The Peoria Chiefs and the Bowling Green Hot Rods won the opening games of their respective second-round series Saturday. Both teams are a win away from advancing to the Midwest League Championship Series.
At Cedar Rapids, the Chiefs rallied late against the Kernels to win 5-3. Cedar Rapids took a 2-0 lead into the 8th inning before Peoria rallied for three runs in the top half. The Kernels responded with a run in the bottom half, tying the score 3-3 heading into the 9th inning. Nick Dunn singled home a pair of runs in the top of the 9th, and the 5-3 lead held as reliever Kodi Whitley pitched a 1-2-3 frame to seal the win for the Chiefs.
The win is the Chiefs’ first in a division finals series since 2002, the year Peoria won its only Midwest League title. Longtime St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was on that team; he batted .280 with 7 homers, 20 doubles and 50 RBI in 112 regular-season games with the Chiefs.
At West Michigan, the Hot Rods beat the Whitecaps 6-5 with the home team leaving the bases loaded at the end of the game. Jim Haley went 2-for-3 with a triple, two walks and two RBI for the Hot Rods. Brady Policelli hit a two-run homer for the Whitecaps.
If the Hot Rods advance, it will be the team’s first appearance in the Midwest League Championship Series.