There is really nothing like the dramatic walk-off home run, but the Wichita Wingnuts had only tasted that glory one time this season. That is until Chase Simpson helped to keep his team on pace with the Kansas City T-Bones, blasting his 12th homer of the year to give Wichita a 4-3 victory over the Winnipeg Goldeyes. The victory, coupled with a Kansas City victory, kept the Wingnuts 2.5 games behind the T-Bones for second place in the South Division.
As was the case with the previous night, neither team was able to score through the first two innings, but Winnipeg would get on the board in the top of the third. With two down, Reggie Abercrombie doubled just inside the third-base bag and scored when Josh Mazzola followed with a base hit into left field.
PJ Browne had kept the Wingnuts scoreless to the first three innings, but Wichita would finally get on the board in fourth. A two-out single by Angel Reyes got the rally started. He stole second and scored when Tony Thomas doubled into the gap in left-center to tie the score at one.
In the sixth, Wichita would take the lead. Brandon Bingel came in for Browne and retired the first batter of the inning. However, Reyes reached on an error by the left fielder and scored when Thomas tripled to the wall in right-center to give Wichita a 2-1 lead. With Chase Simpson at the plate, the ball bounced off the catcher’s glove and to the backstop, allowing Thomas to score from third and give the Wingnuts a two run lead.
After giving up the run in the third, Wingnuts starter Jordan Cooper tossed a gem. The right-hander allowed 7-hits through 7-innings, giving up just a one run while striking out 4.
He left in the eighth and Winnipeg would rally right away. With Brady Bowen on the hill, Tucker Nathans and Josh Romanski led off with back-to-back singles. Two batters later, Mazzola doubled down the line in left, bringing home Nathans. A single up the middle by Josh McAdams scored Romanski and it looked like it may bring home Mazzola as well. Zach Nehrir threw home looking to nail the runner at the plate. His throw was slightly up the line, but Wichita catcher John Nester made an acrobatic play, diving forward to tag Mazzola before he could reach the plate to deny the Goldeyes the lead.
That proved to be huge. Edwin Carl came on in the ninth for Winnipeg and quickly got ahead 0-2. However, Simpson worked the count to 2-2 before drilling his 12th home run of the season over the right field wall, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
Felix Carvallo (2-1) earned the victory for the Wichita Wingnuts with a perfect ninth inning of relief. Tony Thomas was 2-4 with a run and 2-RBI and Angel Reyes finished 2-3 with 2-runs scored. Josh Mazzola finished 3-4 with 2-RBI for Winnipeg.
The Wingnuts will look for a sweep on Wednesday night, sending Charlie Gillies (6-5, 4.50) to the mound. He will be opposed by Brennan Bernandino (1-1, 1.92). Game time is scheduled for 7:05.
Featured Image by Ed Bailey
By Robert Pannier