Kernels Win In Front Of Large Historic Crowd
By Jeff Johnson (Story) and Josh Christensen (Video)
CEDAR RAPIDS – After yet another disappointing loss Wednesday night to the growing nemesis known as the Beloit Snappers, Jake Mauer was curious and a tad concerned how his team would react to its Fourth of July game Thursday night at home against Wisconsin.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels skipper never should have worried.
"Getting off the bus early this morning, we were kind of wondering how it would go today," Mauer said. "But I tell you what, that crowd really energized us."
The Kernels sold out Veterans Memorial Stadium to the tune of 5,631 fans, the second-largest crowd at the ballpark since it opened in 2002. Number one on the list is 5,861 on July 12, 2002.
The thing is the Kernels could have surpassed the record had they not turned people away at the box office. The club even put signs at the parking entrances to the stadium before the game saying they simply couldn't sell any more tickets.
"Once we get to 5,600, it's just not comfortable in here," explained Kernels General Manager Doug Nelson.
The official seating capacity of Veterans Memorial Stadium is 5,300. The Kernels had a presale of 4,500 going into day, telling people on their Web site that a limited number of tickets remained.
Those were snapped up quickly.
"This was a night where everything came together," said a beaming Nelson. "Beautiful weather, a holiday and a winning team."
The Kernels brushed past Wisconsin, 3-1, on the strength of a two-run home run by Adam Brett Walker, a solo shot by D.J. Hicks and strong starting pitching from Josue Montanez. The team is averaging 2,468 fans this season through 40 dates, an increase of just under 200 per game from last season.