Swing of the Quad Cities manager Keith Mitchell didn't have to say a word to his team, they knew the magnitude of Sunday's series finale against the Cedar Rapids Kernels.
Sitting three games out of a possible first-half playoff spot in the Midwest League with just a week remaining in the half, it was indeed a must-win afternoon for the Swing.
They got the win they had to have, shutting out the Kernels 2-0 in front of 1,770 at John O'Donnell Stadium.
"I'm not a manager who puts extra pressure on his players," Mitchell said. "I just wanted them to go out and play the way we have all season."
Mitchell didn't say anything, but his players knew.
Starting pitcher Tyler Herron worked a team season-high six innings, shutting the Kernels down on just three singles. He knew the pressure was on his shoulders.
"For sure, this was a game we had to win," Herron said. "We would really like to get that second-place spot now and not have the pressure in the second half. I knew a lot rested on how I threw in this one."
The teams QC is chasing for the playoff spots -- Beloit and Clinton -- both won Sunday, so the Swing (35-27) enter the final seven days of the half trailing Beloit by 3.5 and Clinton by 3 full games.
"We lost the first three games of this series (to Cedar Rapids) and we had to get at least this one," QC outfielder Daryl Jones said. "It's going to be close, but I have confidence we can catch one of the teams ahead of us."
The Swing battle last-place Wisconsin the next four days and then wrap up the half with a three-game homestand against Beloit.
In a scoreless tie Sunday, Jones led off the fifth with his third hit of the game and then stole his second base of the afternoon. With two outs, Chris Grossman ripped an RBI single to center to make it 1-0.
QC added a run in the sixth when Luke Gorsett lined a double to left, moved to third on a grounder and raced home on Willian Sandoval's perfectly placed safety squeeze bunt.
"We got just enough clutch hits," Mitchell said, "but this was was all about the pitching. Herron was great and (Brad) Furnish finished up strong."
Furnish worked the final three innings, allowing an infield single and striking out four to pick up his second save of the season.
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