The Cedar Rapids Kernels claimed the final first-half playoff spot in a big way Sunday, beating the Clinton LumberKings 16-3 at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
According to the LumberKings, it was Clinton’s most-lopsided loss to Cedar Rapids in the nearly 900 games they’ve played against each other since 1962.
The Kernels controlled the game from the start, scoring nine runs in the opening inning, and plating three more in the 2nd. They added four more in the 8th inning to make sure it didn’t matter what the Quad Cities River Bandits did in Beloit. (The River Bandits beat the Snappers 5-3, which would’ve given them the playoff berth if the Kernels hadn’t won.)
Everyone in the Kernels’ starting lineup contributed to the win. Most notably, Travis Blankenhorn went 4-for-5 with a home run and three runs batted in; Aaron Whitehead went 2-for-3 with a homer, a double, a walk and five RBI; Ben Rortvedt went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer; Brandon Lopez went 3-for-5 with a run batted in; and Christian Cavaness hit a three-run triple.
In addition to the Kernels filling the Western Division wild-card slot, the other first-half playoff berths were earned by the Kane County Cougars (Western Division title), the West Michigan Whitecaps (Eastern Division title), and the Dayton Dragons (Eastern Division wild card).