The Wichita Wingnuts had a 11-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, and it looked like the game was over, but the Sioux Falls Canaries battled back, but still fell, 11-8. John Nester and Logan Watkins each hit three-run homers and Daniel Tillman saved his 17th game of the year.
A three-run first inning gave the Wichita Wingnuts the early lead. Canaries starter Dylan Thompson retired the first two batters of the game but a single by Abel Nieves kept the inning alive before Tony Thomas doubled. With runners at second and third, John Nester blasted a 1-2 pitch for his fifth home run of the year. That gave Wichita a 3-0 lead.
The Canaries would get one of those runs back in the bottom of the second. David Bergin led off the inning by hitting the second pitch he saw for his 12th homer of the year.
Leading by two heading into the top of the third, the Wichita Wingnuts would blow the game open. With one down, Nieves walked and moved to second on a wild pitch. Thomas singled to left, driving in Nieves to restore the three run lead, but Wichita was just getting started. Nester moved Thomas to second with a base hit and Thomas scored when Logan Trowbridge lined a single into right. Both runners came home when Nick Rotola doubled into left field to extend the Wingnuts lead to six. Two batters later, Leo Vargas moved Rotola to third. That brought Logan Watkins to the plate, who hit the first pitch he saw for his second homer of the year. The three-run homer made it 10-1.
In the seventh, Wichita extended their lead to 10. Ryne Willard doubled and scored when Watkins hit a two-out double.
After giving up the run in the second, Tyler Kane shutdown the Canaries offense over the next four innings. He gave up three hits during that span. However, in the seventh, Sioux Falls would put together a seven run rally of their own.
Maxx Garrett got the inning started by drawing a walk and he moved to third when Jeff Malm singled. Two batters later, Patrick Fiala doubled into left, bringing both runners home to make it 10-3. Jordan Smith drew a walk and both runners moved up on a ground out. That brought Chris Grayson to the plate, who brought both home with a single.
That would be it for Kane. Seth Harvey came on and walked Bergin, bringing Jabari Henry to the plate. He blasted the first pitch he saw for his ninth home run of the year, cutting the Canaries deficit to three.
Sioux Falls had battled to get back into the game, but the Wingnuts bullpen was able to shut them down over the final two frames. Austin Boyle allowed two hits in the eighth, but got out of the inning without giving a run. Daniel Tillman came on in the ninth and closed the game out for his 17th save of the season.
Logan Watkins was 2-5 with a run and 4-RBI. John Nester finished 3-5 with 2-runs and 3-RBI. Abel Nieves also had 3-hits and scored 2-runs, and Tony Thomas scored 2-runs as well. Patrick Fiala led the Sioux Falls offense, going 2-4 with a run and 2-RBI.
These two teams will face off again on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05.
By Robert Pannier