The Wichita Wingnuts won their third game since the All-Star break ended, but they did it in a little different fashion, downing the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 7-4. After using the big inning to take two of three from the St. Paul Saints, Wichita put together a string where they scored one run in four successive innings (3-6), before plating two in the seventh. The innings showed that the South Division leaders can win games in many fashions.
No matter how they win, one thing is for sure; CF Brent Clevlen is making a strong case to be the league MVP, and has shown that while the Wingnuts are very talented, he is the top nut in the bowl. Clevlen went 4-5 with two runs and an RBI, including his 13th home run of the year. In the four games since the break he has gone 12-18 (.667) with six runs, nine RBI and four home runs. The onslaught is making him a beast in the cleanup spot for the team and has raised his average to .360 on the season, third best in the American Association.
SS Ryan Khoury added two hits, walked twice and stole two bases for the Wingnuts. He has been on fire as well, going 7-19 since the break with five runs. He has been a true catalyst at the top of their order, and has scored in each of the last five games.
While Clevlen is having quite the streak for the Wingnuts, newcomer Jake Luce is making a name for himself at the bottom of the order. After going 0-3 in his first game in a Wingnuts uniform, Luce has hit in all nine games and his average is at .447. He is 7-16 since the All-Star break with a run, two stolen bases and six RBI. He has made this lineup a completely formidable one from top to bottom, and is making it impossible for pitchers to find a weakness in the batting order.
Sunday’s game proved how true this is. Five different players had RBI for Wichita with four of them coming from the bottom three players in the lineup. Newcomer Brent Dean went 2-3 in his seventh game with the team, with his first home run of the season, a run, two RBI and two walks.
Justin Klipp gained the victory for the Wingnuts. Klipp did not have a great outing, lasting five innings, giving up seven hits and two walks, but he held the RedHawks to just one run, and moved his record to 7-3 on the season.
C.J. Retherford had a big game in the loss for Fargo-Moorhead. The big right-hand hitter went 4-5 with a run and an RBI, raising his average to .290 on the season.
By Robert Pannier
Senior Baseball Editor
Member of the IBWAA