The Cedar Rapids Marathon

Jeff Johnson is in the clubhouse with the early lead in the LEDE OF THE YEAR contest.

Here is his open after the Kernels beat Burlington 4-3 in 17 innings last night at Perfect Game Field in a snappy 4 hours and 57 minutes.

OK, so maybe Ryan Jones was out at first base. Hey, umpires want to go home after a few hours, too.

There was more to the story.

The Cedar Rapids Kernels pinch runner sure appeared to be picked off in the 17th inning Wednesday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium. But base umpire Rich Gonzales gave him a reprieve, calling him safe and allowing him to score on Travis Witherspoon’s two-out line-drive single down the left-field line as the Kernels beat Burlington, 4-3.

“No comment,” Witherspoon said with a smile, when asked if Jones had been picked off.

And here is this little nugget:

The teams’ bullpens combined for 21 2/3 scoreless innings before Witherspoon’s hit. They allowed only 10 hits.

The starters for both teams had better not get in trouble tonight.

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