As the first half of the Midwest League comes to a close the Clinton LumberKings were looking for a strong finish and a fresh start to the second half after failing to clinch a playoff spot.
The week would begin for the Clinton LumberKings with the rubber match game against the Peoria Chiefs (St. Louis Cardinals) followed by an 85 mile trip West to take on the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Minnesota Twins).
In the final home game of the first half, Alberto Guerrero (3-1, 2.15) would get the start. Guerrero scattered five hits over his six innings of work allowing no runs, while walking three and striking out eight. C.J. Carter (2.27) would come in and pitch a scoreless 7th and 8th inning striking out four. Clinton would turn it over to Nathan Alexander (3.70) to try close it out. After starting the inning with a whiff, Nathan would load the bases on three straight walks. A force out later allowing a run to score would see the bullpen called on again as Alex Vesia (2.56) would come in to face the Cardinals number two prospect Nolan Gorman. Vesia would get him to fly to left to secure the win and pick up his third save.
The offense got all it would need in the sixth inning as Bubba Hollins (3.18) would double in a run. Davis Bradshaw added a run-scoring bunt-single, then Hollins scored on a wild pitch to put the Clinton LumberKings over the top.
George Soriano (0-5 5.01) threw the ball extremely well the following night, tossing his first complete game of his career. He lasted eight innings and allowed three unearned runs, striking out seven and walking zero from Cedar Rapids.
The LumberKings would outhit the Kernels eight-to-six as Jerar Encarnacion would launch his team leading tenth home run of the season in the 1-3 loss.
Jake Walters (0-2, 5.51) would give up a 2 run shot in the bottom of the first, then the skies would open to see the game suspended due to the rain.
Tyler Jones (2.64) started in the second inning of the continued suspended game, striking out six in his 5 1/3 innings of work giving up one earned run.
Clinton would only manage three hits (all singles) Bubba Hollins collected two of them, going two for two with an RBI.
The final game of the first half would be a seven inning affair due to the completion of the suspended game. Tanner Andrews (2-3, 4.47) took the loss going 4 2/3 innings and allowing six earned runs, also striking out six and walking one.
LumberKings bats once again were cold as the only run they would get would be from a JD Osborne solo home run, his fourth of the season. Clinton would be swept in the series and finish the first half at 33-36.
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The Clinton LumberKings sent three players to the 55th Annual Midwest League All-Star game in South Bend, Indiana. Chris Vallimont (4-4 2.99) would be the West All-Stars starter, and pitched the first inning. He strike out two, keeping the East scoreless on one hit. Humberto Mejia (5-1, 2.03) entered to pitch the third inning. Mejia would get a 1-2-3 inning with one strike out. Outfielder Jerar Encarnacion would have a All-Star game to remember going two for two with a two run blast to the opposite field in the fourth inning.
Next week will see the LumberKings open up the second half on the road taking on the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Milwaukee Brewers), then come home to battle the Peoria Chiefs (St. Louis Cardinals)
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