116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS – All of the new LED light poles have been fully installed at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Not only do they provide exquisite, high-caliber lighting for players and fans, you can do cool things with them. Such as Monday night, when they turned on and off intermittently in a wave-like pattern when a Cedar Rapids Kernels player hit a home run.
It was suggested to Blayne Enlow that the Kernels should do something for him and his fellow pitchers, too. Like perhaps flashing them on and off whenever he records a strikeout.
“Boy, there’d be a lot of lights turning off,” Enlow said with a smile, after his team’s 4-2 win over Beloit.
It seems in a way to be a new Blayne Enlow this season. He struck out a career-high 10 in 5 2/3 innings to get the victory here.
“That’s the biggest thing for me. Why do you give them the opportunity to put the ball in play? That’s when bad things happen,” Enlow said. “I’m trying to get three whiffs in a row and see you later. That’s every time.”
Enlow’s still just 22, a third-round draft pick out of high school in Louisiana of the Minnesota Twins in 2017. He pitched for the Kernels the entire 2018 season, then part of 2019 before getting a promotion to high-Class A Fort Myers.
Cedar Rapids jumped from low-A to high-A this season, thus Enlow’s back again. With a philosophy that’s more or less ‘Here is my stuff, try and hit it.’
“Really all I’ve been working on is my mental health,” Enlow said. “I just think I’m the best person out there. No ifs, ands or buts … It’s like ‘You don’t have a chance to beat me as a hitter.’ That’s every hitter. I don’t care who you are. You can be Mike Trout, but I’m coming at you with my best stuff every single time. That’s it.”
Enlow’s stuff is undeniable: a fastball that tops out at 96 miles per hour, a cutter, slider and an occasional changeup. It was all working in this game.
He gave up three hits, three walks and a run, striking out the side in the second and two batters each in the first, fourth and fifth. Jordan Gore and Owen Griffith finished things up for the Kernels (7-6).
“I feel like the reason more Ks are coming is it’s strike one, it’s strike two,” he said. “I put hitters in bad spots, in uncomfortable situations. That’s any pitcher. Any pitcher can strike out 10 dudes in this league. But you’ve got to get strike one consistently, you’ve to get strike two consistently. Or are you going to be 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0? You know what I’m saying?”
“He had multiple pitches working,” said Kernels Manager Brian Dinkelman. ”He had a bunch of strikeouts, which is good, something that we’re hoping from him. It was a good night for him. He had his fastball, cutter and slider all working. To see him punch out 10 and work deeper into the game was good.”
The Kernels won this game with four solo home runs.
Catcher Jair Camargo had two of them, one the opposite way to right field in the second and the other a no-doubter to left. He also added a single and threw out two guys at first base on back-pick throws.
Matt Wallner also went opposite field for his homer in the fourth, 421 feet over the porch in left. Michael Helman had C.R.’s fourth long ball, pulled to left field.
The Kernels won five of six games against Peoria to start the High-Class A Central League season, then lost five of six at Quad Cities.
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