PEORIA, Ill. — When they couldn’t hold two late leads Saturday night and lost, you had a nagging feeling that might be it for the Cedar Rapids Kernels.
Starting pitcher Jake Dahlberg threw eight shutout innings and the Peoria Chiefs scored five times in the third inning Sunday afternoon at Dozer Park to beat the Kernels, 5-0, in Game 2 of the Midwest League Western Division finals. Peoria swept the best-of-3 series and moves along to the league championship series against the Bowling Green Hot Rods.
That best-of-5 set begins Wednesday night at Peoria. The Kernels qualified for the MWL playoffs a club-record sixth consecutive time, won the division’s second half, beat Beloit in the division playoff semifinals and concluded their season with a 79-64 overall record, playoffs included.
Dahlberg struck out nine, walked one and gave up four hits. Trey Cabbage led off the C.R. third with a triple to right field, but he was thrown out at the plate on an ensuing grounder, and the Kernels never had another runner reach third base.
Peoria parlayed four hits, a hit batter, a walk and a wild pitch against Kernels starting pitcher Blayne Enlow into its big bottom of the third. Melvi Acosta and Moises Gomez combined for five shutout relief innings for Cedar Rapids, but it did no good because lefty Dahlberg was just that good.
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