I’m getting the oldest games I have records of out of the way first. This game was the 3rd to last game of the 2002 season. This game featured these future MLB players:
Casey Kotchman – He played in 939 MLB games and hit 71 home runs. When he played for the Kernels in 2002 he was only 19 years old. He played 81 games for them, hit 5 home runs and had an OPS of .835. In this game Kotchman played first base and batted 3rd. He went 1 for 5 with a single.
Mike Napoli – Napoli is still playing MLB for the Red Sox. He has put together a very nice MLB career with 186 HR, and a career OPS of .844. He was 20 when he played in this game. He was catcher for the Kernels, batted 5th and went 1 for 3 with 2 walks and a triple!
Josh Labandeira – He got a cup of coffee with the Montreal Expos in 2004, getting 14 MLB at bats. He led off and played shortstop for the Lumberkings in this game. He went 1 for 3 with 2 walks.
Another player of note is Pedro Geurrero’s son, Pedro Geurrero, Jr. played in this game. He never made it to the bigs. In fact, this was as high as he got! He played 38 games for the Lumberkings and only had an OPS of .589, Other players for the Kernels that made it to MLB from that season are Ervin Santana, Joel Peralta and Joe Saunders, but none of them appeared in this game.
It was another crazy Midwest League game, Unfortunately, I can’t say I recall much of this craziness. The first run was not scored until the bottom of the 4th inning, when Matt Thede led off with a walk for the Lumberkings. He’d eventually score on an error by Kotchman. In the top of the 5th the Kernels had 4 singles and scored 2 runs to take a 2-1 lead. In the bottom of the 5th the Lumberkings scored 4 runs on 3 singles and 2 walks to take a 5-2 lead. They added another in the 7th on a double by Labandeira to make it 6-2. In the 8th, Napoli hit his triple and came around to score to make it 6-3. The Kernels would score 3 in the 9th to tie it at 6, on 2 hits, a walk and a couple errors. The game stayed tied until the 12th inning. The Kernels scored 2 in the top of the 12th. But the Lumberkings would hit 2 home runs in the bottom of the 12th to win the game. Greg Thissen hit a solo shot and then Jovanny Sosa hit a 2-run walk-off home run, after Thede reached on a single. Unfortunately, my scorecard ended after the 10th inning! I gave up after that. But I can tell what happened from the box score, because there are no home runs on my scorecard, but the Lumberkings did hit two in this game. The runs I was missing must have been these home runs, and Thissen would have come up before Sosa.