The Astros full season Single-A affiliate, the Iowan Quad Cities River Bandits, lost game one 5-2 of the three-game series to Cedar Rapids Kernels. All four of the Astros minor leagues successfully qualified for their respective playoff series. The River Bandits are currently serving in their second stint as an Astros affiliate. Previously serving as an affiliate from 1993-1998 with the Astros, the River Bandits have been with the Astros organization since 2013 after serving under the St. Louis Cardinals. The team entered Wednesday’s playoff series after finishing 88-50 in the Midwest League Western division.
The River Bandits faced adversity early in the game. Starting pitcher Joshua James found himself in trouble in the bottom of the third inning when the Kernels scored the first two runs of the game to take an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third. The River Bandits were able to quickly respond in the top of the fourth when Ryan Bottger hit a sacrifice fly to score Bryan Muniz. Kristian Trompiz hit an RBI single to score Ramon Laureano to tie the game 2-2.
The Kernels then stepped on the gas to score three unanswered runs in the fourth, sixth, and seventh inning to win the game 5-2. Nick Gordan hit a sacrifice fly to score Brian Navarreto in the bottom of the fourth to increase the lead to 3-2. Chris Paul (no, not the Clippers point guard with the State Farm twin) scored on a wild pitch by River Bandit’s Andrew Thorne to up the lead to 4-2. Later in the bottom of the seventh, Nick Gordon managed to score on a throwing error by right fielder Ramon Laureano to give us the final score of the game.
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Felix Jorge of the Kernels managed to shutout the River Bandits all put the fourth inning with the River Bandits scored their lone two runs. He then turned it over to bullpen pieces Luke Bard and Nick Anderson to close the game one win. Gordon went 3-3 with a double, RBI, and run in the seventh led the way for the Kernels victory.
The River Bandits will travel back home in Iowa for game two. River Bandits manager Josh Bonifay will be looking for better defensive play and offensive production from his squad. If the River Bandits can win the next two games to advance to Round 2, Division Championship, they will enter another three-game series. They will face the winner of the Kane County Cougars (Diamondbacks) versus the Peoria Chiefs (Cardinals) series. The division championship winners will enter a five game series for the league championship.
Hopefully they will bounce back.