Wichita Wingnuts

Wingnuts can’t finish against Laredo

By the eighth inning on Sunday, loading the bases was practically a nerve-wracking proposition for the Wingnuts.

They stranded three runners in each of the first, third and seventh innings, missing so many scoring opportunities that, had they cashed in one, the last one might not have mattered so much.

The Wingnuts’ last stand produced another whimper, as three consecutive batters struck out with the bases loaded in the eighth and Laredo held on for a 7-6 win at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

Sixteen left on base was enough for the Wingnuts to snatch defeat in a game where the opposing starter, Willy Paredes, set the American Association record for walks. Paredes walked nine, exceeding the number of outs he recorded by one.

“You talk about just handing someone a game,” Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper said. “Pretty unfortunate. That’s hard to do — bases loaded, nobody out and three guys go down swinging. I don’t care how good the guy is on the mound, that’s tough. Tough to see, tough to watch.”

The Lemurs walked 12 batters, committed four errors and left nine runners on base, a number that eludes scrutiny by comparison.

The mistakes — especially the 18 combined walks —pushed the game to an exhaustive 215 minutes as the teams combined for 366 pitches. Laredo started the game wildly celebrating every accomplishment from the dugout, but the ceaseless early innings zapped their energy.

“If a guy isn’t throwing strikes, what are you going to do — you just have to take your walks,” Wingnuts first baseman David Espinosa said. “I went up there taking a strike because you could tell (Paredes) was all over the place. You’ve got to be patient against those guys. You don’t want to get yourself out and you don’t want to let him off the hook.”

Even though the Wingnuts left the bases loaded twice against Paredes, they hardly allowed him to escape spot-free. Wichita matched Laredo’s three first-inning runs before Leo Vargas’ failed attempt to bunt for a hit ended the inning. In the third, Wichita scored two and stranded three.

Missed opportunities were still the theme of those innings, though. Besides the six runners left on, the Wingnuts had two runners thrown out trying to score. Combined with runners left on second and third in the fourth inning, Wichita was looking for more than a 5-4 lead at the time.

“That’s a frustrating game right there,” Hooper said. “We went from (possibly) being up eight (games in the South division) to being up six. Pretty disappointing, for sure, to say the least.”

The Wingnuts loaded the bases with one out in the seventh before a shallow fly ball and a strikeout netted them nothing, but they saved their grandest collapse for the final high-leverage situation.

After hitting a batter, walking one and allowing Harrison Kain’s bunt single, Laredo right-hander John Brebbia plowed through the bottom of the Wingnuts’ order. Brebbia struck out Brent Dean, Taylor Smart and Leo Vargas – Dean and Vargas on three pitches – and all were swinging strikeouts.

The Wingnuts committed an error that led to a run in the eighth inning and allowed a solo homer in the ninth that nullified Espinosa’s home run in the bottom half.

“We can’t finish,” Hooper said. “I continue to say that you have to make the plays that you can make. Yeah, we’re going to make some errors here or there, but the routine plays, especially when they’re on routine plays … not a real good performance by us today, and it stings.”

Laredo

Wichita

ab

r

h

bi

ab

r

h

bi

Morrison lf

3

1

1

1

VanStratt cf

5

0

1

2

Nieves 2b

4

1

1

0

Ray rf

4

1

1

0

Taylor dh

4

1

1

0

Espnsa 1b

4

1

1

1

Phipps rf

4

2

1

0

LaRo dh

4

1

0

0

Denker 1b

3

1

1

2

Mittel. 3b

2

1

1

1

Pulfer ss

5

0

1

3

Kain lf

3

1

2

0

Mart. cf

4

0

1

0

Dean c

4

0

1

1

Silv. 3b

4

1

1

0

Smart ss

5

1

0

0

Pohl c

4

0

1

0

Vargas 2b

4

0

1

0

Totals

35

7

9

6

Totals

35

6

8

5

Laredo

301

010

011

7

Wichita

302

000

001

6

E — Pulfer. DP — Wichita 1. LOB — Laredo 8, Wichita 16. 2B — Morrison, Taylor, Pulfer. HR — Denker, Espinosa. SB — Phipps, Ray, Mittelstaedt.

Laredo

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Paredes

2 2/3

3

5

4

9

2

Beckman

3 1/3

2

0

0

1

1

Hyatt

2/3

1

0

0

1

1

Brebbia W,7-2

2 1/3

2

1

1

1

5

Wichita

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Link

6

3

5

4

9

2

Orosey L,0-2

2

2

1

0

1

0

Smyth

1

1

1

1

0

3

T — 3:35. A — 2,191.

St. Paul at Wingnuts

When: 7:05 p.m. Monday

Where: Lawrence-Dumont Stadium

Records: St. Paul 64-21, Wingnuts 52-34

Pitchers: St. Paul, RH Jeff Shields (11-2, 3.26 ERA); Wingnuts, RH Scott Richmond (3-1, 1.85)

Radio: KWME, 92.7-FM

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