Oscar Campos and the Quad-Cities River Bandits ended the regular season Monday by turning home plate at Modern Woodmen Park into a launching pad.
Campos homered and doubled as part of the first five-hit game for a Quad-Cities player this season, part of a 16-hit attack that sent the River Bandits into the Midwest League playoffs with a 10-4 win over Wisconsin.
The lopsided victory ended a string of six straight one-run decisions and capped a 79-57 regular season for Quad-Cities, which opens postseason play Wednesday at Cedar Rapids.
“I’m so proud of this team and myself. We never give up and today we played the way we can,’’ Campos said. “I am as happy for them as I am for me. We came out ready to go from the start.’’
The River Bandits certainly didn’t waste any time.
After scoring runs in just six of its previous 56 innings, Quad-Cities scored in six of the eight innings in which it batted Monday, including putting two runs on the board in each of the first two innings.
C.J. Stubbs set that tone.
He singled in his first at-bat and swiped second base on the next pitch, the first of a season-high seven stolen bases in eight tries as part of an aggressive approach to the game by the River Bandits.
“We talked before the game about coming out and being active and I felt like Stubbs really got everybody going, getting on base and then taking second right away. That seemed to set everybody up,’’ Quad-Cities manager Ray Hernandez said.
Stubbs and Grae Kessinger each collected three hits from the top two spots in the River Bandits’ lineup, an effort which began with back-to-back singles in the first inning.
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An Austin Dennis groundout brought Stubbs home before Campos drove Kessinger in with a single to right.
Back-to-back singles by Stubbs and Trey Dawson doubled the River Bandits’ lead in the second inning before Stubbs belted a three-run home run in the fourth to give Quad-Cities a 7-0 lead.
Dawson swatted his fourth homer of the season in the fifth and Campos, who doubled a run home in the sixth, drove a high inside pitch out of the park to complete the River Bandits’ scoring in the eighth.
The offensive effort positioned Juan Pablo Lopez to earn the win in relief in his Quad-Cities debut, scattering three hits over the game’s final four innings.
“Our batters were on fire. It was a good day for them,’’ Hernandez said. “We’ve been hitting the ball hard, having good at-bats, but runs have been hard to come by. Things finally fell our way. It was fun to stand there and watch.’’
Campos, who had a hamate removed prior to the start of a season which saw him hit .295, enjoyed participating in it.
“You work so hard all year and you hope it pays off with games like this,’’ Campos said.
His hand still bothers him on occasion and he said the tightness in the way he turned on his home run ball left him shaking a bit.
“They asked me if I wanted to come out. I said ‘no way.’ It feels good,’’ Campos said. “It was a good day, not only for me, but for all of us. Now we can say we are ready for the playoffs.’’