Geiger, Mittelstaedt Lead Wichita Wingnuts 6-4 Victory
The hard charging Wichita Wingnuts, winners of eight of their last 10 games, used five early runs to defeat the Kansas City T-Bones Thursday afternoon, 6-4. It was their fifth straight win against their in-state rival, and kept them atop the American Association’s South Division.
The early matinee saw the T-Bones take the early lead with two-runs in the top of the first inning. Tyler Massey led off the game with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice. Jake Blackwood then stepped to the plate and, after taking a first pitch ball, he roped a two-run homer to stake Kansas City to the early lead. That was Blackwood’s third homerun of the season.
The Wingnuts responded with two of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Zack Cox walked with one out and Brent Clevlen followed by drawing a free pass of his own. Two batters later Dustin Geiger ripped a base hit that scored Cox and cut the deficit in half. Richard Prigatano’s double scored Clevlen and the game was tied.
In the bottom of the second Wichita took the lead. Again, it was the walk that got the rally started. Brent Dean drew the base on balls to start the frame and moved to second when Leo Vargas singled. A walk to Christian Stringer loaded the bases and there was no one out. Two batters later Clevlen drew his second walk of the contest to drive home Dean and give Wichita the lead. Next up was Mittelstaedt, who lined a single to center scoring Stringer and Vargas and the Wingnuts were up by three.
In the fourth, Kansas City was able to reduce the deficit to two. Vladimir Frias singled to get the inning started. He then stole second and moved to third on an error by the catcher on the throw. That was Frias’ eighth steal of the year. A sacrifice fly by Dalton Wheat brought the runner home to make it 5-3.
In the fifth, Kansas City would cut that deficit to just one. A walk to Nate Tenbrink got the inning started and he moved to third on a single by Blackwood. A walk to Tierney loaded the bases and Frias followed with a ground out that scored Tenbrink to make it a one-run game.
The T-Bones had battled back thanks in large part to Josh Tols who pitched 4.2 outstanding innings of relief. He retired all 14 batters he faced, striking out two.
The score remained 5-4 heading into the seventh when Wichita would add an insurance run. Evan DeLuca took over for Tols and retired the first two batters of the inning, but Clevlen was hit by a pitch to keep the inning alive. Mittelstaedt was then hit and that would be it for DeLuca.
Aaron Baker came on in relief and gave up a double to Geiger that scored Clevlen. That made the score 6-4 and gave Geiger 2-RBI for the day. The Wingnuts first baseman was 2-4 overall.
That would be the last run that either team would score. Frankie Reed come on in the ninth and retired the side in order to record his fourth save of the season. Alex Boshers (2-2) earned the victory.
Mittelstaedt drove in two for the Wingnuts, and Leo Vargas extended his hitting streak to 12-games. Four different players had at least two-hits for the T-Bones, including Massey, Blackwood, Frias and Wheat.
From Wichita, the Kansas City T-Bones move onto Laredo to start a three-game series against the Lemurs Friday night. The Wichita Wingnuts welcome the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks Friday night. Game time is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier