Swept In Kansas City, Wichita Wingnuts Find Themselves Out of First
Week in Review, June 15-21
After being swept by the Kansas City T-Bones, the Wichita Wingnuts find themselves in a place they have not been in three seasons – second place. The club has been in first place the last three seasons, so a drop to second place finds the team in unfamiliar territory. The club has been making moves to try to improve their record, but the loss of Anthony Capra to the Mexican League is surely going to make that a lot more challenging.
Wichita got off to a good start, taking the first two games against the Gary Southshore RailCats. In Game 1 of the series Jason Van Skike pitched seven solid innings for his third win of the season in the 4-3 Wingnuts victory. Alberto Gonzalez had two hits and an RBI and a cunning double-steal that led to Dustin Geiger stealing home aided the win.
In Game 2, the RailCats shut down the Wingnuts offense for six innings and led 1-0 going into the seventh, but six runs in the final three innings gave Wichita the 6-1 win. T.J. Mittelstaedt was 2-2 including hitting his fourth home run of the season. He also scored 2 runs and walked three times.
The closing game of the series saw Gary get to Scott Kuzminsky early, scoring eight runs in the first two innings on their way to a 9-6 win. Geiger hit two home runs in the contest, moving his total to five, and Mittelstaedt drove in two more runs.
On to Kansas City the Wingnuts went, where they were swept by the T-Bones, including a crushing loss in the final game of the series. In Game 1, four runs in the T-Bones fourth were critical in the 6-3 victory. Mittelstaedt continued to be a bright spot, hitting his fifth home run of the season.
In Game 2, Kansas City scored runs in each of the first six innings against Tim Brown, jumping out to a 13-3 lead before the Wingnuts scored five runs late. Geiger had 3 hits including home run No. 6 and Joash Brodin hit his first home run in the loss.
In the final game the Wingnuts jumped out to a 4-0 lead, and were cruising behind Van Skike, but Kansas City scored a run in the seventh and then Daniel Carela gave up a single and three walks in the eighth before being relieved by closer Matt Nevarez. The Good Doctor gave up a three-run home run to Jake Blackwood and the T-Bones won 5-4.
June 15 –Off
June 16 – Wichita 4, Gary 3
June 17 – Wichita 6, Gary 1
June 18 – Gary 9, Wichita 6
June 19 – Kansas City 6, Wichita 3
June 20 – Kansas City 13, Wichita 8
June 21 – Kansas City 5, Wichita 4
Record: 16-12, 2nd Place in South Division, 2.5 Games Out
The three players that stand out most are Dustin Geiger, John Nester and T.J. Mittelstaedt.
Nester continues to deliver no matter where he finds himself in the batting order. He had hits in all six games this week, extending his hit streak to seven games. Nester went 9-19 with 2 runs and an RBI. That raised his average to .305, an increase of 30 points.
Mittelstaedt had hits in each of the final five games of the week, but also showed he can get on base as well as anyone. The utility man was 6-15, with 8 runs and 6 RBI. He also walked 9 times, and improved his average 31 points to .290. He also raised his on-base percentage 44 points to .438, and hit two home runs.
Geiger had 10 hits in 24 at-bats, plus he scored 6 runs and drove in 5. He clubbed 3 home runs during the week as well. Geiger added 29 points to his average, raising it to .330.
On June 16, RHP Shawn Talkington was signed by the Wichita Wingnuts. He has since been released.
One day later, infielder Kori Melo was released by the club. Melo appeared had just two at-bats before being released.
On June 21, ace starter Anthony Capra signed with Acereros de Norte of the Mexican League. Capra was 2-3 with a 4.25 ERA in six starts. He was tied for the league lead in strikeouts with 35.
By Robert Pannier