The Wichita Wingnuts were on their way to their franchise record seventh straight loss when they found themselves trailing 6-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth, but Tony Thomas brought the team roaring back in the 7-6 walk-off victory over the Kansas City T-Bones. Thomas hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth and delivered a clutch two-out single in the bottom of the ninth inning to deliver the walk-off win. That gave the Wichita left fielder 4-RBI for the contest.
The T-Bones scored single runs in each of the first four innings. In the top of the first, Todd Cunningham went the other way down the line in right for a double. Nick Torres followed with a double to almost the exact same place to make it 1-0.
The Wichita Wingnuts got the run back in the bottom half of the inning. Logan Watkins got the rally started by drilling a ball to the wall in right-center, racing into third with a triple. He scored on a ground out by Zach Nehrir to tie the score at one.
Kansas City retook the lead in the top of the second. Dexter Kjerstad singled to start the inning. Two batters later, Angel Rosa doubled into right field and Kjerstad scored on a sacrifice fly by Keith Curcio.
The lead became two in the top of the third. Cunningham started the inning with a double to left and Zach Walters reached two batters later when the Wichita center fielder misplayed the ball as it dropped in for a single. With runners at first and third, Kjerstad grounded a single into right to score Cunningham to make it 3-1.
Rosa stated the fourth with a single and then stole second. He scored on a single by Dylan Tice to make it a 4-1 game.
In the fifth, the T-Bones extended their last to five. Cal Towey started the inning with a triple and scored when Kjerstad hit a two-run homer that hit just over the top of the wall for his third home run of the year. That made it 6-1.
It looked like it was going to be another long day for the Wichita Wingnuts, but they would get four of those runs back in the bottom half of the inning. Watkins singled with one out before starter Lucas Irvine retired the next batter. With two down, Abel Nieves walked and Watkins scored on a single by Fernando Perez. That brought Tony Thomas to the plate, who blasted a three-run homer to dead center to make it 6-5. That was the sixth home run of the year for Thomas.
An inning later, the Wingnuts tied the score. With one down, Ryne Willard hit a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left-center for his second homer. That tied it at six.
The Wingnuts bullpen was impressive. James Campbell tossed two scoreless innings. Brady Bowen came on in the eighth and retired the T-Bones in order. Daniel Tillman came on in the ninth and retired all three batters he faced.
That set up the dramatic bottom of the ninth. Watkins started the inning by beating out a ground ball to short for a base hit. The throw was wild, allowing him to move to second, and he moved to third on a sacrifice. Nieves was intentionally walked before Perez fouled out for the second out of the inning. That brought Thomas to the plate. He fell behind 0-1 before singling up the middle, easily scoring Watkins with the winning run.
Tony Thomas was 3-5 with a run and 4-RBI. Logan Watkins was 4-5 with 3-runs. Angel Rosa was 4-4 with a run scored for the T-Bones.
Featured Image by Ed Bailey
By Robert Pannier