Minor League Sports

Randy Dobnak pitches Cedar Rapids Kernels out of losing skid

Dobnak tosses 5 2/3 scoreless innings as Kernels blank Kane County, 7-0

CEDAR RAPIDS — Randy Dobnak was anxious to get back on the mound.

The Cedar Rapids Kernels starting pitcher had not competed since an April 11 game at Peoria in which he yielded 10 hits and eight earned runs in 3 2/3 innings pitched.

Six weather-related game postponements in a row delayed his next start and further exacerbated the need to get past that bad outing with a better one.

“I was ready to get back out there the next day,” Dobnak said after pitching 5 2/3 innings of scoreless ball as the Kernels (7-3) snapped a three-game losing skid, 7-0, in a Midwest League baseball game against Kane County before 1,443 fans Sunday at Veterans Memorial Stadium. “It was tough all around. Everything I threw, they hit. I was just really anxious to get back out there eventually, then we got canceled six days in a row. Finally got a nice day to play, which was really nice.”

Dobnak (1-0) allowed at least one hit in each of the first five innings, but managed to escape each frame without allowing a run. The 23-year-old native of South Park, Pa., walked two batters and struck out four.

“He was really in attack mode today,” Cedar Rapids Manager Toby Gardenhire said. “He mixes his pitches, always does, really well. He’s got a nice changeup, a nice breaking ball. Today he just really attacked. He was going after everybody. It was nice to see.”

It was the first victory as a Kernel for Dobnak, who pitched well and earned a no-decision in his only start for Cedar Rapids last season in the second-to-last game of the regular season.

Dobnak pitched collegiately for Division-II Alderson Broaddus University in West Virginia, where he established a Great Midwest Athletic Conference record with 284 strikeouts over a four-year career.

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“Coming out of high school, it was the only school that offered me,” Dobnak said. “I decided to go with that. The hills of West Virginia. Kind of like the middle of nowhere, but I had a lot of fun.”

After going undrafted in the 2017 Major League Baseball draft, Dobnak joined the Utica Unicorns of the independent United Shore Professional Baseball League, where he was managed by the father of his college catcher.

In six starts with Utica, Dobnak posted a 3-0 record with a 2.31 earned run average and 29 strikeouts. After pitching a complete game for Utica, he was signed by the Minnesota Twins the next day.

“I had teams contact me in college, but never the Twins,” Dobnak said. “I had no idea it was going to happen until the morning of. I was sitting at my table having breakfast and one of the guys that works up there called me and said, ‘Hey, the Twins want to contact you.’ They called me and 20 minutes later, I was signed with the Twins.”

Cedar Rapids second baseman Jose Miranda drove in four runs with his first home run of the season and a pair of sacrifice flies.

Cedar Rapids begins a four-game series with Burlington Monday at 6:35 at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

AT VETERANS MEMORIAL STADIUM

Cedar Rapids Kernels 7, Kane County Cougars 0

Kane County 000 000 000—0

Cedar Rapids 000 401 02x—7

WP — Randy Dobnak (1-0). LP — Kevin McCanna (0-2). HR — Jose Miranda (1).

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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