Jake Blackwood 3-Run Home Run Gives T-Bones Dramatic Win Over Wichita Wingnuts
The Wichita Wingnuts coming to town is usually about the worst thing that can happen to a team, but the Kansas City T-Bones saw it as a blessing. The T-Bones finished off a sweep of the Wingnuts in dramatic fashion, getting a three-run home run from Jake Blackwood off of Wichita closer Matt Nevarez in the eighth inning to win 5-4.
The Wingnuts have to feel like they let this one slip away. The club jumped out to a 4-o lead through six innings before the T-Bones battled back. In the top of the second Wichita got a run when TJ Mittelstaedt singled with two outs, moved to third on a single by Dustin Geiger. Geiger then broke for second, looking to draw the throw from the Kansas City catcher, which it did, and Mittelstaedt raced home with the stolen base to make it 1-0.
The score remained 1-0 into the fifth, as both Kansas City starter Casey Barnes and Wingnuts starter Jason Van Skike were getting the job done. In Barnes’ first four innings he retired the side in the first and the third innings and allowed just one run on four hits overall.
Van Skike was really on fire early on. He allowed just a single and a walk through the first six innings. He was just one over the minimum, and was making the most of that one-run lead.
In the fifth the Wichita Wingnuts added another run. Joe VanMeter came in to relieve and should have retired the first two batters, but an error by the shortstop allowed Jayce Ray to reach first with one out. Alberto Gonzalez followed with a double into the gap that brought the speedy Ray all the way around from first and it was 2-0.
In the sixth the Wingnuts extended their lead to four. Joash Brodin led off the inning with his second home run of the season. VanMeter retired the next two batters but walked Brent Dean to keep the inning alive. Luis Hernandez walked to put runners at first and second and Ray doubled to right field to score Dean with the fourth Wichita run of the afternoon.
It was looking really good for the visitors, but the Kansas City T-Bones got their sizzle on late. In the bottom of the seventh, Nate Tenbrink walked to begin the inning and moved to second on a ground out. Adam Bailey, who was 4-5 the night before, doubled to center to bring Tenbrink home. That would be it for Van Skike.
The righty pitched 6.1 innings, allowing 2 hits, 2 walks and a single run. He struck out 3 and, most importantly, left with his team leading 4-1.
In the top of the eighth, the Kansas T-Bones showed that there is no bull in this town. Daniel Carela came on in relief to begin the inning and walked the first two batters, Vladamir Frias and Jacob Hayes. A wild pitch moved both into scoring position, and two batters later a sacrifice fly by Ryan Cavan scored Frias to make it 4-2. Tenbrink drew a walk and that would be it for Carela.
The Wingnuts turned to their ace closer to get the final out of the inning. The batter was Jake Blackwood, who took a first pitch ball before lining a three-run homer to give his team the lead, 5-4.
It was an incredible comeback that gave the T-Bones the sweep of the three-game series. Kris Regan (2-2) earned the win, while Fernando Hernandez recorded his first save of the season. Nevarez (1-1) took his first loss of the year, and allowed his first run as well.
Boxscore Provided by the American Association
By Robert Pannier