BELOIT, Wis. — Quad-Cities did everything it could Sunday to earn a Midwest League playoff berth, but a 5-3 win at Beloit in the final game of the first half of the season wasn’t enough.
Cedar Rapids secured the Western Division’s first-half wild card berth into the playoffs, scoring nine times in the first inning on its way to a 16-3 rout of Clinton to leave the River Bandits one win shy of securing the club’s first postseason berth since 2015.
A loss by the Kernels would have made Quad-Cities the qualifier, leaving the River Bandits two-hundredths of a percentage point in front of Cedar Rapids because of a different number of games the teams played in the half because of weather-related cancellations.
“We gave it everything we had and we came up a little short. In the second half, we can’t put ourselves in that position,’’ said Ray Henderson, whose pinch-hit fielder’s choice in the eighth inning Sunday drove in the game-tying run as Quad-Cities rallied from a 3-2 deficit.
Tyler Wolfe pushed the River Bandits ahead to stay later in the inning with a run-scoring fielder's choice.
It was the type of effort manager Russ Steinhorn had seen a lot of lately as Quad-Cities finished off the half at 37-31, heading into the all-star break at a season-high six games over .500.
The River Bandits won the final five series they were a part of in the half, building an 11-5 record after returning home from Cedar Rapids on June 1 following an 11-1 loss.
“The last two weeks, we did everything we could to put ourselves in a position to play for playoff berth at the end,’’ Steinhorn said. “We played some great baseball down the stretch and we took it to the final day. We controlled what we could and I couldn’t ask for more.’’
Henderson said the River Bandits were unaware of how the Kernels were doing in their first-half finale, which also started at 2 p.m.
“We didn’t find out until afterward,’’ Henderson said. “The only thing that mattered to us was how we did. We still have the second half and this shows us how much one game can mean.’’
Quad-Cities and Beloit traded two runs in the third inning Sunday, with the River Bandits’ Yordan Alvarez belting his ninth home run of the season and his fourth in six games to give Quad-Cities a short-lived 2-0 lead.
The Snappers tied the game in the bottom half of the inning and it stayed that way until Eric Marinez, who drove home the game winner with a 10th-inning single Saturday, moved Beloit ahead 3-2 with an RBI single in the sixth inning Sunday.
Quad-Cities regained the lead when the five of the first six batters it sent to the plate in the eighth reached base, a rally started by newcomer Bryan De La Cruz’s leadoff single, an error that allowed Jonathan Arauz to reach and an intentional walk to Alvarez that loaded the bases for Henderson to bring the tying run with a fielder’s choice misplayed by the Snappers’ Trace Loehr.
After Wolfe drove home the go-ahead run, Daz Cameron added an insurance run in the ninth when he came around to score on a wild pitch after leading off with an infield single.
Quad-Cities begins the second half of its schedule at home on Thursday, hosting Cedar Rapids in the first game of a four-game series at Modern Woodmen Park following the league’s all-star break.