DAVENPORT, IOWA (September 8, 2021) — Although the Quad Cities River Bandits fell 6-4 to the Peoria Chiefs on Tuesday at Modern Woodmen Park, a Cedar Rapids’ loss clinched them a berth in the 2021 High-A Central Playoffs and brought them a game away from securing the first overall seed in the five-game post-season series.
A win in Game One against the Chiefs would have also clinched the Bandits a play-off spot and, with a two-run homer from Michael Massey off of Mac Lardner in the bottom of the first, Quad Cities got out to an early 2-0 lead.
Maikel Garcia pushed his club’s advantage to three with an RBI single in the second and gave starter Christian Cosby — who worked six-up, six-down through the first two frames — breathing-room to allow a run in the third, as Jordan Walker brought in the first Chiefs’ tally with a run-scoring single.
After a scoreless fourth, which saw the Bandits turn one of two double-plays on the night, Peoria made it a 3-2 game on a solo shot by Aaron Antonini. Cosby then struck out the next two batters he faced before turning the mound over to Patrick Smith, who struck out Masyn Winn to end the frame.
The Chiefs again threatened in the sixth and loaded the bases with no one out, but Smith was able to escape with a strike-out and a 6-4-3 twin killing to keep the QC lead intact.
In the seventh, however, Peoria put two men aboard for Jordan Walker, who smashed the go-ahead three-run homer to chase Smith and put the Chiefs up 5-3. Jhon Torres kept the rally going with a double off of newly-entered Kasey Kalich, but the righty got Pedro Pages to ground out to end the inning.
Enmanuel Sanders retired the Bandits for nine straight outs from the fifth to the seventh and then was replaced by Sean Kealey, who allowed Quad Cities to load the bases in the eighth, but got Eric Cole to bounce out to second to keep the home-team off the board for the sixth consecutive inning.
Peoria added another on Walker’s RBI single for his fifth RBI of the game in the top of the ninth and, although the Bandits got a run-scoring double from Massey, Jack Ralston struck out Nathan Eaton with the tying runs in scoring position to end the ballgame.
With three shut-out innings, Solano (5-0) got the win for Peoria, while Smith (1-1) took the loss for the River Bandits after surrendering three runs over two innings.
Quad Cities will look to even up the set on Wednesday and clinch the number one overall seed in the postseason tomorrow behind Anderson Paulino (0-1, 10.13), who will matchup against Peoria’s Connor Lunn (5-7, 3.99) for a 6:30PM CDT first pitch at Modern Woodmen Park.
ABOUT THE BANDITS: The 2021 season marks the River Bandits’ first year as a new Advanced-A Major League affiliate. As such, the team will be offering higher-quality baseball than has ever before been played in the Quad Cities. Additionally, the Bandits will welcome a new MLB affiliate to the Quad Cities, the Kansas City Royals. The River Bandits anchor the Quad Cities’ sports-market, which The Sports Business Journal named the top minor-league sports-market in the country in 2015 and second-best minor-league market in its 2017 follow-up ranking. In 2015, 2017, and again in 2019, the River Bandits earned Ballpark Digest’s award for “Best Charitable Works” in Minor League Baseball, the only club to win that coveted award three times. For more information, visit www.riverbandits.com or contact General Manager Joe Kubly at (563) 333-2768.