LumberKings’ stadium gets new name

The logo for NelsonCorp Field was designed by Ryan Foose of Fooser Sports.

The 82-year-old home of the Clinton LumberKings has a new name after NelsonCorp Wealth Management bought naming rights to the stadium through the end of the 2021 season.

The ballpark, originally known as Riverview Stadium, is getting new signage this week bearing its new name: NelsonCorp Field.

NelsonCorp Wealth Management is a multi-state investment firm that began in Illinois and now includes Clinton as one of its office sites.

The ballpark’s new identity includes a logo designed by Ryan Foose of Fooser Sports. The designer also created the logos for the LumberKings’ Copa identity, the Clinton Elotes.

This is the third time naming rights have been sold for the stadium. It was known as Alliant Energy Field from 2002 to 2011, and Ashford University Field from 2012 to 2018. The ballpark was being referred to as LumberKings Stadium this year prior to announcement of the new naming rights deal on Monday.

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Kernels pitch third Midwest League no-hitter of season

After losing the first game of their Wednesday doubleheader 5-4, the Cedar Rapids Kernels bounced back with a 9-0 win in the second game — a game in which the CR hurlers held the Burlington Bees hitless for all seven innings of the contest.

Austin Schulfer and Jose Martinez combined to toss the Midwest League’s third no-hitter of the season, with starter Schulfer pitching the first five innings and reliever Martinez on the mound for the last two frames. Schulfer struck out seven and walked one; Martinez struck out two and walked none.

The Kernels scored four runs in two different innings — the 2nd and the 6th — and got a three-run homer from catcher Chris Williams. They also got a defensive gem from third baseman Andrew Bechtold, who, according to the Kernels game story, “made a backhand grab and sent a jump throw to first base on a bounce to retire (Jordyn) Adams and close the (3rd) inning.”

The no-hitter was the ninth pitched at Cedar Rapids’ Veterans Memorial Stadium — five by the Kernels and four by their opponents. Four of the no-nos were pitched in May, three in April, and one each in July and August.

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Vallimont strikes out 9 as Clinton nearly no-hits Beloit

Clinton LumberKings right-hander Chris Vallimont pitched seven hitless innings against the Beloit Snappers on Tuesday. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Miami Marlins prospect Chris Vallimont pitched seven hitless innings as the Clinton LumberKings nearly no-hit the Beloit Snappers at Pohlman Field on Tuesday afternoon.

Vallimont took a perfect game into the 7th inning, but walked two batters and threw a wild pitch in his final frame. Still, he left the game with a no-hitter and shutout intact. Reliever C.J. Carter struck out the side in the 8th and retired the first batter he faced in the 9th before Snappers second baseman Joseph Pena singled for Beloit’s only hit of the game. Carter then retired the next two batters he faced to end the game.

The LumberKings won 5-0, scoring all five of their runs off Snappers starter Bryce Nightengale in the top of the 4th inning. Thomas Jones hit a three-run homer, the third roundtripper in seven games for the Clinton leftfielder.

Clinton LumberKings outfielder Thomas Jones is heating up at the plate, batting .346 with three homers in his last seven games. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Jerar Encarnacion had two hits, including an RBI double, for the LumberKings. Vallimont struck out nine batters and lowered his ERA to 2.70 in nine starts this season.

Clinton’s pitching gem came one day after LumberKings RHP Humberto Mejia took a no-hitter into the 7th inning of the first game of a doubleheader against the Snappers on Monday. Mejia allowed two hits and an unearned run, struck out eight batters and walked none in eight innings of the 6-1 Clinton win. The LunberKings also won the nightcap, 2-1.

MWL players of the week

Cedar Rapids Kernels RHP Andrew Cabezas and Lake County Captains outfielder Will Benson respectively were named the Midwest League’s pitcher and offensive player of the week for May 13-19.

Cabezas made one start during that time, a win against the Quad Cities River Bandits on May 15. He allowed only one hit, struck out nine, and walked none in seven innings. The Minnesota Twins prospect is 1-3 with a 3.31 ERA, 30 strikeouts and 11 walks in 32.2 innings/six starts this season.

Benson batted .391 (9-for-23) with three homers, five RBI, and three stolen bases in six games during the specified period. This is the second time he was named the MWL offensive player of the week this season, previously earning the honor for April 15-21. Overall this year, the Cleveland Indians farmhand is batting .266 with 10 homers, nine doubles, one triple, 31 RBI, and 14 stolen bases in 39 games. This is his second season with the Captains, after he batted .180 with 22 HR, 58 RBI and 12 SB in 123 games in the MWL last year.

Lake County Captains OF Will Benson swings during last year’s Midwest League Home Run Derby. He finished second in the contest. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Posted in Beloit Snappers, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Lake County Captains, Midwest League | Leave a comment

Hot Rods cruise to 17-0 victory over South Bend Cubs

Hot Rods catcher Chris Betts had two hits, including a grand slam, in Bowling Green’s 17-0 win Wednesday. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

The Hot Rods offense didn’t really get its engine revved up until the 5th inning, but Bowling Green’s starting pitcher kept his opponents stymied before the bats took over in BG’s 17-0 win over the South Bend Cubs on Wednesday.

LHP Matthew Liberatore, a first-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018 (No. 16 overall), looked sharp in his Midwest League (and season) debut. He earned the win by scattering four hits and a walk while striking out four batters in five innings for the Hot Rods. When he left the mound for the final time during the game, Bowling Green had a mere 1-0 lead (thanks to a 1st-inning homer by Ford Proctor) — but the Hot Rods scored two, five, one and eight runs respectively in their final four frames to rack up the largest margin of victory in franchise history.

All nine batters in the Hot Rods lineup had multiple hits, and all but one of them drove in at least one run. The biggest blow came off the bat of catcher Chris Betts, who hit a two-out grand slam off position player Rafael Nadea in the bottom of the 8th inning.

Click here to see the game’s box score.

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Casey, Arendas named Midwest League players of the week

South Bend Cubs RHP Derek Casey is the Midwest League pitcher of the week. (Photo by Rebecca Snyder)

South Bend Cubs RHP Derek Casey and Burlington Bees first baseman D.C. Arendas respectively were named the Midwest League’s pitcher and offensive player of the week for May 6-12.

Casey earned the pitching award by throwing seven perfect innings to start a nine-inning, two-pitcher no-hitter against the Cedar Rapids Kernels on May 6. (You can read my post about the no-hitter here.) The Chicago Cubs prospect is 2-1 with a 5.06 ERA, 28 strikeouts and seven walks in 32 innings/seven starts for South Bend this season.

Arendas batted .381 (8-for-21) with three homers, three triples, five runs batted in, and three runs scored in six games during the specified period. Overall this season, the Los Angeles Angels farmhand is batting .270 with 10 extra-base hits and 11 RBI in 25 games with the Bees.

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