The Wingnuts have experienced just about everything the American Association
postseason has to offer.
In 10 seasons in the league, the Wingnuts won and lost series in each of the two
rounds, winning their only championship in 2014. They’ve started series with wins on the
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road and ended some with home defeats. The Wingnuts experienced dramatic wins
and crushing losses.
The familiarity with the playoffs grows almost every season. The Wingnuts, who swept
Gary-SouthShore in the first round, start the best-of- 5 championship series against
Winnipeg on Wednesday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. The series goes to
Winnipeg for the final three games beginning on Saturday.
The Wingnuts are playing in the championship series for the fifth time in six seasons.
Most of the players on last year’s team, which lost to Winnipeg in the championship
series, return for another shot.
“Everybody’s got a new team every year,” Wingnuts outfielder Richard Prigatano said.
“It doesn’t matter who is in front of us, we want to beat them.”
The Wingnuts, a balanced team all season while winning the South Division, played
similarly against Gary, outscoring the Railcats 20-7 in three games. The pitching may be
especially noteworthy, though, because it faced uncertainties during a 10-game losing
streak near the midway point and wasn’t often collectively healthy.
The late-season acquisition of right-hander Danny Gutierrez solidified the pitching
staff and given it depth. Gutierrez, who had a rough season in the Mexican League, had a
1.69 ERA in four starts for the Wingnuts before pitching seven scoreless innings in Game
1 at Gary.
Alex Boshers and Eddie Medina followed with quality performances and sent the
Wingnuts on their way to the championship series in a takedown of a Gary offense that
couldn’t match Wichita’s firepower.
“Danny gave us a big boost in Game 1 and kind of set the tone, and everybody just kind
of followed his lead,” Wingnuts manager Pete Rose Jr. said. “He kind of showed some
emotion when we played against Cleburne (late in the season) and kind of got us going in
the right direction.
The Wingnuts lost Game 5 to Winnipeg at home after surrendering a 2-1 series lead last season.
They can return the favor this season with the decisive games away from Wichita.
The playoffs are a comfortable environment for the Wingnuts, who ran away with the
South Division and rarely had their mettle tested beyond the rebound from their long
“We came out with a purpose,” Rose said of the first-round win. “It’s been a while since
we’ve played some meaningful games, and to see these guys come together, hopefully we
can catch fire. Maybe we’re getting hot at the right time, we’ll see what happens.”
American Association championship
Wednesday — Winnipeg at Wichita, 7:05 p.m.
Thursday — Winnipeg at Wichita, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday — Wichita at Winnipeg, 6:05 p.m.
Sunday — Wichita at Winnipeg, 4:05 p.m. (if necessary)
Monday — Wichita at Winnipeg, 7:05 p.m. (if necessary)
All games on KGSO, 1410-AM