Wichita Wingnuts

Kombat combatants help Wingnuts rally for win

The Wichita Eagle

T.J. Mittelstaedt and David Espinosa stopped fighting long enough to combine their efforts in a Wingnuts rally on Thursday night.

Mittaelstaedt’s and Espinosa’s conflict is only virtual – they’re adversaries in the Mortal Kombat video game, where each claims superiority.

“For the record, I’m the best Mortal Kombat player on the team,” Espinosa said before a vehement denial from his teammate.

Those battles were briefly put aside as Mittelstaedt keyed the comeback with a home run and a walk, and Espinosa finished it with a 10th-inning RBI single, giving the Wingnuts a 4-3 win over Grand Prairie at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

Mittelstaedt’s seventh-inning home run was the Wingnuts’ first hit, and Wichita combined for three runs in the final two innings with three singles, two walks, a sacrifice bunt and one Grand Prairie error.

“I don’t think we had too many at-bats early that were bad,” Mittelstaedt said. “We had a lot of hard-hit balls. …We were hitting the ball, we just weren’t getting any results. And then later, we started hitting the ball where they weren’t. We capitalized right away. We didn’t miss those opportunities, and we got everybody in.”

The only Wingnuts baserunner for the first 6 2/3 innings was Matt Padgett, who walked in the fifth before being caught stealing. Grand Prairie starter Brett Wallach made quick work of the Wingnuts through 2/3 of the game, throwing 70 pitches in six innings with no signs of a Wichita breakthrough.

The closest Wingnuts got to a hit before the seventh came John Nester’s lineout to the left-field warning track to end the fifth inning.

“Their starter threw well and kept the ball down,” Espinosa said. “Personally, I didn’t have many pitches to hit – I don’t think any. Everything was down or away on the corner. He did a nice job.”

The breakthrough finally came on Mittelstaedt’s home run that ended Wallach’s no-hitter and his shutout.

Even though Grand Prairie scored two in the top of the eighth to go ahead 3-1, a two-run deficit that included a Wingnuts run and two hits – Andy LaRoche followed Mittelstaedt’s home run with a single – was less stressful than going hitless into the eighth.

“Nobody wants to be no-hit,” Espinosa said. “Everybody who plays this game has a lot of pride, and as a hitter that’s the last thing that you want to happen. “When (Mittelstaedt) got that hit, it was a home run, so obviously there was no shutout or anything. I think from that point on, we were better.”

The Wingnuts’ improvement came with perfect timing to finish off a three-game sweep of Grand Prairie before a six-game road trip. The ninth-inning rally came with two outs, with Espinosa reaching on an error before Mittelstaedt’s walk and both being driven in, after a double steal, on a single from Andy LaRoche.

Harrison Kain led off the 10th with a single, but the rally didn’t fully materialize until Jayce Ray’s two-out walk. Espinosa lined a single through the left side on an 0-1 pitch from Colin Allen to set off a subdued celebration near first base.

“It took us a while,” Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper said. “I think we had one hard-hit ball until (the seventh inning), and it was Nester’s. We got to the bullpen and we started swinging it a lot better, I felt. We put together some good at-bats and we made it all happen with two outs.”

Mittelstaedt and Espinosa came out even on Thursday, contributing equally to an improbable, but important win. Their congeniality will last until Mittaelstaedt selects his go-to character, Mileena, during the next round of Mortal Kombat.

“Espy can’t beat her,” Mittelstaedt said. “He knows he can’t beat her.”

G. Prairie

Wichita

ab

r

h

bi

ab

r

h

bi

McGruder 2b

5

1

2

0

Ray cf

4

0

0

0

Richardson rf

5

0

1

0

Espinosa rf

5

1

1

1

Cabrera lf

5

0

2

1

Mittelstdt 3b

3

2

1

1

Chavez c

4

0

1

0

LaRoche 1b

4

0

2

2

Diaz dh

4

0

0

0

Padgett dh

3

0

1

0

Frazier 1b

3

0

1

0

Nester c

4

0

0

0

Hoo-Hslm 3b

4

0

1

0

Kain lf

4

1

1

0

Hart cf

4

1

1

1

Smart ss

3

0

0

0

Castano ss

3

1

0

0

Vargas 2b

2

0

0

0

Dean ph

1

0

0

0

Melo 2b

1

0

0

0

Totals

37

3

9

2

Totals

34

4

6

4

Grand Prairie

001

000

000

0

3

Wichita

000

000

102

1

4

Two outs when winning run scored

E— Castano, Bennett. DP— Wichita 2. LOB— Grand Prairie 6, Wichita 5. 2B— McGruder, Frazier. HR — Hart (1), Mittelstaedt (11). .SB — Espinosa, Mittelstaedt. CS — Padgett. S — Smart.

Grand Prairie

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Wallach

7

2

1

1

1

7

Martin

1

0

0

0

0

0

Norris

1

2

2

0

1

1

Allen L,1-3

2/3

2

1

1

1

1

Wichita

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Richmond

7

5

1

1

1

6

Reed

0

1

2

1

1

0

Bennett

1

1

0

0

0

1

Orosey

1

1

0

0

0

1

Smyth W,1-0

1

1

0

0

0

1

T— 2:54. A— 2,128.

  Comments