Wichita Wingnuts

Van Stratten comes up big for Wingnuts

Nick Van Stratten wanted a big hit to accent his first week in Wichita, and the Wingnuts needed one to prove it could still happen.

Van Stratten provided resolutions to both, delivering a two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning on Monday night, giving the Wingnuts a 5-4 win over powerhouse St. Paul at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

After leaving the bases loaded four times in a loss on Sunday to Laredo and squandering early chances against St. Paul, the Wingnuts got most of their offense late, scoring two runs in the seventh and two in the eighth to rally from a three-run deficit.

“It’s coming down to that time where we’re going to need some big hits,” said Van Stratten, who joined the Wingnuts on Friday after a stint in the Mexican League in which he hit better than .400.

“We’re still trying to make sure we get a playoff spot. Facing St. Paul, I haven’t been here but I’ve heard all about St. Paul. It’s good to play them and see what they’ve got.”

St. Paul is one of two teams, along with Sioux City, on pace to shatter Wichita’s American Association-record 67 wins from last season’s championship team. The Saints have long had their playoff spot mathematically clinched, as they lead second-place Winnipeg by 23 games in the North division.

The Saints played as advertised for the first five innings, matching up well with Wichita right-hander Scott Richmond, a former major-league pitcher. With one out in the second inning, Ian Gac launched Richmond’s 2-0 fastball over the video board in left-center field.

Leadoff man Alonzo Harris hit a two-run homer in the fifth, and St. Paul took a 4-1 lead on a play in the seventh inning that featured two Wingnuts errors. Nate Hanson went from first to third on Taylor Smart’s fielding error at shortstop, then scored when left fielder Harrison Kain fell down after he picked up the ball.

But the Wingnuts benefited from similar strangeness in the bottom of the seventh.

Jayce Ray went from first to third on an errant flip to the pitcher by first baseman Angelo Songco, and David Espinosa’s RBI triple turned into a run when he scored on a relay throw that tipped off second baseman Ryan Lashley’s glove and hit shortstop Anthony Phillips in the face.

“It was a couple funky plays tonight that happened,” Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper said. “Jayce, I thought, he was going to beat that anyway and Songco tried to do a little bit too much. Then Espy with a huge triple. …To cut it to one right there was huge because we’re one swing away from tying it.”

Van Stratten did better than tying it with one swing after a lengthy wait to give him an opportunity.

St. Paul reliever Mike Zousalik walked three to load the bases but struck out No. 9 hitter Leo Vargas for the second out to create a do-or-die situation for Van Stratten.

After Zouzalik threw ball one to Van Stratten, Zouzalik’s 28th pitch of the inning, the Wingnuts center fielder bounced a hard-hit grounder past a diving attempt by third baseman Nate Hanson. T.J. Mittelstaedt and Harrison Kain scored to complete Wichita’s comeback.

“At first, I saw him walking guys but then the last batter I saw that he found it, kind of throwing strikes to Vargas,” Van Stratten said. “I said, ‘All right, if you give me a fastball, I’m going to take advantage of it.’ I’ve faced that guy, so I know he has a pretty straight fastball and a pretty good (curve).

“He threw (the curve) for a ball so I knew he was coming back with a fastball.”

St. Paul

Wichita

ab

r

h

bi

ab

r

h

bi

Harris cf

4

1

2

2

VStratten cf

5

0

3

2

Argo rf

4

0

0

0

Ray rf

4

1

1

0

DiFazio c

3

0

1

0

Espinosa dh

3

1

1

2

Songco 1b

4

0

0

0

LaRoche 1b

4

0

0

0

Gac dh

4

1

1

1

Mttelstdt 3h

3

1

2

0

Lashley 2b

4

0

1

0

Nester c

4

0

1

0

Hanson 3b

4

2

2

0

Kain lf

3

1

1

0

Nikorak lf

4

0

0

0

Smart ss

3

0

0

0

Phillips ss

3

0

0

0

Oldham 2b

0

0

0

0

Vargas 2b-ss

3

1

0

0

Totals

34

4

7

3

Totals

32

5

9

4

St. Paul

010

020

100

4 7 3

Wichita

000

010

22x

5 9 2

E — Songco (5), Lashley (3), Nikorak (14), Kain (2), Smart (4). DP — St. Paul, Wichita. LOB — St. Paul 4, Wichita 9. 2B — Harris (13), Hanson (2), Van Stratten (1), Mittelstaedt (18). 3B —Espinosa (4). HR — Harris (11), Gac (9). SB — DiFazio (1), Espinosa (10).

St. Paul

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Shields

7

8

3

2

2

0

Zouzalik L,3-1

1

1

2

2

3

2

Wichita

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Richmond

7 1/3

6

4

3

1

4

Nazario W,2-0

2/3

0

0

0

0

0

Smyth S,5

1

1

0

0

0

2

HBP —Vargas (by Shields). PB — Nester (6). Umpires — home, — Matt Herrera; first, Mike Jarboe; third, Mike Campbell. T — 2:32. A — 2,170.

St. Paul at Wingnuts

When: 7:05 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Lawrence-Dumont Stadium

Records: St. Paul 64-22, Wingnuts 53-34

Pitchers: St. Paul, TBA; Wingnuts, RH Jason Van Skike (6-5, 4.52 ERA)

Radio: KWME, 92.7-FM

  Comments