Nearly 1400 miles away from home, the Wichita Wingnuts were looking for a starter to help the roster during their 10-day road trip. The call went out to right-hander Eddie Medina to give them a quality outing that could keep the momentum rolling. Medina showed that he is a perfect fit at Wingnuts University, allowing an unearned run in his 5.2 innings of work to lead the club to a 4-2 victory over the Ottawa Champions.
Laetten Galbraith started for the Champions and the two starters looked impressive through the first four innings. Gailbraith gave up a single and a walk in the first two frames, but in the third he was in some serious trouble. Leo Vargas walked, and moved to second on a ground out. David Espinosa and T.J. Mittelstaedt followed with back-to-back walks to load the bases with one out. This had all the makings for a huge inning, but the Ottawa starter retired the next two hitters to end the threat. In the fourth he gave up a lone hit but the Wingnuts would remain without a run.
Medina was absolutely brilliant, allowing a lone hit in each of the first three innings. In the fourth he retired the side in order to keep the game scoreless. In the fifth the Champions finally broke the scoreless tie. Chris Winder singled to begin the inning. Daniel Bick laid down a perfect bunt that Medina threw wild scoring Winder all the way from first. That made it 1-0.
It remained a one-run game into the sixth when the Wichita Wingnuts would finally break the game open. John Nester led off with a single and two batters later Joash Brodin walked. Gailbraith struck out Matt Padgett and Tyler Heil and it looked like he was going to teeter on the edge but not be scored upon as he had done all game long. No such luck in this case. Jeremy Gonzalez came through with a big base hit that brought home Nester to tie the score. Vargas singled to score Brodin, and suddenly the Wingnuts were in front. A single by Jayce Ray scored both Gonzalez and Vargas and it was 4-1 Wichita.
From there the bullpen took over for the Wichita Wingnuts. Daniel Bennett relieved after Ottawa put two on board in the bottom of the sixth, and struck out Winder to end the inning. In the seventh he allowed a lead-off walk but retried the final three hitters of the inning to keep the score 4-1.
Iden Nazario made his second appearance for Wichita in the eighth, retiring the side in order. That brought Dakota Watts on in the ninth. He had not been scored upon since joining the Wingnuts, but that streak was about to end. Matt Tenaglia doubled to lead-off the inning. Watts stuck out Winder and Alex Nunez to make it two down, but Jon Talley singled to score Tenaglia. The Wingnuts closer then struck out Albert Cartwright to end the game. It was his 11th save of the season.
The victory moved the Wingnuts 3.5 games ahead of the Joplin Blasters in the South Division. The club is now 3-1 on this East Coast swing.
By Robert Pannier