Wichita Wingnuts

Wingnuts pounds Sioux City to take 2-1 series lead

Wingnuts infielder Zack Cox drives the ball into center field in the third inning against Sioux City on Saturday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
Wingnuts infielder Zack Cox drives the ball into center field in the third inning against Sioux City on Saturday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Eagle correspondent

With two out in the fifth inning Saturday night, Wingnuts first baseman Matt Chavez saw T.J. Mitttelstaedt walked intentionally ahead of him to put runners at first and second.

Then, he took issue with the first pitch to him being called a strike.

So, he merely deposited the next pitch over the center-field fence for a three-run homer that boosted the lead to 7-0, and the Wingnuts went on to a 13-0 victory over Sioux City.

The triumph gave Wichita a 2-1 lead in the best-of-5 series and have a chance to clinch the first-round playoff series by winning Sunday night.

In winning the game, Wichita scored in bunches, including a seven-run fifth and a five-run seventh.

“It’s been kind of like that all year,” Manager Pete Rose Jr. said. “Guys can erupt for seven, for eight, for 10, or it could be just timely hitting in the eighth. They’ve done it all year, and they’ve just got to continue to keep doing it.”

Chavez said his homer came on a slider from Sioux City starter Jacob Kuebler.

“It was in the middle of the plate, I was sitting on it, happened to get it and get a good swing,” he said. “It really was because I was mad about (the earlier pitch) being called a strike and it wasn’t even close to being a strike. I was mad, so the next pitch, I was just going for it.

“I said, ‘I’m going to hit this pitch out,’ and sure enough I did.”

The bat flip that followed was purely unintentional, said Chavez, announced as the American Association Rookie of the Year before the game.

“It was because was mad about that a pitch being called (a strike) on me,” he said. “It was in the moment, and stuff happens like that. I never even do that; that’s probably the first time I’ve ever done that.”

The offensive explosion pleased Rose, who expressed confidence that this team could do it again tonight and clinch.

“You just let them go, you let them play,” he said. “You let them hit and go out and swing the bat.”

Chavez’s blast was one of just eight hits by the Wingnuts, who benefited from 10 walks from Sioux City pitchers. One free pass, to Christian Stringer, came with the bases loaded in the fifth and drove in the first Wichita run.

Zack Cox then doubled to left, scoring two more. Brent Clevlen drove in the fourth run with a sacrifice fly, setting the stage for Chavez’s homer.

“We’ve got a great team to play for, because so many guys can hit the ball really well,” Chavez said.

Wichita added a run in the sixth without a hit when Harrison Kain and Martin Medina walked. Medina was forced at second on Leo Vargas’ grounder, but Stringer’s fly ball scored Kain.

The Wingnuts essentially salted it away with a five-run seventh on an RBI single by Kain and a two-run single by Medina. A fourth run scored on a throwing error by Explorers center fielder Tim Colwell, and the final run scored on a wild pitch.

Meanwhile, four Wingnuts pitchers combined on a five-hit shutout. Jesse Pratt started and went six innings, yielding four of the hits, walking one and striking out one. Mike Devine, Luis Pardo and Chase Johnson finished it off, each throwing a scoreless inning. Johnson allowed a hit in the ninth to pinch hitter Michael Abreu, but he was erased on a game-inning double play off a line out by LeVon Washington.

“We played a complete game,” Rose said. “Jesse threw well, we played good defense, Mikey (Devine) came in and did well, Pardo and Chase in the end, but we had runners on and drove them in.

“Zack hit a big bases-loaded double down the left-field line, and ‘Chavey’ hit one square.

“He (Chavez) has been doing it, and we’ll do the same thing (tonight). Nothing is going to change, we’re going to play the way we play, and play hard, and whatever happens, happens.”

Sioux City

ab

r

h

bi

Wichita

ab

r

h

bi

Robinson lf

3

0

1

0

Stringer 2b

3

1

0

2

Lang rf

3

0

0

0

Cox 3b

4

1

1

2

Abreu ph

1

0

1

0

Clevlen dh

3

0

1

1

Samson ss

4

0

1

0

Salgado dh

1

0

0

0

Wshngtn dh

4

0

1

0

Mttlstdt lf

3

2

1

0

Colwell cf

3

0

1

0

Chavez 1b

4

2

1

3

Henriquez c

3

0

0

0

Van rf

4

2

2

0

Mendonca 3b

3

0

0

0

Kain cf

3

2

1

1

Patron 1b

3

0

0

0

Medina c

2

2

1

2

Johns 2b

3

0

0

0

Vargas ss

2

1

0

0

Totals

30

0

5

0

Totals

29

13

8

11

Sioux City

000

000

000

0 5 2

Wichita

000

071

50x

13 8 0

E — Colwell, Kuebler. DP — Sioux City 2, Wichita. LOB — Sioux City 4, Wichita 4. 2B — Cox. 3B — Colwell. HR — Chavez. SF — Stringer, Clevlen. SB — Kain. CS — Samson.

Sioux City

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Kuebler L

5

6

7

7

3

2

Blackwell

1 2/3

0

2

1

3

0

Rheault

 1/3

2

4

3

2

0

Freeman

1

0

0

0

1

2

Wichita

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Pratt W

6

4

0

0

1

1

Devine

1

0

0

0

0

0

Pardo

0

0

0

0

0

0

Johnson

1

0

0

0

0

1

WP — Kuebler, Rheault. T — 2:12. A — 1022.

  Comments