For the fourth straight time Eddie Medina was handed the ball for the Wichita Wingnuts, and for the fourth straight time he delivered a victory, this time shutting out the Laredo Lemurs for seven innings in the club’s 6-0 victory. The right-hander has been just what the doctor ordered for Wichita in a season where starters have been hurt, traded, and signed by Major League organizations, leaving the team to find replacements, and like a master sorcerer, manager Kevin Hooper has found a way to conjure up an impressive starter from somewhere each time.
For the Wichita Wingnuts this game was the perfect model of how they play baseball. Score early, take advantage of big hits, and get outstanding pitching. All of those things have become a trademark at Wingnuts University and that was on display here this night.
Cody Kendall started for the Laredo Lemurs. He retired the Wingnuts in order in the first, but in the second the visitors grabbed the lead. Matt Padgett singled to center field with one out to get the rally started, and John Nester followed by beating out an infield grounder to put runners at first and second with one out. A single by Harrison Kain loaded the bases for Taylor Smart, who grounded into a fielder’s choice that scored Padgett to put Wichita on top.
In the third the club extended their lead. Jayce Ray, who finished 3-5 with 2 runs and an RBI, singled to begin the inning. David Espinosa walked and TJ Mittelstaedt drove home Ray with a sacrifice fly. That made it 2-0.
In the fifth the Wichita Wingnuts seemingly put the game away. Smart singled to begin the inning and moved to second on a single by Leo Vargas. An error by the right fielder allowed Smart to come all the way around the score, while Vargas reached third. Ray then singled to score Vargas. A ground out moved Ray to second and he scored when Andy LaRoche singled up the middle to make it 5-0.
The last Wichita run came in the seventh inning. The first two hitters were retired by Kendall, but Espinosa lined a shot to the wall that he legged out for a triple. A wild pitch brought in Espinosa to make it 6-0.
Six runs were plenty for Medina on this night. The right-hander allowed 12 total base runners (8 hits and 4 walks) in his 7 innings of work, but he moved the ball around well, and got outs when he needed them. In both the first and second innings Laredo had the bases loaded, but Medina got big double-plays to eliminate base runners and keep the Lemurs off the board.
Medina allowed five hits and three walks through the first three frames, but the Lemurs could not take advantage, and that came back to haunt them. The Wingnuts starter allowed just two singles over the next three innings, but both runners were eliminated by double-plays. In all he induced four twin-killings.
The victory moves the Wichita Wingnuts five games ahead of the Joplin Blasters and six ahead of the Laredo Lemurs in the South Division.
By Robert Pannier