CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA - The Cedar Rapids Kernels clinched a Midwest League playoff berth and the Second-Half Western Division crown with a 5-1 victory Monday against the Kane County Cougars at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The Kernels (41-32, 73-60) also claimed a four-game sweep versus Kane County (33-30, 68-64).
This season marks a franchise-record sixth consecutive year with Cedar Rapids in the playoffs. The Kernels have qualified for postseason play in every season since becoming a Minnesota Twins affiliate. Cedar Rapids also owns the longest playoff streak since the Fort Wayne TinCaps' seven-year stretch from 2009 through 2015.
Jacob Pearson pushed the Kernels to a 1-0 lead within the second inning. Ben Rodriguez doubled to open the frame and advanced to third base on Trey Cabbage's groundout. Pearson singled through the left side of a drawn-in infield to bring in Rodriguez for the early advantage.
Michael Davis and Victor Tademo stretched Cedar Rapids' lead to 3-0 during the fifth. Davis belted a one-out solo home run between the batter's eye and the videoboard. Tademo followed with a solo shot to left field for his first Kernels hit.
The Kernels added two more runs in the sixth for a 5-0 edge. A two-out double by Cabbage extended the inning, and Pearson added a walk. Both runners scored on an RBI single from Davis.
Randy Dobnak (10-5) earned his team-high 11th quality start and 10th victory in Monday's series finale. Dobnak limited the Cougars to one run, two walks, and three hits over seven innings pitched. Eudy Ramos produced Kane County's lone run with an RBI groundout against Dobnak during the seventh.
Jared Finkel finished the contest with two shutout innings in a non-save situation. Finkel induced a groundout from Ramos to secure the win, the sweep, and the playoff berth.
Cole Bartlett (5-3) tallied a game-high six strikeouts for Kane County but also yielded five runs in six innings pitched and suffered the loss.
Cedar Rapids will be idle Tuesday before continuing its seven-game homestand Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. against the Burlington Bees. The probable pitchers are Kernels right-hander Blayne Enlow (3-5, 3.24) and Bees right-hander Mitchell Traver (5-7, 4.29). Morgan Hawk will call the action on 1450 KMRY AM and 93.1 KMRY FM and also online at www.kmryradio.com, www.kernels.com, and MiLB.TV.
Wednesday's series opener is the final Bark in the Park Night for the 2018 season. Fans can bring their favorite four-legged friend to the game with the purchase of a special doggie ticket. All proceeds from those doggie tickets will benefit Gems Forever Animal Rescue and Critter Crusaders of Cedar Rapids.
Fans can purchase tickets for all Cedar Rapids regular season home games by visiting www.kernels.com, going to the Kernels Ticket Office, or calling (319) 896-7560. The Kernels Ticket Office is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. On Sundays when the Kernels have a home game, the Kernels Ticket Office will open at 11:00 a.m.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels are the 2018 Midwest League Western Division Second-Half Champions and the Midwest League affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.