The second round of the Midwest League playoffs began Saturday, highlighted by a Quad Cities comeback from four runs down to win in extra innings.
Cedar Rapids took an early lead in the first game of the Western Division finals, scoring four runs in the top of the 2nd inning. Kernels starter Tyler Watson looked good through six innings, allowing only two singles and a double — but that was before the River Bandits struck in the 7th inning, plating four runs to tie the score 4-4.
The Kernels threatened to score in the top of the 9th inning, but they left the bases loaded when River Bandits reliever Jesus Balaguer struck out the last two batters of the frame. Quad Cities went on to win when Josh Rojas singled home Luis Payano in the bottom of the 10th inning.
The second game of the best-of-three series will be played in Cedar Rapids on Sunday. The scheduled pitching matchup is LHP Charlie Barnes for the Kernels vs. RHP Ronel Blanco for the River Bandits.
The Eastern Division finals began Saturday, too, with the Dragons beating the TinCaps 2-1. Dayton’s Jose Siri and Fort Wayne’s Nate Easley each had three hits in the game.
Neither starting pitcher got a decision, but both turned in playoff-worthy performances. Dragons LHP Wennington Romero gave up one unearned run on six hits in 6.1 innings. He struck out eight, walked none, and threw a wild pitch. TinCaps LHP Adrian Morejon gave up one run on seven hits and two walks in six innings. He struck out five. Both pitchers are from island nations affected by Hurricane Irma; Wennington is from the Dominican Republic and Morejon is from Cuba.
The second game of the best-of-three series will be played in Dayton on Sunday. The probable starting pitchers are Dragons RHP Matt Blandino and TinCaps RHP Reggie Lawson.