BY MICHAEL HAMMOND | Minor League Knocks
July 8, 2017 | Cedar Rapids Kernels 6, Peoria Chiefs 5 | Midwest League (A)
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Before the post-game fireworks, Travis Blackenhorn provided some fireworks of his own with a walk-off double in the ninth for the Cedar Rapids Kernels to top the Peoria Chiefs 6-5 on Saturday at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Tied at five with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Joe Cronin singled and stole second to set Blackenhorn up for the walk-off. Before his final at-bat, the Minnesota Twins No. 10 prospect was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, but this time he shot a ball over the right fielder’s head to send the Kernels fans home happy.
Before the fireworks, in game and after, it was a bit of a back-and-forth affair. Peoria got the scoring started right away as recently drafted Kramer Robertson came home on an RBI-groundout that got by the first basemen. It was just Robertson’s second game in Peoria after getting drafted in the fourth round by the St. Louis Cardinals out of LSU. He is 2-for-9 with a run scored through two games.
The Kernels responded by bringing nine batters to the plate in the second with four of the first five coming across to score. Andre Jernigan got the scoring going with a 2-run bases loaded double. Jernigan then scored on Gorge Munoz’ two run single.
Vince Jackson led off the fourth for the Chiefs and hit a no-doubt home run right of the scoreboard in right-center near the 390-foot sign. Stefan Trosclair followed up the homer with a single and later scored on Danny Hudzina’s groundout after a throwing error from first baseman Amaurys Minier, who’s throw to third went wide left to the fence. Jackson scored his second run of the game two innings later on Mick Fennell’s groundout to first with runners on the corners to tie the game 4-4.
Cedar Rapids thought they had the winning run two innings later after Munoz and Aaron Whitefield led off the seventh with back-to-back triples and taking a 5-4 lead. However, Hudzina had different intentions hitting. He hit a mammoth home run to left and took time to admire his work.
It would be all for naught as Blackenhorn ended the game a half an inning later with his double.
Twins No. 22 prospect, Griffin Jax, got the start for Cedar Rapids going 5.2 innings giving up four runs on eight hits and four strikeouts. Hector Lujan got the win after throwing a scoreless eighth and blowing the save on Hudzina’s home run in the ninth.
Dewin Perez received the loss while pitching only in the ninth and giving up the game winning run.
Peoria Chiefs (STL)
#16 Dylan Carlson 0/4, RBI
#24 Nick Plummer 0/5, 2 K
4th Kramer Robertson 2/5, R, 2K
Cedar Rapids Kernels (MIN)
#10 Travis Blackenhorn 1/5, 2B, RBI, 4 K
#22 Griffin Jax 5.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 K
The gates were busy before the game as the Kernels had a kid-friendly giveaway of Paw Patrol tote bags. After the game, fireworks lit up the sky while classic rock songs blared from the speakers.
Clinton Lumber Kings at Quad Cities River Bandits on July 9.
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