Eshelman Stifles Wichita in a Wind Surge Defeat
Wichita, KS – Another windy game in Wichita on Saturday June 25, 2022 saw a more competitive game than Friday. Despite their best efforts Wichita lost 4-2 against San Antonio.
The starting pitcher for the Wichita Wind Surge was Louie Varland who unfortunately earned the loss as well, just his third this year out of nine starts. The inning didn’t start out great for Varland as he walked Thomas Milone. Juan Fernandez went down on a ground out to second, but still advanced Milone to second base. Domingo Leyba went down swinging for the second out of the inning. Yorman Rodriguez hit a nice pop fly to shallow center field for an RBI single allowing for the Missions to take an early lead over the Wind Surge. There was no more productivity from San Antonio as a short hit in the infield and a nice toss to first base got the third out for Wichita.
Matt Wallner, Edouard Julien, and Kyle Schmidt went down in various ways, but three in a row nonetheless allowing Thomas Eshelman to get out of the first inning unscathed.
The second inning went much more smoothly for Varland. Despite allowing one hit, that one coming from Jorge Ona, only three batters came to the plate. A pop fly from Connor Kaiser got the first out and the other two coming from a groundout double play that was set in motion by Chandler Seagle.
The success for Wichita this inning was brief, but still there. Cole Sturgeon started off the inning in a big way with a solo home run to right field, his seventh of the year. After the home run not much was accomplished from Wichita’s batting order. Anthony Prato, DaShawn Keirsey Jr., and Kevin Merrell all went down three in a row for all three outs of the second inning.
Varland carried on his success against San Antonio during the third inning. Again, Varland only allowed one hit this inning, but was able to keep the game tied at one run apiece.
The third inning wasn’t much different than the first seeing three Wind Surge hitters go down one after another. Those batters were Chris Williams, Daniel Ozoria, and turning the batting order back over, Matt Wallner.
One hit per inning seems to be a common theme for Louie Varland as one hit and three outs came and went during the fourth letting Wichita step back up to the plate.
Some slight success was seen from Wichita during the fourth inning with Schmidt getting himself a base hit. Aside from that, though, not much could be done by Wichita to get anymore runs across the plate.
Things were looking up, or at least straight, for Wichita up until the fifth inning. After a fly out from Seagle, Reyes kept a good eye out and got walked. Next up, Milone, hit a very hard ground ball up the right side of the field for a double and advanced Reyes to third. Juan Fernandez hit a ground ball in the infield, but the throw to home was no good allowing Reyes to score and taking the lead again for the first time since the first inning. With the score now 2-1, Varland walked Leyba which loaded up the bases. Rodriguez had the team in mind when he hit a sacrifice fly ball that gave Milone time to tag up and run home from third putting the score up 3-1. The final out of the inning for the Missions came from Ornelas who went down swinging.
Eshelman did his best to come out of this inning without chancing the lead that San Antonio had over Wichita, but couldn’t avoid allowing one run. After a brief groundout play from Keirsey Jr., Merrell hit a line drive to left field for a single. Williams hit a well placed ground ball to center field getting himself on second base and pushing Merrell to third. Ozoria grounded out to first for the second out. The Missions wouldn’t let Wallner have a chance at the ball this inning by intentionally walking him. Doing this also loaded the bases. Julien used his eyes well this inning by not being too eager to swing the bat. He also was walked which forced the run in from third base, taking the score 3-2 and keeping the bases loaded. Schmidt wasn’t quite able to hit the ball hard enough as a groundout to third base ended the inning for Wichita.
In the sixth inning Varland was relieved by Andrew Cabezas. Despite the pitching change San Antonio was still able to find success against the Wind Surge bullpen. After a groundout to second base, Kaiser, Seagle, and Reyes all found their way on base. Milone took the ball to right field for an RBI single, advancing their lead over Wichita 4-2. The final out of the inning from San Antonio was an interesting one. Fernandez hit a fly ball to right field for the second out, but an interesting decision from third base to go for home ended up costing the Missions their final out and wrapping up their turn at the plate.
Despite both teams best efforts no more runs were scored for the rest of the game. The last several innings of play all looked very familiar with a hit here or there and then three outs. The only notable action was a pitching change for Wichita in Cody Laweryson. Just recently assigned to the ‘Surge on June 24, 2022 from the Cedar Rapids Kernels, he came into the game ready to fight and in his first inning of pitching he sat down all three batters with strikeouts. Laweryson will definitely be someone to keep your eyes and ears open for as he continues his path to the majors.
By Kaden Warner