In making a new trek to Burlington, Iowa, to beautiful Community Field on Sunday to watch the Quad Cities River Bandits take on the Burlington Bees, it was enjoyable to see not only the River Bandits win, but clinch a spot in the post season with their win over the Bees, 5-1. This is the 2nd win in a row over the Bees, as they also defeated the Bees 4-1 Saturday night.
After trading runs in the 1st inning, the 4th and 5th innings belonged to the River Bandits, as they scored 2 runs each. Starter Mark Appel (3-1, 3.82 ERA) continued to dominate and prove Astro's 1st-round pick was not a mistake. Appel scattered 4 hits and gave up 1 run, while walking 3 and striking out 3. Jamaine Cotton came in the 6th to successfully hold the Bees through the 8th inning with no hits or runs, 1 walk and 2 strikeouts. Patrick Christensen finished the 9th by shutting down all 3 Bee batters with a strikeout, fly out, and another strikeout.
In the 1st inning, the River Bandits scored right away with Anthony Kemp walking, then scoring on Carlos Correa's double with 1 out. Correa had two hits for the day, which was also accomplished by teammates Rio Ruiz and Roberto Pena. The River Bandits were able to reach base in all but the 7th and 9th innings.
Both Ruiz and Pena added homers in the 4th, with Ruiz hitting his 11th of the season, and Pena hitting his 5th. The River Bandits would strike with 2 more in the 5th. With 1 out, Teoscar Hernandez singled to center, and reached 3rd on a single up the middle by Danry Vasquez. Vasquez took a long turn around 1st base, but the Bees' shortstop Angel Rosa reacted by making a throwing error to 1st base, allowing Hernandez to score and Vasquez to reach 2nd. With 2 outs and a pitching change later, Bobby Borchering singled home Vasquez.
The River Bandits continue their series with the Bees on Monday and Tuesday nights in Burlington - both games will start at 6:30pm. As mentioned before, Sunday's win allows the River Bandits to continue playing past the regular season final. They are scheduled to play Cedar Rapids or Beloit - both 1st half playoff qualifiers. The Midwest League playoff system has the winner of the 1st half of the season playing the 2nd place team of the 2nd half, while the 2nd place team of the 1st half plays the winner of the 2nd half. Right now, the Cedar Rapids Kernels took 2nd place in the 1st half and are in position to possibly win the 2nd half, so they are in. Beloit won the 1st half, so they also are in. The last spot is up in the air with a little more than a week to go. Go River Bandits!