September 17, 2023 – Midwest League (MWL) – Great Lakes Loons News Release
Midland, Mich. – The Great Lakes Loons (76-55) (0-1) led 6-5 into the ninth inning, but the Cedar Rapids Kernels (82-50) (1-0) complied five runs, off two home runs in the ninth inning winning 10-6. The game was the first in a best-of-three Midwest League Championship Series on a 65-degree cloudy Sunday afternoon at Dow Diamond.
Michael Hobbs put down the first four Kernels he faced. Noah Cardenas worked a seven-pitch walk with one out in the ninth. Jose Salas was then hit by a pitch to bring up Carson McCusker. The 6’7 slugger muscled one 409 feet over the left field fence to make it 8-5. Noah Miller singled next after going 0-4 to start the contest, pushing Hobbs out of the game for Lucas Wepf.
Emmanuel Rodriguez tacked on two, with his second home run of the game bringing Cedar Rapids to ten. The Loons were held off the board in the final two innings. Great Lakes left nine on base and went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
The Loons led from the bottom of the second until the ninth behind two Dalton Rushing home runs. In the second, the Dodgers No. 1 prospect sent one 364 feet to deep right to make it 4-3. It scored Nick Biddison, who was hit by a pitch, and Jake Vogel who walked on seven pitches.
Then after Taylor Young was hit by a pitch with two outs, Rushing rammed a 1-1 pitch 371 feet over the right field fence bringing it to a 6-3 score. It is the first multi-home run game in Loons playoff history and ties Rushing with Jaime Pedroza for the most postseason home runs with two.
Before the ninth inning, Cedar Rapids chipped into the advantage with two solo homers. Emmanuel Rodriguez rocked one 425 to center field in the fifth. Jose Salas pulled the Kernels within one slicing it down the left field line in the top of the seventh. Those were the only two hits for Cedar Rapids batters from the third to the eighth.
After Cedar Rapids posted three runs off Hyun-il Choi in the second inning, Jerming Rosario tossed three scoreless innings. The Loons opened the scoring with a Yeiner Fernandez RBI single in the bottom of the first inning.
The Great Lakes Loons have to win two in a row to win their second Midwest League championship in their 16-year franchise history. Game two is Tuesday, September 19th. The first pitch is at 7:35 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The Great Lakes Loons have been the Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since the team’s inception in 2007. Dow Diamond serves as the team’s home and also houses the Michigan Baseball Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, and ESPN 100.9-FM. For tickets or information about the Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit Loons.com.
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