CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA (September 6, 2021) — The Quad Cities River Bandits completed the road half of their regular season schedule on Sunday as they topped the Cedar Rapids Kernels 6-4 to split the six-game series and become one of just five minor-league teams to win seventy games this year.
The Bandits struck early against Tyler Watson, and after Maikel Garcia led off the game with a single, got a pair of runs on an RBI double by Logan Porter and then a single from Nathan Eaton to take a 2-0 lead.
Quad Cities’ starter, A J Block, needed just 22 pitches to work through three scoreless innings before his advantage widened in the top of the fourth when Kale Emshoff brought home John Rave with a double for his first High-A hit. After a mound visit, Rubendy Jaquez made it 4-0 ball-game with a sac-fly.
In the bottom-half of the fourth, Block had his shut-out ended on Aaron Sabato’s two-out solo homer that got Cedar Rapids on the board.
Both starters worked clean fifth innings and stranded walks before Denny Bentley took over for Watson and struck out the Bandits in order in the top of the sixth.
Block worked into the bottom of the inning, but gave up a lead-off walk to Daniel Ozoria and then a first-pitch single to Edouard Julien, which forced him from the game in favor of Ruben Ramirez, who gave up a sac-fly to Yunior Severino, but then worked half of a strike-‘em-out, throw-‘em-out, with Porter nabbing Julien at second to end the inning.
Quad Cities got a pair of runners in the top of the seventh, but nothing to show for it, and then saw the game tied on a Jeferson Morales two-run double in the bottom-half. After then hitting Anthony Prato with a pitch, Ramirez was replaced by Nathan Webb, who was helped out of the inning by Porter, who picked off Morales at second before Webb struck out Kyle Schmidt and picked off Prato at first to kill the rally.
The River Bandits once again drew a couple of base-runners against Bentley in the eighth, including a one-out double by Jake Means, but the southpaw stuck out Emshoff prior to Zach Featherstone entering and ending the inning by punching out Jaquez.
Webb kept it a 4-4 game with a one-two-three bottom of the eighth, which set the stage for the Bandits’ offense in the ninth.
With Featherstone remaining on the hill, Quad Cities got the tying run to the plate with no one out as Garcia worked a six-pitch walk to start the frame. The next two batters, Tucker Bradley and Nick Loftin, then reached on an error and a walk, respectively, to load the bases with no one out.
Featherstone then struck out Porter and got Eaton to bounce out for two away, but despite working John Rave into a 1-2 count, the Bandits’ center-fielder drove a ball into the outfield for two runs and a 6-4 lead. Eaton was thrown out attempting to advance to third on the play to end the inning.
Despite facing the heart of the Cedar Rapids’ offense in the bottom of the ninth, Webb stranded Matt Wallner’s one-out single and struck out Morales after a nine-pitch at-bat to secure the QC victory.
Thanks to three innings of scoreless relief, including four strikeouts, Webb (3-1) earned the win for the River Bandits, while Featherstone (3-4) gave up two unearned runs over 1.1 innings to take the loss.
Quad Cities will travel back to Modern Woodmen Park to conclude the regular season with a thirteen-game homestand over the next two weeks and will host the Peoria Chiefs for a six-game series beginning on Tuesday.
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.