Special to the Herald
CLINTON — A walk-off loss on their home field started the night, and an eventual blowout sealed a pair of losses for the Clinton LumberKings on Friday night in Midwest League baseball.
The visiting Cedar Rapids Kernels won the resumption of a suspended game, outscoring Clinton 2-1 in the 11th inning for a 5-4 win before winning the regularly scheduled contest 6-1.
Friday night began with a unique situation, with the Kernels as the “home” team at Ashford University Field. The two teams were completing a game that began June 30 at Perfect Game Field in Cedar Rapids. That game had been suspended because of rain with the score tied 3-3 after nine innings.
After each side went scoreless in the 10th, the LumberKings jumped on top 4-3 in the 11th on Jeff Zimmerman’s RBI single. Clinton then had men on first and third with only one out, but Isaiah Yates and Martin Peguero both grounded out. The missed opportunity for another run cost the hometown club, playing as the visitors.
Nick Valenza (0-2), who began the 10th inning on the mound for Clinton, allowed a leadoff single to Jon Murphy, who eventually scored the game-tying run. Bo Altobelli laid down a sacrifice bunt, but Valenza’s throw sailed past Justin Seager at first base and put runners on second and third with no one out. After Ryan Walker flied out to shallow left field and the runners held, Chad Christensen hit a high chopper over the head of the pulled-in Peguero at second base, and both Murphy and Altobelli scored as the Kernels walked off with a 5-4 victory.
Though the second game remained within one run through seven innings, a four-run eighth set up the Kernels for a smooth 6-1 victory. Kohl Stewart (2-5), who also had been the starter in the suspended game, picked up his second win of the season, both in matchups in the LumberKings’ ballpark. Stewart, Minnesota’s first-round draft pick a year ago, allowed only one run and six hits over six innings as he lowered his ERA to 2.58 overall and 2.14 in five starts vs. Clinton.