Wichita Wingnuts

Wingnuts rally for win after letting lead slip away

In a game that seemingly would never end, the Wingnuts took until the last possible moment to pull out a 7-6 win over Amarillo early Thursday morning at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

Wichita was up 5-1 going into the bottom of the fourth inning, before a lengthy rain storm Wednesday evening put the rest of the game in doubt. It finally resumed after 80 minutes, and the Wingnuts’ lead began to dwindle.

They finally won it with a two-run ninth, winning the game on John Rodriguez’s sacrifice fly to left field with one out.

The bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth added to the marathon, with 50 combined pitches thrown and another 15-minute delay after the lights in the outfield went out. Wichita wasn’t as sharp as after the delays, surrendering two unearned runs in the fifth thanks to a two-base error by center fielder Jared McDonald.

Amarillo cut the Wingnuts’ lead to 5-4 with an RBI double in the fifth, tied it in the seventh with a two-out rally that included a double, a walk and a run-scoring single by Joe Weik.

The Sox took the lead in the eighth with the help of two of Wichita’s five errors. Jason Martin put Amarillo ahead 6-5 with a two-out RBI single off Daniel Bennett.

After the rain delay, the Wingnuts’ next four innings netted them two baserunners, including one erased on a seventh-inning double play. They finally found offensive momentum in the ninth, when the game endured another brief delay when Sox manager Bobby Brown was ejected for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout.

Stephen Yoo lined out to start the bottom of the ninth, and pinch-hitter Cole Armstrong walked before being removed for pinch-runner Colt Loehrs. McDonald collected his fourth hit before Ryan Khoury was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Jake Kahaulelio drove in the tying run with an infield single, giving Rodriguez a chance to win it. Rodriguez homered in the third, his fourth in five games, but needed just a shallow fly ball to give the Wingnuts a sweep of Amarillo.

Amarillo outfielder David Peralta’s throw wasn’t in time to get McDonald, who scored the winning run to set off a tame celebration in front of the few fans who stayed at Lawrence-Dumont nearly 5 1/2 hours to witness the conclusion.