Kernels Play In MWL All-Star Game, Buxton Stays Down For Now

By Jeff Johnson (Story) and Scott Saville (Video), Reporters

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By Grant Burkhardt

DAYTON, Ohio — Byron Buxton knows Tuesday night’s appearance in the Midwest League All-Star Game at Fifth Third Field in Dayton could have been his last with Cedar Rapids.

There is chance he will be promoted to high-Class A Fort Myers this week, but as he sat by his locker enjoying a postgame meal late, he wasn’t quite sure what his future held.

All the outfielder knew was that he savored his experience playing with the best of the best on a warm June night in downtown Dayton. It didn’t matter that the West lost, 6-5, to the East in front of a crowd of 8,746.

“I haven’t heard yet (about the promotion),” said Buxton, 19, who was hitless in three trips to the plate. “If it happens, I would most definitely be happy. It would be a goal that I have accomplished.”

As for the game itself, well, it was an experience he will cherish forever.

“It meant a lot to me,” Buxton said. “I met a lot of the guys and had fun out there. I really enjoyed my experience. It was awesome.”

Buxton, batting .344 with 15 doubles and 52 RBIs, had an opportunity to drive in a run in the top of the fourth inning but his hard infield drive was caught.

“It would have been good to get a hit, but I’m happy with how I’ve played up to this point,” Buxton said. “I have hit the ball well, hitting hard, and the hard work I’ve put in this year has been paying off.”

Cedar Rapids teammate Niko Goodrum nearly helped shift the momentum back in favor of the West in the ninth. Goodrum belted a hard single to center to drive in two runs and cut the East’s lead to 5-4. The West tied the game moments later on a wild pitch.

It was Goodrum’s only hit of the game. He walked once.

“I was trying to keep it simple. I wanted to drive the ball hard and get those runs home,” Goodrum said. “This was a good opportunity for me and it shows you that you are headed in the right direction.”

Kernels Dalton Hicks and Jorge Palanco tallied one hit apiece as well for the West. Adam Brett Walker tallied a hit, a single to left in the opening inning, and scored a run that gave the West a 1-0 lead. ---- Jose Berrios pitched a third of an inning and allowed one run on one hit. He struck out one. Steven Gruver worked 2/3 of an inning and struck out one.

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