Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper said that "little mistakes" were a big part of Wichita’s recent 1-7 road trip, but such miscues are magnified for a team trying to emerge from a tumultuous stretch.
Wichita avoided them in beating Kansas City on Wednesday, but the Wingnuts couldn’t gain traction Thursday, when an error paved the way for the T-Bones’ three-run 12th and ultimately their 6-3 win at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
Jared Simon, who earned the win in relief on Wednesday, couldn’t keep the score tied in his second inning Thursday. Simon, pitching for the fourth straight night, made an error that allowed Devin Goodwin to reach second base to start the 12th.
Simon fielder Goodwin’s high chopper and had time to throw out Goodwin, but his throw was wide and rolled along the fence down the first-base line as Goodwin eased into second base. Brandon Jones followed with a single, and the T-Bones were on their way to breaking it open.
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Ray Sadler grounded out to Simon, allowing Jones to advance to second but holding Goodwin at third. Simon avoided disaster when, while intentionally walking Trevor Coleman, he threw a pitch across the plate that Coleman swung at and missed. Coleman’s walk loaded the bases, setting up a potential double play.
Simon, usually effective against right-handed hitters, got to a 1-2 count to Enrique Cruz but couldn’t finish him — Cruz worked the count full before grounding a single past third baseman Steve Carrillo. Two runs scored, and KC added a third on a sacrifice fly that left fielder Jared McDonald caught in foul territory.
Perhaps more troubling than the Wingnuts’ rough 12th inning was its lack of offense after the fifth inning. After Kansas City scored three in the top half to take a one-run lead, Wichita answered with John Rodriguez’s solo homer to tie it.
That was the last of the Wingnuts’ offense, though. A retooled lineup was stifled by three Kansas City pitchers after the fifth, failing to achieve a baserunner or even manage many balls that threatened finding outfield grass.
After Kansas City’s big 12th inning, Wichita continued to go down without much of a fight. Newcomer Jairo Perez and David Peralta flied out before McDonald became the last out by looking at a third strike. The final 20 Wingnuts were retired in order.
The first four innings appeared to be setting the stage for a Wingnuts win highlighted by strong showings from new players. Jairo Perez, who made his debut on Wednesday, accented run-scoring second and fourth innings with doubles. He was driven in once by new catcher Mason Morioka, a rookie from the University of San Francisco.
Former Wichita State pitcher Anthony Capra also made his Wingnuts debut Thursday and mostly cruised through the first three innings before beginning to wear in the fourth. Capra had been pitching in relief in the Oakland Athletics organization and may not yet be conditioned to pitch a high volume of innings.
Capra walked two and allowed a single in the fourth but Kansas City left the bases loaded in his 30-pitch inning. After retiring the first two batters of the fifth, Capra allowed three straight extra-base hits that added up to two runs and Capra’s demise. He was relieved with a runner on third, who eventually scored the go-ahead run.
Wichita seemed to be trying to conserve its bullpen, neglecting to use left-hander Nick Walters against Kansas City’s lefties in important 12th-inning situations. Walters was eventually used when Simon couldn’t escape the 12th.
Jones, who played briefly in the major leagues with the Atlanta Braves, proved the Wingnuts’ foil on Thursday. He had four hits, driving in Kansas City’s first run with a fifth-inning double and singling to fuel the 12th.
|Bass cf||6||0||1||0||Khoury ss||5||0||1||0|
|Goodwin ss||6||2||2||0||Carillo 3b||5||0||0||0|
|Jones lf||5||2||4||1||Rodriguez dh||4||1||1||1|
|Sadler rf||6||1||2||1||Avila 1b||5||0||0||0|
|Coleman c||4||1||1||1||Perez 2b||5||2||2||0|
|Cruz 3b||5||0||1||2||Peralta rf||5||0||0||0|
|Mense 1b||4||0||1||1||McDonald lf||4||0||1||1|
|Trettel dh||5||0||0||0||Marioka c||4||0||1||1|
|Helms 2b||6||0||0||0||Conroy cf||4||0||0||0|
E— Peralta (3), Simon (1). LOB— Kansas City 12, Wichita 4. DP— Kansas City 1. 2B— Jones 2 (16), Sadler (6), Perez 2 (2). 3B — Goodwin (2). HR — Rodriguez (10). SF — Mense (3).
|Kent W, 3-2||2 2/3||0||0||0||0||3|
|Mehlich S (4)||1||0||0||0||0||1|
|Simon L, 1-4||1 1/3||3||3||1||1||4|
HBP — by Baker (Coleman). WP — Grening 2, Capra. Umpires — home, Andrew Carroll; first, Rich Gunton; third, Bryan Childe. T — 3:36. A — 2,704.