Richard Prigatano Delivers 14th Inning Triple to Lead Wingnuts Comeback Win
The Wichita Wingnuts looked like they were going to drop their third straight game as the team trailed 5-1 entering the ninth inning Monday night. It has been a tough early part of the season for Wichita as they have been unable to win any of their previous five series, and looked like they were going to get off to a bad start against the Kansas City T-Bones. However, a huge four-run ninth allowed them to tie the game and Richard Prigatano brought an end to the marathon affair with a 14th inning triple that plated two and gave Wichita the 7-5 win.
The Wingnuts would jump out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Sean Furney started for Kansas City and he retired the first two batters of the inning, but a base hit by Brent Clevlen kept the inning going and T.J. Mittelstaedt walked to put two on with two otus. Next up was Dustin Geiger, who lined a single into left field that scored Clevlen to make it 1-0.
Eddie Medina started for Wichita and shutdown the T-Bones in the first but, in the second, Kansas City took the lead. A single by the red hot Anthony Gallas got the inning started and he moved to second on a walk to Brandon Tierney two batters later. Medina struck out the next batter for the second out of the inning, but Robby Kuzdale came up with a clutch single to left that scored Gallas. A walk to Brett Wiley loaded the bases and Medina then walked Starlin Rodriguez to drive home a run and give the T-Bones the lead.
In the fifth the home team would extend their lead to two. Vladimir Frias and Tyler Massey led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Gallas then singled to left to load the bases with no one out. This inning had the potential of putting the game away, but Medina looked incredibly sharp, getting Blackwood out on a sacrifice fly before getting to two popups to end the inning.
In the eighth the T-Bones would plate two more runs. Wiley, Rodriguez, and Frias started the inning off by drawing walks. The bases were loaded, no one was out, and the heart of the lineup was coming up. If Kansas City had not blown the game open before, this was surely the time when they would do so. Massey singled to move everyone up 90-feet. That scored Wiley to extend the lead to three, and brought the dangerous Gallas to the plate. Fabian Roman struck him out, before getting Blackwood to deliver his second sacrifice fly of the game. That made the score 5-1, which is how it would remain entering the ninth.
Aaron Baker came on looking to close it out and he got off to a good start when he struck out Harrison Kain to begin the frame. Brent Dean then grounded back to the Baker who could not handle the play, allowing the Wingnuts catcher to reach on the error. Next came Leo Vargas, who drilled his first homerun of the season to cut the deficit to just two. Stringer followed with a single, and Zack Cox grounded into a force out that placed him at first. There were two outs and the tying run at the plate in the form of Brent Clevlen. He took a first pitch ball from Baker, then ripped his second homer of the season to tie the score.
With the game tied the marathon began. Both bullpens looked incredibly sharp. The Wingnuts turned to closer Frankie Reed in the ninth through 11th innings, and he was outstanding, allowing just two hits. Jesse Pratt took over in the 12th and he tossed three spectacular innings of his own.
Jared Messer gave Kansas City three great innings from the 11th through the 13th. He was outstanding, but after pitching three frames the T-Bones turned to Jeremy Strawn in the 14th. He was just coming off of the disabled list, and came into a bit of trouble right off when Mittelstaedt started the inning with a double. Dustin Geiger reached on a fielder’s choice that moved Mittelstaedt to third, and the Wingnuts had the makings of a big inning started for themselves. That brought Prigatano to the plate, who ripped a ball to the wall in right field. The Wingnuts right fielder raced into third with a triple as both runners scored. That made it 7-5. The inning looked like it could get much worse for Strawn, but Dean’s hit to left was caught for the second out. Prigatano tried to score on the play but Christian Torres’ throw to the plate was right on and the runner was out.
Kansas City would not score in the bottom half of the inning and Wingnuts grabbed their first extra inning victory of the season.
Clevlen finished 2-6 with 2-runs scored and 2-RBI. Prigatano and Stringer each added two hits of their own. Kain walked three times. Massey was 3-7 for Kansas City with an RBI and Kuzdale also was 3-7 with an RBI.
These two teams continue their three-game set on Tuesday night. Charlie Leesman will go for Wichita.
By Robert Pannier