Tuesday, September 01, 2015
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Cedar Rapids Kernels Baseball

Kernels waste gem by Jorge

PEORIA - The Cedar Rapids Kernels wasted a strong pitching performance by Felix Jorge Monday night and lost to Peoria, 1-0, in a Midwest League game before 1,528 fans at Dozer Park.

The Chiefs scored an unearned run against Jorge in the bottom of the first inning following an error by Kernels second baseman Rafael Velera. As it turned out, that was the only run in the game.

Jorge (6-7, 2.76 ERA) pitched 6 2/3 innings before retiring for the night. He allowed six hits with six strikeouts and one walk. Michael Theofanopoulos pitched 1 1/3 scoring innings in relief with three strikeouts and no hits.



Kernels snap 5-game losing streak

PEORIA - Keaton Steele pitched eight strong innings Sunday and the Cedar Rapids Kernels snapped a five-game losing streak with a 7-3 victory over the Peoria Chiefs before 2,869 fans at Dozer Park.

Steele (6-4, 3.33 ERA) allowed three runs on eight hits. He struck out six batters and did not walk anyone.

T.J. White went 3-for-5 for the Kernels with a home and two runs scored. Rafael Valera, Nick Gordon and Austin Diemer had two hits. Alex Real drove in two runs.

The Kernels scored six runs in the second inning to take control.

Cedar Rapids (73-59) and Peoria (71-59) meet again Monday at 7 p.m. in Peoria.

KERNELS (7): Valera, 2b, 5 1 2 0, Gordon, ss, 5 1 2 1, Corcino, rf, 5 0 0 0, White, 3b, 5 2 3 1, Murphy, lf, 4 1 1 0, Real, dh, 3 1 1 2, Doe, 1b, 4 0 0 0, Navarreto, c, 3 0 0 0, Diemer, cf, 4 1 2 1. Totals 38 7 11 5.

PEORIA (3): Seferina, 2b, 4 0 2 0, Thompson, rf, 4 0 0 0, DeJong, 3b, 4 1 1 0, De Leon, 1b, 4 1 1 0, Bader, cf, 4 0 2 0, O'Keefe, dh, 4 1 3 3, Bean, c, 4 0 0 0, Peoples-Walls, lf, 3 0 0 0, Swirchak, ss, 3 0 0 0. Totals 34 3 9 3.

Kernels    061 000 000 - 7 11 1
Peoria     020 000 100 - 3 9 4

Steele, Curtiss (9) and Navarreto. Beck, Bray (7), Grana (9) and Bean. W - Steele (6-4). L - Beck (0-2). 2B - Diemer (8), DeJong (12), O'Keefe (7). 3B - Gordon (6). HR - White (2), O'Keefe (5). E - White (18), Seferina 2 (11), Peoples-Walls (3), DeJong (9). T - 2:18. A - 2,869.


Miller made quick climb to Kernels

Cedar Rapids Kernels infielder Sean Miller was wearing a South Carolina-Aiken uniform when his baseball season began in the spring and he’s now suiting up for his second pro team this summer.

Miller, a shortstop by trade, has been getting work at second base for the Kernels, who have Nick Gordon solidly entrenched at shortstop. As they have been doing frequently, Miller and Gordon hit in the top two spots of the Kernels’ batting order during the nightcap of their doubleheader with the Kane County Cougars Saturday night.

A Saturday fireworks crowd of 4,863 at Veterans Memorial Stadium saw the Cougars sweep both ends of the twinbill, 6-2 and 4-3, giving Cedar Rapids a season-worst five game losing streak.

Miller was a “young junior,” to use Kernels Manager Jake Mauer’s words, at SC-Aiken. He was just 20 years old throughout his junior season of college and won’t turn 21 until after the season ends.



Kernels set twinbill for Saturday

Friday's scheduled game between the Cedar Rapids Kernels and Kane County Cougars was postponed due to rain. The two teams will play a doubleheader at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The doubleheader will consist of two seven-inning games.

Saturday is Cargill/Special Olympics Night featuring a silent auction on the concourse during the game with the proceeds to benefit Special Olympics. There will be a fireworks show after the doubleheader.


Kane County blanks Kernels, 5-0

Cedar Rapids Kernels pitcher Randy Rosario hadn’t been credited with a win since a start at Kane County on July 11.

On Thursday night against those same Cougars, he pitched well enough to win, but the Kernels offense was lacking as four Kane County pitchers combined for a 5-0 shutout before 2,214 fans at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The loss was the third straight for the Kernels.

Rosario gave up the first three Kane County runs, but only one was earned. One of the errors leading to an unearned run in the second inning was committed by Rosario when he failed to catch a throw while covering first base.

The lefty retired the final 10 batters he faced, though several of those outs were well-hit balls.

The final two Cougar runs, both charged to reliever Yorman Landa in the eighth inning, were also unearned.



Kernels show feet of clay in loss

For awhile Wednesday night it looked like Sam Clay might have a good story to tell his grand-kids some day.

He learns Tuesday night that he's being promoted from Elizabethton to Cedar Rapids, hustles to Iowa on short notice and is the starting pitcher for the Kernels in their Midwest League game against Peoria at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

All goes well for awhile as Clay, a 22-year-old southpaw from Georgia who pitched for the Kernels earlier in the year. He tosses three shutout innings to begin the game and Cedar Rapids grabs a 2-0 lead.

Peoria scores three runs in the top of the fourth for a 3-2 lead, but the Kernels score twice in the bottom of the fourth for a 4-3 advantage and Clay needs just three more outs to qualify for a victory.



Clay replaces Mildren on Kernels

The Cedar Rapids Kernels and Minnesota Twins announced Wednesday that pitcher Ethan Mildren has been promoted to Fort Myers and pitcher Sam Clay will rejoin the Kernels from Elizabethton.

Mildren joined the Kernels June 17 and pitched in 12 games. He posted a 4-1 record and 3.51 ERA. The Twins selected Mildren in the 12th round of the draft from the University of Pittsburgh.

Clay was assigned to Extended Spring Training May 18 and made 10 appearances for Elizabethton, posting a 1-3 record and 3.00 ERA. Clay made nine relief appearances for the Kernels this season, posting an 0-2 record and 4.50 ERA. He was selected by the Twins in the fourth round of the 2014 draft from Georgia Tech.


Mauer mulls pitchers for MWL playoffs

Cedar Rapids Kernels Manager Jake Mauer is starting to think about his pitching rotation for the Midwest League playoffs and who will get the ball in the opener against Quad Cities on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

And the winner is ... He's not sure yet.

"There's been talk," Mauer said Tuesday night. "Probably next week we'll start lining them up. We're not really set. We've got some options."

Mauer mentioned Felix Jorge, Keaton Steele, Sam Gibbons and Randy Rosario as possibilities, but was not ready to tip his hand.

Jorge pitched six innings Tuesday night as the Kernels lost to Peoria, 7-4, before 1,401 fans at Veterans Memorial Stadium and has been the team's most consistent hurler all season.

Jorge allowed nine hits and three earned runs in six innings Tuesday. He has tailed off a little the past two weeks after dominating the league for most of the year, but he's still a strong possibility for the playoff opener.



Kernels enjoy 23-3 romp over Peoria

Every minor leaguer's goal entering the season is to develop his game to the point where he earns a promotion to the next level in the system.

Sometimes, that call comes when a player has dominated play within his current league. Other times, circumstances align to create an opportunity for a player to move up the organizational ladder, at least temporarily.

Such circumstances allowed Cedar Rapids Kernels third baseman T.J. White to get a promotion to Fort Myers July 10, despite carrying just a .230 batting average at the time. But as the Miracle began to rack up injuries among their early-season regulars at the corner infield positions, White and catcher/first baseman Brett Doe both got the call to move up. By Aug. 4, White was back in a Kernels uniform for Manager Jake Mauer.

"Yeah, Jake pretty much let us know,” White recalled. “He said it could be four to five days, it could be two weeks or it could be the whole season. So we were looking to just go play and have fun with it.”

White is still having fun and has turned his season around. Through the weekend, he was carrying a .317 batting average since his return to the Kernels and had reached base in 20 straight games.



Gibbons named MWL Pitcher of Week

The Midwest League and MiLB.com announced Monday that Kernels pitcher Sam Gibbons has been named the MWL Pitcher of the Week for the period ending Aug. 23.

Gibbons struck out 12 batters and allowed just one hit in eight innings in a 2-0 win at Clinton Saturday. This is the second time this season that Gibbons has been named Pitcher of the Week.

The Minnesota Twins signed Gibbons as an international free agent on July 2, 2011 and this is his fourth season in professional baseball.

Tanner English, Felix Jorge, Stephen Gonsalves, Trey Vavra, Max Murphy and Keaton Steele of the Kernels also have received one of the weekly honors from the Midwest League this season.

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Kernels Calendar

April 3
2014 season opener


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