Baddoo propels Kernels to semifinals

No. 12 Twins prospect plates run, scores once, with three hits

Akil Baddoo recorded seven three-hit games with Class A Cedar Rapids this season. (Paul R. Gierhart/

By Chris Bumbaca / | September 7, 2018 11:49 PM

With rain pounding the area earlier in the week, the Midwest League playoffs endured postponements that led to the scheduling of a doubleheader between Beloit and Cedar Rapids on Friday.

The Kernels rendered the nightcap unnecessary, though, by completing a sweep of the best-of-3 series with a 4-0 win over the Snappers in the opener. Randy Dobnak tossed a seven-inning shutout and No. 12 Twins prospect Akil Baddoo went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored.

"Our manager, [Toby Gardenhire], spoke to us before the game," Baddoo said. "He was like, 'Hey guys, let's win this one so we don't have to go out there and play another game right after.' I think it was definitely a motivator for us, and we executed.

"It's been a great season with these guys. We want to keep it going. We don't feel like we're done yet. We want to win it all."

Gameday box score

The 20-year-old outfielder smacked a double to center field against Ivan Andueza to lead off the home half of the first and came to bat with two outs and the bases loaded the next frame. Baddoo said he anticipated a middle-in fastball and the left-hander threw him one on the first pitch, which Baddoo ripped to right for a single that brought in the game's first run. Right fielder Jack Meggs threw out Michael Davis at the plate on the play.

Video: Baddoo lines RBI single for Cedar Rapids

In the fourth, the No. 74 overall pick of the 2016 Draft singled up the middle off Ty DamronTrevor Larnach, Minnesota's No. 6 prospect, poked a base hit to center to score Baddoo from second. 

"He's such a solid player," Baddoo said of the 2018 first-rounder. "I love hitting in front of him, because every time I reach base, I feel like there's a good chance he can drive me in." 

Complete postseason coverage »

Baddoo struck out against Seth Martinez in the sixth.

The Conyers, Georgia, native batted .243/.351/.419 with 11 homers and 40 RBIs during the regular season. Commanding the top spot in the Kernels' batting order -- especially after top Twins prospect Royce Lewis was promoted to Class A Advanced Fort Myers in mid-July -- helped the outfield prospect develop.

"Just being a leadoff hitter and getting on base to be a leader for my team," Baddoo said. "And just staying to the middle of the field with my swing." 

Dobnak, who threw a complete game against Quad Cities on April 28 but had never thrown a shutout, struck out eight and allowed six hits and a walk.

MiLB include

"Dobnak's a great pitcher," Baddoo said. "He always works fast, so it's fun to play behind him. He has really good stuff and used it well tonight." 

Sixth-ranked A's prospect Lazaro Armenteros, who singled and walked, was the lone Snapper to reach base twice.

Cedar Rapids will host Peoria at 7:35 p.m. ET on Saturday for the first game of the best-of-3 West Division Championship Series.

Chris Bumbaca is a contributor for based in New York. Follow him on Twitter @BOOMbaca. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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