CEDAR RAPIDS — Their season-opening, 19-game road trip finally ended Friday night.
The Quad Cities River Bandits played a bona fide home game at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, getting a two-out, two-run walk-off homer in the 12th inning from Alex Holderbach to beat Clinton, 7-6.
Mississippi River flooding and an unexpected project to raise nearby railroad tracks made it impossible to enter Modern Woodmen Park. That included for front-office employees, who went about their daily work in another building downtown.
Quad Cities played “home” games on the road, including a series last week at Veterans Memorial Stadium against the Cedar Rapids Kernels.
“We’ll probably lose money on the deal,” Kernels General Manager Scott Wilson said last week. “But (hosting) is the right thing to do. You help out your fellow clubs whenever they need it.”
The River Bandits went 10-9 on their road trip, which isn’t too bad considering everything. Players and coaches were looking forward to having some normalcy, not only playing home games but just being able to practice on their home field.
The field itself, by the way, remained high and dry, thanks to a berm that was built around it a few years ago.
“Nothing about minor-league baseball is easy, but something like this, it’s been a challenging situation, and they’ve dealt with it,” Quad Cities Manager Ray Hernandez told the Quad City Times. “I haven’t heard one guy complain. They just handled it the best they could from one day to the next.”
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“We haven’t gotten caught up in what might be coming next,” QC’s David Hensley told the Times. “Just make the most of today and not worry about tomorrow. In this game, that’s usually the best approach anyway.”
Around the Midwest League
— The Cedar Rapids Kernels and parent Minnesota Twins announced Saturday that relief pitcher Jose Martinez has been activated from the injured list and reliever Jacob Blank has been sent back to extended spring training, technically to the roster of the Rookie-level Elizabethton Twins. Martinez has no record and a 4.32 earned run average in five appearances. Blank appeared in two games for the Kernels and won them both, allowing just one hit and no runs in 4 1/3 innings. He did walk six batters.
— Bowling Green comes to town this coming week for a series, with fans being able to catch a glimpse of emerging star Wander Franco. The 18-year-old shortstop widely is considered one of the top 10 prospects in baseball. He went into Saturday with a 12-game hit streak, including hitting a pair of home runs in BG’s win Thursday night over Lansing. Franco had a .329 batting average in his first 19 Midwest League games, with more walks (11) than strikeouts (8).
— Parity anyone? Going into Saturday, the best record in the MWL belonged to the Lake County Captains at 13-8. Burlington and Kane County led the Western Division at 13-9. Contrarily, the worst record in the league belonged to Dayton and Peoria at 8-13. About a month into the season, every team was within five games of each other or closer in the standings.
— Trey Cabagge of the Kernels went into Saturday tied for the Midwest League league in home runs (6). Others with six were Peoria’s Nolan Gorman and Lake County’s Will Benson. Gorman was a first-round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals last year. Benson hit four of his six homers in one game last week.