The Quad Cities River Bandits secured their 12th championship in franchise history on Sunday night, as they topped the Cedar Rapids Kernels 5-0 in a winner-take-all Game Five at Modern Woodmen Park.
Quad Cities’ offense kicked into action right from the get-go and took advantage of a pair of Cody Laweryson walks by grabbing a 2-0 lead on an RBI single from Logan Porter and an RBI double by John Rave that chased the Kernels’ starter after facing seven batters and lasting just 0.1 innings
After Denny Bentley recorded the final two outs in the first, he wound up on the hook for another Bandits’ tally as Nick Loftin extended his team’s lead to 3-0 with a run-scoring knock up the middle in the second.
On the mound A.J. Block retired the first nine batters he faced and struck out five in 3.2 innings before handing the ball to Zach Haake, who struck out Alex Isola to stand a pair of Kernels’ runners in the fourth.
The Bandits gradually added onto the lead in the middle innings and got a pair of runs from Tucker Bradley who launched a solo homer off of Bentley in the fourth before making it a 5-0 game with a sacrifice-fly in the fifth.
Haake worked 2.1 innings of relief for Q.C. and stranded a pair of walks in the sixth. The next man in, Caden Monke, picked up a strikeout, but loaded the bases via walks in the seventh. However, Nathan Webb took over and struck out back-to-back batters to end the threat and keep Cedar Rapids off the board.
Webb remained in the game for the eighth and stranded a Michael Helman walk before leaving two more runners on in the top of the ninth as the righty got Edouard Julien to pop up to end the ballgame and finalize Quad Cities’ fourth championship in the last ten seasons.
Thanks to his scoreless relief, Zach Haake (1-0) earned the win in the series finale and mixed in four strikeouts, while Laweryson (0-1) took the loss for Cedar Rapids despite recording just one out.
The victory concludes the River Bandits’ 2021 season and marks their first championship as affiliates of the Kansas City Royals.