INDEPENDENCE - For Independence, the prep football season opener bore little resemblance to its winless 2016 campaign.
Even in defeat, a clear message was sent that there are brighter days ahead for the Mustangs.
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PEORIA, Ill. — Aaron Whitefield homered twice, and the Cedar Rapids Kernels knocked off the Peoria Chiefs, 8-2, Monday night in Midwest League baseball at Dozer Park.
Whitefield, the Australian who grew up playing fastpitch softball but is transitioning into baseball at the professional level, hit two homers in his entire 2016 season for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast Twins but has three in the early going thus far for the Kernels (6-5).
That includes three in his last three games. He hit a solo home run in the sixth inning and followed with a two-run shot in the ninth.
Cedar Rapids more than doubled Peoria in hits, 16-7, getting a 4-for-5, three-run, three-RBI performance from Whitefield. Jermaine Palacios also had three hits to improve his season batting average to .351.
Jaylin Davis also hit his second home run of the season for the Kernels, while Lewin Diaz had his first. Starting pitcher Clark Beeker (1-1) threw a strong 7 2/3 innings for the win, giving up seven hits and two runs, striking out nine. Colton David followed for the final 1 1/3, without allowing a hit.
The teams play again Tuesday night.
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