Kernels Walk Off In Bizarre Fashion

By Jeff Johnson, Reporter

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By Grant Burkhardt

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Someone on the Cedar Rapids Kernels owes Travis Harrison three more bases and three more RBIs. Probably more than just some "one."

At least buy him a nice dinner or something.

“We won,” Harrison shrugged, after his hit gave his club an exhilirating 8-7, 11-inning win over Great Lakes last night at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

What kind of hit? Officially a single, though his pinch-hit line drive landed on the porch in left field with the bases loaded and one out for an apparent grand slam.

Sheer pandemonium broke out as Harrison rounded first base, with about half of an emptied dugout mobbing him. Players were literally all over the field celebrating.

Eventually, Harrison fought his way to home plate and touched it. But after a long conversation with Great Lakes Manager Razor Shines, umpires ruled three of the four Kernels runners had abandoned the bases (the exception being lead runner Niko Goodrum).

A puny little walk-off single. An 8-7 win instead of 11-7.

“It was a fastball right down the middle,” Harrison said of his hit. “I went up there looking for it. I was ready to go. He threw it right there. I couldn’t help but swing."

He did get a cold cooler of Gatorade dumped on him by teammates while he was showering postgame. As if screwing up his stats wasn't good enough.

"I got swarmed around second," Harrison said. "Just tried to make my way to home plate. That was that. The game was over.”

It was incredible dramatics for the Kernels (15-5), who won for a sixth-straight time. Adam Brett Walker sent the game to extras with a three-run home run with one out in the ninth against Great Lakes closer Scott Griggs.

Walker hit a towering fly to left that Malcolm Holland of the Loons leaped for but couldn’t get. It took a second or two for everyone, including the 2,063 fans in attendance, to realize the skyscraper had gone over the fence.

“I knew it was close,” said Walker. “I thought it might sneak out. Was just up there praying it would go. He jumped and no one knew if he caught it. Finally we found out.”

It was the fifth homer in his last four games for Walker, who has a whopping 16 RBIs in that span. He carries a four-game home run streak into Sunday afternoon's 2:05 game at home against the Lansing Lugnuts.

“Nothing like this," Walker said, when asked if he has experienced anything similar in his baseball life. "It’s exciting. I’m just trying to stay in the moment. Just trying to keep having good at-bats, not get too carried away. This is pretty crazy right now.”

Goodrum singled through the second-base hole to lead off the Kernels' 11th. Jorge Polanco bunted him over to second, and Dalton Hicks singled to right to put runners on the corners.

Walker was intentionally walked, and Harrison picked on the first pitch he saw from losing reliever Arismendy Ozoria. David Hurlbut got the vulture win for Cedar Rapids.

Here is the game boxscore and video of Harrison's walk-off...single.

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