Monday, July 12, 2010

Beloit Snappers 6 at Quad Cities River Bandits 12 - July 11, 2010

Quad Cities is a community in eastern Iowa and western Illinois that combines four cities into one urban space. Davenport is the largest of the four and is home to the area's minor league team, the Quad Cities River Bandits of the Class-A Midwest League.

The Bandits were hosting the Beloit Snappers with a 5:00 start Sunday evening. With the World Cup final going long, I arrived just a few minutes before game time. I wasn't able to do the usual ballpark tour so I'm just going to write about the game. I'm planning to see another game here tonight and will write about Modern Woodmen Park then. That's the Centennial Bridge above (it runs just beyond the right field fence), and the front of the ballyard below.

Update: The July 12th game was rained out so there's not much info on the park. I can say that if you park in the main lot, it's $2 but you get that amount in Bandit Bucks which you can use as cash inside the stadium. Otherwise, looks like I'll have to come back here for another visit.

The Game

Eric Fornataro (6th round, 2008, above) got the start for QC, who are St. Louis' affiliate. Beloit (Twins) sent Iowa native B.J. Hermsen (6th, 2008) to the hill. Not only were both pitchers selected in the same round two years ago, but Fornataro was 185th overall while Hermsen was selected 186th. A rather interesting but meaningless coincidence as they both work their way up the ladder.

Anyway, Hermsen was not sharp and the Bandits scored early and often. DH Edgar Lara doubled home two in the second and QC added 3 more in the 3rd for a quick 5-0 lead. In the 5th, Matt Adams (23rd, 2009) hit a monster homer that cleared not only the fence but the entire ballpark. The Bandits added another to make it 7-0 after 5 innings.

Derek McCallum (4th, 2009) is out at first

Meanwhile, Fornataro was cruising. He pitched 5 hitless innings, giving up 4 walks during that time. Beloit's Reggie Williams (4th, 2007) led off the 6th with a solo homer to end the no-hit bid and the shutout but that was the only blemish against Fornataro in his 6 frames. His bullpen didn't seem to enjoy the 6-run cushion though. Jesse Simpson (40th, 2009) gave up 3 walks, 2 doubles, and a wild pitch without recording an out as the Snappers closed to 7-4. Dean Kiekhefer (36th, 2o10) came in and closed the 7th.

The blowout has begun

QC loaded the bases on a single and two walks. This brought C.J. Beatty (26th, 2009) to the plate. It was Denny's Grand Slam contest whereby if the River Bandits hit a grand slam during the inning, one (un)lucky fan would win free Grand Slam breakfasts for a year. Beatty had yet to homer all season but he smacked one down the line that just cleared the fence and restored the 7-run lead. Some fan now gets to enjoy an unknown number of free Grand Slams at the local Denny's over the next year. And a coronary.

Devin Goodwin (33rd, 2009) swings - all the Bandits wore the high socks, an excellent fashion statement

Anyway, the rest of the game was just for show. Adams hit another long homer for the Bandits while Beloit's James Beresford, an Australian, belted his first dinger of the season to make the final 12-6 Quad Cities. Kiekhefer pitched 3 innings for the save and is the first of the Cardinals' 2010 draft class to play in full-season ball. He showed good command and may be worth watching as a long reliever.

Player to Watch

Despite Fornataro's strong performance, Matt Adams gets this award for his two long balls. He was 3-5 with 3 runs and 3 RBI. As a 23rd-round pick there might not be high expectations, but you never know. That's him below shouting "Up!" as the batter pops one up.

Mega Candy Drop

After the game, the River Bandits held an interesting promotion. Known as the Mega Candy Drop, it involves kids running out onto the field to catch piles of candy dropped from a helicopter. Before the drop, parents are warned to not let their children run onto the field until after the helicopter has flown away. Naturally, nobody listens with free candy at stake. Once the first piece of candy fell (below) the kids ran pell-mell trying to pick up as much as they could with the helicopter flying just above. Fortunately it didn't crash, but it made for a surreal sight - much like having rations dropped to starving villagers in war zones.

Once the first drop was complete, the helicopter disappeared to pick up about a million marshmallows. When it returned, it simply dropped them all over the outfield. Yum. I love it when food spends a few minutes on a ball field where players spend the evening spitting. It was hilarious to watch as the kids were showered with marshmallows, which are harmless when they bop you on the head. Better than Tootsie Rolls for sure.

To participate you had to sign a waiver which absolves the club of any responsibility should the helicopter fall to the field and decapitate you. I guess it's safe enough but I don't know if the few pieces of free candy are worth the risk.

Note on Draft Positions

You might have noticed that I didn't mention draft positions in the AAA post from Des Moines. This is because many of those players have already made the bigs so they aren't really prospects. It's only these young kids who have been drafted in the past two or three years where the info might be useful. As well, those with no designation were signed as undrafted free agents.

Next Up

Tripleheader! Yesterday's game in Cedar Rapids was rained out so today's 12:05 start features 2 7-inning games. I'll then come back to Davenport for a 7:05 start. It's 90 minutes between the two towns, so I may have to leave Cedar Rapids early, but it's still going to be a memorable day. Check back tomorrow for posts on all 3 games as well as some World Cup and All-Star thoughts.



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