Cedar Rapids Kernels at Quad City River Bandits
April 4th, 2002
E-Vorwald, LOB CR-5, QC-1, 2B-Mathis, Porter, Kotchman, Naoli, Murphy, 3B-Melgarejo, CS-Kuhaulua, GIDP-Turner
SO-Melgarejo 2, Mathis 2, Kotchman, Napoli, Turner 3, Murphy 2, Welch 3, Tomlin 2, Kuhaulua, Mauer 2, Huff 2, Sandoval 2, Agar, Quickstad 2, Tamburrino 2, BB-Kotchman, Quickstad
U-Josh Miller, Todd Walters
Cedar Rapids Gazette
by Jeff Johnson
This is what happens when a bunch of guys who have spent the last few weeks in Arizona and Florida play their first Midwest League baseball game in the 30 degree April air of Iowa.
We're talking strikeouts. Lots and lots of strikeouts. The pitchers did have a little somethings to do with the 28 Ks, 14 for each team Thursday night at John O'Donnell Stadium. Particularly Steven Shell, who had 10 punchouts in six innings of wonderful one hit work in helping the Cedar Rapids Kernels to a 5-0 season opening win over the Quad City River Bandits.
A 19 year old right hander from Texas, Shell gave up only a one out single in the first inning to Kaulana Kuhaulua, who was promtly thrown out stealing, and a one out walk in the sixth. Retiring 14 hitters in a row at one point, Shell struck out last year's overall top draft pick Joe Mauer twice adn ended his brilliant performance the way he began it, striking out leadoff hitter James Tomlin.
That's not a bad begining for this Anaheim Angels third round draft choice of a year ago. He posted an inauspicious 6.48 earned run average in two Rookie league stops last season but looked tons better than that.
"My curveball was good tonight," said Shell, who throws a fastball, curve and changeup. "I was just working on command of my fastball, in and out. Just going right after the hitters in the cold, because I knew in these types of situations that I need to go right at them and challenge them."
Kernels manager Todd Claus was most impressed with Shell's ability to consistently throw strike one. "He threw quality strikes tonight is what he did," Claus said, "He went after hitters, he got ahead of hitters. He established his fastball on both sides of the plate, and he worked his offspeed pitches off of his fastball. (Catcher) Jeff Mathis called a great game. i thought the two of them were lock in.
"(Shell) showed tonight what he's capable of doing. He had big league stuff tonight, no doube at it."
Relievers Dustin Griffith and Mark O'Sullivan combined to close the Kernel gem, retiring the nine hitters they faced. Griffith struck out two guys in two innings, O'Sullivan two in his lone inning.
The Kernels played flawlessly in the field. "People will tell you pitching and defense will take you a long way in this game," Claus said, "That was what we got tonight."
And they got just enough offense. Kernels hitters were equally ineffective against Quad City starter Jim Abbott, collecting two hits and striking out nine times in five innings. But Mathis and Greg Porter bunch first inning doubles to left for a 1-0 Cedar Rapids edge.
Casey Kotchman singled leading off the seventh, went to second on an error on relief pitcher Matt Vorwald and later scored on a double play groundout. Cedar Rapids put up three insurance runs in the ninth on three doubles and a single.
Designated hitter Mike Napoli brought home the first two with a two bagger to right centerfield. Tommy Murphy scored Napoli with another solid double to left.
The Kernels had 10 hits, seven in the last three innings, Napoli and Kotchman had two hits apiece.
"It was really tough DH-ing tonight," Napoli said, "I was trying to stay warm going in and out of the clubhouse. We had a couple of days there where we saw no live pitching. So I think it'll take us a little but to start coming around offensively. But we'll be all right."
Quad City Times
by Steve Batterson
This wasn't the Aloha that the Quad City River Bandits' Kaulana Kuhaulua expected.
When the Hawiian born shortstop strokes a one out single in the bottom of the first inning Thursday night, the River Bandits said both hello and good bye to their offensive production.
A trio of Cedar Rapids pitchers combined on a one hitter to lead the Kernels to a 5-0 victory in the Midwest League opender for both teams.
"After this, there's only one way to go, and that is up," Kuhaulua said, "It can't get much worse than one hit. We have to learn from this and move on. That's about all we can do. Our pitchers kept us in the game, but we didn't give them any help."
Steven Shell, Dustin Griffith and Mark O'Sullivan struck out 14 River Bandits and walked just one to mirror the combined numbers posted by River Bandits pitchers Jim Abbott, Matt Vorwald and J.C. Contreras.
Shell did most of the damage. A third round pick in last June's draft, the 6 for 5 right hander from Texas struck out 10 in six innings of work.
He retired 14 consecutive batters between giving up a single to center by Kuhaulua and issuing a one out walk in the sixth to Barry Quickstad, the only other River Bandits to reach base.
"The curveball was there and I had pretty good command of my fastball," Shell said, "On a night like tonight, the best things to do is come out and challenge hitters, and it worked."
Shell worked with a lead the entire night. The Kernels put the only run they needed on the board in the top of the first, using doubles by Jeff Mathis and Greg Porter to open a 1-0 lead that last until the seventh inning.
Cedar Rapids scored its final three runs and collected four of its 10 hits in the ninth inning.
Despite opening night temperatures that hovered in the mid 30s, weather that can be a pitcher's best friend, the River Bandits weren't interested in excuses.
"Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to the pitchers, and their starter had pretty good stuff," Quad City second baseman Brett Tamburrino said, "He didn't miss too many of his spots all night. He did his job."
Catcher Joe Mauer said the River Bandits couldn't say the same. "We didn't play up to our potential. I think we're all glad to get the first one out of the way."
Tamburrino concurred. "I think you'll see a different team (tonight), It's always better when you get off with a win, but that wasn't in the cards."
Manager Jeff Carter sensed the possibility of a struggle even before the first hitter settled in the batters box. "I think there may have been a few nerves, a few jitters," he said, "We just have a slow our guys down a bit. We were a little too anxious at times. We'll work through that,"
by Steve Batterson
Cedar Rapids pitcher Steven Shell wasn't the only player taking the mound in the right frame of mind Thursday Night at John O'Donnell Stadium.
Quad City starter Jim Abbott set a good pace, too, and despite the team's season opening loss, Abbott's initial start was seen as a positive by River Bandits pitching coach Gary Lucas.
"He set a good tone out there, both starting pitchers did, "Lucas said, "He took an aggressive approach, and it worked for him. I know he'd like to have a couple of 0-2 pitches back that cost him a run in the first inning, but he didn't make many mistakes over five innings."
Lucas also liked the fact that Abbott was able to adjust his motion bases on the conditions of the mound. "He made a comment after the first inning that he was having a little trouble, and instead of complaining about it, he went out the next inning and adjusted," Lucas said, "That's exactly what a guy needs to do in that situation."
Abbott struck out nine and walked just one batter, giving up only two first inning doubles before leaving a 1-0 game because of an early season pitch count.
The five inning outing was the lonest by Abbott in more than a year, and was just the third start of his career.
He pitched on 1 2/3 innings in 2001 as he rehabilited following elbow surgery.
Greg Porter drove home the only run Cedar Rapids needed with a two out double in the top of the first inning, but the Kernels' cleanup hitter is used to making big plays.
Porter plays wide reciever for the football team at Texas A@M, and last fall his 16 catches including one in the Aggies' win over Texas Christian in the gallery-furniture.com Bowl.
A 45th round pick in the 2001 draft. Porter hit .331 at Provo last season before reporting to football practice. He has one year of college eligibility remaining.
Davenport Mayor Charlie Brooke and Davenport Alderman Bob McGivern provided a twist for opening night at John O'Donnell Stadium.
McGiven threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Davenport's top elected offical Brooke pulled in the bender with ease.
Ready for action
Preparing the playing surface at John O'Donnell Stadium kept head groundskeeper Andy Duyvejonck busy Thursday.
The ground remains frozen just beneth the surface, and snow and rain earlier this week have created plenty of moisture that has turned to ice on the diamond overnight and left the ground soft at surface level during daytime hours.
The situation promoted the cancellation of batting practice and the RiverBandits' scheduled pregame work Thursday.
We're hoping to get out there early (Today), "Quad City manager Jeff Carter said, "Once we get into our routinge, I think we'll be fine."
Although he calls Hawaii home. Bandits shortstop Kaulana Kuhaulua didn't seem to mind Thursday's frigide tempuratures.,br>
"It's not so bad," he sad before quickly adding, "but I think we'd all like to warm up a bit."
Cedar Rapids Kernels at Quad City River Bandits, 6 pm today, John O'Donnell Stadium. Probable pitchers, Cedar Rapids, Jake Woods, Quad City, J.D. Durbin, KWQC-TV-Magnetic schedule night.
How They scored
Ransel Melgarejo struck out. Jeff Mathis doubled to left. Dallas McPherson flew out to center. Greg Porter doubled to left, scoring Mathis. Casey Kotchman struck out. Kernels 1, Bandits 0
Kotchman singled to right, advanced to second on a throwing error by pitcher Matt Vorwald, took third on a single to center by Mike Napoli and scored when Justin Turner grounded into a double play. Tommy Murphy ground out.
Kernels 2, Bandits 0
Porter singled to left, advanced to third when Kotchman doubled to center. Both scored on a double to right center by Napoli. Turner struck out. Murphy doubled to left center, scoring Napoli. Ed Welch flew out to right. Melgarejo lined to right.
Kernels 5, Bandits 0