DAVENPORT, IOWA (September 26, 2021) — In their first post-season game at Modern Woodmen Park in 2021, the Quad Cities River Bandits left thirteen runners aboard and were out homered by four, as they fell to the Cedar Rapids Kernels 8-4 on Friday to fall behind 2-1 in the High-A Central Championship Series.
Despite struggling with runners on, Quad Cities did capitalize in the first inning against Casey Legumina and got an RBI knock from Logan Porter, who plated Maikel Garcia’s lead-off single.
The Kernels wasted no time responding with runs of their own in the second and quickly leap-frogged the Bandits’ first-inning tally with a two-run homer off the bat of DaShawn Keirsey Jr.
Although Bandits’ starter Dante Biasi recorded five strike-outs in 2.1 innings of work, he fell into trouble in the third, as a pair of hits from Aaron Sabato and Seth Gray and a walk from Alex Isola loaded the bases. But with Jefferson Morales at the plate, the game went into an hour-and-a-half rain-delay.
When the game resumed, it was Kasey Kalich taking over mid at-bat and striking the Kernels’ designated hitter out on a slider. The righty then got out of the jam all together and got DaShawn Keirsey to fly out to end the threat.
After neither team scored in the third, with Aaron Rozek stranding a pair of Bandits’ runners in the frame, Cedar Rapids launched a pair of home-runs off of Kalich, including a solo homer by Edouard Julien and a three-run blast by Isola that came after a Kalich walk and hit-by-pitch.
Trailing 6-1, Quad Cities loaded the bases with no one out in the fifth to chase Rozek from his start, but only scratched across one run on a Logan Porter sacrifice-fly as newly-entered Derek Molina got John Rave to pop out and Eric Cole to ground-out to limit the damage.
Patrick Smith worked the Bandit staff’s first one-two-three inning of the game in the top of the fifth, but fell victim to the Kernels’ fourth homer, a second Julien solo-shot to right-center. After a Helman double and a wild pitch, the Bandits’ deficit grew to 8-2 as Matt Wallner drove in a run-on sac-fly.
In the seventh, QC took advantage of a Nick Loftin lead-off single and a Julien error that allowed Michael Massey to reach as John Rave, the first man to face Carlos Suniaga, drove in both with an RBI single up the middle to trim the Kernels’ lead to 8-4.
Anderson Paulino and Mitch Ellis combined to toss three scoreless innings, including five of the staff’s seventeen strike-outs, but Suniaga shut the door on the Cedar Rapids’ win and stranded a pair in a scoreless eighth and ninth.
Thanks to two innings of one-run relief, Aaron Rozek (1-0) got the win for the Kernels, while Biasi (0-1), who gave up two in 2.1 frames, was tagged with the loss.
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.