. "That's a lot of strikeouts.

"That's 18 of 27 outs they didn't have to do anything. The defense didn't have to work or catch a ball or make a play. That's just not acceptable."

The Kernels had not struck out more than 14 times in a game this season prior to Monday. "We probably surpassed that in the fifth inning," said Mauer. "It felt like it."



Garver named to MWL all-star team

Cedar Rapids Kernels catcher Mitch Garver was named to the Midwest League all-star team Monday, as selected by the league's 16 managers.

Garver was hitting .299 with 15 home runs and 74 RBIs heading into Monday night's game against the Quad Cities River Bandits in Davenport.

Wynton Bernard of West Michigan was named the MVP for the 2014 season. Andre Velazquez of South Bend was named the Prospect of the Year and Mark Johnson of Kane County was tabbed the Manager of the Year.

South Bend and West Michigan both had three members on the squad.


First Base - Jake Bauers (Fort Wayne)

Second Base - Kean Wong (Bowling Green)

Third Base - Mitch Nay (Lansing)

Shortstop - Andrew Velazquez (South Bend)

Outfield - Wynton Bernard (West Michigan)

Outfield - Brett Phillips (Quad Cities)

Outfield - Joey Curletta (Great Lakes)

Catcher - Mitch Garver (Cedar Rapids)

Designated Hitter - Clint Coulter (Wisconsin)

RH Pitcher - Buck Farmer (West Michigan)

LH Pitcher - Kevin Ziomek (West Michigan)

RH Reliever - Silvino Bracho (South Bend)

LH Reliever - Will Locante (South Bend)


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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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