If you take a close look at Friday evening’s boxscore for the Wichita Wingnuts, you will notice that there are not a whole lot of zeroes present. In a contest where every hitter had at least one-hit and scored at least one-run, where all but two hitters drove in a run and all but one drew a walk, it was easy to see why the team dominated their victory over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. The Wingnuts scored two-runs in each of the first three innings to take a commanding lead, and Tyler Kane pitched seven stellar innings to send Wichita to the 15-2 victory.
RedHawks starter Dylan Mouzakes had entered the game on a four-game win streak dating back to last season, and had posted a 0.75 ERA through his first two starts this year. However, the Wingnuts would batter him around a bit early on.
In the top of the first, Mouzakes retired the first two hitters of the game, but Brent Clevlen doubled before T.J. Mittelstaedt walked to keep the inning alive. Next up was Matt Chavez, who drilled a double into the gap, scoring both runners and it was 2-0 Wichita.
In the top of the second, Richard Prigatano led off the inning by clubbing his first homer of the season to make it 3-0. Zac Fisher followed with a double, but the Fargo starter was able to retire the next two batters. However, the two-out hit came back to haunt him again, as Christian Stringer doubled, the fourth two-base hit by the team in the first two innings, to score Fisher and the lead was four.
In the third the Wichita Wingnuts chased Mouzakes. Chavez singled with one out but the right-hander retired Brennen Salgado for the second out of the inning. Once again, the two-out rally reared its ugly head. Prigatano singled to moved Chavez to third and that was it for Mouzakes. Will Solomon relieved and, on a 1-1 pitch, the catcher could not handle the pitched ball, leading to a passed ball that allowed Chavez to score. Leo Vargas then drew a walk before Harrison Kain singled to score Prigatano. The lead was now six, and could have been more, but a great throw from Ryan Pineda to the plate gunned Vargas to end the inning.
While the Wingnuts batters were treating Mouzakes quite uncordially, Tyler Kane was shutting the potent RedHawks offense down. He retired all but one of the hitters through the first three innings, with the only batter to reach base coming on an error. In the fourth, Fargo-Moorhead looked to mount a rally when Josh Mazzola singled with one down and Pineda delivered a two-out single. However, the RedHawks could not get the two-out hit as Kane induced Jesus Posso to ground back to the mound to end the threat.
In the fifth, Fargo-Moorhead would finally get on the board. Charlie Valerio walked to start the inning and Mitch Delfino followed with a base hit. A one out walk to Brett Wiley loaded the bases and Valerio scored on a sacrifice fly by Yhoxian Medina. That made the score 6-1.
Wichita responded with a run in the top of the sixth. With Tyler Thompson on the hill, Kain singled to get the frame started and moved to second on a wild pitch. After stealing third, he scored on a sacrifice fly by Clevlen to extend the lead back to six.
In the bottom of the seventh, Fargo-Moorhead recorded their final run of the game. With one down, Delfino clubbed his third home run of the season to make it 7-2.
The seventh would be the final inning for Tyler Kane (2-1). He allowed 4-hits, 2-walks, and 2-earned runs in the 104-pitch performance. He struck out 6.
In the top of the eighth, the Wingnuts responded for the second time in the game, scoring another run. Back-to-back singles by Vargas and Kain started the frame. Following a double-play grounder, Clevlen delivered a two-out single to score Vargas and it was 8-2.
The two teams headed to the ninth inning, where the Wichita Wingnuts would blow this game open. The Wingnuts would send 12 men to the plate and score 7-runs in the frame. Three straight walks to Chavez, Salgado, and Prigatano started the inning. Fisher singled to score Chavez and Salgado, and Vargas followed with a base hit to load the bases again. Kain drew a four-pitch walk to plate Prigatano before Stringer drew the fifth walk of the inning to bring home Fisher.
With the game clearly out of reach, the RedHawks turned to Josh Mazzola to try to finish off the game. Clevlen was the first batter he faced, and the Wingnuts veteran hit his second sacrifice fly of the game, scoring Vargas for the fifth run of the inning. A wild pitch brought home Kain and Stringer scored on a single by Mittelstaedt. That made it 15-2.
There were many offensive stars on the evening for the Wichita Wingnuts. Zac Fisher was 3-4 with 2-runs and 2-RBI. Harrison Kain also had 3-hits, scored 2-runs, and drove in 2. Richard Prigatano scored 3-runs and Brent Clevlen drove in 3. Mitch Delfino was 2-4 with a run and an RBI for Fargo-Moorhead.
Saturday should be an outstanding matchup, as the two teams send their aces to the hill. Wichita sends Alex Boshers (2-1, 3.15) to the mound. The RedHawks counter with Tyler Alexander (1-0, 2.07). First pitch is 6:00.
By Robert Pannier