There may be no more impressive run that a baseball has put on that of the Wichita Wingnuts, who had won seven division titles in their 10 year existence. However, in what could be their last year, the team finally saw their post-season run come to an end, as the Sioux City Explorers downed the Wingnuts 4-0, eliminating them from the final playoff spot in the South Division. Luis Mateo blanked Wichita for seven innings, as he combined with two relievers on the three-hit shutout.
This was a great battle between Mateo and Wichita starter Charlie Gillies, as the two hurlers were pitted in a scoreless battle through the first five innings of the contest. The Explorers had four hits against Gillies through five while Wichita had just two against Mateo in the same span.
In the sixth, the Sioux City Explorers would finally break through. Michael Lang walked to start the inning and moved to second when Nate Samson hit a sharp grounder to short that hit off Leo Vargas’ chest. He scrambled to regain control of the ball, throwing it to second where Logan Watkins could not handle the throw and both runners were safe. Next up was Jose Sermo, who got ahead 2-0 before absolutely crushing his 21st homer of the year, a shot that went about 450 feet to dead center.
Staked to the lead, Luis Mateo (11-5) continued to cruise, allowing only one more hit in his final two innings of work. The right-hander went 7-innings, allowing 3-hits and 4-walks, with 5-strikeouts.
In the top of the eighth, his team would add an insurance fun. With one down and Scott Kuzminsky on the hill, Sermo effortlessly blasted his 22nd homer of the year and second of the game over the right field wall to extend the lead to four.
Before the bottom of the eighth could get started, the rain came leading to a two hour delay. When play resumed, Patrick Schuster walked the first batter of the inning, bringing a call for Parker Markel. He struck out the first two batters he faced before walking Angel Reyes. With two on and two down, Markel struck out Tony Thomas to end the threat.
In the ninth, Eric Karch came on. He retired the Wingnuts in order, striking out Nick Rotola to end the game as the Sioux City Explorers prevailed, 4-0.
Jose Sermo finished 2-4 with 2-runs and 4-RBI. He homered twice and drew a walk. Michael Lang was 2-3 with an RBI. No Wingnuts player had more than one hit.
Tomorrow may very well be the final game for the Wichita Wingnuts franchise. It will be the last for Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00.
Featured Image by Ed Bailey
By Robert Pannier