Friday, March 27, 2015
THURSDAY'S SCOREBOARD - BOYS TRACK: Washington Relays, canceled ... GIRLS TRACK: Linn-Mar, Prairie, Washington at Muscatine Invitational ... COLLEGE SOFTBALL: Mount Mercy vs. Spring Hill, canceled (rain) ... COLLEGE BASEBALL: Kirkwood 14, Cornell JV 4 ...
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Cedar Rapids Kernels Baseball

Sewera named co-MVP in Iowa Conference

Coe College national champion Farai Sewera has been named the co-MVP in wrestling for the Iowa Conference this season.

Sewera, a junior from Roselle, Ill., finished the season with a 29-2 record after defeating Tyler Schneider of Wisconsin-La Crosse, 9-4, in the NCAA finals at 165 pounds.

Kenny Martin of Wartburg was named co-MVP with Sewera. The Iowa Conference MVP is awarded to any wrestler who wins an NCAA individual title.

Sewera, Jan Rosenberg, Ryan Harrington, Ryan Sheldon, Donnie Horner and junior Creighton Fox were named to the All-Iowa Conference Wrestling Team. Coe's six selections were the second-most by a member school. The team is composed of the top three Iowa Conference place-winners at the NCAA Division III Central Region Championships.

The Kohawks finished seventh at the NCAA Championships for the seventh top-10 finish in school history.


Kernels looking for host families

Imagine being able to tell your friends that you once lived with a Major League baseball player. You may just get to do that if you choose to host a member of the Kernels during the 2015 season.

The Cedar Rapids Kernels Host Family Program is currently looking for anyone interested in housing a member of the Kernels for the 2015 season. Hosting a minor league player can be a very rewarding experience for both parties, the Kernels say in a press release.

Often times these living arrangements generate lifetime friendships. In  instances involving foreign players it is also a wonderful opportunity to learn about their culture as well as sharing yours with them.

This is a voluntary program and host families receive no monetary compensation from the Kernels. However, host families do receive several benefits including invitations to team picnics, cookouts and two tickets to each home Kernels game. Although it is not a requirement to become a host family, the ability for a family to provide a hosted player with available transportation is ideal.

Members of the Kernels arrive in Cedar Rapids in early April and most remain with the team through mid-September.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Kernels Host Family Program should contact Scott Wilson ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) at (319) 896-7612.


Seyfer named president of Kernels

Greg Seyfer has been elected the new president of the Cedar Rapids  Kernels, the club announced Wednesday.

Seyfer succeeds Gary Keoppel as president. Greg Churchill was elected Vice President.

"The Board of Directors thank Gary for serving as the club's president for the past five years", said Seyfer. "He has done a tremendous job in leading the implementation of the organization's strategic plan of supporting the community, building a solid financial foundation, and preserving and promoting the game of baseball."

"I've enjoyed my time as President of the Cedar Rapids Ball Club and look forward to continuing to contribute and support the organization," said Keoppel. "I am confident that Greg Seyfer will do a great job of leading the club."

In addition to the changes on the Board of Directors, the club also announced organizational changes in the front office. Doug Nelson has been named Chief Executive Officer of the Cedar Rapids Ball Club and will oversee the organization's three operating divisions: Cedar Rapids Kernels, Waterloo Bucks and Kernels Concessions.

Scott Wilson has been promoted to General Manager of the Cedar Rapids Kernels and Dan Corbin will continue to serve as the General Manager of the Waterloo Bucks.


Mauer will return as Kernels manager

Jake Mauer will return for his third year as the manager of the Cedar Rapids Kernels in 2015, the Kernels and the Minnesota Twins announced Friday.

Mauer has led the Kernels to two straight berths in the Midwest League playoffs.

Henry Bonilla will be the Kernels pitching coach for 2015 after serving as the pitching coach at Elizabethton in 2014. This is his fourth season as a coach at the professional level.

Tommy Watkins will be returning to Cedar Rapids for his third season with the Kernels as the hitting coach.


Kernels installing new drainage system

The Cedar Rapids Kernels are confident they've solved their flooding problems by installing a new drainage system at Veterans Memorial Stadium this fall.

The $120,000 project is nearing completion, although it fell behind schedule due to unseasonably cold temperatures in November.

The flooding problem has existed ever since the stadium opened in 2002. When the stadium was built, a 10-inch pipe was installed to drain the entire bowl section of seats and it was not big enough to handle all the water from a heavy storm.

Excess rain water would run down the tunnel behind home plate and into dressing areas.

"Whenever there's a heavy downpour, it exceeds the limit for what that little 10-inch pipe will carry, and that creates flooding into the umpires room and both the visiting and home locker rooms," Kernels General Manager Doug Nelson explained Monday.



Molitor coming to Kernels banquet

New Minnesota Twins Manager Paul Molitor is scheduled to be the featured guest at the 19th annual Cedar Rapids Kernels Hot Stove Banquet, to be held Tuesday, Jan. 13 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in downtown Cedar Rapids.

The banquet will include a silent auction featuring sports memorabilia and local items, the appearance of the Minnesota Twins Winter Caravan as well as the induction of the Class of 2015 into the Cedar Rapids Baseball Hall of Fame. This year's Hall of Fame Class includes Nick Adenhart, Chili Davis, Lanny Peterson and Burt Wilson.

This is the third time the Minnesota Twins Winter Caravan has visited Cedar Rapids and will feature Twins All-Star closer Glen Perkins, Molitor, coach Gene Glynn and a roundtable discussion with Q&A sessions and autographs. Kris Atteberry from the Twins Radio Network will emcee the Twins Winter Caravan. Players and coaches appearing with the Twins Winter Caravan are subject to change.

Proceeds from this event help the Kernels Foundation accomplish its vision of ensuring that all youth in Eastern Iowa have the opportunity to experience the thrills and life-enhancing lessons that come from engaging in athletics and recreational activities.

Tickets for the banquet go on sale Monday and are $40 in advance and $45 at the door, with corporate tables seating 10 people available for $350. Tickets can be purchased at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium during regular business hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by phone at 363-3887. Banquet tickets may be purchased on-line at starting Monday.

KCRG TV-9, KZIA and KGYM are media sponsors of the banquet.


Kernels donate MWL fine money to HACAP

The Cedar Rapids Kernels have donated their share of Midwest League fine money, collected from the 16 MWL clubs, to the HACAP Food Reservoir.

As a member of America's Second Harvest and the National Food Bank Network, the HACAP Food Reservoir distributes donated products to area soup kitchens, pantries, senior and child care centers, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers and other non-profit food programs that feed the needy.

Annually, the HACAP Food Reservoir Programs distribute 2.4 million pounds of food to local organizations and provide 4,000 food boxes to families in need.

The Midwest League collects fine money from players and coaches throughout the season when they are ejected from a game. The total amount collected this season was $8,450 and the Kernels' share was $529.

The Cedar Rapids Kernels said they are pleased to support HACAP, a diverse, community-focused non-profit organization that is dedicated to empowering and improving the lives of families living with the everyday barriers of poverty.


Kernels finalize purchase of Bucks

The sale of the Waterloo Bucks of the Northwoods League to the Cedar Rapids Ball Club, Inc. (Cedar Rapids Kernels) is official.

Cedar Rapids Ball Club, Inc. President Gary Keoppel, Kernels General Manager Doug Nelson and Waterloo Bucks General Manager Dan Corbin were on hand for the official signing Monday.

"Waterloo has a tremendous baseball history, the team receives excellent support from the community and is close enough to Cedar Rapids to share resources," said Keoppel.

"The Waterloo Bucks will remain in Waterloo and continue to play at Riverfront Stadium in the Northwoods League," said Nelson. "Dan Corbin has built an excellent front office team, our plan is not to mess with a winning formula."

"For years the Waterloo Bucks have provided the people of the Cedar Valley with wholesome, family entertainment and we feel this will only be strengthened with the addition of the resources we are able to share with the Kernels," said Corbin.

During the next several months a detailed plan will be developed for the 2015 season. It's anticipated that the team will become more active in the community, make improvements to Riverfront Stadium and enhance the promotions during the games to create an even more enjoyable fan experience for the people of the Cedar Valley.


Kernels, partners raise $35,000 for charity

The Cedar Rapids Kernels partnered with three local companies during the 2014 season to raise more than $35,000 for local charities.

For the fifth consecutive season, The Transamerica Foundation sponsored K's for Kids, where for every strikeout (or K) recorded by Kernels pitchers this season Transamerica donated $25 to Kids First Law Center for Children of Divorce.

This season, Kernels pitchers struck out 1,188 batters for a grand total of $29,700 for Kids First, the highest pledge total to date.

"At Transamerica, we believe in supporting the communities in which we work and live. Since 1994, the Aegon Transamerica Foundation, through a combination of financial grants and the volunteer commitment of our employees, has supported a wide variety of non-profit organizations focused on the education, health and the well-being of community members," said Terrie Rethamel, VP of Specialized Operations with Transamerica.

"Our $25 donation for every strikeout pitched by the Cedar Rapids Kernels supports the good work of the Kids First Law Center as they help children and their families through difficult circumstances. We appreciate all that they do to assist families, and consequently, our entire community."

CarePro Health Services sponsored Plating for Plates, where for every run scored by the Kernels CarePro donated $5 to Horizons Meals On Wheels, a program that delivers hot, nutritious meals to local homebound citizens.

This season, the Kernels scored 643 runs and that means that CarePro Health Services donated $3,215 or 643 plates of food, to Meals on Wheels. This is the seventh consecutive season that CarePro Health Services has sponsored Plating for Plates.

"It has been a privilege for CarePro Health Services to support the Horizons Meals on Wheels program over the past seven Kernels seasons," said Chris Nichols, Marketing Director at CarePro Health Services. "The Plating for Plates program has been a fun way to be able to support the community and has provided thousands of meals to area community members."

For the fourth consecutive season, Millhiser Smith Agency, Inc. and West Bend Insurance have partnered to make a donation to Junior Achievement for every home run the Kernels hit at Perfect Game Field this season. In 2014, the Kernels hit 42 home runs and Millhiser Smith and West Bend Insurance donated $2,500 to Junior Achievement.

"One of our fundamental philosophies at Millhiser Smith is to reciprocate the support we receive from Cedar Rapids and surrounding communities. This is why we chose to support Junior Achievement" said Jessica Rhatigan, Risk Consultant with Millhiser Smith Agency, Inc. "Their focus is on educating our children in preparation for a successful future and we've been honored to contribute to their efforts."

These three companies combined to raise $35,415 for local non-profits in our community this season. The Kernels would like to thank The Transamerica Foundation, CarePro Health Services, Millhiser Smith Agency, Inc. and West Bend Insurance for their continued support of these local charity programs.


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."


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Kernels Calendar

April 3
2014 season opener


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