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Kolten Wong superb in pro debut as Quad Cities wins

    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.

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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