Box score — Wingnuts 2, Sioux Falls 1
One of Kevin Hooper’s favorite things to say, which happens to also be true, is, “You know me, I’m a positive guy.” This was basically his response last night when I asked him if delivering a message to the struggling Wingnuts hitters would be easier now that the team has a win.
Hooper can usually spin any negative situation positively, but last night he didn’t have to. A win can do a lot for a team’s confidence, especially if the win comes after three consecutive losses, two of the (relatively) heartbreaking variety, in St. Paul.
No Wingnuts player had a multi-hit game and the club managed six hits overall, but it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters in winning, and if Hooper and the coaching staff wants to make mental or physical adjustments with the hitters today, they can do so while attaching a positive message — we won.
The pitching staff also had to gain confidence with the performance of starter Nick Singleton on Tuesday. Though he wasn’t working with his best stuff, Singleton gutted his way through six shutout innings, handing a lead over to the Wichita bullpen for the third consecutive game.
What impressed me the most about Singleton’s start was that he continued to battle, both on a small scale and a large one. He battled hitters after often falling behind in counts, getting hitters to swing on 2-0 and 3-1 and still inducing weak contact.
On a larger scale, he battled when he allowed runners to reach base, which he did in every inning 3-6. Singleton isn’t yet at full strength after a short spring training, but he was able to amp up for strikeouts when he needed them against Sioux Falls.
The Pheasants’ offense wasn’t as good as advertised, and that was all because of Singleton. He kept himself viable by walking just one and pitching himself out of potential trouble. Sioux Falls’ 4-through-6 hitters were a combined 0 for 11.
Up next: Wingnuts vs. Sioux Falls, Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. LHP Chris Salberg (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. RHP Adam Cowart (0-0, 3.60)