The party’s over.
One night after getting a chance to celebrate earning a playoff berth with a win at Beloit, the Quad-Cities River Bandits were reminded that work remains during the final games of the Midwest League regular season.
Cedar Rapids humbled Quad-Cities 6-2 in front of a crowd of 6,656, the largest of the season at Modern Woodmen Park.
“They just beat us. They came in and beat us,’’ River Bandits manager Russ Steinhorn said. “They had better starting pitching, had more key hits, more extra-base hits. They just beat us every way possible.’’
The win was the eighth in nine games for the Kernels and it prevented the River Bandits from clinching the second half title in the Midwest League Western Division, although Peoria’s 3-2 loss to Kane County did trim Quad-Cities’ magic number for getting that done to one.
“We’ve got to keep going. We’ve got nine games left and right now we’re playing a first-half playoff qualifier that’s playing good baseball and if we think we can just show up, they’ll steamroll us,’’ Steinhorn said. “We’ve got to get back at it, get back to work.’’
Kristian Trompiz and Cody Bohanek combined for five of the River Bandits’ eight hits, including a gap-splitting double by Bohanek in the seventh inning which scored Trompiz and sliced into a 4-1 Kernels lead.
Trompiz scored the River Bandits’ first run as well, reaching on a walk to open the bottom of the third, advancing on single by Bohanek and scoring on a groundout by Marcos Almonte.
By then, Quad-Cities found itself in a 3-0 hole.
The Kernels put two runs on the board off of River Bandits starter Nathan Thompson in the second inning, using a Jimmy Kerrigan single and a double by Caleb Hamilton to score the game’s first run.
A pair of walks loaded the bases before a sacrifice fly by Jordan Gore sent Cedar Rapids to a 2-0 lead Quad-Cities couldn’t catch.
The Kernels used a pair of solo home runs – a two-out blast to right by Lewin Diaz in the third and a leadoff shot by Travis Blankenhorn two innings later – to maintain a comfortable margin before adding a pair of runs on a two-out bases-loaded single by Kerrigan in the top of the ninth.
Royce Lewis, selected by the Twins with the top overall pick in the June draft, went 1-for-3 at the plate for Cedar Rapids.
Batting .340 through 11 games with the Kernels, the 18-year-old shortstop opened the game by beating out an infield single and stealing second. He did not have another hit, but reached base in the seventh when he was hit by a pitch and walked in the ninth.
Lewis did deny the River Bandits a run in the sixth inning with his defense.
With Daz Cameron at third base after reaching on a two-out single, Lewis went deep in the hole behind second base to get to a grounder off the bat of Luis Payano and threw him out at first to let the Kernels maintain their three-run lead.
“He made a couple of great plays,’’ Steinhorn said. “He showed why he was drafted where he was.’’