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CEDAR RAPIDS — Terry Schneekloth held a small, white erase board and black magic marker in his lap as he sat in the stands Wednesday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
When Jaylin Davis of the Cedar Rapids Kernels grounded out to shortstop in the first inning, he wrote “6-3” on his board and showed it to the two rows of teenagers seated below him.
The ballpark was the Cedar Rapids Jefferson mathematics teacher’s classroom. Keeping score of the Kernels’ 7-4 win over Peoria was the day’s lesson for his Advanced Placement Statistics class.
“It kind of shows us the everyday application of statistics,” said Jefferson senior Zahra Aalabdulrasul. “The real world. So it’s kind of cool to see.”
Schneekloth decided on this short day trip after Dakota Hulsing, another one of his students, gave a presentation last week on baseball statistics. Everyone went over the basics Tuesday in class (the numbers for every position, etc.), then went out and applied them here.
The time-honored tradition of scorekeeping lives!
“It’s a lost art,” said Schneekloth, a former standout college player and head baseball coach at Cedar Rapids Prairie.
“We were just talking about how it kind of makes you feel like you’re actually paying attention to the game, when you’re keeping stats and everything,” Aalabdulrasul said.
Kernels Manager Tommy Watkins guessed “85 to 90 percent” of his players know how to keep score, though hitting coach Brian Dinkelman thought it was less than that. The two keep their own little personal handmade scorecards in the dugout during games to give them more of a feel on how players are doing.
“I’d bet almost all the pitchers know how to do it,” Watkins said.
“We have completed our whole curriculum already at this point. They’ve already taken the AP test,” Schneekloth said. “So I look for things that we can do that are related to our classes. Ways that they can use it in the future and so forth. When I get a young man like Dakota who does a presentation in baseball, I always try to tie it back into something they can use for the rest of their life. That’s kind of my thought. Plus this was a good way to reward them for being in the class.”
The kids had plenty of activity to keep track of. The Kernels (23-16) moved to a season-high seven games above .500 by lashing out 17 hits.
They scored twice in the first inning, on a Lewin Diaz two-run home run, then broke things open with a five-run second that included a three-run home run from Jermaine Palacios and a solo shot by Mitchell Kranson.
Palacios, Kranson, Aaron Whitefield and Brandon Lopez had three hits apiece. Pitcher Sean Poppen (2-1) allowed five hits and two earned runs in six innings to record his seventh straight quality start to begin the Midwest League season.
Cedar Rapids, which is in first place in the Western Division, plays four games this weekend at Wisconsin.
“Happy, but not satisfied,” Watkins said. “We did the same thing the other night in Bowling Green. Scored seven (early) runs: two in the first, five in the second, then just shut down. We did have 17 hits, but we grounded into a double play with the bases loaded, had first and third in the eighth and should have scored a run.
“Good clubs, championship clubs, don’t let those opportunities slip away.”
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