Wichita Wind Surge Bests Midland RockHounds, 10-7
Wichita, KS – The Wichita Wind Surge showed out in a dominant first inning, picking up the win against the Midland RockHounds in a competitive matchup on Sunday, April 24, 2022.
On Sunday, Wichita got off to a great start in the first inning. Matt Canterino, a top ten prospect in the Twins system, started on the mound for the ‘Surge. With a mixture of great throwing and some assistance from the outfielders, no one from Midland was able to get on base during the first inning.
It was almost the complete opposite for Midland. Starting on the mound was Matt Milburn. Wichita got through the entire batting lineup and then some to start their turn at the plate. Austin Martin was first up to the plate and got on base without even swinging the bat. After the walk to Martin, Edouard Julien slammed the ball to deep right-center field for a triple, scoring Martin taking the score 1-0. Next up was Spencer Steer who, after an eight pitch at bat, got on base via a walk. Michael Helman hit a line drive double to score Julien and advance Steer to keep the ‘Surge in scoring position. That at bat took the score up to 2-0. Matt Wallner continued the succes for Wichita by hitting a big one to the outfield to score Steer and advance Helman all while putting himself on first base. This took the score to 3-0. Alex Isola was not as fortunate as his teammates. He popped out to right field, but at least that scored Helman to bring the lead to 4-0. Cole Sturgeon got ahold of the ball and put it into shallow right field to advance Wallner to third base. Up next to the plate was Andrew Bechtold who took another walk to get on which loaded the bases. Now, at the nine hole, Kevin Merrell was looking to drive in some runs. Merrell shot one out to center field, but was only able to score Wallner. Back to the top of the batting order with Martin who grounded out for the final out that Midland needed to put this one to rest.
Canterino took the mound again for Wichita to start the second inning. His performance was just as clean as the first, only throwing nine pitches. Everyone that was lined up by Midland was knocked down by Wichita with another mix of team work from Canterino and the rest of the fielding team. With Wichita back up to the plate they were looking to continue their dominant outing by replicating their first inning performance. However, this did not happen as Wichita couldn’t score any runs and only put one on base. Getting through that first inning was all Milburn needed to find his groove.
For Canterino’s third and last inning, he continued his effective pitching. Only six pitches were needed to sit everyone down from Midland. Milburn had a great third inning. Isola, Sturgeon, and Bechtold weren’t able to get on base for Wichita at all.
In the fourth inning, Ben Gross relieved Canterino of his duties onthe mound. Canterino threw just 23 pitches before being taken out. Midland center-fielder Max Schuemann was the first Rock Hound to get on base. He did it with a full count and a careful eye by taking the sixth pitch of the at bat. It paid off for him by getting the lead-off walk. Midland continued their momentum with Zack Gelof getting a big line drive to left field, putting two on at first and second. One out later, Logan Davidson was up to the plate for Midland. Davidson swung hard and the ball reached deep center field but would be caught by Michael Helman. Schuemann advanced to third base on the play. Jeremy Eirman couldn’t capitalize on this opportunity for his team as he popped one to shallow center field for the third out, leaving two on base for the Midland RockHounds.
After a rocky start to the inning, Wichita looked to bounce back at the plate. Kevin Merrell did just that with a home run to right field taking the ‘Surge’s lead up 6-0. Unfortunately, the rest of the batting order couldn’t model this as Martin, Julien, and Steer would fly out, go down swinging, and ground out in that respective order. Steer’s groundout wouldn’t be without question, though, as it was a close call for the first base umpire.
After a tough fourth inning for Gross, he had an even tougher fifth inning. After catching Jake Suddleson looking, Shane Selman got a hold of the ball and took it to shallow right to jump on base. Jordan Diaz hit a line drive to deep center field allowing Selman to advance to third base while putting himself on first. Gross got a called strike on William Simoneit, however the at bat would be cut short when the ball made contact with Simoneit putting him on first and advancing Diaz to second. With the bases loaded, Schuemann walked, forcing Selman home which finally put the RockHounds on the board, trailing 6-1. With the bases still loaded, Gelof hit a short ball right to Gross who tossed the ball home, but an error by the catcher allowed the run to score, with the lead now shrinking to just four runs. Chase Calabuig hit the ball to first base, Wichita got him out, but another run came home. With the momentum on Midland’s side, Logan went down swinging for the third out, leaving the score at 6-3.
A pitching change started off Wichita’s at bats with Nick Highburger taking the mound for Midland. Helman took advantage of the new pitcher and got on first base by hitting a ground ball by the shortstop. Before Wallner could get a hack in, a balk call advanced Helman to second base. Wallner followed with a ground out, but was not as lucky as Helman as he was out at first, but Helman advanced to third to put a runner in scoring position. Highburger walked Isola putting two on base at first and third. After a slight feeling out process with Highburger, Sturgeon sent one to right field allowing Helman to score and extending the lead back to four runs while putting himself on base. A several pitch at bat with Bechtold resulted in a walk, loading the bases. With Merrell back for another at bat he was looking to replicate his last performance with another home run. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen as a pop fly to right field got the third out of the inning for Midland.
Gross started the inning again for the Wind Surge. After getting Eirman out, Suddleson walked, putting one on base. Gross fought hard against Selman working the at-bat to a full count. Selman wouldn’t go down easily, though, as he went yard scoring Suddleson and himself to put the score at 7-5. After this, Gross was relieved by Steven Cruz. Cruz didn’t start out so hot as he walked Diaz. The next at bat from Simoneit resulted in a double play to prevent any further damage from being done by Midland.
To start the bottom of the sixth inning a new RockHound in the form of Michael Danielak took the mound. Martin started off the frame with a ground ball to shortstop Davidson who threw to first to get Martin out. Next, Julien took ten pitches to get a walk and another walk to Steer advanced Julien to second base. A wild pitch started off Helman’s at bat, advancing both runners up a base. Helman went down swinging for the second out. Wallner hit a ground ball to shortstop Davidson, this time Davidson couldn’t make the play, allowing both runners on base to score and with Wallner reaching first. The score was now 9-5. Isola hit the ball right to Danielak who threw the ball to Diaz for the final out of the inning.
Neither team was productive in the seventh inning with neither team able to score. In the seventh inning, a pitching change was made by Wichita with Tyler Viza replacing Cruz.
In the eighth inning, Viza looked to bring this one home for Wichita. He would sit Selman down with a four pitch at bat. Diaz hit a ground ball to right field, reaching on a double. Right field was the theme for the top half of the inning as Simoneit hit a big line drive to Wallner, advancing Diaz to third base. Schuemann followed with a sacrifice fly ball to Wallner, allowing Diaz to score, putting the score at 9-6. Viza finally put things to bed by striking out Gelof.
After two groundout at bats from Martin and Julien, Steer was back up to the plate. After four pitches Steer sent the ball to left field for a double. Helman took two balls and a strike before letting it all out on this one, sending it to center field for a triple, scoring Steer. The Wind Surge now had a 10-6 lead over the RockHounds. That was all for Wichita, however, as a walk for Wallner and a strikeout to Isola sentthis game to the ninth inning.
A pitching change for Wichita started this inning with Argenis Angulo replacing Viza. His first opponent was Calabuig, who hit a soft line drive to center field for a single. After a lineout by Davidson, Angulo walked Eirman and Suddleson, loading the bases. Another sacrifice fly to right field, this time from Selman, allowed Calabuig to score putting the game at its eventual final of 10-7. With two outs, and an ejection of RockHounds manager Bobby Crosby, Diaz was back at the plate. A four pitch at bat by Diaz resulted in a called strikeout to end the game.
A competitive matchup between the Wichita Wind Surge and the Midland RockHounds ends with a final score of 10-7, Wichita going over Midland.
By Kaden Warner