CEDAR RAPIDS — Dad couldn’t make it to watch him pitch Monday afternoon, but he won’t miss too many more of Randy Dobnak’s starts for the Cedar Rapids Kernels.
Dobnak threw seven strong innings in the Kernels’ 10-4 win over Lake County in a matinee at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The right-hander from Pittsburgh is putting together a very nice season.
Rick Dobnak likely is going to be around to see its conclusion. He’s an electrician who just took a temporary job in the area.
“Two days ago, I was sitting on the top stairs of the dugout, and I hear ‘Hey, (number) 26,’” said Randy Dobnak. “I was like that is my dad. I turn around, and it’s like ‘Hey, dad.’ He was like ‘I got the job.’ OK, cool.”
Randy Dobnak said his father has traveled around the country to work. He actually was in Cedar Rapids a couple of years ago for a job.
“He has worked out of Washington, Massachusetts, here,” Dobnak said. “One of his worker buddies, my dad was asking him what there is to do around here. He was like ‘Well, there’s the Cedar Rapids Kernels minor league team.’ My dad was like ‘That’d be kind of cool if my son played for them some day.’ Now here we are.”
Dobnak was signed by the Minnesota Twins last June out of the independent United Baseball League. He made one start here at the end of the season and improved his record to 7-2 this season with this victory.
The only damage done against him came in the sixth inning, when Elvis Perez hit a three-run home run to right field that just seemed to keep carrying and carrying. Dobnak allowed five hits and two walks, striking out seven.
“I thought I executed pretty well today,” he said. “The umpire’s zone was kind of tight. I noticed that the first game. That was a pretty good pitch (Perez hit out), I thought. Maybe a little too much of the middle. But the wind was blowing out that way, and that didn’t help too much.”
By the way, Rick Dobnak wasn’t at the ballpark Monday. He generally works 10-hour days Monday through Friday.
“He just started, so they wanted to train him,” Randy Dobnak said. “Otherwise, he probably would have took off earlier today and come out to watch.”
The Kernels (49-45 overall, 17-8 second half) peppered a handful of Lake County pitchers for 16 hits, including seven doubles. Each guy in the lineup minus Jacob Pearson had at least one hit, with Pearson picking up a sacrifice fly.
The club has Tuesday off, though it will spend most of it traveling to Midland, Mich., for a three-game series against Great Lakes that begins Wednesday. Then it’s a three-game series at Lansing.
Cedar Rapids entered Monday in a tie for first place with Beloit in the Western Division.
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