Cedar Rapids Advances to Midwest League Championship Series for First Time Since 1990’s
The Cedar Rapids Kernels won a hard-fought game against Peoria at Veteran's Memorial Stadium today and play for the league title for the first time in more than 20 years.
Kernels pitching ruled the day allowing just four unearned runs on eight hits while striking out 11. The four Peoria runs all scored in the 3rd, but none of them should've crossed home plate. All the runs came with two outs when an error by Kernels third basemen T.J. White opened the door for the Chiefs. They took full advantage of the miscue, but the Kernels immediately fought back. Cedar Rapids plated one in the 3rd, one in the 4th, and two in the 7th to retake the lead. T.J. White, who made the defensive mistake earlier in the game, scored the go-ahead run in the 7th with a beautiful head-first slide. Peoria's only baserunner in the last two innings reached on a walk with two outs in the 9th. Give the pitching its due, but the Kernels used the lumber today too, with 13 hits.
The win clinched the Midwest League Western Division title for Cedar Rapids. Their first division title since 1994 when the Kernels went on to defeat Rockford to win the Midwest League title. Cedar Rapids is now 4-0 in the 2015 playoffs and await the winner of the Eastern Division finals between West Michigan and Lansing. West Michigan won tonight, to even the series at one game apiece.
Playoff baseball is a great thing. Though there were only 1,073 at the ballpark, we were all hanging on every pitch. When you see a Kernel check his swing with two outs in the early innings and hear many in the stadium gasp for fear of a strike out... that's playoff baseball. Everyone on hand knew what was at stake. It was a blast. I'm sure when the Kernels hit the home field again, many more will be there. Cedar Rapids' next home game is next Saturday afternoon at 3:30. It will be game three of the best of five series, so it's possible that too could be a clincher. It's guaranteed to be fun. See you at the ballpark.