Capra Makes It A Wonderful Life for Wichita Wingnuts in 3-1 Win
Famed Hollywood director Frank Capra was known for making some of the most famous theatrical presentations of all-time. His classic, It’s A Wonderful Life, has become a timeless classic that is one of the most beloved movies ever. Capra’s legacy has left an indelible imprint on America that few directors can match.
Anthony Capra may not be the star of a movie classic or the creator of one for that matter, but he is the star left-hander for the Wichita Wingnuts baseball team. The left-hander made his second start of the season Thursday night against the Winnipeg Goldeyes, and turned a tough first inning into a pitching masterpiece that allowed his club to sweep the visitors from Canada. It was a George Bailey-like rebound after Capra struggled in his first appearance of the season.
Entering the game, the Wingnuts pitching staff had kept the Goldeyes scoreless through the first 19 innings of this series. A 1-0 10-innings win on Tuesday was followed by a 2-0 victory last night, and Capra entered the game looking to keep the streak alive.
The Wichita starter got the first two outs of the inning, and it looked like the streak would reach 20. That is when first baseman Casey Haerther stepped to the plate. Haerther took a 2-1 pitch from Capra and deposited it over the left field fence to give the Goldeyes their first lead of the series. The Wichita starter would retire the next batter to close out the inning.
Jonathan Cornelius started for Winnipeg and he found himself battling with his control. Cornelius retired the first batter of the inning, then walked three of the next four hitters to load the bases. It looked like Wichita would get the run right back, but the lefty struck out John Nester to end the threat.
In the second the home team would tie the score. Jayce Ray doubled with one out and scored two batters later when Luis Hernandez singled to right field to plate Ray. Hernandez was gunned down after straying too far from first, but the game was tied, and the Wingnuts could smell blood in the water.
In the third Wichita took the lead. Alberto Gonzalez led off with a walk and scored when TJ Mittelstaedt doubled to the wall in right-center field. That looked like that may be all the runs Wichita would get, but a single by Nester scored Mittelstaedt and extended the lead to 3-1.
That was more than enough for Capra who was dominating after allowing the first inning run. The left-hander retired 11 of the next 12 batters following the score, and Winnipeg had no answer for his changeup on this night.
In the fifth the Goldeyes finally looked like they would mount a little rally when Aaron Baker walked with one out, and Brett Krill followed with a single to move Baker to second. As coolly as George Bailey saved the Building and Loan, Capra got the next two outs on just three pitches, getting Brad Boyer to fly out to center for out number two, and Luis Alen to ground out to end the inning.
In the sixth he allowed two more singles. Casio Grider began the sixth with a base hit, but he was doubled off of first when Adam Heisler attempted to bunt and Dustin Geiger made a heads up play at first base to make the catch and double up the runner. Haerther followed with a single, but Capra struck out Nic Jackson to end the inning.
Capra (1-1) would be done after six innings. He allowed just six base runners (5 hits, 1 walk) and one earned run, while striking out 5. It was an absolutely spectacular outing that saw the left-hander throw 50 of his 77 pitches for strikes.
In the seventh Scott Kuminsky would relieve for Wichita and give up back-to-back singles following a lead-off strikeout. The inning came to an abrupt end when Brad Boyer struck out on a 3-2 pitch after fouling off five straight pitches. Aaron Baker was running on the pitch and was easily gunned down at third by Nester to end the inning.
Daniel Bennett came on in the eighth and retired the side in order. In the bottom half of the eighth the Wingnuts extended their lead. Brent Dean scored on a double by Luis Hernandez to make the score 4-1.
In the ninth the Good Doctor came in to close out the game. Matt Nevarez was looking for his second save of the season, but he looked like he was not going to come through on this night, after giving up a lead-off single to Haerther and a double to Jackson to put runners at second and third with no one out. There was no worries though. This is Dr. Matt Nevarez after all. The Doc struck out the next three batters on 13 pitches to end the game.
Capra was the winner to even his record, while Nevarez earned his second save. Cornelius took the loss in his first start of the season.
Haerther had a huge day for Winnipeg. He was 3-4 with a run and an RBI. Gonzalez, Hernandez and Dean each had two hits for the Wichita Wingnuts. Hernandez added two RBI.
The Winnipeg Goldeyes now move on to face the Joplin Blasters. The Wichita Wingnuts welcome Grand Prairie to town.
By Robert Pannier