Harrison's Walk-Off Single Lifts Kernels In Extras

By Jeff Johnson (Story) and Josh Christensen (Video), Reporters

Cedar Rapids Kernels' Travis Harrison legs out a base hit during their game against Beloit Snappers at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Thursday, April 4, 2013, in southwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette-KCRG)


By Grant Burkhardt

Saturday's game between the Kernels and Kane County will be televised live on KCRG 9.2 starting at 5:05 p.m.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Travis Harrison rounded first base and turned toward his dugout, expecting to be surrounded by a host of Cedar Rapids Kernels teammates. But everyone ran toward home plate to celebrate with Jorge Polanco instead.

Six of one, half-dozen of the other. You either mob the guy with the game-winning hit or the guy who scored the game-winning run.

It was mostly the runner in this case, with the exception of a couple of players. J.D. Williams actually was the first to reach Harrison and show him some love.

“Yeah, well, he still owes me a grand slam,” Harrison with a smile, after watching his hit on replay in the Kernels clubhouse.

If you remember back about three weeks or so, Harrison hit a walk-off granny that turned into a walk-off single because of the over-exuberance on the basetpaths of some Kernels, including Williams. This time, there was none of that drama, just a hard groundball past third that gave the Kernels a 4-3, 12-inning win over Kane County before 2,151 fans at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

“I took the single this time, and that was that,” Harrison said, again with that smile.

“Rolled through, no play anywhere,” said Kernels Manager Jake Mauer. “No worries about this one.”

It took the Kernels (28-12) until June 9th last season to win their 28th game. This 28th victory could have obtained a lot earlier with just one other clutch hit.

Cedar Rapids was 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position, stranding runners at second or third in six of seven innings leading to the 12th. Jorge Polanco walked against losing Kane County reliever Nathan Dorris (1-1) to lead off the inning and was bunted to second by Dalton Hicks.

That’s cleanup hitter Dalton Hicks, who laid down a one-strike beauty up the third-base line.

“He doesn’t know it, but I would have asked him to bunt again with two strikes,” Mauer said. “He’s a candidate to ground into a double play, and I didn’t want that.”

Harrison swung at an 0-1 pitch from Dorris and kept his hot grounder just fair inside third and down the left-field line. He came into the game hitting .321 this season with runners in scoring position.

“Sinker or a changeup, not sure what it was. Something that was about 85 (miles per hour),” Harrison said. “He threw me a slider first pitch. That’s why I swung, because I was waiting for it. I hadn’t looked very good on offspeed pitches earlier in the game. He threw that pitch, and I was able to stay through it just enough.”

Manuel Soliman (3-1) got the win for Cedar Rapids, which hosts Kane County again Saturday night at 5:05. Williams went 3-for-4 with a walk, recording two triples and a double. Polanco also had three hits and a walk.

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