Chavez, Van Stratten Lead Offensive Onslaught as Wingnuts Tie Series
When the Winnipeg Goldeyes Kevin McGovern was scheduled to start against the Wichita Wingnuts Alex Boshers in Game 2 of the American Association Championship series, this looked like it would be a pitchers’ duel for sure. Half of that was true at least, as the Wingnuts followed up Wednesday night’s game where they were shut out, by hammering McGovern and the Goldeyes pitching staff in a 9-2 victory. Matt Chavez and Nick Van Stratten led the onslaught, as the two combined to go 9-10 with 4-runs scored and 5-runs driven in and Boshers allowed 2-runs in 6-innings pitched in the victory.
The Wingnuts took the lead in the top of the second and would never relinquish it. Chavez was the lead-off hitter in the frame and he drilled his second post-season homerun to make it 1-0.
In the third, Wichita extended their lead. Leo Vargas singled to left to start the inning and moved to second on an error by the left fielder who misplayed the ball. Christian Stringer followed with a double that scored Vargas and it was 2-0. Two batters later Brent Clevlen hit a sacrifice fly that scored Stringer to extend the lead to three.
Boshers had allowed lone hits in each of the first two innings, but the Goldeyes responded with a run in the bottom half of the third. Adam Heisler doubled with one out and moved to third on a ground out. Willie Cabrera delivered a clutch two-out hit to cut the deficit to 3-1.
Wichita got the run right back in the top of the fourth. Chavez singled to start the inning and Van Stratten doubled to drive him home to extend the lead back to three.
It would stay that way until the sixth when Wichita doubled their advantage. Clevlen walked to start the inning and T.J. Mittelstaedt followed with a ground ball to short that he beat out for a single. Chavez then singled to center. Reggie Abercrombie threw home, but Clevlen did not round third looking to score. However, Mittelstaedt leaned too far off of second and Carlton Tanabe threw to the shortstop to nail Mittelstaedt. That made it first and third with one out.
That would end the night for McGovern. Brandon Shimo came on, but the inning took a drastically bad turn for the Goldeyes. Van Stratten greeted the reliever with a base hit into right field that scored Clevlen. Harrison Kain then walked to load the bases for Martin Medina. The Wingnuts catcher took a 1-1 pitch and ripped it up the middle to score both Chavez and Van Stratten and it was 7-1.
Winnipeg would get one of those runs back in the bottom half of the sixth. Cabrera delivered his third hit of the game with a single to center to start the inning. Two batters later Josh Romanski lined a single into right putting runners at first and second. David Rohm then flew out for the second out of the inning, but Casio Grider singled up the middle to score Cabrera and make it 7-2.
In true Wingnuts form, the team came right back with a response, getting that run back in the top of the seventh. Duke Von Schamann retired the first two batters of the inning, but a Mittelstaedt single was followed by a single by Chavez. Van Stratten then beat out an infield hit, scoring Mittelstaedt to make it 8-2.
Boshers (2-0) came out after 6-innings. He allowed 8-hits and 2-earned runs, walking no one and striking out 1. Luis Pardo came on and gave up a hit in the seventh, but the Goldeyes would muster no other offense against him. Chad Nading pitched a perfect eighth to keep the score 8-2.
In the ninth, Wichita added one more run. Zack Cox singled to start the inning, but was replaced on the base paths on a fielder’s choice by Mittelstaedt. A wild pitch moved him to second and he scored on a single by Chavez. Up 9-2, Frankie Reed came on and retired the side in order to finish off the game.
The combination of Van Stratten and Chavez was absolutely dominating. Chavez finished a perfect 5-5 with 3-runs scored and 2-RBI. Van Stratten was 4-5 with a run and 3-RBI. Mittelstaedt chipped in 2-hits and 2-runs. Vargas also had 2-hits.
Cabrera had the hot bat for the Goldeyes, finishing the evening 3-4 with a run and an RBI. Grider had 2-hits. David Rohm had a hit, but the Wingnuts pitching staff was able to slow down the hot hitting Rohm.
The teams now move to Wichita for Game 3 of the American Association Championship series, which will be Saturday night. The Wichita Wingnuts will send Jesse Pratt (1-0, 0.00) to the mound. He will be opposed by Mike O’Brien (1-1, 0.64). Game time is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier