Canaries Have No Answer for Matt Chavez; Wingnuts Hold On, 11-8
Two games into their three-game set with the Wichita Wingnuts, the Sioux Falls Canaries have to absolutely hate the here the name Matt Chavez every time he comes to the plate. The Wingnuts first baseman proved to be quite a headache Saturday night, hitting two home runs and driving in five in helping Wichita to the 11-8 victory. T.J. Mittelstaedt walked five times in the game, a Wingnuts record, and Brent Clevlen drove in 4 in the slugfest.
The Wingnuts would jump out to a three-run lead in the top of the first inning against Sioux Falls starter Bryce Morrow. Harrison Kain led off the game with a walk and moved to third on a base hit by Christian Stringer. Stringer was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double, and Brent Clevlen followed with a sacrifice fly to bring Kain home, giving Wichita the early lead. T.J. Mittelstaedt kept the inning alive by drawing a walk, bringing Matt Chavez to the plate. On a 1-1 pitch, he clubbed his 13th homerun of the season to extend the lead to three.
Sioux Falls responded with a run in the bottom of the first against Alex Boshers. Jabari Henry walked with one out, but was replaced on the base paths on a fielder’s choice by Ty Morrison. With two down, Chris Jacobs delivered a clutch single to keep the inning alive, and Burt Reynolds followed with a double that brought Morrison home. Jacobs also tried to score on the play, but a great relay from Kain to Leo Vargas to Martin Medina nailed the runner at the plate to end the threat.
The Wingnuts responded with a run in the top of the second. Richard Prigatano doubled, the first of four hits on the day by the right fielder. Vargas was then hit by a pitch and Prigatano moved to third on a fly out. Stringer then plated Prigatano with a fielder’s choice to extend the lead back to three.
The lead would not last long, however, as the Canaries scored four runs in the bottom of the second inning. Aaron Gretz reached on an error to start the Ending, and moved to second on a base hit by Blake Schmit. Trey Vavra walked to load the bases with no one out. Next up was Dan Motl, who fell behind 0-2 before drilling a triple to the wall that cleared the bases and tied the score. Motl scored on a sacrifice fly by Henry, and the Canaries suddenly had the lead.
It would stay a one run Sioux Falls lead until the fourth, when Wichita would put five runs on the board to take the lead for good. Stringer singled with one out, and scored when Clevlen doubled into center. Following a Mittelstaedt walk, Chavez crushed his second homerun of the game, a three-run homer, to make it 8-5. Zac Fisher and Martin Medina followed with back-to-back singles and Prigatano doubled to bring home Fisher. That extended the lead to four. It could have been significantly worse, as Vargas walked to load the bases, but Bo Hellquist got a line out of the strike out and the inning.
It would stay a four-run Wingnuts lead until the seventh, when the Canaries would get two runs back. With two down, Henry hit his 10th home run of the season. That was his third home run of the series, and the third straight game in which he has hit a home run. Morrison then reached on an error and scored when Jacobs doubled into left field. That made the score 9-7.
In the top of the ninth, the Wichita Wingnuts extended their lead back to four. Vargas singled to start the inning, but James Jones was able to retire the next two batters and it looked like the visitors would come away with nothing. However, on an 0-2 pitch, Clevlen drilled a shot over the left field wall for his fifth homer of the season to make it 11-7.
The Canaries threatened in the bottom of the ninth. Michael Falsetti walked to start the inning and moved to third on a base hit by Henry two batters later. Morrison followed with a single that brought home Falsetti, bringing the winning run to the plate. Seth Harvey was laboring a bit, but pulled it together to strike out the final two batters of the game, and the Wichita Wingnuts were the 11-8 victors.
Alex Boshers (7-2) earned his seventh when of the season. Matt Chavez had a huge day, going 3-6 with 2-runs and 5-RBI. The Wingnuts first baseman is 7-11 in the series with 3-homers, 4-runs, and 8-RBI so far. He also has 10-hits in his last three games as well as 10-RBI. Brent Clevlen was 3-5 with 2-runs and 4-RBI. Richard Prigatano had 4-hits. Jabari Henry remains red-hot for Sioux Falls, going 2-3 with a run and 2-RBI. Chris Jacobs was 3-5 with an RBI.
The final game of the three-game set is tomorrow. Garrett Gould (0-0, 2.25) will get the start for Wichita. He will be opposed by Grady Wood (4-1, 2.79). First pitch is scheduled for 4:05.
By Robert Pannier