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Kolten Wong superb in pro debut as Quad Cities wins

  • PHOTO BY MATT VETO / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER
    Quad Cities River Bandits' Kolten Wong, right, chats with Bandits manager Johnny Rodriguez between innings against the Cedar Rapids Kernels at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, Iowa, today. Wong, a Hilo native and former UH second basemen, was making his professional debut for the Class A, St. Louis Cardinals affiliate.
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Kolten Wong performed close to flawlessly in his professional baseball debut today, helping the Quad Cities River Bandits to an 8-3 win over visiting Cedar Rapids in Davenport, Iowa.

He went 2-for-2 with two RBIs and a run, and fielded his second-base position without an error. The only blemish was when he was caught stealing in the third inning.

"It was everything I could ever dream of," Wong said afterward. "It was an experience I can take with me for the rest of my life."

He drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in his first plate appearance. Later, Wong singled twice, was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and walked.

Wong, batting third, drove in teammate Ronny Gil from third base with a fly to center, giving Quad Cities a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

His second time up, in the third inning, Wong got his first hit as a pro, a single with two out and none on. He was then caught stealing.

Wong brought home another run in the fifth, as he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. That scored the first of three runs in the inning, giving the River Bandits a 5-1 lead.

After turning a double play in the top of the seventh with the bases loaded and one out, Wong singled sharply to right in the bottom of the inning and later scored on a ground out, upping the QC lead to 7-1.

Wong, who just completed his third year as a star at the University of Hawaii, was picked 22nd in the draft by the St. Louis Cardinals earlier this month and signed a contract with a $1.3 million bonus Sunday.

Wong, 20, is from Hilo and is a graduate of Kamehameha-Hawaii.

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