Travis Banwart has been the hard luck recipient of several no-decisions this season as the bullpen had squandered leads, however, that was not going to be the case on Saturday evening. The right-hander allowed the Sioux Falls Canaries just three hits in eight innings of work, combining with Brady Bowen to shut out the Canaries, 4-0. Logan Watkins drove in two to help lead the Wichita Wingnuts to victory.
John Straka started for Sioux Falls and neither team had an answer for the opposing starter early on. Straka did not allow a hit through the first three innings and Travis Banwart did not allow his first hit until Jeff Malm singled to start the third.
Zach Nehrir was the second Wichita Wingnuts base runner when he hit a ground ball to second that he beat out for a hit. The throw to first was wild, allowing Nehrir to move to second. Abel Nieves followed with a base hit up the middle that scored Nehrir to make it 1-0.
It would stay a one run game until the seventh, when the Wingnuts would take command of the game. Straka came out and Trevor Jaunich came on in relief. John Nester greeted the Sioux Falls reliever with a base hit and moved to second on a Logan Trowbridge single. A sacrifice allowed both runners to move up with Nick Rotola reaching on the play on a fielder’s choice. Two batters later, Leo Vargas singled into right bringing home Nester to extend the lead to two and Logan Watkins br0ught home a pair when he singled into right, driving home Trowbridge and Rotola.
With a four run lead, Banwart (5-2) cruised. The right-hander gave up the lead-off hit in the third and then retired eight in a row. His streak came to an end when Mike Hart singled to start the sixth. The big right-hander would allow just one more hit, a lead off single in the eighth. He went 8-innings, allowing 3-hits and 3-walks, while striking out 5.
Brady Bowen came on in the ninth and would give up a one out walk, but he would retire the side to finish off the shutout, as the Wichita Wingnuts won 4-0.
Logan Watkins finished 2-5 with 2-RBI and Abel Nieves was 2-3 with an RBI for Wichita. No Sioux Falls player had more than one hit. John Straka allowed only 3-hits as well, going 6-innings while giving up the one unearned run.
These two teams will conclude their three-game series tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05.
By Robert Pannier