In the Midwest League playoffs Thursday, the Bowling Green Hot Rods, the Peoria Chiefs and the West Michigan Whitecaps all completed first-round sweeps while the Beloit Snappers and the Cedar Rapids Kernels finally got to play Game 1 of their series. I was at Beloit’s Pohlman Field for that game, so that’s where I’ll start my roundup.
Cedar Rapids Kernels 10, Beloit Snappers 1
A combination of good pitching and power-hitting helped the Kernels win Game 1 of their series vs. the Snappers.
Eight of the Kernels’ runs scored on homers — two by Ryan Jeffers, one by Gabriel Maciel, and a pinch-hit grand slam by Trey Cabbage. Meanwhile, Cedar Rapids pitchers shut down the Beloit offense, allowing only a run that scored on a wild pitch. Jhoan Duran got the win after allowing one run, three hits and three walks while striking out 10 batters in six innings.
Because Game 1 was postponed until Thursday because of rain Wednesday, Game 2 and Game 3 (if necessary) will be played as a doubleheader Friday at Cedar Rapids. Those games are scheduled as seven-inning contests per Minor League Baseball doubleheader rules.
Bowling Green Hot Rods 4, Lansing Lugnuts 3
Moises Gomez hit a two-run homer and an RBI single to lead the Hot Rods to a 4-3 win that advances Bowling Green to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Hot Rods leadoff hitter Vidal Brujan scored all three times he reached base.
Peoria Chiefs 7, Quad Cities River Bandits 2
The Chiefs got a good pitching performance from starter Zach Prendergast and clutch hitting from several batters as they won 7-2 to advance to the second round of the playoffs. Prendergast allowed two unearned runs, three hits and a walk while striking out 11 batters in five innings. His catcher, Dennis Ortega, reached base four times, on three hits and a walk.
West Michigan Whitecaps 2, Great Lakes Loons 1 (10 innings)
The Whitecaps rallied late to beat the Loons 2-1 and advance to the second round of the playoffs. Great Lakes had a 1-0 lead heading into the 9th inning, but Reece Hampton singled home the tying run to send the game into overtime. Luke Sherley, who scored the tying run, singled home Colby Bortles in the top of the 10th before reliever Billy Lescher shut down the Loons in the bottom half.
The Whitecaps will host the Hot Rods in Game 1 of the Eastern Division finals Saturday. The winner of the Kernels-Snappers series will host Game 1 of the Western Division finals Saturday vs. the Chiefs.