Charlie Valerio Delivers Walk-Off Double to Complete RedHawks Comeback Victory
It had been a tough weekend for the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, as they had seen their pitching staff give up 26-runs in the first two games of their series with the Wichita Wingnuts, and the Wingnuts held a 4-0 lead in the third game of this series five innings into the contest. However, the RedHawks mounted a rally that tied the score in the sixth, and had to mount a dramatic ninth inning comeback to tie the score once again before Charlie Valerio delivered a walk-off double in the 10th to give the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks the 7-6 victory.
Jose Almarante started for Fargo-Moorhead and the Wingnuts would plate two against him in the top of the first. Harrison Kain walked to start the game and moved to second on a single by Christian Stringer. Brent Clevlen followed with a single by scored Kain to put Wichita ahead. T.J. Mittelstaedt followed with a single, but Stringer was thrown out trying to score to keep it a one-run game. With two down, Brennen Salgado singled to score Clevlen to make it 2-0. Mittelstaedt also tried to score but, for the second time in the frame, a Wingnuts baserunner was gunned at the plate.
In the fourth, the Wichita Wingnuts extended their lead to four. Almarante retired the first two batters of the inning, but Richard Prigatano doubled to center to keep the inning alive. Next up was Zac Fisher, who drilled a two-run homer, his first of the season to make it 4-0.
Ryan Kussmaul started to Wichita and he was absolutely brilliant early on. He retired the first seven hitters of the game, seeing his streak come to an end with one out in the third on a hit by pitch. He had a no-hitter going through five and was in complete command of this game.
However, in the sixth, the Fargo-Moorehead RedHawks tied the score. Brett Wiley walked to start the frame, and Josh Mazzola delivered the first hit of the game with a single two batters later. Next up was K.D. Kang, who ripped his second homer of the season, a three-run shot that made this a one-run contest. Kussmaul retired Mitch Delfino for the second out of the frame, but Valerio kept it alive with a double, and he scored on a single by Ryan Pineda to tie the game at four.
The score was tied until the seventh, when Wichita retook the lead. Will Solomon relieved and walked Stringer to start the inning. Two batters later, Mittelstaedt doubled and Solomon walked Matt Chavez intentionally to load the bases with just one out. That brought Salgado to the plate, who singled to right-center to score both Stringer and Mittelstaedt.
In the ninth, Seth Harvey came on to close it out for Wichita, however, the RedHawks would tie the score. Valerio walked to start the inning and Pineda walked to put two on with no one out. Two batters later Kes Carter doubled to score both runners and the game was tied. Harvey would end the threat, but not before Fargo-Moorhead had sent the contest into extra innings.
In the 10th, the RedHawks would win it. Delfino walked with one-out, bringing Valerio to the plate. He fouled off a 2-2 pitch to keep the at-bat alive, then ripped a double to score Delfino with the winning run.
Charlie Valerio had a huge day at the plate, going 2-4 with 2-run, an RBI, and a walk. Kes Carter was also 2-4 and drove in 2. T.J. Mittelstaedt and Brennen Salgado both went 3-5. Salgado drove in a season-high 3-runs and Mittelstaedt scored a run.
The Wingnuts travel to Kansas City tomorrow to begin a three-game series with the Kansas City T-Bones. Eddie Medina (2-0, 2.25) goes for Wichita. The Kansas City starter has not been named. First pitch is 7:00.
By Robert Pannier