KERNELS 6, BEES 5: Casanova’s hit is a heartbreaker

By John Bohnenkamp

CEDAR RAPIDS — Trevor Casanova’s loud double to right field kept the Burlington Bees tumbling in the final weeks of the season.

Casanova’s hit with one out in the ninth inning brought in Wander Javier with the winning run as the Cedar Rapids Kernels rallied for a 6-5 win, sending the Bees to their ninth consecutive loss.

“Five runs has got to win the game,” Bees manager Jack Howell said. “We haven’t been a big offensive power all year. When you get late in games, if you’ve got the lead, you’ve got to win them.”

The Bees (54-60) had a 5-2 lead in the fourth inning, then saw the Kernels (66-48) come back with two runs in the fifth before finishing off the victory in the ninth.

“You’ve got to win these games,” Howell said.

Luis Ramirez (0-1) had a nightmarish ninth. The Bees reliever gave up the game-tying home run to Gabe Snyder on the ninth pitch of a pesky at-bat, and it only got worse.

Javier followed with a hard grounder that third baseman Kevin Maitan was able to field, but his throw to first was wild, and Javier reached on the error.

Jared Akins followed with an infield single, but Ramirez got Albee Watts on a foul popup to Maitan for the first out. Casanova then sent a line drive into the right-field corner, and Javier sprinted to the plate.

The Kernels got three home runs — a solo homer by Gilberto Celestino in the first, a two-run shot by Javier in the fifth, and then Snyder’s rocket.

“Too many home runs,” Howell said.

The Bees got all of their runs in the fourth. Justin Jones hit a bases-loaded triple with two outs, then Harrison Wenson followed with a two-run home run to left field.

Austin Schulfer (7-5) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.

Three of the Bees’ losses in the four-game series were by one run.

“I guess you could be the optimist and say if we win the two 3-2 games, and win tonight, we win three out of four in the series,” Howell said. “But it’s been too long of a streak. I don’t want to say it’s a bad vibe. When we score enough runs, we give too many up. When we don’t score enough, we pitch well.

“That’s been the theme. How do we get out of that? We lock in, get the big hit when we need it, and bear down and make the pitches when we need them.”

NOTES: The Kernels won the season series, 14-4. … Schulfer was 4-0 with a 1.69 earned run average against the Bees this season. … Bees shortstop Livan Soto had his seven-game hitting streak snapped, but has an eight-game on-base streak. … Bees right fielder Francisco Del Valle has a 10-game on-base streak.

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