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Wichita Wingnuts News

Red, White, and Blues: Gartrell Home Run Lifts Amarillo to 5-4 Win

Photo Credt: Meryl Loop

AMARILLO, TX (July 4, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts and Amarillo Thunderheads were locked in a 4-4 tie at Potter County Memorial Stadium entering the bottom of the ninth inning.  Slugger Stefan Gartrell came to the plate with one out and took an Alex Boshers offering out of the park to left center that ended the ballgame and started the Independence Day celebration in Amarillo earlier than expected. 

Amarillo (20-22) jumped ahead in the early going off of the Wingnuts’ Scott Kuzminsky.  Logan Vick led off the bottom of the first with a triple and then scored when a strikeout of Corey Bass ended with the ball going to the backstop, allowing Vick to race home and put the Thunderheads in front 1-0. 

Amarillo also added lone runs in both the fourth and fifth innings. In the fourth, Rene Leveret started the threat with a two out single. Another single by Geraldo Valentin moved him into scoring position and then Taylor Smart plated the big first baseman with a line drive double to right center. In the next inning, Amarillo was able to put two on base with two outs once again. Gartrell popped a ball high above the field in shallow right.  The stiff breeze pushed it back into fair territory where it dropped untouched for a single and made the score 3-0.

The Wingnuts (21-19) had an opportunity to get on the scoreboard in the fifth when John Nester doubled and moved to third with nobody out, but they could not cash in.  They did not let another chance slip away in the sixth.  David Espinosa and T.J. Mittelstaedt knocked back-to-back doubles to close the gap to 3-1.  Starter Anthony Figliolia was removed after walking Joash Brodin in the next at bat.  Manager Bobby Brown called on right-hander Billy Petrick.  The first batter he faced, Matt Padgett, singled home a run to pull Wichita within a run.  The Wingnuts would leave the bases loaded in the frame, unable to cash in with any more runs. 

Padgett was also the driving force behind the Wingnuts two-run seventh that put them in front 4-3.  Wichita loaded the bases with two outs and Kyle Bellows on the mound.  The 18-year veteran smacked a single up the middle that brought in a pair. Padgett finished 2-3 with three RBI.

Daniel Bennett came in to work the bottom of the seventh after Frankie Reed had finished the sixth.  He hit Jason Martin with his second pitch of the outing and then watched as Juan Martinez blooped a single into shallow left. Bennett was able to induce Gartrell into a 6-4-3 double play which left a runner third with two outs.  Leveret managed to slap a single in the next at bat to tie the score.

The 4-4 tie held into the bottom half of the ninth when Boshers (1-1) made his fourth appearance of the season.  Martinez started the frame with a groundout to third to bring Gartrell to the plate.  The veteran jumped on the second pitch to bring an end to the contest.

The series will be decided on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. with RHP Omar Bencomo of Wichita facing LHP Ryan Bonnot of Amarillo. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Wingnuts Trade for Watts, Hope He Can Be Lights Out

WICHITA, KS (July 4, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts have gone with a closer by committee approach since Matt Nevarez joined the Mexican League.  The team believes they have found a man to hand the ball to with the lead in the ninth. The Nuts acquired Grand Prairie closer Dakota Watts in exchange for cash on Friday.  In addition, starting pitcher Scott Richmond was removed from the active roster to participate in the Pan-Am Games with the Canadian National Team and reliever Daniel Carela was traded to Rockland for cash and a player to be named later.

Watts appeared in nine games out of the bullpen for Grand Prairie at the outset of the season before joining the Mexican League.  He was 1-0 with a 2.53 ERA and recorded one save with the AirHogs.  In 10.2 innings he allowed seven runs, three of them earned, while whiffing 15 opposing hitters.  The 27-year old made his last six appearances this year with the Acereros de Monclova.  In Mexico he recorded a single save and gave up four runs in 5.2 frames.

Watts saved 21 games last season for Grand Prairie, his first in independent ball. He was selected in the 16th round of the 2009 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins.  In five years in their farm system the native of Oroville, California played at least a portion of the season at Double-A new Britain four times. Despite posting a career earned run average with the Twins of 3.85 and allowing just three earned runs in 26.1 innings at Double-A in 2013, he was released following the season.

Richmond made two starts for the Wingnuts since joining the club on June 25th. He is currently 1-1 and will re-join the team after the conclusion of the Pan-Am Games in late July. 

The 27-year old Carela was 1-0 with a 6.43 ERA and one save in 16 games out of the bullpen.  The hard-thrower allowed only nine hits in 14.0 innings, but issued 13 walks and gave up 10 runs.  He will join the Can-Am league’s first place team and pitch in his home state of New York with the Boulders.

Watts has joined the Wingnuts in Amarillo as the team gets set to continue a three-game series with game two on Saturday evening at 6:05 p.m.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Wingnuts Win Rain-Shortened Series-Opener over Amarillo 3-2

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

AMARILLO, TX (July 3, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts have struggled in the late innings of recent ballgames while holding the lead.  When a powerful storm overcame Potter County Memorial Stadium in Amarillo with the Wingnuts leading the Thunderheads 3-2 in the seventh, the final two and a half innings of the game were not able to be played.  As a result, the team picked up their 21st victory of the 2015 season.

A clutch extra-base hit from Joash Brodin opened the scoring in the Wingnuts’ half of the third inning.  After Luis Hernandez doubled into the left field corner to begin the inning, Leo Vargas followed with a single to place runners on the corners with nobody out. David Espinosa and T.J. Mittelstaedt each were struck out by Amarillo (18-22) starter Matt Larkins to leave it up to Brodin.  The center fielder drove a ball to the gap to bring home both and give the Nuts a 2-0 lead. 

John Nester opened the next inning against Larkins (5-2) with a solo blast to left field, his second of the year that increased the advantage to 3-0.  The right-hander would end up throwing 7.0 innings and allowed the three runs on six hits while striking out six.

Jason Van Skike (4-1) was scored upon for the only time in the ballgame in the fourth.  Stefan Gartrell began the attack with a one out double and headed to third on Juan Martinez’s single.  Catcher Corey Bass jumped on Van Skike’s first pitch and lined just out of the reach of a diving attempt by the left fielder Mittelstaedt. The ball rolled to the wall and resulted in both runs scoring.

The next two and a half innings flew by without any further damage to either pitcher.  After Larkins retired the side in order in the top of the seventh, a massive storm rolled in and pounded the stadium for nearly an hour.  Heavy winds prevented the tarp from being pulled over the entire field and shortly afterward the game was called because of standing water on the field.

Game two will take place on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Canaries Come From Behind to Walk-Off Wingnuts and Take Series

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

SIOUX FALLS, SD (July 1, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts took a lead into the bottom of the ninth inning in all three games they played in Sioux Falls this week.  Unfortunately, they were only able to hang on to that lead once.  For the second time in three nights, Sioux Falls came from behind in the last inning to win in walk-off fashion on Wednesday night at “The Birdcage”. Harrison Kain’s sacrifice fly with the bases loaded pushed the Canaries to a 4-3 win.

Sioux Falls (18-21) jumped on the Wingnuts and starter Tim Brown right away.  In the bottom of the first Jerome Pena ripped a one out double to advance into scoring position.  Brian Humphries followed with a single to left field that scored Pena and put the Canaries in front 1-0.

The Wingnuts (20-18) tied the game in the fourth and took the lead in the fifth.  After a leadoff walk and back-to-back fielder’s choice groundouts, Matt Padgett was standing on first with Josh Brodin coming to the plate. The center fielder crushed a double to the right center power alley that scored Padgett to even the score.  In the next frame Tyler Coughenour raced around the bases for a triple with one out.  Leo Vargas then chopped a ground ball over the head of the first baseman and into right field for his first RBI of the season and a 2-1 lead. Vargas would later score on T.J. Mittelstaedt’s double to extend the advantage to 3-1. 

Tim Brown never allowed a run the rest of the way as he worked 6.0 innings and gave up just four hits.  Frankie Reed and Al Yevoli combined to shut out the Canaries over the next two innings to send the game to the ninth.

Daniel Carela came on with an opportunity to record his second straight save. He went to a full count against Bergin, who eventually won the battle with a double to deep right field.  Bergin scored on two wild pitches to pull the Canaries within a run.  The right-hander then walked Richard Stock to put the tying run on base and prompt Kevin Hooper to call on Daniel Bennett (0-4).

 R.J. Perucki tried to advance the runner with a sacrifice bunt, but the bunt was so good there was no play available and two runners were aboard.  Vickash Ramjit also laid down a bunt and while Bennett picked it up he slipped and could not make the play.  With the bases loaded, a wild pitch scored a run to make it 3-3. The Wingntus intentionally walked Tyler Shover to load the bases before Kain won the game.

Wichita will take Thursday off before returning to action on Friday night in Amarillo at 7:05 p.m.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Wingnuts Even Series in Sioux Falls by Virtue of 6-4 Win

Wingnuts Even Series in Sioux Falls by Virtue of 6-4 Win

SIOUX FALLS (June 30, 2015) – Both the Wichita Wingnuts and Sioux Falls Canaries busted out the bats to score four runs in a lone inning early in Tuesday night’s match-up at The Birdcage.  After that point, the pitching staffs took control and it became a close-to-the-vest affair from which the Wingnuts surfaced with a 6-4 win. 

The Wingnuts (20-17) put their four-spot on the board first courtesy of the middle of the lineup.  With two outs, T.J. Mittelstaedt lined a double to the right center gap.  John Nester followed by working a walk to put two on for Matt Padgett.  The clean-up hitter grounded a ball up the middle that allowed the speedy Mittelstaedt to score and make it 1-0.  Joash Brodin hooked a home run to the patio area above the right field wall for a bases-clearing three run home run.  The shot made the score 4-0 and was Brodin’s third of the season.

Scott Richmond (1-1) was almost untouchable as he worked perfectly through the Sioux Falls’ lineup their first time around.  In the fourth inning they made some adjustments and evened the score.  Back-to-back single by Chris Grayson and Jerome Pena started the frame.  With one down, David Bergin hit a double to deep left center just out of the reach of Joash Brodin that scored a pair and pulled the Canaries (17-21) within 4-2.  With two outs in the inning, Michael Wing and R.J. Perucki each knocked hits that resulted in a run scoring to tie the game at 4-4. 

Wichita managed to grab the lead against Jeremy Strawn (2-5) in the sixth.  Brodin ripped a double to start the inning, but was tagged out trying to advance on Brent Dean’s fielder’s choice grounder to the left side. Dean managed to steal his way to second and then scored on Luis Hernandez’s single up the middle on throw from Harrison Kain in center that hit the mound and bounced high over everyone’s head. 

In the eighth, Brodin smoked his third extra-base hit of the game, a double, with one out.  Dean followed by shooting a ball down the right field line to increase the Wingnuts’ lead to 6-4.

After both Daniel Bennett and Al Yevoli retired the side in order in the seventh and eighth inning, Daniel Carela entered hoping to pick up his first save.  After striking out the leadoff hitter in the ninth, he gave up an infield single on a flare to the right side that Taylor Oldham narrowly missed fielding.  The right-hander rebounded to strike out the final two hitters of the game and preserve the lead.

The rubber match of the series will be played on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m.  RHP Tim Brown (3-1) will take the mound at The Birdcage against Canaries RHP Shawn Blackwell (1-5). The game will air on 92.7 KWME or can be streamed online by choosing the “Listen Live” link on www.wichitawingnutscom. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Wingnuts Test Fate Too Many Times and Fall 4-3 to Canaries

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

SIOUX FALLS, SD (June 29, 2015) – Leading by a 3-2 score on Monday night in Sioux Falls, the Wichita Wingnuts managed to strand the tying run in scoring position three innings in a row in advance of the final frame.  The team was not as fortunate in the ninth.  R.J. Perucki lined a walk-off single up the middle to break a 3-3 tie and give the Sioux Falls Canaries a 4-3 win in the opening game of the series.

Omar Bencomo gave up the only earned run of his first outing since returning to the Wingnuts (19-17) in the very first inning.  Brian Humphries bounced a fly ball off the top of the wall in left and over for a solo home run to put the Canaries ahead 1-0. 

The Canaries (17-20) added a run to their lead with some help from the second of three errors committed by the Wichita defense.  Humphries lined a sharp single to right and David Espinosa tried to play the ball on a short hop which skittered under his glove and to the wall.  Richard Stock’s sacrifice fly would drive the runner in and make it 2-0.

One week after chasing right-hander Stephen Bougher from the game in 4.0 innings, the Wingnuts could not solve him until the fifth.  John Nester began a string of three consecutive singles that loaded the bases with one out. Trevor Jones struck out which left the inning in the hands of veteran Luis Hernandez.  The second baseman found a hole with a groundball to the left side to cut the lead in half.  David Espinosa followed with a two-RBI single and the Wingnuts overtook Sioux Falls for a 3-2 lead.

In the Canaries’ sixth, Chris Grayson doubled to start the inning, but was quickly dispatched by Bencomo on a deceptive pickoff move.  Michael Wing reached second on a single and an error in the seventh, moved to third on a fielder’s choice, but never scored.  Frankie Reed walked the leadoff hitter in the eighth and watched him slowly advance to third before whiffing Humphries to strand him. 

All of these occurences led to Brad Mincey (0-3) coming on in the ninth with the Wingnuts still holding on to a 3-2 advantage.  The right-hander walked David Bergin, the first batter he faced.  He then recorded an out on Stock’s line drive to Joash Brodin in left field.  Wing lifted a triple out of the reach of a diving attempt by Trevor Jones to tie the score and put the winning run 90 feet away.  With the infield drawn in, Perucki came up with the game-winner. 

Becomo went 7.0 innings and allowed only two runs, one earned, on six hits.  He also struck out five.  Bougher lasted through 8.0 innings and gave up three runs on seven hits while also fanning five.  Tyler Pearson (1-1) worked a scoreless top of the ninth to earn the win.

Game two of the series takes place at the “The Birdcage” on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m.  RHP Scott Richmond (0-1) will work for Wichita against RHP Jeremy Strawn (2-4) of Sioux Falls.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Joplin Controls Late Innings to Emerge 6-2 Victors

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 28, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts carried a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning behind the outstanding pitching of Scott Kuzminsky on Sunday.  The Blasters were able to tie the score in the sixth and ride the bat of Jesus Solorzano in the next two frames to take four of the five games between the two clubs.  The Wingnuts stranded 11 base runners and did all of their scoring in a pair of one-run frames as they dropped a 6-2 decision.

Scott Kuzminsky (2-2) of the Wingnuts and Matt Swilley of the Blasters each made it through the opposing lineup one time without any damage.  It was the second time through the order that Wichita (19-16) did the first damage.  With one out, Joash Brodin was hit by a pitch from Swilley and quickly stole second.  A fielder’s choice roller by T.J. Mittelstaedt moved Brodin to third base. He scored on John Nester’s ground rule double over the wall in center field. 

Kuzminsky carried that lead into the sixth inning before Joplin (21-12) evened the score.  Gabe Suarez, the last batter in the Blasters lineup, drove a double into the right field corner to begin the inning.  He was bunted to third and came in to score on a two out single by Yasser Gomez that slithered over the mound and through the middle to make the score 1-1.

Kuzminsky started the seventh inning with the score still tied, but could not finish it.  He walked Omar Luna to begin the frame and then committed a throwing error on Mitch Glasser’s sacrifice bunt that left runners on the corners with nobody out.  The final batter the starter would face, Jesus Solorzano, ripped a triple that scored both runners and gave Joplin a 3-1 advantage. Daniel Bennett entered from the bullpen and recorded two outs without the runner ever moving from third.  Frankie Reed replaced Bennett on the hill to face the switch-hitting Mesa and got him to chop a ball towards third.  The ball was gloved by Mittelstaedt, but bobbled on the transfer and the error allowed Solorzano to add another run to the Blasters total. 

Wichita climbed a run closer when Jayce Ray brought in a run with his seventh inning single, but Joplin answered with a two-run double by Solorzano in the top of the eighth to extend the margin to 6-2.  The Wingnuts stranded a pair of runners in the ninth against closer Winston Abreu who picked up a two-inning save.

The Wingnuts begin a six-game road trip on Monday night in Sioux Falls.  Recently re-acquired RHP Omar Bencomo (3-0) will take the hill for the Wingnuts against the Canaries.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Bencomo Brought Back in Trade, Shortstop Vargas Added

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 29, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts traded pitcher Omar Bencomo to the Laredo Lemurs in exchange for slugger Matt Padgett on June 5th. Less than one month later, the team wanted him back bad enough to trade their leading run producer Dustin Geiger to the Lemurs in return for the Venezuelan hurler.  The Wingnuts also added former Lincoln Saltdogs shortstop Leo Vargas to the active roster.

Bencomo had made two starts for the Wingnuts at the outset of the campaign and was 1-0 with a 2.46 ERA in 11.0 innings of work.  He had recorded 12 strikeouts and walked three opponents.  In his first appearance in Wichita he shutout the Winnipeg Goldeyes by facing the minimum through 6.0 innings.

Since his trade to Laredo he had continued his early season success.  The 25-year old was named the American Association Pitcher of the Week in his first week with the Lemurs.  Between the two South Division clubs he has gone a combined 3-0 with a miniscule 2.08 ERA.  He has fanned 28 hitters in 39.0 innings while issuing just seven walks.  Bencomo will start on Monday in Sioux Falls. 

The 23-year old Vargas made his professional debut last season with Lincoln.  In just under a month he played in six games and went 3-14 at the plate with two stolen bases. 

After beginning his collegiate career at Frank Phillips College, Vargas played his last three years of eligibility at Nicholls State University.  Over three years with the Colonels, Vargas hit .281 with four home runs and 48 RBI.  He also stole 28 bases.

Vargas finished the 2013 season, his last in school, with a team-leading .299 batting average, 67 hits, 47 runs and 24 RBIs. He also had a team-high .380 on base percentage and was second on the team with a .388 slugging percentage. Vargas was 10th in the nation in sacrifice bunts and was fundamental in helping the Colonels finish 3rd in the nation in double plays.

Geiger had paced the Wingnuts offense with seven home runs and 28 RBI in 33 games.  The former Chicago Cubs farmhand will join Laredo and face the Wingnuts in just over a week for a four game series at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. 

For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Wingnuts Add Central Missouri Star to Outfield

 

WICHITA, KS ( June 29, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts were forced to place their leader in batting average Jayce Ray on the disabled list Monday afternoon. In order to help fill the void created by the absence of their center fielder the club turned to the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association.  Former University of Central Missouri speedster Trevor Jones joined the active roster and will make his professional debut on Monday night.

Jones capped his four-year career at the Division II school by earning 2015 First Team All-MIAA honors as well as recognition on both the Daktronics and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association All-Central Region Second Teams.  The native of Florissant, Missouri earned those awards by leading the Mules in batting average, triples, hits, runs scored, and total bases.  He hit .377 with nine doubles, six triples, a home run, and 24 runs batted in.   He put together a 21-game hitting streak during the year and reached base safely in the final 37 games of the season.  Central Missouri was eliminated in the final four of the MIAA Tournament in May.

Jones was named Honorable Mention All-MIAA in 2014 as junior when he hit .360 with 30 RBI.  Other impressive numbers for the outfielder included a .454 on-base percentage, 17 multi-hit games, and 16 stolen bases in just 18 opportunities.

The 22-year old batted .364 in his first season as a starter during his sophomore year after playing in 10 games as a true freshman in 2012.  Prior to college, Jones was a two-time first team all-conference selection at Hazelwood West High School. After his senior year he was selected to participate in the Delta Dental All-Star Game at Busch Stadium.

The Wingnuts will open a six-game road trip with a 7:05 p.m. game against Sioux Falls on Monday night. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Patience Pays off as Wingnuts Double up Joplin 16-8

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 27, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts found themselves trailing by five runs midway through Saturday evening’s contest with the Joplin Blasters at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  The home team showed impressive resiliency by taking advantage of 13 walks by Blasters pitchers and scoring the final 13 runs of the game to win 16-8.

Wichita (19-15) jumped on starting pitcher Jon Jones the moment he toed the rubber.  A Luis Hernandez double was followed by a walk issued to David Espinosa.  Matt Padgett banged a double into the right center gap to score both runners.  Later in the frame, Taylor Oldham notched a run-scoring single of his own to make the score 3-0 after one inning.

After the early outburst, the Wingnuts offense would become quiet until the fifth inning.  Meanwhile, the Blasters (20-12) started to go to work on Jason Van Skike. After two outs were recorded in the second, Joplin had five straight hitters reach base safely against the right-hander.  A single and a walk were followed by an RBI single from Gabe Suarez and then with the bases loaded, Oscar Mesa beat out an infield single to pull Joplin within 3-2.

The visitors managed to plate two runs in each of the next three innings as well.  A two-run home run by Jake Taylor provided all of the damage in the third inning.  In the fourth, Mesa ripped a run-scoring triple and Yenier Bello scored him with a sacrifice fly to right field.  Finally, in the fifth, Suarez brought in a run with a sacrifice fly and Maikol Gonzalez, the final batter Van Skike would face, made it 8-3 with a double.  Van Skike departed after 4.2 innings, having allowed eight runs on 10 hits and three walks.

The Wingnuts got it all back in the bottom of the fifth courtesy of a five run inning that was highlighted by a big hit from the club’s catcher.  Espinosa and Joash Brodin each drew walks with a single by Padgett sandwiched in between to load the bases.  T.J. Mittelstaedt was gift-wrapped an RBI when relief pitcher Jacob Negrete (0-1) walked him as well.  Brent Dean pulled the Wingnuts within a run by yanking a bases-clearing double into the left field corner.  Tyler Coughenour bounced a ball past the shortstop with Dean running hard to tie the game at 8-8. 

Both teams went down quietly in the sixth before Wichita took the lead in the seventh.  Dean singled to open the stanza and was bunted to second by Coughenour.  Jayce Ray came through with his 19th RBI of the season on a run-scoring single to put the Nuts in front.  After a Hernandez single, Oscar Lezcano went to Victor Capellan out of the bullpen.  The sidearm thrower walked three of the next four hitters to force in two more runs and increase the Wichita lead to 11-8.

The game was blown open in the eighth when the Wingnuts sent 11 men to the plate and scored five runs against Matt Sample.  Six of the nine players in the lineup tallied a hit in the inning which ended with designated hitter Mitch Glasser on the mound.  Hernandez, Espinosa, Padgett, and Mittelstaedt each drove in a run in the inning. When the smoke cleared the score read 16-8. 

Alex Boshers (1-0) picked up his first professional win by tossing 2.1 scoreless innings in relief of the starter.  Daniel Bennett and Brad Mincey also worked scoreless frames down the stretch.  Espinosa and Mittelstaedt each drew four walks and the former reached base in all six plate appearances. 

The series will wrap up on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. with RHP Scott Kuzminsky (2-1) on the mound for Wichita against RHP Matt Swilley (1-0) of the Blasters.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

Trio of Triples Helps Blasters Sink Wingnuts 6-3

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 26, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts fought from behind to grab a sixth inning lead on Friday night as they tried to win their first game of a series between the top two teams in the American Association’s South Division.  However the resilient Joplin Blasters came right back to tie the game in the seventh and take the lead in the ninth on the strength of three triples.  The Wingnuts could not overcome a 13-3 disadvantage in the hit column and dropped their third straight game by a 6-3 score. 

Joplin (20-11) opened the scoring by getting to right-handed Wingnuts’ starter Tim Brown in the third inning. Jesus Solorzano began the frame with a single and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Gabe Suarez.  With two outs, Mitch Glasser flipped a base hit into right field to put the Blasters ahead 1-0. 

Wichita (18-15) mustered only a lone single in the game’s first five innings against Joplin hurler Matt Parish.  That changed in the sixth when Parish walked consecutive hitters with one out.  Joash Brodin followed the free passes with a seeing-eye single through the right side that knotted the score at 1-1.  After Parish rebounded to strikeout Matt Padgett, Dustin Geiger pulled a two-RBI double into the left field corner that put the Wingnuts ahead 3-1. 

The lead was short-lived when Joplin tied the game and chased Brown with a pair of runs in the top of the seventh.  The inning began with another Solorzano base hit.  Once again Suarez bunted him to second.  Oscar Mesa followed by slapping a triple into the left field corner that scored Solorzano and cut the lead to 3-2.  Mitch Glasser then executed a suicide squeeze bunt that plated Mesa and pulled the Blasters even on the scoreboard.  Brown allowed three runs on 11 hits with two strikeouts in 6.2 innings.

New addition Frankie Reed (0-1) finished the seventh inning and returned to the mound for the start of the eighth.  He induced a groundout by the first batter, but his night ended following a triple from Jake Taylor.  Kevin Hooper went to the bullpen again for hard-throwing Daniel Carela.  Steve Tinoco quickly gave the Blasters a 4-3 lead with his own triple.  He scored on Solorzano’s chopper to third which extended the advantage to 5-3. 

Joplin added one final run without the help of a hit in the ninth against Al Yevoli.  Mesa walked and moved to second on Glasser’s sacrifice bunt.  He stole third without a throw and then scored on a wild pitch. 

The win was credited to left-hander Gabe Aguilar (1-0) who pitched the final 2.2 innings and never allowed a hit.

Game four will begin on Saturday night and feature a match-up between Wingnuts’ RHP Jason Van Skike (3-1) and LHP Jon Jones (0-1) of the Blasters.  The game will feature a special visitor in the form of Kansas City Royals mascot Sluggerrr.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

Blasters Best Wingnuts in Both Ends of Doubleheader

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 25, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts and Joplin Blasters entered Thursday evening’s twin-bill tied atop the American Association’s South Division.  The Wingnuts committed a combined seven errors and waited too long to try and mount a comeback in dropping the first game 4-2 and the second 6-4.

In the opener, the Blasters (19-11) played small ball to take the first lead against new Wingnuts’ starter Scott Richmond.  Jake Taylor reached on an infield single to start the third inning and was bunted to second immediately by Jesus Solorzano.  With two outs, Maikol Gonzalez drove an opposite field triple into the corner to put Joplin up 1-0.

In the fifth inning the Wingnuts (18-14) committed their first two errors and it proved costly.  Taylor again started the frame with a single.  Solorzano once again tried to lay down a bunt but it was pushed right back to Richmond (0-1).  The pitcher turned and threw to second, but Luis Hernandez mishandled the ball and it rolled into center field.  Jayce Ray picked the ball up and threw wildly past the third baseman which allowed Taylor to score.  Gonzalez lifted a sacrifice fly to center field that increased the lead to 3-0 and then Oscar Mesa doubled home another to put the visitors up by four.  All three runs were unearned.  Richmond went 5.0 innings and allowed four runs, one earned, on six hits.

Wichita rarely threatened against Joplin hurler Nestor Molina (3-1) until the seventh. The right-hander entered the frame looking for a complete-game shutout, but was removed with one out.  After striking out the leadoff hitter he allowed three straight hits, including Ray’s two-RBI single that cut the lead to 4-2.  The Blasters turned to closer Winston Abreu with the tying run at the plate and he picked up his sixth save by getting Hernandez to fly out and Taylor Oldham to strike out swinging. 

In the nightcap, Joplin was on the board before the first inning concluded.  The game started with an error by T.J. Mittelstaedt which Mitch Glasser built upon with a line drive single.  A sacrifice bunt attempt by Mesa was mishandled by Dean and the bases were loaded with nobody out.  Daniel Bennett (0-3), making his first career start, picked the runner off of third for the first out.  He then hit Yanier Bello with a pitch to re-fill the bases with Blasters.  Carlos Ramirez hit a fielder’s choice bouncer to third to make it 1-0.

Three unearned came across the plate in the fourth inning for Joplin on one play.  With the bases loaded and no outs, Gonzalez hit a groundball back to Bennett who came home for the first out.  Dean overthrew first base and the ball rolled all the way into the right field corner, allowing all three runners to score and the lead to grow to 4-0.

In the fifth inning an error by Luis Hernandez started the stanza and a two-RBI double by Solorzano ended it.  Both runs charged to relief pitcher Alex Boshers were unearned as the lead grew to 6-0. 

The Wingnuts slowly chipped away at the lead in the final three innings against the Blasters’ bullpen.  Joash Brodin tallied his seventh RBI of the year when he drew a bases loaded walk from Sam Agnew-Weiland in the fifth.  Matt Padgett opened the sixth inning with his second home run of the season, a solo blast to left center that cut the deficit to 6-2.  Finally, in the seventh, Dustin Geiger and Padgett ripped consecutive two-out doubles off of Jacob Negrete to plate a pair and move within two.  Victor Capellan emerged from the bullpen and got Dean to fly out to earn his first save of the year and complete the sweep of the night.

Brodin saw his 14-game hit streak come to an end when he went 0-3 in the first game.  Boshers made his professional debut by working in both contests and allowing two unearned runs in four innings.

The series continues on Friday night when RHP Tim Brown (3-1) meets Joplin RHP Matt Parish in a 7:05 p.m. duel.  The game is the Wingnuts annual Salute to America’s Heroes and will feature the largest post-game fireworks show of the year courtesy of KAKEland and Kansas One Call.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Gonzalez Purchased by Tigers, Nevarez to Mexico as Part of Massive Roster Shakeup

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 25, 2015) – Shortstop Alberto Gonzalez became the second Wichita Wingnut to have his contract purchased this season when he signed with the Detroit Tigers on Thursday afternoon.  Matt Nevarez joined teammate Anthony Capra, who departed for Mexico on Monday, with Acereros de Monclova.  Relief pitcher Scott Shuman was also released from the club’s roster.  The Wingnuts signed pitchers Scott Richmond, Frankie Reed, and Alex Boshers as well as utility player Tyler Coughenour to help fill the void created by the previous transactions.

The 35-year old Richmond spent four years in Major League Baseball with the Toronto Blue Jays between 2008 and 2012.  After finishing his college career at Oklahoma State, the 6’5 right-hander was undrafted and signed with Edmonton of the independent Northern League. After signing with Toronto in 2008, the native of Vancouver made is big league debut only a few months later, quickly ascending the ranks after beginning at Double-A. 

He combined for a 9-14 record and 5.27 ERA in 36 MLB appearances, 29 of them starts.  He struck out 139 batters in 169.0 innings over his four years with the Blue Jays.  Last season, the veteran pitched within the Texas Rangers organization at Triple-A Round Rock and appeared in 21 games.  Richmond will start the first game of a doubleheader on Thursday evening.

Reed, a native of Simi Valley, California, was drafted in 2011 out of California Polytechnic State University in the 27th round by the Florida Marlins.  He began the campaign at Double-A Jacksonville and was 1-0 with a 4.43 ERA in 14 relief outings before being released.  The current season is his fifth in pro baseball.

Boshers will be making his professional debut after five seasons of college ball at the University of Tennessee-Martin.  The right-hander received an extra season of eligibility after he injured his arm six innings into his senior season.  He recovered and went 1-4 with a 6.15 ERA in 19 games, six of them starts for the Skyhawks.

The Wingnuts re-signed Coughenour who was hitting .100 in eight games with the team earlier this year.  He impressed the coaching staff in an open tryout held before the season and was first signed in late May.  The former Wichita State Shocker is in his second professional season after spending 2014 with the San Angelo Colts of the United League.

Nevarez was in his fourth season in Wichita and had allowed just one earned run in 13.1 innings.  He was perfect in eight save opportunities and 30 for 31 over the past two seasons, with the only blown save occurring because of two unearned runs. 

Gonzalez will report to Double-A Erie in the Tigers’ farm system.  He spent seven years in Major League Baseball with four different clubs including three years with both the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals.  From 2009-11 he played three consecutive seasons of over 100 games at the MLB level.  This season he was batting .296 with a home run and 13 RBI for the Wingnuts.  He also led the team with 12 stolen bases. 

Gonzalez is the 30th Wingnut to be signed by a Major League organization.  

For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

Kuzminsky Cages Canaries to Sweep Two-Game Series

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 23, 2015) – After being roughed up for the first time as a professional in his last start, Wichita Wingnuts’ right-hander Scott Kuzminsky responded in impressive fashion against the Sioux Falls Canaries on Tuesday.  The rookie from the University of Hawaii picked up his second win of the season by tossing seven innings and allowing only a pair of runs.  His offense backed him up by scoring three runs in the sixth and four in the seventh as the Wingnuts pulled away later for a 7-2 win. 

In a match-up of young and talented right-handed pitchers, Kuzminsky (2-1) and reigning American Association Rookie of the Year Jeremy Strawn dueled to a scoreless tie through five innings.  It was the Canaries (15-18) who would strike first.  Jason Repko took the first pitch of the sixth inning and deposited it over the left field wall for his third home run of the year to make it 1-0.

The Wichita (18-12) offense responded with urgency in the bottom half against Strawn.  With one out Alberto Gonzalez sparked the rally with a line drive triple into the gap.  David Espinosa followed with a walk to put runners on the corners.  In his first at bat since re-signing with the Wingnuts on Monday, Taylor Oldham lined a base hit up the middle to tie the score.  Oldham entered in the fifth inning after first baseman Dustin Geiger was ejected at the end of the fourth.  Joash Brodin, who extended his hit streak to 14 games in the second inning, drove in two more with his double into the left field corner for a 3-1 advantage. Strawn (2-4) left after the frame having struck out five batters through six innings

Sioux Falls battled to within a run in the top of the seventh.  Richard Stock began the inning with a double and scored on R.J. Perucki’s one out RBI single. 

The game was moved out of reach by the Wingnuts in the bottom of the seventh.  Luis Hernandez, who commenced the frame with a single, raced around to score on Jayce Ray’s RBI triple.  Ray scored himself when reliever Josh Ferrell’s wild pitch scooted past catcher Tyler Shoves.  With T.J. Mittelstaedt and Espinosa on base, Oldham laid down a sacrifice bunt that was fielded cleanly by Shoves and then fired wildly into right field allowing both runners to cross the plate.  By the time the inning ended the margin had grown to 7-2.

Al Yevoli allowed only a single in the eighth inning before turning it over to Brad Mincey in the ninth.  The right-hander retired the side in order to put the finishing touches on the ballgame. 

After an off day Wednesday, the Wingnuts will continue their schedule with a doubleheader on Thursday beginning at 5:05 p.m. Wichita and Joplin will play a pair of seven inning contests with a brief break in between.  One ticket will grant fans access to both games.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Nuts Start Homestand with High-Scoring Win on Blustery Night

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 22, 2015) – The wind was howling through Lawrence-Dumont Stadium all day long on Monday and never let up until the final innings of a game between the Wichita Wingnuts and the Sioux Falls Canaries.  The gusting wind led to an offensive outpouring that saw a combined 24 runs and 29 hits before the game was complete.  Dustin Geiger’s five-RBI, 4-5 performance at the plate with three extra base hits helped the Wingnuts end a four-game losing streak with a 13-11 victory.

The scoring onslaught began in the second inning with the Wingnuts (17-12) at the plate.  Geiger ripped a double and later came around to score on Matt Padgett’s single through the right side.  Two batters later, Padgett also crossed the plate on Luis Hernandez’s base hit to grab a 2-0 lead against Sioux Falls’ starter Stephen Bougher. 

The following inning saw Wichita post another crooked number.  T.J. Mittelstaedt smacked a solo home run to start the frame and Geiger quickly followed with a two-run blast of his own to increase the lead to 5-0.  The long ball for Mittelstaedt was his sixth, while Geiger saw his season total increase to seven.

Charlie Lowell cruised through the first three innings, giving up only one hit to the Canaries (15-17).  That quickly came to a halt in the third when Sioux Falls snatched away the lead.  The first seven batters of the inning reached base with a hit, only one going for extra bases.  By the time David Bergin grounded out to first to end the frame the Canaries had scored eight runs on nine hits and sent 12 players into the batter’s box.

A two-out error by shortstop Jerome Pena in the bottom of the fourth turned costly for Bougher and the Canaries when David Espinosa followed the miscue with a single up the middle that scored a pair and cut the Wichita deficit to 8-7.  In the fifth, John Nester drove in a run with the third straight single off of Sioux Falls pitchers to tie the score at eight.  Hernandez followed with a sacrifice fly to put the Wingnuts in front 9-8. 

A wild sixth inning saw the teams each score three runs and the lead change hands twice.   A walk, two errors by Geiger, and an RBI double from Chris Grayson left Sioux Falls with an 11-9 lead heading to the home half.  Alberto Gonzalez led off the bottom of the inning with a double and was joined on base by Espinosa after the veteran walked.  Geiger came through with his third extra-base hit to tie the score on a two-RBI double off the wall.  The first baseman would put the Nuts in front for good when he scored on a Tyler Pearson (0-1) wild pitch to make it 12-11.  Geiger capped off his impressive night with a run-scoring single in the eighth to make it 13-11. 

After Al Yevoli (3-0) had finished off the sixth inning, Kevin Hooper handed it to Daniel Bennett for the seventh.  The right-hander was able to work around a leadoff double to hold the score in place.  After a tough outing on Sunday, Daniel Carela took the ball for the eighth and stranded a base runner as well. Matt Nevarez recorded his eighth save by containing the Canaries in one, two, three fashion in the ninth.  

Joash Brodin advanced his hitting streak to 13 games with a single in the third and added another for good measure in the fifth.  17 of the 18 players who batted in the contest recorded at least one hit and nine players finished with more. Six players from each time knocked in at least one run.

The series will end with a 7:05 p.m. game on Tuesday night that features the United Way of the Plains Pacesetter Campaign Kickoff.  RHP Scott Kuzminsky throws for the Wingnuts against RHP Jeremy Strawn of Sioux Falls.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

Blackwood’s Eighth Inning Home Run Beats Wingnuts 5-4

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

KANSAS CITY, KS (June 21, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts appeared to do everything necessary to break their three-game losing streak on Sunday in Kansas City.  With one swing of the bat in the eighth inning, Jake Blackwood changed everything.  The third baseman ripped a three-run home run onto the concourse behind the left field wall to put the T-Bones in front for the first time and beat the Wingnuts 5-4. 

The Wingnuts (16-12) struck first in the second inning using some creativity on the bases.  T.J. Mittelstaedt and Dustin Geiger singled to put runners on the corners with two outs.  Similar to a play run in Gary earlier in the week, Geiger broke towards second in order to draw a throw from the T-Bones catcher.  When the ball was released, Mittelstaedt quickly raced home to put Wichita in front 1-0. 

After an approximately 30 minute delay for hard rain, the Wingnuts re-booted their offense in the fifth.  Jayce Ray reached on an error and scored from first when Alberto Gonzalez grounded a double into the left field corner.  In the sixth, Joash Brodin ripped a leadoff solo home run to increase the lead to 3-0 before Ray doubled home another run following walks to Brent Dean and Luis Hernandez. 

Jason Van Skike was solid through his 6.1 innings allowing a run in only his last frame on the hill.  He gave up just two hits and the second was a run-scoring double from Adam Bailey after an earlier walk to Nate Tenbrink. Van Skike struck out three and walked two. 

The Wingnuts carried a 4-1 lead into the eighth inning with Daniel Carela coming to the mound.  The set-up man struggled with his control and walked three batters while also allowing a sacrifice fly to Ryan Cavan that cut the lead to 4-2.  Kevin Hooper summoned closer Matt Nevarez (1-1), who had not allowed a run this season, with T-Bones on the corners and two outs.  Blackwood worked the count in his favor 2-0 before leaving the park with the go-ahead blast. 

Against Kris Regas (2-2) in the ninth, the Nuts received a pinch-hit double from John Nester followed by a walk to Brodin.  Regas struck out Mittelstaedt in a full count situation for the second out and was then removed in favor of Fernando Hernandez with Geiger coming up.  The right-hander earned his first save when Geiger’s deep fly ball was tracked down on the warning track by Bobby Kuzdale the centerfielder.

Brodin recorded two hits to increase his hit streak to 12 games.  With his scoreless appearance in the seventh inning, Daniel Bennett became the most used pitcher in Wingnuts’ history.  He surpassed Nick Walters by appearing in his 108th game for Wichita.

The Wingnuts open a seven-game homestand with a 7:05 p.m. contest against Sioux Falls on Monday at 7:05 p.m. It is a Kwik Shop Dollar Day so make sure to stop by Kwik Shop and pick up your voucher for a $1 general admission seat. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Capra Heads to Mexico, Oldham Re-Joins Club

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 22, 2015) – Pitcher Anthony Capra is just six starts and nine victories away from becoming the Wichita Wingnuts franchise record holder in both categories. His pursuit of those numbers will be put on hold for now as the former Wichita State Shocker signed with Acereros de Norte of the Mexican League on Monday.  The team also re-signed the versatile Taylor Oldham, who began the season with the team, and released pitcher Shawn Talkington.

In six starts this season Capra has posted a 2-3 record and 4.25 ERA.  He is currently tied for the American Association lead in strikeouts with 35.  This was the southpaw’s fourth season in a Wingnuts uniform.

The left-handed hurler managed to put together a solid campaign last year, despite missing nearly two months with a hamstring injury.  Capra began the season 3-0 and allowed only one run in his first 21.1 innings with an impressive 24 strikeouts.  On May 21st, in his second outing, Capra took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Kansas City T-Bones, but fell two outs short of tossing the third in team history. The native of Arvada, Colorado ended the regular season with a 7-2 record and 3.03 earned run average and went 1-1 in two postseason starts.  Capra was named the American Association’s Pitcher of the Week for his dominating performance in the final week of the regular season.

In his two previous seasons in Wichita, Capra combined to go 10-4 with a 4.35 ERA in 33 appearances.  In 157.2 innings of work, Capra struck out 176 opposing hitters and walked 87. 

Capra’s name is littered throughout the team’s record books.  He is the franchise’s career leader in strikeouts (283) and ranks in the top five in career wins, winning percentage, games started, and innings pitched.  During the 2013 campaign, he struck out 122 hitters which is the second-highest single season total for a Wingnuts’ pitcher.

Capra is in his eighth season of professional baseball and owns a lifetime 39-44 record with a 4.08 ERA in 138 starts and 29 relief appearances.  The 28-year old has averaged nearly a strikeout per inning over 718.1 career frames.  The 6-foot-1 lefty was drafted by the Oakland Athletics as a fourth-round pick out of Wichita State University in 2008.  Capra was 18-4 with a 2.43 ERA during his three seasons with the Shockers, earning All-American and All-Missouri Valley Conference honors in 2008.  He reached Triple-A Sacramento for the Athletics in 2011, and was named organizational Pitcher of the Year in 2009 after striking out 170 in 152.0 innings between two levels. 

Oldham was the Wingnuts’ opening day starter in left field, but suffered a shoulder injury in the second game of the season.  Despite serving as the designated hitter for a number of contests, Oldham never recovered enough to play the field before his release on June 8th.  In nine games this season the infielder/outfielder is batting .182 with three RBI.

Talkington, a rookie from Emporia State University, made two appearances on the recently concluded road trip and allowed four runs in 3.2 innings. 

The Wingnuts open a seven-game homestand with a 7:05 p.m. contest against Sioux Falls on Monday. It is a Kwik Shop Dollar Day so make sure to stop by Kwik Shop and pick up your voucher for a $1 general admission seat. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

T-Bones Offense Sizzles in 13-8 Victory over Wingnuts

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

KANSAS CITY, KS (June 20, 2015) – For the first time in the 2015 season the Wichita Wingnuts are experiencing a losing streak.  The Kansas City T-Bones scored in each of the first six innings, including multiple runs in four of them, on their way to a 13-8 win on Saturday night at Community America Ballpark.  The Wingnuts left 12 men on base in suffering their third straight defeat.

The offensive onslaught began in the bottom of the first inning again Tim Brown (3-1). With two outs Kansas City went on a run of four straight base hits and took advantage of one defensive miscue to grab three runs.  Jake Blackwood doubled and scored when Adam Bailey reached on an infield single and T.J. Mittelstaedt threw the ball wide of first.  Kyle Robinson followed with a double of his own and Robby Kuzdale drove in a run with a base hit.  Kuzdale was caught stealing to end the first.

Joe Rapp led off the second with a solo home run for Kansas City (10-14) to extend the lead to 4-0.  In the third, Blackwood doubled for the second time and Robinson batted in another run to make it 6-0. 

The Wingnuts (16-11) got to T-Bones starter Bobby Doran for the first time in the fourth inning.  Joash Brodin extended his hit streak to 11 games with a solo home run and then three consecutive singles loaded the bases for Luis Hernandez.  The second baseman bounced a fielder’s choice groundball to the left side to plate a run and get within 6-2. 

Nate Tenbrink blasted a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth to push the lead back to six before the clubs traded runs in the fifth inning.  Wichita loaded the bases with one out, but the only offense they could muster was Mittelstaedt’s fielder’s choice grounder.  Rapp drove in his second run of the game with a two-out single to make the score 9-3. 

Brown lasted five innings, his shortest outing of the season, and allowed nine runs on 13 hits.  The T-Bones blew the game open in the home half of the sixth inning against Shawn Talkington when two walks and an error loaded the bases for the clean-up hitter.  Adam Bailey lined a grand slam to the berm in right field to extend the lead to 13-3.

The Wingnuts were able to add some late offense to make the game competitive in the final innings.  Dustin Geiger’s sixth home run of the season scored the team’s fourth run in the eighth.  Josh Tols came out of the T-Bones’ bullpen for the ninth and was jumped on by the bats of the Nuts.  Matt Padgett began the inning with a double and moved to third on a groundball to short by Brodin.  Mittelstaedt drew his third walk of the game to put runners on the corners before John Nester scored both with a double.  Geiger traded places with Nester by knocking his own RBI double.  Leadoff hitter Jayce Ray grounded a base hit into right to allow Geiger to cross the plate and pull the Wingnuts within 13-8.  Jared Messer was called in from the bullpen and retired Alberto Gonzalez on a ground ball to end the game.

Bailey led all hitters with four hits, four RBI, and three runs scored.  Geiger paced the Wingnuts with three hits and Ray added a pair of his own. 

The series finale will take place at 1:05 p.m. on Sunday afternoon and will feature a match-up between RHP’s Jason Van Skike and Casey Barnes.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

T-Bones Claim Opener of Weekend Series by 6-3 Margin

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

KANSAS CITY, KS (June 19, 2015) – Entering play on Friday night at Community America Ballpark in Kansas City, the Wichita Wingnuts had not lost consecutive games at any point during the 2015 season.  That changed when the team could not solve Kansas City T-Bones starting pitcher Blake Holovach in time to keep up with the home team’s four-run fourth inning.  When the Wingnuts did threaten it was too little too late as they fell by a 6-3 score in the first game of the series.

After the first two innings were dominated by the starting pitchers, Vladimir Frias opened the scoring in the bottom of the third with a leadoff solo home run off of Wingnuts’ southpaw Anthony Capra (2-3).

Wichita (16-10) mustered their only run off of Holovach (2-0) to tie the game in the fourth.  T.J. Mittelstaedt started the inning by drawing a walk.  After a John Nester fly ball, Dustin Geiger also ripped a single to left and the Wingnuts had two on with one out. Two batters later, Jayce Ray snuck a ball through the right side of the infield and brought home Mittelstaedt to even the game.

In the bottom of the same inning the T-Bones (9-14) responded in a big way. Three of the first four hitters singled to load the bases for Frias. The shortstop lifted a fly ball to right that was deep enough to allow the runner to tag and score, making it 2-1.  Ryan Cavan lined a ball into the corner before the inning ended that cleared the bases and pushed the advantage to 5-1.  A bases loaded wild pitch by Capra in the fifth allowed Kansas City to add their final run and go up 6-1.  Capra lasted 5.0 innings and allowed six runs on eight hits.  He walked four and struck out three. 

Mittelstaedt drove an opposite field home run to left off of Fernando Hernandez in the eighth to pull the Wingnuts within 6-3, but that was all the closer Wichita could climb.  The long ball was the fifth of the season for the third baseman.  Kris Regas retired the side in order in the ninth to pick up his second save.  Holovach allowed just one run in 7.0 innings and scattered five hits.

While working a scoreless sixth inning, Daniel Bennett appeared in his 107th game as a Wingnut, tying Nick Walters for the team record. Joash Brodin extended his hitting streak to ten games with a single in the eighth inning. 

The series continues with game two on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. RHP Tim Brown will toss against RHP Robert Duran of Kansas City.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Nuts Dig Early Hole and Can’t Climb Out in 9-6 Loss

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

GARY, IN (June 18, 2015) – The final game of the Wichita Wingnuts three-game series in Gary at U.S. Steelyard got off to a promising start for the visitors.  After taking a quick lead in the top of the first, momentum quickly swung in favor of Gary SouthShore as the RailCats scored eight runs in the first two innings to build a lead the Wingnuts could never recover from. The Nuts closed the gap considerably in the late innings, but it wasn’t enough as they fell by a 9-6 score.

Wichita (16-9) took the early advantage against RailCats’ starter Chris Cummins (3-1) with a lone run in the first.  Jayce Ray began the game with a double and moved to third when Alberto Gonzalez reached on an error by first baseman Stephen Rogers.  David Espinosa quickly lined a sacrifice fly to center and the Wingnuts were ahead.

The lead didn’t last long, however, as the pesky bats of the RailCats (14-12) quickly attacked Wingnuts pitcher Scott Kuzminsky in the bottom half.  With two outs, Gary managed to string together four consecutive hits, three of them of the run-scoring variety, to jump in front 3-1.  The RailCats stayed hot in the second frame as well.  Once again they put together four hits in a row and six total in the stanza to put up five more runs and push their edge to 8-1.  Kuzminsky (1-1) was removed before the inning ended, allowing eight runs on 11 hits and a walk.

The Wingnuts would not tally again until the sixth inning when they used three extra-base hits to get within 8-5.  Matt Padgett walked with one out and then raced to third on a double by Joash Brodin, who extended his hitting streak to nine games.  T.J. Mittelstaedt laced a double of his own to score both runners and cut the Gary lead to five.  Before the inning concluded, Dustin Geiger smashed a two-run home run to left that pulled Wichita within three. 

The Wingnuts had another chance to trim the lead in the seventh, but could not move closer despite putting two runners in scoring position with nobody out for the middle of order.  Geiger provided the final run of the game for the Nuts in the eighth with another home run to left center.

Gary SouthShore added a final run to their lead in the eighth off of Al Yevoli to go up 9-6.  Andy Loomis picked up his seventh save by retiring the side in order in the ninth.

Shawn Talkington, a former Emporia State Hornet, was outstanding in his professional debut.  The right-hander allowed nothing in 3.1 scoreless innings out of the bullpen in relief of Kuzminsky.

The Wingnuts return to action on Friday night in Kansas City at Community America Ballpark.  LHP Anthony Capra will toe the rubber in the opener against T-Bones lefty Blake Holovach.  The game will get underway at 7:05 p.m.   For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Lowell and Late Offense Pushes Wingnuts past Gary SouthShore

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

GARY, IN (June 17, 2015) – For a second straight game the Wichita Wingnuts found themselves trailing the Gary SouthShore RailCats entering the seventh inning at U.S Steel Yard. The similarities didn’t end there.  Just like in game one, the team took the lead on an RBI double in that frame and never looked back, giving their starting pitcher a hard fought victory.  On Wednesday the big hit came from Luis Hernandez and starting pitcher Charlie Lowell earned the win. 

The RailCats scored first against Lowell (2-1) in the third inning.  With two outs, Jon Jones reached on an infield single off the foot of the Wingnuts pitcher.  After stealing second, he was able to touch home plate on Zac Mitchell’s double down the left field line to make it 1-0.  Lowell would never allow another run through seven innings on the mound, holding Gary to three hits and striking out seven.

RailCats starter Rene Solis held the Wingnuts (16-8) scoreless in his 5.2 innings on the mound before giving way to the bullpen.  Kevin Osaki (0-1) recorded the final out of the sixth inning, but was pounced on in the seventh.  John Nester and Dustin Geiger reached to begin the inning, causing Greg Tagert to call on left-hander Shawn O’Neill.  Luis Hernandez showed bunt and pulled back to split the gap in left center, scoring both runners and giving the Nuts their first lead at 2-1.  Hernandez was stranded at third.

Wichita also got to right-handed reliever Jessie Snodgrass in the eighth to extend the advantage.  Matt Padgett singled to start the frame and raced to third on Joash Brodin’s ensuing double.  Gary (13-12) intentionally walked T.J. Mittelstaedt to load the bases with nobody out. Nester made them pay by lining a base hit to left to increase the lead to 3-1.  A wild pitch allowed another run to score and the lead ballooned to 5-1 on a run-scoring infield single from Alberto Gonzalez.

The final run of the game was added in the ninth by the Wingnuts, courtesy of Mittelstaedt’s fourth home run this season, a booming shot to right field.  Daniel Bennett and Brad Mincey each worked scoreless innings in relief.  Bennett is two appearances shy of becoming the Wingnuts career leader in games appeared in by a pitcher. 

The Wingnuts will look for the sweep on Thursday afternoon at 1:10 p.m. with RHP Scott Kuzminsky on the bump.  The RailCats toss Chris Cummins, their third straight lefty in the series finale.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

Nuts Open Road Trip with Comeback Victory over RailCats

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

GARY, IN (June 16, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts opened a six-game road trip on Tuesday night at U.S. Steel Yard against the Gary SouthShore RailCats coming off of a disappointing end to their most recent homestand.  A close battle that saw the Wingnuts come back late from a two-run deficit was exactly the remedy the team was looking for as they earned a hard fought 4-3 win.

Gary (13-11) opened the scoring against Wingnuts right-hander Jason Van Skike in the second inning without a ball leaving the infield.  The pitcher hit J.D. Pulfer at the outset of the inning and watched Adam Taylor bunt the runner to second.  Pulfer stole third and came around to score on Roger Bernal’s infield single to make it 1-0. 

After a few near misses at tying the game in the early innings, the Wingnuts (15-8) were finally able to even the score versus Andy Roberts in the fifth.  Luis Hernandez nearly hit his first home run of the season, but had to settle with a one out double off the top of the wall.  Hernandez advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Alberto Gonzalez’s infield single to the left side.

Gary responded in the bottom half of the same inning by cashing in with two outs. With runners on second and third and one out, Ryan Brockett bounced out to third and it appeared Van Skike might have a chance to escape with the game remaining tied. Instead, leadoff hitter Jon Jones drove a triple into the right field corner that cleared the bases and put the RailCats right back in front 3-1. 

The Wingnuts never mustered another run off of Roberts who lasted six innings.  They welcomed right-handed reliever Paul Mittura to the ballgame with back-to-back singles by John Nester and Dustin Geiger in the seventh.  Hernandez advanced both runners with a fielder’s choice groundout to the right side.  Gary manager Greg Tagert summoned lefty Chuck Fontana (1-1) to face the top of the order.  A passed ball allowed Nester to race home and cut the deficit to 3-2.  Ray then drew a four pitch walk before Gonzalez struck out swinging for the second out.  With two strikes on David Espinosa, Ray broke toward second on a pitch out of the zone, drawing a throw to second from catcher Michael Vaughn.  Ray returned to first, but Geiger broke from third and scored easily to tie the game.  Espinosa capped the inning with a double down the left field line that put the Wingnuts ahead for the first time 4-3.

Van Skike would remain in the contest for one more inning before handing it over to the hard-throwing set-up man and closer.  His final line included seven innings of work, three runs allowed on five hits, and two strikeouts.  Danniel Carela allowed only a walk in the eighth which was quickly erased on Nester’s ninth successful attempt at throwing out a base stealer this season.  Matt Nevarez did not allow a runner in the ninth, striking out a pair and earning his seventh save. 

The series resumes on Wednesday night at 7:10 p.m. with LHP Charlie Lowell toeing the runner for Wichita against LHP Rene Solis of Gary SouthShore.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Wingnuts Add Emporia State Closer Talkington to Bullpen

WICHITA, KS (June 16, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts have a number of nearby universities from which they can collect talent in the middle of any given season.  With the addition of former Emporia State right-handed reliever Shawn Talkington on Tuesday,the Wingnuts now have four former Kansas collegiate stars on their roster. Former Newman University and Tabor College standout Kori Melo was released to make room for Talkington.

The 6’0 right-hander decided to attend nearby Emporia State University after an outstanding high school career at Chase County High.  Talkington was named the Class-2A Player of the Year in 2009 after he went 6-2 with a whopping 124 strikeouts.

After a redshirt year in 2011, Talkington made his debut for the Hornets in 2012 and posted a 2.79 ERA over the span of 48.1 innings.  That performance earned him the MIAA Freshman of the Year Award.  His sophomore season was equally impressive and included an outing in which he fanned a collegiate-high 12 hitters against Central Oklahoma.

As a junior he posted a 9-2 record with a solid 2.85 earned run average over a career-best 82.0 innings.  The native of Cottonwood Falls made 13 starts and struck out 76. This season, his last with Emporia State, he began the season as a starting pitcher before being shifted to the bullpen and serving as the team’s closer.  He appeared in 26 games, 21 in relief and recorded 12 saves.  Talkington held opponents to a .218 batting average while wrapping up his college ability by going 5-4 with a 4.33 ERA.  He whiffed 63 in 60.1 innings for a team that lost in the Regional Level of the NCAA Division II tournament.

Melo had appeared in just two games since being signed on June 9th.  He spent the entirety of spring training with the Wingnuts as well. 

Wichita opens a six-game road trip on Tuesday night in Gary at 7:10 p.m.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

International Affair: Nuts Fall 4-2 in Eleven Inning Thriller

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 14, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts received their first taste of the new international rule that takes effect in the eleventh inning of American Association games this season on Sunday afternoon.  A game that entered the final frame scoreless quickly turned into an offense-heavy battle as the Lincoln Saltdogs emerged with a 4-2 win to split the four-game series. 

Tim Brown of the Wingnuts (14-8) and Kevin McGovern of the Saltdogs (8-15) each spent a majority of the afternoon shutting down the opposing offense.  Brown worked eight shutout innings, scattered five hits, and struck out a pair of Saltdogs on his way to a no decision.  The right–hander was not eligible for a win because McGover, a southpaw was equally as puzzling to Wichita’s batters.  He also threw eight scoreless frames, struck out seven, and surrendered five hits. 

Out of the bullpen, Matt Nevarez and Daniel Bennett each worked scoreless innings for the Wingnuts while Dan Child did not allow a base runner in two innings of his own to push the pitcher’s duel into an eleventh stanza.

Per a new rule implemented by the league for the 2015 season, starting in the eleventh inning the player who made the final out in the inning before is placed on second base to begin the next frame.  That meant Ryan Wiggins began the top of the eleventh on second base with the top of the order at the plate.  Eddie Young flew out to center against Bennett and the reliever was replaced by Al Yevoli (2-1) with a couple of lefties due up. 

A Mitch Canham base hit moved Wiggins to third and left runners on the corners with one out for Jon Gaston.  The league’s home run leader roped a base hit to plate the first run of the game. Gaston was picked off of first with Curt Smith at the plate for the second out and it appeared Yevoli may escape further damage. Smith waited out a walk and then three consecutive RBI singles from Jeremy Hamilton, Matt Forgatch, and Brian Joynt extended Lincoln’s lead to 4-0.

The Wingnuts had Jayce Ray on second to begin their half of the eleventh.  He immediately moved to third on Alberto Gonzalez’s sharp single through the middle.  David Espinosa drew a walk to load the bases with nobody out and bring the tying run to the plate.  Matt Padgett worked the count to 2-0 before drilling a fastball to center that landed in Gaston’s glove with his back against the wall.  Ray tagged and scored on the play to cut the deficit to 4-1.  Joash Brodin closed the gap to two runs with his fielder’s choice bouncer to first.  T.J. Mittelstaedt then ended the game with a fly ball of his own to the warning track in center. 

The Wingnuts dropped to 2-2 in extra inning contests this season.  Gaston led all hitters with four hits, all singles, and Canham tallied three.  Brodin and John Nester were the only Wichita players with multiple hits.

The Wingnuts will have Monday off before traveling to Gary to begin a three-game series with the Gary SouthShore RailCats at 7:10 p.m. on Tuesday.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Capra Carries Wingnuts to 1-0 Win

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 13, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts’ Saturday night tilt with the Lincoln Saltdogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium turned into a pitcher’s duel after both teams missed early chances to take the lead.  In the end, it was the left arm of Anthony Capra that won out in the battle as Wichita was able to take advantage of one Lincoln miscue to escape with a 1-0 victory.

The Wingnuts (14-7) loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the first against Lincoln starter Jesse Smith (1-3), aiming to jump out to a quick lead.  Those ideas were dissolved when Smith got Joash Brodin to lift a shallow fly ball to center for the second out and then T.J. Mittelstaedt flied out to the warning track in left. 

Capra (2-2) allowed the Saltdogs (7-15) to put a pair on base in both the second and third innings, but was able to work out of potential danger in both instances.  In the second he forced an inning-ending double play off the bat of Brian Joynt and then in the next inning induced a groundball to third from C.J. Ziegler to keep Lincoln scoreless.

Neither team had managed to plate a run as the game moved into the home half of the sixth.  Brodin drove a double into the right field corner off of Smith to open the frame.  Mittelstaedt executed a textbook sacrifice bunt to advance the runner to third.  With the infield drawn in, John Nester bounced a ball right to the second baseman Trevor Martin who held Brodin at third before throwing out the catcher.  With Dustin Geiger at the plate and two outs, the Wingnuts received the break they needed.  A low pitch from Smith crawled between the legs of the catcher Mitch Canham to the backstop which gave Brodin plenty of time to cross home plate and made it 1-0. 

Lincoln would never threaten against Capra during the rest of his eight-inning performance in which he fanned seven and surrendered only three hits.  In fact, the former Wichita State Shocker retired the final 12 batters he faced before turning the game over to closer Matt Nevarez.  The big right-hander quickly breezed through a one, two, three inning, striking out the final two hitters to earn his sixth save. 

The shutout was the third of the year for the Wichita pitching staff and the first time this season that the Saltdogs failed to score a run.  Alberto Gonzalez led the Wingnuts with a 3-4 performance at the plate.

The series finale will get underway at 1:05 p.m. Sunday afternoon with post-game catch on the field to follow.  RHP Tim Brown will test his 3-0 record against the Saltdogs and LHP Kevin McGovern (1-1).  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Missed Opportunities Cost Wingnuts in 7-6 Loss

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 12, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts committed four errors and saw a couple of close misses on offense come back to haunt them in a 7-6 loss to Lincoln on Friday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. 

Starting pitcher Scott Kuzminsky was facing the Saltdogs for the second time in less than a week.  After shutting out Lincoln on the road through 5.2 innings on Sunday, he allowed a run in the first inning this time around.  Eddie Young singled to start the game and moved to third on a pair of fielder’s choice groundouts.  Former Wichita star C.J. Ziegler lined an RBI single to left to open the scoring.

For the second straight evening the Wingnuts took the lead courtesy of a crooked number in the second frame.  A walk to T.J. Mittelstaedt from Lincoln starter Moises Melendez began the inning and was followed by a John Nester single.  Dustin Geiger tied the game by driving in his team-high 15th run with a single of his own.  Luis Hernandez bunted both remaining runners into scoring position and Jayce Ray brought one home with a fielder’s choice.  The final run of the inning scored on David Espinosa’s bunt single toward third and made it 3-1 Wingnuts.

Jon Gaston’s two-run home run in the top of the third tied the game at three and it remained that way until the fifth inning when both teams tallied.  Lincoln (7-14) took a brief 4-3 lead when Kuzminsky sailed a pick-off throw high to first with runners on base in the top half.  Wichita would answer with a pair of runs in the bottom half to go back in front.  Mittelstaedt drove in the tying run on a broken bat single to center that left runners on the corners.  Mittelstaedt promptly stole second and on the throw Joash Brodin raced home from third.

Lincoln tied the game in the seventh inning when the first two batters to face Al Yevoli singled and doubled to even the game at 5-5.  That is when disaster struck in the eighth for the home team.  Daniel Bennett (0-1) bobbled a roller in front of the mound allowing Matt Forgatch to reach base to start the inning.  Two batters later, there were runners on first and second with one out and Kevin Hooper summoned Daniel Carela from the bullpen.  Carela was able to get a bouncer back to the mound off the bat of Young, but threw wildly into center field, allowing Forgatch to score and give Lincoln a 6-5 lead.  Ziegler added one more run to the Wingnuts’ deficit by finding a hole with a bases loaded single.  He finished 4-5 with two RBI.

Wichita (13-7) missed out on a golden opportunity to pull even or take the lead in the eighth.  Geiger knocked his second base hit of the game to start the inning against Sean Keeler.  The right-hander then walked Hernandez on four straight pitches.  Ray followed with a single to load the bases with nobody out.  Alberto Gonzalez cut the Lincoln lead to one with a sacrifice fly to left.  With runners on the corners and one out and Espinosa at the plate, Ray was picked off of first for the second out.  Espinosa was retired to end the inning on a fly ball to the warning track in right field. 

The Wingnuts could not get a runner on base in the ninth inning as Zach Arneson picked up his third save of the season.  Wichita had their leadoff hitter reach base in every inning but the final frame and left ten runners stranded.  Conor Spink (1-1) picked up the victory by throwing 2.2 shutout innings out of the bullpen. 

The third game of the series is slated for Saturday at 7:05 p.m. and will feature a visit from WWE Hall of Famer Sgt. Slaughter.  Anthony Capra will toe the rubber for the Wingnuts against Jesse Smith of the Saltdogs.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Super Second Inning Leads Nuts to 10-4 Triumph over Lincoln

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 11, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts responded to losing their first series of the season in a big way on Thursday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in their opener with the Lincoln Saltdogs.  Charlie Lowell pitched well in his second straight start against Lincoln and the offense sent 11 hitters to the plate in an eight run second inning to get off to an impressive start in what would eventually become a 10-4 victory.

After Lincoln (6-14) starter Luis Chirinos stranded a pair of runners in the first inning he had a hard time getting an out in the second frame.  After two walks and a single loaded the bases, Luis Hernandez’s RBI single opened the scoring.  Jayce Ray continued the early onslaught by shooting a double into the left field corner that scored a pair.  Three batters later, David Espinosa and Matt Padgett each drew a walk, Padgett’s with the bases loaded, to force in another run.  The inning was capped with T.J. Mittelstaedt’s third home run of the season, a three-run blast to the opposite field by the lefty that increased the lead to 8-0.  All three of Mittelstaedt’s home runs have come against the Saltdogs.

Lincoln responded with a pair of runs in the third inning before the scoring halted for the next three innings.  Jon Gaston knocked a two-run double to put the visitors on the board. Lowell (1-1), one outing after allowing seven runs on seven hits to Lincoln, left the game after giving up only the two runs on five hits in 6.0 innings. 

Wichita (13-6) added a run to their lead in the seventh off of right-handed reliever Dan Child.  The Saltdogs received a run-scoring hit in the top of the eighth from Brian Joynt off of Al Yevoli to move within 9-3.  In the next half-inning Espinosa’s RBI double stretched the lead back to seven heading to the ninth.  Gaston knocked in his third run of the game in that frame off of Daniel Bennett, but that is where the short-lived comeback attempt ended.

Ray and Gaston led the way with three hits apiece, while both Gaston and Mittelstaedt drove in three runs.  Brad Mincey turned in a scoreless inning in the seventh for the Wingnuts.

Game two of the four-game set is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Friday night and is to be followed by a fireworks show.  RHP Scott Kuzminsky (1-0) will get the start for Wichita against LHP Moises Melendez of Lincoln.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

 

Holle Tosses Complete Game as Nuts Lose First Series in 2015

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 10, 2015) – One night after looking unstoppable in scoring 14 runs against the Laredo Lemurs, the Wichita Wingnuts could not score more than once against right-handed pitcher Greg Holle.  The 6’8 hurler threw the first complete game against the Wingnuts this season and allowed only five hits to help guide his team to a 6-1 win on Wednesday at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  The Lemurs, who also took game one, became the first opponent to take a series from the Wingnuts since August of 2014.

The Wingnuts (12-6) were the first team on the board as they jumped ahead 1-0 in the third inning.  Dustin Geiger started the frame with a double into the left field corner and scored when Alberto Gonzalez’s hard ground ball to the left side bounced off the glove of Juan Silverio and into left field for a double.  The run batted in was the shortstop’s fourth in the last two games.

Laredo (10-9) would not manage a run, despite putting runners in scoring position early in the game, until the fifth.  Jason Van Skike (2-1) allowed a leadoff single to Kevin Taylor who promptly stole second base.  He would score on nine-hitter Byron Wiley’s RBI double to right center.  With the score tied, Abel Nieves smacked a double of his own to give the Lemurs a 2-1 lead.  Before the inning ended, Silverio added a sacrifice fly that pushed the lead to 3-1.

The visitors went right back on the attack in the next inning.  Taylor ripped his second hit of the game, driving in a run in the process, to increase the advantage to 4-1.  The next batter, Luke Bailey, matched the league leaders with his fifth home run of the season to dead center field.  The long ball plated a pair and resulted in the final margin of 6-1. 

Gonzalez was the only Wingnuts’ player with multiple hits while five Lemurs accomplished the feat as part of the team’s 14-hit outburst. 

The loss was the first at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in 12 decisions for Van Skike.

The Wingnuts will open a four-game series with the Lincoln Saltdogs on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m.  As always on Thursday nights, there will be Shiner Bock being sold for a buck and $1 wings. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Nuts Score Early and Often in 14-7 Win Over Laredo

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 9, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnutswere able to even their home series with the Laredo Lemurs on Tuesday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium courtesy of a huge third inning that saw the team bat around.  Alberto Gonzalez was right in the middle of the action all evening as he went 4-4 with three extra-base hits to help the Wingnuts to a 14-7 victory.

Gonzalez started his impressive evening early by leaving the yard in his first at-bat.  With Jayce Ray aboard, he picked on a pitch in the middle of the zone and crushed a ball over the wall in left field to give the Wingnuts (12-5) a 2-0 lead.

Sam Martin, the Laredo hurler, managed a quick second inning before the home team’s onslaught in the third.  The first seven batters of the frame reached base safely and all seven scored.  A leadoff walk from Ray was followed by a double from Gonzalez, an RBI single off the bat of David Espinosa, and then a mammoth three-run home run to right by Matt Padgett.  Joash Brodine and T.J. Mittelstaedt followed with back-to-back base hits in front of Brent Dean, who drove in a run with a single of his own.  Mittelstaedt raced home following Dean’s hit when the Lemurs began to throw the ball wildly around the field. The next batter, Dustin Geiger, made the first out of the inning, but plated a run in the process by lifting a sacrifice fly to center.  When the damage was all done and the dust had settled it was 9-0.

Brodin drove his first run as a member of the Wingnuts in the fourth inning to increase the lead to 10-0.  The fifth inning provided an opportunity for more offense against Martin.  Geiger launched his third home run of the year and, after two more hits, Gonzalez lifted a sacrifice fly to center that scored Wichita’s 13th run of the evening. 

After quickly dispatching the Lemurs in his first 6.0 innings on the mound, Wingnuts starter Tim Brown (3-0) allowed them to reach the scoreboard in his final stanza.  The high-powered Laredo offense put together an eight hit, five run inning that led to RBI from five different players. 

The Nuts answered with a lone run in the bottom half of the seventh o Espinosa’s RBI double to grab a 14-5 advantage.  The final two runs of the game were scored by the Lemurs in the top of the eighth on Tony Delmonico’s second home run of the series and an RBI single from Byron Wiley against Brad Mincey.

Al Yevoli quieted the Lemurs with a quick ninth inning in which he struck out a pair. 

Every Wichita starter scored at least one run, led by Ray’s four times crossing home plate.  Every member of the Wingnuts lineup also tallied at least one hit and six different players mustered RBI.  Gonzalez was 4-4 with a home run, two doubles, three RBI, and three runs scored.

The series will conclude on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. with RHP Jason Van Skike matching up with RHP Greg Holle of Laredo. It is the second Way-Back Wednesday of the year and this time the team will jump back to the 1980’s.  General admission tickets will cost just $3 and select concession items will be sold at prices reflecting the decade.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

Familiar Face Leads Laredo to 6-1 Victory over Wingnuts

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 8, 2015) – Omar Bencomo was traded from the Wichita Wingnuts to the Laredo Lemurs on Thursday evening.  Four days later he pitched against his old teammates and limited them to one run on seven hits as his new team emerged victorious by a 6-1 margin.

The offense of the Lemurs (9-8) gave the right-hander a cushion right out of the gates.  Jimmy Mojica started the game with a single and scored immediately on a first pitch triple to the gap off the bat of Abel Nieves.  The member of last season’s championship team scored in the next at bat when a wild pitch got away from catcher John Nester and to the backstop.  Starting pitcher Anthony Capra was able to right the ship and strike out the side in the inning and never allowed another earned run in his 7.0 frames.

Laredo was able to stretch the lead with the aid of an error in the fifth.  With runners on first and second, Nester tried to throw behind the runner at first and sailed the ball toward the right field corner.  The runner from second, Kevin Taylor, scored easily to make it 3-0. 

The Wingnuts (11-5) put together their best threat of the game against Bencomo in the sixth inning.  With two outs, Alberto Gonzalez singled and went to second on David Espinosa’s walk.  Former Lemur Matt Padgett, who Bencomo was traded for, came through with an RBI single to cut the deficit to 3-1.  The inning ended with Joash Brodin at the plate when Espinosa was picked off at second. 

The 3-1 score held until the top of the ninth when another former Lemur, Byron Minnich, allowed the visitors to score three runs on five hits.  Tony Delmonico launched his fourth home run of the season, a two-run shot to left to increase the lead to 5-1 and then Mojica tacked on a run-scoring single.

Reliever John Brebbia silenced the Wingnuts in the ninth inning by retiring the side in order.

Capra struck out a season-high nine batters in the outing despite suffering the loss. Padgett and Dustin Geiger paced the Wichita offense with 2-3 performances at the plate.

Game two of the series is slated for Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m.  RHP Tim Brown will throw for the Wingnuts in a battle with fellow RHP Sam Martin.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Second Former Wingnut Gets MLB Call

 

WICHITA, KS (June 8, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts were already represented in Major League Baseball’s National League with Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder David Peralta playing a large role out west.  Now the club can claim a connection to the American League as RHP Junior Guerra was called up from Triple-A Charlotte to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

Guerra, who pitched for the Wingnuts in 2011 and 2013, began this summer in Double-A Birmingham.  While suiting up for the Barons he went 2-3 with an impressive 2.29 ERA in five games, three of them starts.  He struck out 26 batters in 19.2 innings. That performance earned him a promotion to Triple-A during the first week of May. Despite going 0-3 he struck out 40 in only 30.0 innings and allowed just ten runs.  The 30-year old is expected to join the White Sox bullpen and serve in a long relief role. 

While in Wichita, Guerra went 18-7 with a 3.44 ERA over two seasons.  He whiffed 229 batters and issued 130 walks.  The native of San Felix, Venezuela is well represented in the Wingnuts annals. He is among the top five in franchise history in career wins, winning percentage, innings pitched, and strikeouts. 

Wichita has watched 29 players have their contract purchased by MLB organizations, but Guerra and Peralta are the only pair to suit up for the Wingnuts before making their MLB debut. 

For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Brodin Joins Club, Two Players Released

 

WICHITA, KS (June 8, 2015) – Despite jumping out to an 11-4 record early in the season, the Wichita Wingnuts have continued to search for ways to improve their everyday lineup.  The team expects Monday signee Joash Brodin to provide solid defense and another bat for Kevin Hooper to pencil into the order each night.  In other coinciding moves Scott Shuman was activated from the disabled list and both Taylor Oldham and Tyler Coughenour were released. 

The 28-year old Brodin will be playing his sixth season of professional baseball and spent at least part of each of them in independent ball.  After concluding his college career with two years at the College of Charleston, the outfielder/first baseman went undrafted.  He received his first professional opportunity in 2009 with the Midwest Sliders of the Frontier League.  His ten home run, 37 RBI performance allowed him to embark on a three and a half year career in the league with four different organizations.

In 2012, Brodin received an opportunity in the Atlantic League with the Long Island Ducks.  He hit a solid .282 in that season before bursting onto the scene as one of the best hitters in the league the following year.  His .307 average with 11 home runs and 49 RBI led him not only to a start in the Atlantic League All-Star game, but a shot in affiliated ball for the first time.  His contract was purchased by the Arizona Diamondbacks late in the season and he played in eight games for Single-A Visalia.

Last season the 6’4, 225-pound outfielder was back with Long Island and batted at a .254 clip while launching nine home runs and driving in 60 in 133 contests.  He also stole 28 bases.  Over the course of his career he has put together a resume that includes a .299 batting average, 127 doubles, 67 home runs, 354 RBI, and 103 stolen bases. His on-base percentage is a solid .372 in over 600 games.

Oldham was the Wingnuts 2014 Unsung Hero Award winner, but has struggled to overcome a shoulder injury suffered on opening night.  Coughenour, a former Wichita State Shocker, had played in eight games and driven in a run.

For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Hamilton’s Big Day Helps Lincoln Even Series

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

LINCOLN, NE (June 6, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts started the game by drawing three straight walks off of Lincoln Saltdogs starter Luis Chirinos.  After cashing in for a pair of runs in that frame, the right-hander held them off the board for the rest of his outing.  The Nuts tried to pull off a major comeback in the ninth inning, but could not overcome a 3-4, 5 RBI performance from Jeremy Hamilton as they fell 9-5. 

After Chirinos loaded the bases in that opening frame, clean-up hitter Matt Padgett bounced into a 3-2-3 double play that left the Wingnuts (10-4) with two runners in scoring position and two outs.  Fortunately, it was the catcher John Nester who came to the plate next.  The backstop ripped a single to left that put Wichita in front 2-0.  Those RBI were Nesters sixth and seventh of the season with two outs. 

Wingnuts’ starter Charlie Lowell, who had yet to allow an early run coming into the game, was finally scored upon in the bottom of the second.  Mitch Canham led off with a single and moved to third on an errant pickoff attempt from the pitcher.  He hit the next batter with a pitch before inducing a double play ball from Ryan Lashley.  With two down, Hamilton came through for the first time, rolling a single to left to make it 2-1.

The third inning saw Lincoln (5-10) take the lead and then begin to gain separation.  C.J. Ziegler ripped a line drive two-run home run to left to snatch the lead with nobody out.  Lowell then struggled to find a rhythm and walked the bases loaded.  It was Hamilton who found a hole again and drove in a pair with a single to increase the Lincoln lead to 5-2. 

After both teams were silent in the fourth, the Saltdogs removed Lowell from the game in the fifth inning.  He hit Canham with a pitch and then issued a walk to Matt Forgatch.  After Lashley popped out in foul territory, the Lincoln first baseman struck again.  He smacked another two RBI base hit to stretch the score to 7-2. 

Byron Minnich made his Wingnuts debut in relief of the starter.  He induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the fifth, but couldn’t make it through the sixth unscathed.  With a man on base, Canham blasted his second home run of the season to take the largest lead of the night at 9-2. 

The Nuts managed a run in the eighth on Jayce Ray’s RBI fielder’s choice grounder to reduce their deficit to six.  The Wingnuts managed to move within four in the final inning when Ray knocked a single that plated a pair of runs.  Eventually, the team managed to move the tying run into the on deck circle with Taylor Oldham pinch-hitting.  Oldham worked the count full against Zach Arneson before striking out swinging to end the game.

The same teams will battle for the series in game three on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. The Wingnuts will have RHP Scott Kuzminsky making his first professional start against knuckleballer Zach Staniewicz of the Saltdogs.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Offense Breaks Out in 15-9 Slugfest

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

LINCOLN, NE (June 7, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts have entered the third game of each of their last three series tied at one game apiece.  The same thing happened on Sunday afternoon in Lincoln’s Haymarket Park against the Saltdogs, but the visitors quickly removed all doubt about the outcome with an offensive onslaught.  The team set season-highs for runs scored and hits on their way to scoring at least one run in seven of nine innings in a 15-9 victory.

John Nester helped the Wingnuts (11-4) get off to a great start by ripping a two-out double in the first inning off of knuckleballer Zach Staniewicz.  Wichita would also add two runs in each of the next two innings. In the second it was a bases loaded walk of David Espinosa that increased the lead to 3-0 before Matt Padgett drove in a run on a fielder’s choice groundout to make it 4-0.  In the third, Luis Hernandez and Jayce Ray added RBI singles of their own to push the advantage to 6-0. 

The Wingnuts chased Staniewicz in the third inning after he walked two of the first three hitters to come to the plate.  Former Wingnuts pitcher Jared Gaynor replaced him and allowed a leadoff single to load the bases before walking Dustin Geiger to plate another run.  The Wingnuts jumped on Gaynor for a huge fifth inning when Espinosa ripped an RBI single and Mittelstaedt cleared the bases with the team’s first grand slam of the season.  After that frame  concluded the score was 12-0.

Scott Kuzminsky made his first professional start for the Wingnuts and shut out the Saltdogs through 5.2 innings on three hits to earn the win. Daniel Bennett replaced him in the sixth with the bases loaded and got out of the jam.  The Wingnuts increased their lead to 14-0 in the seventh when both Mittelstaedt and Geiger blasted solo home runs to right field.  Wichita would add one final run in the top of the eighth on another fielder’s choice grounder off of Padgett’s bat.

The Saltdogs managed four runs against Bennett in the seventh and five more against right-hander Brad Mincey in the eighth to pull within 15-9 before Al Yevoli shut the door on their attempted comeback in the final inning.

The Nuts finished with 20 hits and five players drove in more than one run in the game, led by Mittelstaedt’s five RBI.  Ray went 5-6 at the plate and fell one hit shy of tying the team and league record for hits in a single game. 

The Wingnuts begin a seven-game homestand on Monday at 7:05 p.m. against the Laredo Lemurs.  LHP Anthony Capra will face former Wingnuts RHP Omar Bencomo.  It is a Kwik Shop Dollar Day so be sure to stop by a Wichita-area Kwik Shop to pick up tickets! For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Nuts Start Series Against Saltdogs with 4-2 Win

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

LINCOLN, NE (June 5, 2015) – In the first match-up between the participants in last season’s championship series, the Wichita Wingnuts came from behind to earn a 4-2 victory over the Lincoln Saltdogs at Haymarket Park on Friday.

The Wingnuts (10-3) opened the scoring thanks to an opposite field home run from John Nester in the top half of the second inning off of Lincoln starter Zach Varce.  The lead didn’t last long though, as Jason Van Skike surrendered four consecutive two-out singles to the Saltdogs in the bottom half of the inning.  The final base hit, off the bat of Eddie Young, tied the score at one.

The next three runs that were scored in the game were all unearned.  Lincoln managed to grab a 2-1 lead in the third after an errant pickoff attempt from Van Skike.  That throw allowed Young, who had reached on a fielder’s choice, to score on Matt Forgatch’s base knock to left.

Two Saltdogs errors were responsible for the Wingnuts tying the game in the sixth and then taking over the lead in the seventh inning.  With two outs in the sixth, Alberto Gonzalez ripped a double.  He then took off for third with Varce still looking in for the sign.  The right-hander’s wild throw to third skittered down the left field line and allowed Gonzalez to walk home and tie the game 2-2.  A mishandled bouncer to third in the following inning by C.J. Ziegler loaded the bases with one out for Dustin Geiger.  The first baseman drove in his tenth run of the season on a deep sacrifice fly to left field.

The Nuts added a big insurance run in the eighth inning when David Espinosa found a hole in the Saltdogs drawn in infield to plate Jayce Ray and increase the margin to 4-2. 

Van Skike ended up working 7.0 complete innings and allowing two runs, one earned, on eight hits with two strikeouts.  The starter struck out the final two batters he would face in the game. Daniel Carela worked a one, two, three, eighth inning to set up Matt Nevarez with his fifth save opportunity.

The big right-hander did allow the tying run to reach base, but recorded a pair of strikeouts and an infield pop up to close the door on Lincoln. 

14 of the 18 players in the game recorded at least one hit as Gonzalez, Espinosa, and Gilmartin lead the way with two each. 

The series continues on Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. with LHP Charlie Lowell taking on Saltdogs RHP Luis Chirinos.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

Wingnuts Pound Season-High 14 Hits in 8-2 Victory

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

FARGO, ND (June 4, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts were able to take a big first inning and build upon it down the stretch on their way to running away with an 8-2 victory over Fargo-Moorhead on Thursday night at Newman Outdoor Field. Tim Brown was solid as normal on the hill through seven innings, allowing only one run and Brent Dean became the first hitter to tally four or more hits in a game as the offense exploded.

The Wingnuts (9-3) jumped ahead thanks to a big first inning.  Jayce Ray led off with a single and moved to second on an infield single by David Espinosa with one out.  An errant pickoff attempt by Fargo- Moorhead starter Jeremy Gooding moved the runners into scoring position. This became important because it allowed Ray to race home on a wild pitch and start the scoring.  John Nester drove in Espinosa with a base hit to make it 2-0.  T.J. Mittelstaedt smoked a double to put runners on second and third once more.  A fielder’s choice grounder from Alberto Gonzalez scored the Nuts’ third run and then Brent Dean made it 4-0 by beating out a bunt single with a runner on third.

The RedHawks (4-10) would score the only run against Wichita starter Tim Brown in the third inning.  Joe Staley’s infield single allowed him to advance to third on a double by Charlie Riverio. Zach Penprase lifted a sacrifice fly to right that plated Staley and cut the lead to 4-1. Brown would end up earning the win after lasting 7.0 innings and striking out six while surrendering six hits.

The Wingnuts built up their lead with a three-run fifth inning.  Facing relief pitcher Bryan Blough, Gonzalez reached on an error by Penprase to start the frame.  Dean came through with his second hit and then moved to second on an error by the right fielder while Gonzalez went to third.  Dustin Geiger plated a run with his team-leading ninth RBI and then Oldham increased the lead to 8-1 via a double.

Fargo-Moorhead mustered one more run in the eighth against Al Yevoli to register the final 8-2 score.  Drew Muren drove in the run with a fielder’s choice bouncer to first. 

The RedHawks committed five errors in the game.  The Wingnuts knocked a season-high 14 base hits as, for the second straight night, everyone in the lineup recorded at least one hit.

The Wingnuts open a new series with Lincoln on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. as RHP Jason Van Skike will take the mound against Saltdogs righty Zach Varce.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

Wingnuts Make Southern Swap and Complete Offseason Deal

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 5, 2015) – Although the Wichita Wingnuts have started the year on a positive note in terms of their record, the coaching staff has been dissatisfied with the consistency of the offense.  Despite having the league’s best pitching staff, the team has played five one-run ballgames and scored more than five runs only four times.  In order to bring another bat to the club, the Wingnuts sent pitcher Omar Bencomo to their south division rival the Laredo Lemurs in exchange for infielder Matt Padgett.  Later the same evening the team acquired RHP Byron Minnich as the player to be named later in an offseason deal that sent Chase Johnson to the Sioux Falls Canaries.

The 37-year old Padgett is a former teammate of manager Kevin Hooper and a long-time minor league slugger.  In over 1,800 career games he has hit 205 home runs and racked up 1,056 RBI.  The former 1998 fifth round pick of the Florida Marlins out of Clemson University has been a member of three different MLB farm systems and has played for seven independent league teams prior to the Wingnuts.

In 12 games with Laredo this season Padgett was 8-40 (.200) with one run driven in and six runs scored.  He began the 2014 season in Kansas City with the Wingnuts’ in-state rival to the east and batted .328 with six home runs and 27 RBI in 35 games before going to Mexico for the remainder of the summer.  With Monclova in the Mexican League, the left-handed hitter knocked another ten home runs and drove in 60 while maintaining a .294 average. 

The native of South Carolina was the American Association/PointStreak Hitter of the Month for July and was one of the top hitters in the league for Kansas City in 2013 before being traded to New Jersey of the Can-Am League in August. He had a .337 batting average with 19 home runs, 33 doubles, 66 RBI, and a .650 slugging percentage in 82 games for the T-Bones. In 26 games with the Jackals (including postseason), Padgett batted .313 with five doubles, six home runs and 22 RBI. 

Padgett, who aside from playing baseball at Clemson was also a kicker on the football team for two seasons, reached triple-A with the Marlins (2004-05), the Chicago Cubs (2006) and Philadelphia (2007). He then spent five seasons playing in the independent Atlantic League with York, Camden, Long Island, and Southern Maryland before signing with the T-Bones for the first time. 

In 18 professional seasons Padgett has registered, 1,810 runs, scored 955, ripped 429 doubles, and walked 766 times.  He is expected to join the lineup on Friday night in Lincoln for the opener of the Wingnuts’ series with the Saltdogs.

The 26-year old Minnich comes to the Wingnuts having pitched in three games for the Canaries, allowing one run over 4.1 innings.  He has spent the entire regular season on the disabled list.  Minnich recorded 44 strikeouts in 35 games last season for the United League’s Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings before making his American Association debut on August 21st with the Laredo Lemurs.

The rookie reliever made five appearances for the Lemurs during their late season playoff push, allowing just one earned run on four hits over five innings. 

Minnich made 40 total appearances in 2014, posting a 1-1 record and 1.29 ERA while striking out 48 batters over 42 innings. 

Bencomo, a native of Venezuela, had made two starts for the Wingnuts and was 1-0 with a 2.46 ERA in 11.0 innings of work.  He had recorded 12 strikeouts and walked three opponents.  In his first appearance in Wichita he shutout the Winnipeg Goldeyes by facing the minimum through 6.0 innings.

For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Wingnuts Clip RedHawks 5-4 to Even Series

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

FARGO, ND (June 3, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts watched the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks come back from an early deficit to tie the game in the latter innings for a second straight night on Wednesday.  However, unlike the night before it was the Wingnuts who used clutch two-out hitting to emerge victorious by a 5-4 score at Newman Outdoor Field. 

Wichita (8-3) came out of the gates swinging and it paid off in the first inning.  David Espinosa followed a Luis Hernandez double with an RBI single to quickly propel his team to a 1-0 lead.  Espinosa found himself right in the middle of the Nuts next scoring effort in the third.  Jayce Ray drew a leadoff walk and was immediately bunted into scoring position by Hernandez.  The veteran outfielder lined another run-scoring base hit to left and it was 2-0.

Fargo-Moorhead (4-9) scratched across the first run against Anthony Capra in the bottom of the third.  Zach Penprase led off with a double which was backed up by a Brent Peterson walk.  Chad Mozingo bunted both players into scoring position with one out.  Frank Salerno managed to cut the lead in half by bouncing a fielder’s choice groundball to short. 

With two outs in the fourth inning and the bases empty the Wingnuts found a way to put together a threat against RedHawks’ starter Austin Kirk.  Dustin Geiger started the attack by doubling into the right center gap off of his former teammate in the Cubs farm system.  Geiger stole third and was quickly brought home on another double from Taylor Oldham.  The RBI was Oldham’s first of the season.  Before the inning concluded, Ray plated Oldham with a single of his own to increase the lead to 4-1.

The RedHawks trimmed the lead to one courtesy of a crooked number in the fifth.  Penprase once again laced a double and scored on Mozingo’s RBI triple.  Mozingo crossed the plate with Fargo-Moorhead’s third run on an error by Geiger at first on Salerno’s bouncer to the right side.

In the home half of the sixth, the RedHawks loaded the bases against Capra with one out.  Kevin Hooper turned to Daniel Bennett to get out of the jam.  The right-hander hit the first batter he faced to force in the tying run, but followed by getting Penprase to ground into a 5-3 double play. Capra allowed four runs in 5.1 innings with four strikeouts.

The 4-4 tie lasted until the top half of the final inning when the Nuts went in front.  Espinosa drew a one out walk and moved to third on T.J. Mittelstaedt’s two out line drive base hit to right.  Alberto Gonzalez came through with a hard single through the right side to plate Espinosa and give the Wingnuts a 5-4 lead.

Matt Nevarez came on for the bottom of the inning and worked around a pair of walks to keep the RedHawks off the board.  He ended the game by striking out Salerno, Tuesday’s hero, looking on a nasty breaking ball.

Every member of the Wichita lineup tallied at least one hit as the team totaled 12.  Daniel Carela picked up his first win of the season courtesy of his scoreless eighth inning that featured a pair of strikeouts.

The rubber match of the series will be held on Thursday night at 7:02 p.m. RHP Tim Brown (1-0) of the Wingnuts will match up with RHP Jeremy Gooding of Fargo.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Nuts Lose Four Run Lead, Fall in Walk-Off Fashion

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

FARGO, ND (June 2, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts jumped out to a 4-0 lead and chased Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks starting pitcher Tyler Herron in the fourth inning on Tuesday night at Newman Outdoor Field.  None of that was enough to hold off a late surge by the RedHawks as they tied the game in the seventh and then walked off 5-4 in the ninth on Frank Salerno’s single up the middle.

Wichita (7-3) opened the scoring in the second inning against Herron.  Alberto Gonzalez reached on an infield single to start the inning and shortly afterward stole second base.  He came around to score on Brent Dean’s sharp double down the left field line to make it 1-0.

The Nuts went right back on the attack in the third inning as David Espinosa reached with a one out single which was followed by back-to-back walks of John Nester and T.J. Mittelstaedt. The bases were loaded at this point for Gonzalez, who also drew a free pass to score a run.  Dustin Geiger followed with a sacrifice fly and quickly the lead grew to 3-0. A two-out RBI single by Nester in the fourth increased the lead to 4-0 and ended the night for Herron after just 3.2 innings of work.

Mike Mason, who relieved Herron, was impressive in holding the Wingnuts off the board entirely for 5.1 relief innings.  He struck out four while allowing only a walk and two hits. His teammates took back a good chunk of the lead with a three-run fourth inning.  Stefan Gartrell started the comeback with a two-strike double to deep center. After fly ball to deep right allowed Gartrell to tag and move to third, Michael Antonio ripped a double of his own to make it 4-1.  After a walk to Joe Staley and a strikeout of Charlie Valerio, Omar Bencomo allowed a double by Zach Penprase that trimmed the lead to 4-3.

The RedHawks (4-8) tied it in the eighth courtesy of some help from the Wingnuts defense.  Penprase reached on an infield single to the left side of the infield and then was caught by Al Yevoli leaving too early for second.   Yevoli’s throw to first was on target, but Geiger’s throw to second sailed into left field and allowed the speedy runner to move to third.  This resulted in a sacrifice fly by Chad Mozingo that evened the score. 

In the bottom of the ninth, Valerio and Penprase tallied back-to-back singles off of Brad Mincey with one out.  A fielder’s choice bouncer by Mozingo left runners on the corners for Frank Salerno.  The second baseman grounded the first pitch into center field to plate the winning run. 

Jayce Ray threw out his third runner at the plate this season and recorded two hits.  Other Wingnuts with multiple knocks were David Espinosa, Gonzalez, and Dean.  Daniel Bennett struck out the side in the sixth and has recorded strikeouts against each of the last six batters he has faced.  The Nuts left 13 runners on base in the game.

The series will resume with a 7:02 p.m. first pitch on Wednesday night.  Wichita will toss LHP Anthony Capra against fellow lefty Austin Kirk of the RedHawks.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Wingnuts Win Series by Holding off AirHogs 2-1

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 31, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts start to the 2015 season has been filled with closely contested battles and down-to-the-wire finishes.  The series finale between the Wingnuts and the Grand Prairie AirHogs was no different.  An incredible escape by Daniel Bennett and a pair of quality at bats in the seventh inning propelled the club to a 2-1 victory. 

The scoring opened in the bottom of the third inning with Wichita (7-2) at the plate.  Dustin Geiger ripped a double to begin the inning against right-hander Brett Wallach of the AirHogs.  Brent Dean bounced a fielder’s choice to the left side that advanced his teammate to third.  Tyler Coughenour followed by smashing a single through the right side of a drawn in defense to grab a 1-0 lead. 

Nuts starter Charlie Lowell had been on cruise control through the first 5.0 innings of his start, allowing only a double in the fourth and a triple in the fifth before Grand Prairie (4-6) put together a threat in the sixth.  He hit Jamodrick McGruder with a pitch at the outset of the frame.  The next batter Josh Eatherly grounded a ball to first base, but Geiger missed the bag with his foot and everyone was safe.  The ensuing hitter Zane Chavez took advantage immediately, lacing a single to right that tied the score. Lowell was removed having allowed only the unearned run in 5.0 innings on three hits.  He whiffed seven AirHogs. 

Kevin Hooper summoned Daniel Bennett with runners on first and third and nobody out and Victor Diaz coming to the plate.  Bennett was able to strikeout Diaz on a slider, fan Frazier Hall after initially falling behind in the count, and then dispatch pinch-hitter Chris Elder to preserve the tie. 

Wallach went 6.0 innings and allowed one run on three hits while striking out five.  Right-hander Matty Ott came on to work the seventh and T.J. Mittelstaedt greeted him with a double to left center.  Alberto Gonzalez advanced him with a textbook sacrifice bunt to bring Geiger to the plate.  The first baseman tallied his seventh RBI of the season by lifting a deep fly ball to right and pushed his team to a 2-1 lead.

Al Yevoli turned in a scoreless inning and Daniel Carela struck out the side in the eighth to set up closer Matt Nevarez with his third save opportunity of the season.  Nevarez allowed a leadoff single to Elder who stole second at the same time Robi Estrada struck out for the first out.  Elder was tagged out after getting in a rundown between second and third on a pickoff play by Nevarez for the second out.  On the next pitch, Trevor Harden chopped a ball to short to end the game.

The Wingnuts managed just four hits as a team and left five baserunners stranded.  Neither club had a player register more than one hit. 

After taking Monday off, the Wingnuts will open a six-game road trip in North Dakota against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. RHP Omar Bencomo will pitch the opener of the series which is scheduled for 7:02 p.m.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

Wingnuts Cap Celebration with 7-2 Win over Grand Prairie

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 30, 2015) – Saturday night began with a pre-game ceremony to celebrate the Wichita Wingnuts 2014 American Association championship.  The night ended with a handshake line near the mound in celebration of a 7-2 win over the Grand Prairie AirHogs.  A great second outing for starting pitcher Jason Van Skike and a shakeup of the batting order was just what the team needed to move to 6-2 on the young season. 

After three scoreless innings for both teams it was the Wingnuts who broke through first in the fourth.  Leadoff hitter Jayce Ray, who paces the team in batting average, started the frame with a double off of left-hander Bennett Whitmore. Luis Hernandez backed it up with a double to put runners on the corner with nobody out.  A passed ball charged to catcher Zane Chavez resulted in Ray scoring and the Nuts taking a 1-0 lead.  Hernandez, who had moved to second on the passed ball, was bunted to third by David Espinosa and scored on T.J. Mittelstaedt’s deep sacrifice fly to put Wichita on top 2-0.

The Wingnuts used four hits in the fifth inning to plate a couple more runs and take a 4-0 advantage.  Singles by Dustin Geiger and Brent Dean to open the inning allowed Tyler Coughenour to bunt them both into scoring position.  Ray and Hernandez each collected RBI singles in the ensuing at bats to extend the lead.

Wichita threw up a crooked number once again in the sixth to establish some separation from the AirHogs (4-5). Three straight hits to open the inning chased Whitmore from the game before he could record an out.  He allowed seven runs, six earned, on ten hits and walked one.  The runs were driven in on a two RBI double by Alberto Gonzalez and a run-scoring single from Dean.  The inning ended with the home team in front 7-0.

Van Skike lasted 7.0 innings and surrendered just one run on three hits.  The AirHogs first hit was registered in the sixth inning by Chris Elder.  The right-hander struck out three and walked a pair. Scott Kuzminsky worked the final 2.0 innings on the hill and surrendered one run in the ninth, but worked out of a jam on a game-ending line drive double play hit into by Jamodrick McGruder.

Ray, Hernandez, Gonzalez, Mittelstaedt, and Dean each finished with two hits on the evening.  The AirHogs received a pair of hits from both Elder and Victor Ferrante.

The rubber game of the series will take place on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. with LHP Charlie Lowell of Wichita squaring off with RHP Brett Wallach of Grand Prairie.  It is Riverfest Button Day which means anyone with a Riverfest button will receive a free general admission ticket to the game.  Also, Teenview Magazine will attempt to hold a world record breaking water balloon fight after the game. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

AirHogs Late Comeback Halts Nuts’ Win Streak at Five

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 29, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts used another outstanding pitching effort to head to the top of the ninth with a 2-0 lead over the Grand Prairie AirHogs on Friday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  With Wingnuts closer Matt Nevarez unavailable due to a heavy workload, the AirHogs were able to tie the score in the ninth and then win the game in the first extra inning by a 3-2 score.

The Wingnuts tallied first courtesy of a big swing of the bat by their catcher in the third inning.  Luis Hernandez began the inning with a double off of Grand Prairie starter T.J. Bozeman.  Alberto Gonzalez followed with a double of his own, but Hernandez had to make sure the ball dropped and could not score. With two runners in scoring position both T.J. Mittelstaedt and Dustin Geiger struck out swinging.  It was at that point that John Nester ripped a double to left and made it 2-0.  Nester finished 1-2 with three walks. 

Tim Brown, the Wichita starter, worked 7.0 shutout innings while scattering eight hits in his second start of the year and left with a chance to move to 2-0 on the season.  Al Yevoli worked a scoreless eighth inning before handing the ball to Daniel Carela in the ninth.  Carela allowed two base runners to reach in between a pair of strikeouts before facing Jamodrick McGruder with two down.  The 5’7 infielder took the first pitch and deposited it in deep right field just out of the reach of David Espinosa to tie the game at 2-2.

In the bottom of the ninth the Nuts were held in check by AirHogs closer Dakota Watts.  Brad Mincey, who finished the ninth, came back on to pitch the tenth.  Robi Estrada reached on an infield single to open the inning against the right-hander.  That runner was immediately erased when Zane Chavez hit into a 4-6-3 double play.  With the bases empty, former Wingnut Victor Diaz punched a double to the gap in left center and was replaced by pinch runner Matt Burns.  After a walk to Frazier Hall, Josh Eatherly slapped a single to right that gave Grand Prairie the lead.  The Wingnuts put a runner on second with one out, but could not tie the game in the bottom half.

Mittelstaedt, Hernandez, and Ray each knocked a pair of base hits.  Diaz led all hitters with his 3-5 performance.

The series continues on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. as RHP Jason Van Skike meets LHP Bennet Whitmore of the AirHogs.  The first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a replica 2014 American Association Championship ring courtesy of 7 Clans Casinos.  There will also be a special ring presentation to the coaches and players from last season’s team.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

Wingnuts Finish Sweep of Fish with 4-1 Victory

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 28, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts streak of 21 straight innings pitched without allowing a run ended with the third batter of Thursday night’s game against the Winnipeg Goldeyes at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  However, the offense quickly took the lead away and the pitching staff would not allow even one more run the rest of the night.  All of this added up to a 4-1 win, a five-game win streak, and the first sweep of a series by the Wingnuts in 2015.

Casey Haerther hit a two out home run in the first inning to put Winnipeg (3-4) in front 1-0 before the crowd had completely settled in.  After that it was all Anthony Capra and the bullpen in the top half of innings. The Nuts’ starter went 6.0 innings and allowed just the one run on five hits with five strikeouts to earn his first victory of the year. 

The Wingnuts put together a threat of their own in the bottom half of the first as Winnipeg starter Jonathan Cornelius walked the bases loaded with two outs.  The left-hander was able to strike out John Nester to work out of the jam.  He wasn’t as fortunate in the next frame when Luis Hernandez drove in Jayce Ray with two outs to tie the score.

Wichita (5-1) took control courtesy of a two-run third inning.  Alberto Gonzalez worked a leadoff walk and was immediately plated on T.J. Mittelstaedt’s booming double off the base of the wall in right.  Three hitters later, Nester got another crack at driving in a run with two outs and took advantage.  He beat out a ground ball for an infield single and pushed the Wingnuts to a 3-1 lead.

With Capra keeping the Goldeyes caged through six, Kevin Hooper called on his bullpen for the final three innings.  Scott Kuzminsky worked out of a mini jam in the seventh with the help of an inning-ending double play via strikeout and a caught stealing.  Daniel Bennett cruised through the eighth to set things up for closer Matt Nevarez.

Two eighth inning doubles, the first by Jayce Ray and the second of the RBI variety from Hernandez, helped the Nuts tack on an insurance run and grab a 4-1 lead.  Nevarez, pitching in the fourth straight game, allowed the first two batters of the inning to reach base.  With the tying run at the plate, he quickly righted the ship and struck out the next three hitters to end the game and record his second save. 

Winnipeg’s Haerther led all hitters with his three hits in four at-bats.  Hernandez, Gonzalez, and Brent Dean each collected a pair of hits for Wichita.

The Wingnuts will open a three game series on Friday night against the Grand Prairie AirHogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  The first 1,000 fans will receive a 2014 American Association Championship pennant upon their entrance and there will be a fireworks show following the game.  The 7:05 p.m. start will feature a battle between RHP Tim Brown (1-0) of the Nuts and RHP T.J. Bozeman from Grand Prairie.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Bencomo and Bullpen Baffle Goldeyes’ Bats in 2-0 Victory

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 27, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts improved their winning streak to four games on Wednesday night by shutting out the Winnipeg Goldeyes for a second straight game.  The Nuts pitching staff faced just one batter over the minimum and recorded 13 strikeouts, while Dustin Geiger provided both run-scoring hits. 

The Wingnuts (4-1) attacked against Goldeyes’ right-hander Matt Jackson right out of the gates.  Alberto Gonzalez singled with one out and moved to third on a sinking line drive base hit to right off the bat of T.J. Mittelstaedt.  With runners on the corners, clean-up hitter Dustin Geiger hit a chopper to short that was fielded by shortstop Brad Boyer.  Boyer tried to go the short way to second, but Mittelstaedt beat the flip initially, before being tagged out after stepping off the bag.  Gonzalez scored on the play to make it 1-0. 

That score held until the fourth inning when Geiger grabbed the spotlight again.  He launched a line drive home run to left to begin the frame and propel the club to a 2-0 advantage.

That turned out to be all of the support that starter Omar Bencomo and the rest of the pitching staff would need for the evening.  The right-hander never faced more than three Winnipeg hitters in an inning over 6.0 shutout frames.  The native of Venezuela struck out seven and did not walk a batter. 

After Bencomo’s night came to an end, the ball was handed to relief pitcher Brad Mincey who induced three ground balls to work a quick seventh inning.  In the eighth it was Daniel Carela’s turn and the hard-throwing righty followed suit by striking out the side and working around a two out walk.  That left the ninth inning in the hands of Matt Nevarez who quickly whiffed all three hitters in order to record his first save of the year. 

The Wingnuts’ pitching staff has thrown 19 consecutive scoreless innings against the Goldeyes and 21 straight scoreless innings going back to Saturday night’s win over Joplin. 

The Nuts will attempt to sweep Winnipeg in the series finale on Thursday night with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch.  LHP Anthony Capra, the team’s opening day starter will be on the mound for Wichita against a pitcher to be named for the Goldeyes.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Leverett Earns Opportunity with San Francisco

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 26, 2015) – Seven months ago Jarret Leverett was seriously considering retiring from professional baseball.  Kevin Hooper pitched him on a great opportunity to showcase his talents with the Wichita Wingnuts and the left-handed pitcher made the tough decision to join the club.  Just one appearance into the 2015 season that decision paid off in the best way possible.  On Monday the San Francisco Giants made Leverett the first player to have his contract purchased from an American Association club this season.

In his lone trip to the mound this season against Joplin on opening night, the reliever allowed a pair of base hits, but also struck out two in holding the Blasters off the board. 

The 25-year old hails from Cordele, Georgia and played his final two years of college baseball at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro.  He ended up with the Eagles after playing junior college ball at Middle Georgia as a freshman and sophomore. In his initial year at the school, he played a big role in Middle Georgia earning a trip to the JUCO World Series before helping them to a conference championship in the following campaign.   

In his first season at Georgia Southern, Leverett struggled to an 0-3 record and a 7.84 ERA in 41.1 innings.  He made three starts early in the season, before moving permanently to the bullpen and recording two saves.  He came back for his final season in 2012 looking like a new pitcher.  Pitching almost exclusively in relief, he worked 51.1 frames and finished 4-2 with a 2.81 ERA and a team-best seven saves.

The 6’3 hurler became one of four Georgia Southern players to be selected in the 2012 MLB Draft when the Minnesota Twins called his name in the 15th round.  However, just over a month after the draft he was released without having thrown a professional pitch because the team discovered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow.  After undergoing surgery and over a year of rehabilitation, Leverett was finally able to make his professional debut on the mound in 2014.

Pitching for the Frontier Greys, a travel team in the Frontier League, Leverett looked healthy on the hill and put up the numbers to prove it. He finished with an 0-6 record, but his earned run average was just 2.72 in 33 relief outings. In 46.2 innings the lefty fanned 44 opposing hitters, finished 15 games, and saved five. 

Leverett is the 29th Wingnut to be signed by a Major League organization.  

The 2015 season will resume with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Wingnuts Walk-Off in 10th to Win Pitcher’s Duel

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 26, 2015) – For the second straight game the Wichita Wingnuts needed ten innings to come up with a dramatic victory against a worthy foe.  Unlike in Joplin, this contest with the Winnipeg Goldeyes on Tuesday fell in favor of the only team to muster a run.  Luis Hernandez provided the necessary offense with a bases loaded two-out single up the middle that propelled Wichita to a 1-0 victory. The team moved to 7-1 all-time in their home opener.

A battle of two stud left-handers resulted in neither of them budging during their time on the mound.  Wingnuts’ starter Charlie Lowell lasted 6.0 innings in his debut and struck out five while allowing six hits.  Reigning American Association Pitcher of the Year Nick Hernandez made it through 6.1 seven-hit frames and struck out six Wingnuts. 

Following the starters, the respective bullpens were equally as tough on opposing hitters.  Brad Mincey, Daniel Carela, and Matt Nevarez each worked scoreless innings in succession to keep Winnipeg off the board through the ninth.  For the Goldeyes, it was relievers Raul Rivera and Brendan Lafferty shutting out the Nuts until the tenth.

In the extra inning, Al Yevoli made his third appearance of the season and faced four hitters, surrendering only a walk to Luis Alen.  That set the stage for the late-inning heroics by the bats. Lafferty emerged from the dugout for a third inning and after a groundout to short off the bat of David Espinosa, John Nester boomed a double to the right field corner.  That signaled the end of Lafferty’s evening in favor of right-hander Benji Waite.

Waite got Brent Dean to bounce out to second, which moved Nester to third with two outs.  The Goldeyes opted to intentionally walk the red-hot Jayce Ray and face Taylor Oldham instead.  Waite couldn’t find the zone and issued a free pass on four straight pitches.  With the bases loaded, Hernandez came to the plate and worked the count to 3-2.  With the runners on the move, he lined a belt-high fastball into center field for game-winning base hit and was mobbed by his teammates at second base. 

Dustin Geiger, Hernandez, and Ray were the only Wingnuts with multiple hits.  Hernandez, Dean, and Nester each stole one base.

The Nuts and Goldeyes will meet again on Wednesday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium at 7:05 p.m. RHP Omar Bencomo will square off with fellow RHP Matt Jackson.  The game is the first Way-Back Wednesday of 2015 and, as a celebration of the 90’s, general admission tickets will cost just $4.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Dean’s Heroics Allow Wingnuts to Dance in Rain

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

JOPLIN, MO (May 24, 2015) – After the Wichita Wingnuts’ Saturday night showdown with the Joplin Blasters was delayed 32 minutes by rain, the game was played through intermittent showers all evening.  The two teams battled each other and the weather down the stretch, until a dramatic tenth inning home run by Brent Dean pushed the Wingnuts to a 6-4 victory.

Just like the night before, the Wingnuts (2-1) wasted no time in grabbing an early lead.  Former Kansas City Royals pitcher and Joplin starter Rob Tejeda retired the first two hitters he faced prior to issuing a walk to T.J. Mittelstaedt.  An infield single by Dustin Geiger put two on base and then David Espinosa singled home Mittelstaedt to make it 1-0.

The Wichita left fielder was also in the middle of pushing the team’s lead to 2-0 in the third.  Luis Hernandez led off the inning with a double, his third of the series.  A bunt single by Alberto Gonzalez moved Hernandez to third with nobody out.  Mittelstaedt lifted a deep fly ball to left that served as a sacrifice fly and increased the lead.

Wingnuts’ starter Jason Van Skike was forced to make an early exit in the second inning after he was hit in the lower leg with a hard line drive off the bat of Carlos Ramirez.  Somehow Van Skike was still able to make the out at first while limping badly, but could not continue.  Scott Kuzminsky replaced the starter and worked out of a small jam in the second.  The Blasters (1-2) got to the reliever in the fourth.  Ramirez blasted a solo home run to cut the lead in half before Maikol Gonzalez tied the game by scoring Mitch Glasser on an RBI single. 

The Wingnuts responded by re-taking a two run lead in the top of the very next inning.  Dustin Geiger knocked home his fourth run of the series with a single and Brent Dean later followed suit to grab a 4-2 advantage.

Joplin chipped away with a solo home run off the bat of Jake Taylor in the sixth and then tied the score once again with a run-scoring single from Omar Luna in the seventh. Both teams had a crack at winning the game in the ninth.  The Wingnuts got a leadoff base runner in Hernandez who walked to start the frame against Winston Abreu.  With Hernandez running, Gonzalez swung and missed sending his bat flying down the left field line. The throw towards second by the Joplin catcher was off target and allowed Hernandez to scamper to third, but interference was called on Gonzalez prompting argument from the Wingnuts’ dugout. Hernandez was returned to first base in the aftermath. Reliever Daniel Carela was ejected.

In Joplin’s half of the inning, Yasser Gomez reached against Nuts’ closer Matt Nevarez via an infield single. He was pinch-run for by the speedy Jesus Solorzano.  Steve Tinoco bunted the runner into scoring position for Taylor. The DH lined a ball directly to Mittelstaedt in left who made the catch and then fired a throw behind the runner to second to catch Solorzano too far off the bag and end the inning.

Right-hander Jake Meiers came on for the tenth and immediately allowed a single from David Espinosa. Espinosa was bunted to second by John Nester to set the stage for Dean.  The designated hitter blasted a ball through the raindrops and over the wall in left to give the visitors the lead at 6-4.  Nevarez faced the minimum in the bottom half of the inning on his way to earning the win.

The series finale is slated for Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. LHP Charlie Lowell is scheduled to throw for the Wingnuts against RHP Raydel Sanchez of the Blasters.  The game will be broadcast on 92.7 KWME and can also be streamed by selecting the “Listen Live” link on the team website. The home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes will take place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Series Finale in Joplin Washed Away

Series Finale in Joplin Washed Away

JOPLIN, MO (May 24, 2015) – Sunday’s finale of the season-opening series between the Wichita Wingnuts and Joplin Blasters has been postponed due to heavy rains in Joplin.

The game will be made up at some point later in the season as the two clubs will meet seven more times this summer, all in Wichita.

The 2015 season will resume with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Clicking on All Cylinders, Nuts Beat Blasters 10-3

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

JOPLIN, MO (May 22, 2015) – One night after struggling to get on the board in an opening day loss, the Wichita Wingnuts had no problems putting the bat on the ball in a dominating 10-3 victory over the Joplin Blasters at Joe Becker Stadium.  Aside from the offensive fireworks on Friday, Tim Brown and two relievers managed to retire 18 consecutive hitters between the second and eighth innings to shut down Joplin’s offense.

The first inning offered fans at the Blasters second-ever home game a glimpse at how the night would play out.  Alberto Gonzalez singled with one down and moved to second when T.J. Mittelstaedt also knocked a base hit.  The runners advanced on a passed ball charged to Carlos Ramirez before Gonzalez scored on Dustin Geiger’s fielder’s choice groundout to the left side making it 1-0.

Joplin (1-1) was able to even the score against Nuts’ starter Tim Brown with an RBI single from Jesus Solorzano in the second inning, but then the Blasters went silent.  After retiring Maikol Gonzalez on a fly ball to center to end that frame, Brown retired the final 13 hitters he faced.  His final line saw him allow one run on four hits with two strikeouts in 6.0 innings.  Brad Mincey followed with a one, two, three inning and then Scott Shuman retired the first two batters he faced in the eighth to stretch the streak to 18. Mitch Glasser muscled a single to center to give the Blasters their first base runner in six innings.

While this was taking place, the offense pushed the Nuts back in front and proceeded to run away with game.  Luis Hernandez punched a two-RBI double down the left field line to grab a 3-1 lead in the fourth.  John Nester came through with his first hit of the young season in a big spot during the fifth inning to score Geiger who had walked and stolen second base, making it 4-1.

The Wingnuts (1-1) put some distance between themselves and Joplin courtesy of a big sixth inning at the plate.  Jayce Ray, who fell just a triple shy of the cycle, launched a solo home run off the scoreboard to increase the lead to 5-1.  The Nuts weren’t done there as Geiger drove in two more with a high pop up on the infield that nobody could corral and the lead ballooned to 7-1.

With Nester and Dean on base in the seventh inning, Ray tallied his second and third RBI of the contest with a double into the left field corner. Finally, Hernandez polished off the frame with his second run-scoring double of the game, scoring Ray to make it 10-1.

Joplin managed to plate a couple of runs in the last of the ninth off of Al Yevoli on a two-RBI single off the bat of Jake Taylor.

Hernandez, Geiger, and Ray each drove in three runs on the night, while eight of the nine Wingnuts starters scored at least one run.

Wichita will attempt to move over .500 for the first time this season as the series continues in Joplin on Saturday night at 6:35 p.m.  The Wingnuts will toss 2014 all-star Jason Van Skike with the Blasters calling on former Kansas City Royal Rob Tejeda. The game will be broadcast on 92.7 KWME and can also be streamed by selecting the “Listen Live” link on the team website. The home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes will take place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Wingnuts Drop Opener in Joplin

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

JOPLIN, MO (May 21, 2015) – Professional baseball was played in Joplin for the first time since 1954 on Thursday night and the Wichita Wingnuts were unable to crash the party, dropping the first game against their new South division rival. The Joplin Blasters took advantage of three RBI doubles and Maikol Gonzalez going 2-4 with two RBI to prevail 5-2 on opening night in the restored Joe Becker Stadium.

Both starting pitchers, Anthony Capra of the Wingnuts and Jorge Martinez of the Joplin, cruised through their first two innings of work.  It was in the third frame that the Blasters went on the attack for the first time.  Jesus Solorzano singled with one out and moved to second when Juan Medina drew a walk.  Solorzano then stole third to put runners on the corners for the leadoff hitter Gonzalez.  The shortstop battled for 12 pitches before lining a double into the gap to plate the first run of the season. Later, with a runner still on third, Austin Gallagher flew out to center where Jayce Ray made the catch and threw a bullet to the plate to cut down a tagging Medina and end the inning.

The Blasters (1-0) got back to it with the bats in the fourth.  After Capra struck out Jake Taylor to begin the inning, Yasser Gomez singled.  Back-to-back RBI doubles by Carlos Ramirez and Steve Tinoco increased the Joplin lead to 3-0.  Gonzalez led off the fifth with a solo home run to make it 4-0 and then the Nuts’ deficit increased to five on Gomez’s RBI single.  The outfielder was a perfect 4-4 at the plate to start 2015.

Wichita (0-1) could not muster much of anything against Martinez during his five innings on the hill.  He struck out four and surrendered only a pair of singles.  Right-hander Jake Meiers replaced him in the sixth inning and allowed the only offense for the Wingnuts, a two-run home run in the seventh from David Espinosa. 

The Nuts could not cut into the lead any further despite putting two runners on in the eighth.  Kristhiam Linares retired Espinosa, the only batter he faced, to end the threat.  In the ninth, former MLB pitcher Winston Abreu struck out the side to close the contest.

Brent Dean and Jayce Ray were the only Wingnuts with multiple hits.  Scott Kuzminsky allowed one hit in 1.1 innings in his professional debut.  Jarret Leverett and Daniel Bennett also turned in scoreless innings.

The opening series continues on Friday night at 6:35 p.m. at Joe Becker Stadium.  RHP Tim Brown of the Wingnuts will face RHP Nestor Molina of Joplin.  The game will be broadcast on 92.7 KWME and can also be streamed by selecting the “Listen Live” link on the team website. The home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes will take place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Wingnuts Trim Roster to 23

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 20, 2015) – With just over 24 hoursremaining until the first pitch of the 2015 regular season, the Wichita Wingnuts have reduced their roster to 23 players, the league maximum for the first ten days of regular season play.

The 2015 Wingnuts’ opening night roster includes eight players who have suited up for the team previously.  Three of the five members of the starting rotation and two key bullpen members are back from the pitching staff that posted the lowest ERA in the American Association last season.  On the other hand, there are just three position players that fans will recognize from last year’s team and only one was an everyday starter.

The five-man starting rotation will consist of the familiar faces of LHP Anthony Capra, RHP Tim Brown, RHP Jason Van Skike as well as newcomers LHP Charlie Lowell and RHP Omar Bencomo.  Lowell is a former Wichita State Shocker who spent the first three seasons of his professional career with the Marlins.  Bencomo is a native of Valencia, Venezuela and a former Tampa Bay Rays farmhand.  For the last two years he has primarily pitched in the Venezuelan Winter League for Margarita.

In addition to returning relievers Daniel Bennett and Matt Nevarez, the Wichita bullpen will consist of Scott Kuzminsky, Scott Shuman, Brad Mincey, Jarret Leverett, Daniel Carela, and Al Yevoli.  Kuzminsky is a rookie directly out of the University of Hawaii who will be playing professionally for the first time after an impressive showing in camp.  Shuman and Carela both feature hard fastballs in the mid-to upper 90’s with the potential to max out in triple digits.  Mincey is a former East Carolina Pirate with a heavy sinker that induces groundballs at an alarming rate.  Leverett and Yevoli are a pair of young southpaws with the ability to get hitters out from both sides of the plate.

David Espinosa heads the group of position players who will return to Wichita this season.  Espinosa, who was acquired in a mid-season trade with Kansas City, played first base for the Nuts down the stretch, but appears to be slated for action in right field on a regular basis.  Brent Dean was able to provide relief for all-star catcher Chris McMurray last season and with a good spring at the plate is hoping to contribute on a nightly basis one way or another this year. The final returnee was the winner of the team’s annual Unsung Hero Award, Taylor Oldham.  After ranging all over the field wherever he was needed last season the Orlando, Florida native has seemingly locked down the left field job with a solid performance on the field and at the plate in exhibition play.

The long list of new position players is headlined by a pair of signees with a combined 12 years of MLB experience.  Shortstop Alberto Gonzalez and second baseman Luis Hernandez form a slick-fielding duo up the middle that will attempt to ease the transition from long-time Wingnuts Ryan Khoury and Jake Kahaulelio who have both retired. Former Washington Huskies outfielder Jayce Ray will track down fly balls from his spot in center field this summer and attempt to create havoc on the bases with his speed.  T.J. Mittelstaedt, who spent all of last season in Kansas City, joins former teammate Espinosa in a quest to defend the Nuts’ title.  The third baseman blends a good eye at the plate with a penchant for providing power.  Former Wichita Collegiate star and Wichita State Shocker, Tyler Coughenour will serve as a form of depth at multiple positions.

A pair of other power threats will reside at catcher and first base in the form of John Nester and Dustin Geiger.  Nester knocked the only two home runs of the spring for Wichita and also gunned down five of eight attempted base stealers from behind the plate. Geiger, who began the season in Double-A, has a pair of 17 home run seasons on his resume and figures to reside in the middle of the lineup.

Right-handed pitcher Vince Molesky was traded to the Frontier League’s Gateway Grizzlies for a player to be named later, while Jacob Negrete, Mackenzie Handel, and Kori Melo were released and have become free agents.

The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

 

Nuts Close Spring Schedule with 2-0 Shutout Win over Winnipeg

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 19, 2015) – Mother nature decided to toy with the Wichita Wingnuts’ schedule one final time this spring on Tuesday night, but in the end the squad overcame the weather and Winnipeg Goldeyes to conclude their exhibition schedule with a 2-0 victory.  The game was postponed for one hour and twenty minutes due to a constant rain and the bats stayed quiet for both teams until the Wingnuts managed the game’s only runs in the bottom of the eighth. 

Wichita Starter Charlie Lowell, receiving his first game action of the spring, was impressive in throwing four shutout innings while striking out five.  He turned things over to reliever Daniel Bennett who whiffed three of the six batters he squared off with in two quiet innings.  Hard-throwing righties Scott Shuman and Daniel Carela each allowed a runner to advance to third, but rebounded to work out of their respective jams in the seventh and eighth.

With the Goldeyes on the field, it was starting pitcher Ray Nixon and relievers Gabe Aguilar, Raul Rivera, and Benji Waite who were able to shut down the bats of the Nuts through seven.  The eighth inning saw right-hander Mark Pope enter the game and surrender a one out double to Brent Dean. Winnipeg manager Rick Forney went to his bullpen for lefty Brendan Lafferty to face Jayce Ray.  The Wingnuts center fielder came through with an opposite field double to left, pushing the team to a 1-0 lead. A single by Taylor Oldham, who finished 3-3 on the day, put runners on the corners for Luis Hernandez.  The second baseman lifted a sacrifice fly to center to grab an insurance run. 

Closer Matt Nevarez came on in the ninth looking to continue his impressive spring.  After a groundout by Brett Krill, Aaron Baker flared a two strike double to left.  At that point Nevarez bared down, fanning both Casio Grider and Luis Alen to end the game.

The Wingnuts closed the pre-season with a 4-4 record. They will open the regular season on the road in Joplin on Thursday night at 6:35 p.m.  The game will be broadcast on 92.7 KWME and can also be streamed by selecting the “Listen Live” link on the team website. The home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes will take place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

T-Bones Top Nuts 3-1 in Penultimate Spring Game

WICHITA, KS (May 18, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts have met the Kansas City T-Bones twice this exhibition season and in both instances could manage only a run.  In the second match-up on Monday night, the T-Bones plated a run in three different frames to emerge victorious by a 3-1 score.

Kansas City took their first lead just two batters into the game using a couple of hits and a Wingnuts miscue.  C.J. Henry led off with a single against starting pitcher Jason Van Skike.  Soon after, he stole second base and was able to advance to third on a high throw by catcher John Nester.  The next batter, Jake Blackwood, knocked a base hit through the middle to open the scoring.

The Nuts used good situational hitting in the second inning to even things up at one.  John Nester and Brent Dean laced a pair of singles to open the frame.  A groundball by Jayce Ray advanced both of them into scoring position.  Taylor Oldham’s fielder’s choice chopper to the right side was enough to plate Nester and move the score to 1-1.

Wichita managed to load the bases in both the third and fourth innings, but came up empty each time.  This came back to haunt the team when Alex Marquez singled to lead off the fifth and came around to score on an RBI double by Henry to increase the Kansas City lead to 2-1.

The last offense of the contest came courtesy of three straight hits by the T-Bones off of Omar Bencomo in the sixth.  Nate Tenbrink sparked the offense by laying down a bunt single. Joe Rapp followed with a line drive single.  Vladimir Frias scored Tenbrink with a hard double into the corner in left to make it 3-1, but Rapp was gunned down at the plate on a relay throw from Alberto Gonzalez to reduce the damage.

The Nuts managed to put just two runners on base in the remaining three innings against Josh Tols, Aaron Baker, and Kris Regas.  Luis Hernandez, John Nester, and Brent Dean each tallied a pair of hits.  Jarret Leverett and Brad Mincey both worked around one hit in their innings to put up zeroes. 

The Wingnuts (3-4) close out exhibition play on Tuesday evening at 5:00 p.m. against the Winnipeg Goldeyes at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  All tickets are for general admission seating and cost just $7.  The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Bats Break Out in 13-3 Victory over Joplin

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 17, 2015) – A day off apparently does the bats of the Wichita Wingnuts well. After having their originally scheduled Saturday night exhibition game with the Joplin Blasters postponed because of rain, the offense was clicking on all cylinders Sunday afternoon.  Wichita took advantage of a seven-hit, five-run first inning to cruise to a 13-3 win.

After Wingnuts starter Tim Brown faced the minimum in the first inning, the bats immediately went on the attack.  Luis Hernandez, Alberto Gonzalez, T.J. Mittelstaedt, Dustin Geiger, David Espinosa, and John Nester all hit safely in consecutive at bats against Joplin starter Raydel Sanchez to begin the inning.  Each of them were singles, aside from a double down the left field line from Gonzalez.

The score remained 5-0 until the Blasters put a crooked number on the board in the fourth.  Austin Gallagher began the inning with a double. Jesus Solorzano drove him in with an RBI single and scored himself on an ensuing double by Steve Tinoco.  Mitch Glasser cut the deficit to 5-3 with an RBI single of his own before the third out was recorded.

After the fourth inning Brown, Daniel Bennett, Jarret Leverett, Brad Mincey, Al Yevoli, and Matt Nevarez combined to shut down the Blasters the rest of the way, each allowing only one hit.

The Wingnuts added to their lead in the fourth with three runs, two of them unearned, against reliever Anthony Ferrara. Brent Dean doubled to begin the frame and was joined on base by Jayce Ray who walked.  Taylor Oldham laid down a bunt to try and advance the runners, but Ferrara’s throw to first was off target and resulted in a run scoring and runners moving to second and third.  Hernandez took advantage by driving in a pair on his second hit of the game to make it 8-3. The shortstop was a perfect 3-3 at the plate.

Espinosa scored Kori Melo with an RBI single in the sixth before turning the keys to the offense over to catcher John Nester the rest of the way. Nester launched the Nuts first home run of the spring, a three-run shot immediately following Espinosa’s hit, to increase the advantage to 12-3. Two innings later, the backstop did it again with a solo bomb to left center, resulting in the final 13-3 margin.

The exhibition season continues on Monday night at 7:05 p.m. with a home game against the Kansas City T-Bones. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Young Slugger Joins Club after Release from Cubs

WICHITA, KS (May 16, 2015) – Through five exhibition games the Wichita Wingnuts have come close, but not yet tallied a home run.  Although this is far from alarming at this stage of the season, the team has added a potential power boost to their lineup with their latest acquisition. Today the club announced the signing of corner infielder Dustin Geiger and the release of Chris Garcia. 

The 23-year old Geiger was recently released by the Chicago Cubs organization after playing in 13 games with Double-A Tennessee.  He was originally drafted by the Cubs in 2010 as a 23rd round pick straight out of high school.  His first full season in professional baseball got off to a hot start with Chicago’s rookie affiliate in Arizona and earned him a quick promotion to Single-A Peoria, where he finished the year.

In 2012, he played all season long with Peoria.  In just 75 games he managed to blast 17 home runs, hit 14 doubles, and drive in 53 runs.  During the ensuing 2013 campaign, while suiting up for High-A Daytona in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, Geiger managed to put up even bigger numbers.  In 123 games with the Cubs he hit a career-best .281, once again launched 17 home runs, and drove in 86 runs. He also reached base at a career-high .365 clip. 

The native of Merritt Island, Florida was promoted to Double-A Tennessee at the beginning of 2014 and spent the entire season with the Smokies.  Geiger played in 124 games and ripped 12 home runs while racking up 47 RBI.  He finished with a .223 average.

Garcia, who hadn’t played baseball in two years, started the first four exhibition games at first base.  He is now a free agent. 

The Wingnuts and Joplin Blasters will meet in an exhibition game on Saturday night, at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  The 7:05 p.m. start will allow all fans general admission access for just $7.  The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Wingnuts Exhibition Game Postponed

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 16, 2015) - Saturday's exhibition game between the Wichita Wingnuts and Joplin Blasters has been postponed due to inclement weather.

The game will be made up Sunday afternoon beginning at 1:00 p.m. Gates will open at noon.  All tickets are general admission and will cost $7

The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Wingnuts to Help Promote Film “Where Hope Grows”

WICHITA, KS (May 16, 2015) – Wichita Wingnuts owner Nate Robertson and his wife Kristin, as well as the organization, are presenting multiple free showings of the inspirational film, “Where Hope Grows” on Friday, May 22nd at the Warren West Theater. 

The movie tells the story of a baseball player whose professional career was cut short due to his personal problems.  His life begins on a slow downward spiral until he is suddenly awakened and invigorated by a young-man with Down Syndrome who works at the local grocery store.

There will be five different showings of the film on the 22nd at three different times.  Two showings will take place at 7:00 p.m., one will be at 7:20 p.m., and the final pair will begin at 7:40 p.m.  Nate and Kristin, whose daughter Shealyn has Down Syndrome, will address the audience prior to each of the showings.

The Wingnuts ownership group which includes Robertson, Steve Ruud, and Gary Austerman has teamed up with Movie to Movement to purchase a large amount of tickets for these showings. Fans and the rest of the Wichita community are invited to visit the office at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium to pick up free tickets for the movie.  Any interested groups should have a representative contact the Wingnuts to make reservations. Tickets will be limited per request. 

This fundraising event will benefit the Down Syndrome Society of Wichita and Rainbows United of Wichita.  The organization would love to see all of the tickets used and a large showing of support for the cause. The office will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the week on non-gamedays and from 9:00 a.m. through the end of the contest on gamedays.

The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Wingnuts Add Local Product, See Pair of Departures

WICHITA, KS (May 15, 2015) – Less than one week prior to the first pitch of the 2015 regular season, the Wichita Wingnuts continue to make progress toward finalizing their roster.  On Friday the team announced the addition of former Wichita Collegiate star Tyler Coughenour, the release of pitcher Andy Moye, and the retirement of outfielder Luis Montanez.

The 23-year old impressed Kevin Hooper and the rest of the Wingnuts’ coaching staff during the team’s annual open tryout in April.  He spent last season, his first in professional baseball, with the San Angelo Colts of the United League.  In 42 games, Coughenour batted .252 with three home runs and 23 RBI.  In addition, he scored 34 runs and stole five bases.  Showing off his versatility, Coughenour split time between shortstop and third base, while seeing limited action at second base.

Currently residing in Lawrence, Coughenour began his high school career in California at Elsinore High.  He moved to Wichita and suited up for Wichita Collegiate during his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons.  During his time in the sunflower state the infielder was named all-state, all-Metro, all-region, the Kansas Player of the Year and a second team All-American.  He also broke the Kansas state record for career batting average with a .610 mark.

Coughenour stayed close to home and began his college career at Wichita State University in 2011. In his freshman campaign he mainly received action at third base, making 43 starts.  He drove in 17 runs, scored 24, doubled six times, and compiled a .259 average. Coughenour played in 20 games the following season, after which he made the decision to transfer to the Division II ranks.

Landing at Angelo State University in Texas, Coughenour enjoyed two extremely successful campaigns with the Rams.  In his career he batted a combined .301 with 20 doubles, six triples, six home runs, and 44 stolen bases.  Following his senior season, he earned recognition as the 2014 Daktronics South Central First Team Utility Player and honorable mention National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's South Central All-Region Team.

Moye, coming off of an injury, tossed 3.0 innings for the Nuts this spring.  Montanez, a former Major League outfielder, has chosen to step aside from the sport after appearing in all four exhibition games to this point. 

The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Blasters Defeat Wingnuts 3-2 in Joplin

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

JOPLIN, MO (May 15, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts squared off against the Joplin Blasters in an exhibition game on Friday night at Missouri Southern State University’s Warren Turner Field. The two teams will meet in a much more important contest in less than a week at Joe Becker Stadium to kick off the regular season. In one of the precursors to that main event, Joplin emerged with a well-played 3-2 victory.

The Blasters opened the scoring in the third inning with an RBI double from Mitch Gasser, who had entered the game due to injury. His hit off of Wingnuts’ starter Scott Kuzminsky plated Jesus Solorzano, who had reached previously on an infield single.

Wichita manufactured their only two runs of the contest in the very next frame and briefly grabbed the lead.  After former Kansas State Wildcat Keith Picht retired the first two batters, the bats went on the attack.  Back-to-back singles by John Nester and Brent Dean started the rally and an ensuing walk by Taylor Oldham loaded the bases for Jayce Ray. The center fielder laced a single up the middle that plated a pair and made it 2-1. 

That lead lasted until the home half of the seventh, when the Blasters jumped back in front against Jacob Negrete.  Yasser Gomez singled and Omar Luna drew a free pass to put a pair on base.  A wild pitch advanced both runners and resulted in a fielder’s choice RBI ground out by Austin Gallagher.  The following batter, Steve Tinoco, grounded a seeing-eye single through a drawn infield to put the home team back ahead 3-2.

The Wingnuts were able to put the tying run in scoring position in the top of the ninth against left-hander Kristhiam Linares courtesy of two hit-by-pitches.  Linares rebounded in time to get a ground ball double play from Tyler Coughenour to seal the deal.

Right-handed pitcher Vince Molesky was incredibly efficient in his three-inning outing in relief of Kuzminsky. He retired all nine hitters he faced, five of them on ground balls.  Daniel Carela struck out two of the three hitters he saw in one inning of work.  Scott Shuman also worked a scoreless frame.

The Wingnuts (2-3) and Blasters will meet once again on Saturday night, this time at Wichita’s Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  The 7:05 p.m. start will allow all fans general admission access for just $7.  The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

Wingnuts Hold Off Garden City to Even Spring Record

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 13, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts plated a trio of runs in each of the first two innings and then staved off multiple comeback attempts by the Garden City Wind to emerge with a 7-4 victory on Wednesday afternoon. 

Wingnuts’ starter Jason Van Skike held the Wind scoreless in the first inning, setting the stage for the offense to get started.  Garden City pitcher Zack Russell-Myers, who lasted just over an inning, walked the bases loaded with one out.  Chris Garcia took advantage by drilling a booming double into the left center gap that scored all three runs and put Wichita in front 3-0.

Jayce Ray also used the gap in left center to lead off the second frame with a triple. Luis Hernandez brought him in with an RBI single and moved to third on T.J. Mittelstaedt’s ground rule double.  Alberto Gonzalez slapped a ball up the middle to score both of them and increase the lead to 6-0.

Garden City scored for the first time in the third inning.  The nine-hitter James Floyd led off with a single against Van Skike.  He advanced to third via a stolen base and fielder’s choice ground ball and raced home on a passed ball.  Rico Moreno rekindled the threat with a single and stolen base.  On his steal, the throw from catcher Brent Dean sailed high and allowed Moreno to advance to third.  He would later score on an RBI single from Larry Rodriguez to pull within 6-2.

The Nuts tacked on their seventh and final run in the fourth courtesy of doubles by Hernandez and Espinosa. 

Garden City took advantage of two hits, two walks, three stolen bases, and a pair of wild pitches against Daniel Carela to pull within 7-4 in the eighth inning.  Matt Nevarez was able to strand two runners in scoring position to shut the door on the Wind in the ninth.

Jarret Leverett, Daniel Bennett, Al Yevoli, and Brad Mincey each worked clean innings in relief, with Bennett striking out the side. 

The Wingnuts (2-2) will take Thursday off before making the short trip to Joplin on Friday night for a 7:05 p.m. battle with the Blasters.  The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

Wingnuts Fall to T-Bones by 5-1 Score

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

KANSAS CITY, KS (May 12, 2015) – After opening their exhibition schedule with a pair of showdowns with Frontier League opponents, the Wichita Wingnuts went up against a fellow American Association rival on Tuesday. Despite putting runners on base often, the Nuts couldn’t bring enough of them in to score as they dropped a 5-1 decision to the Kansas City T-Bones at Community America Ballpark.

The T-Bones didn’t wait long to go on the offensive against Wichita starter Tim Brown. Robby Kuzdale led off the bottom of the first inning with a triple into the gap.  Brown retired the next two hitters and looked to be on the verge of working out of the jam.  Adam Bailey spoiled those plans by lining an RBI single into right. Nate Tenbrink followed with a run-scoring double that plated Bailey and made the score 2-0.

The Wingnuts cashed in against former Major League right-hander Fernando Hernandez by using small ball tactics in the third inning. Taylor Oldham began the frame with a double. Jayce Ray used a fielder’s choice to move Oldham to third and then Luis Hernandez scored him with a bouncer deep in the second base hole.

The T-Bones regained their two-run advantage in the bottom half of the same inning. C.J. Henry reached with an infield single and scored on Bailey’s RBI double to make it 3-1.

The same score held until the seventh inning when Kansas City scratched across a run against reliever Jake Negrete. The right-hander retired the first two hitters he faced before walking Brian Erie and Kyle Robinson.  Henry came through with a two out base knock to push Erie across and increase the advantage to 4-1.  The T-Bones added their final run in the bottom of the ninth against Scott Shuman.

Luis Hernandez and Chris Garcia each tallied a pair of hits in the contest.  Catcher John Nester threw out both runners who attempted to steal on him, improving to 4-4 in such opportunities. Omar Bencomo was impressive as the second pitcher to take the mound, striking out four in 3.0 no-hit innings.  Al Yevoli retired the side in order in the eighth. 

The Wingnuts (1-2) will take the field at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium for the first time this spring on Wednesday morning at 11:05 a.m. to take on the Garden City Wind.  The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

 

Miners Top Nuts with Late Outburst

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

MARION, IL (May 11, 2015) – Just like the day before, weather wreaked havoc on the Wichita Wingnuts exhibition plans on Monday morning.  Originally scheduled to take on the Southern Illinois Miners at 10:00 a.m. the contest was pushed back until 11:30 because of persistent rain.  After a slow start offensively for both squads, the Miners’ Steve Marino fueled some late-inning fireworks as Southern Illinois pulled away for a 10-3 win.

The Wingnuts starting pitcher, left-hander Anthony Capra, continued a string of stellar pitching performances by tossing 3.0 shutout innings, allowing two hits, and striking out four. He was followed by Vince Molesky who also took the hill for 3.0 frames.  The rookie out of Mount St. Mary’s also worked 3.0 innings on the bump.  He allowed the Miners to score one run, on an RBI double by Toby DeMello, on three hits and fanned one.  In 12.0 innings this spring the Wingnuts’ potential starters have allowed just one run.

As they did on Sunday, the Wingnuts’ bats came alive in the late innings. Alberto Gonzalez started the top half of the seventh with a base knock through the middle.  The next batter, Luis Montanez placed a double between outfielders to put two in scoring position with nobody out.  Taylor Oldham tied the game with a single to center and then John Nester put the Nuts up 2-1 with a deep sacrifice fly.

The first four batters for the Miners in the bottom of the seventh reached base safely as they re-claimed the lead off of reliever Daniel Bennett.  Wendell Fairly walked to start the threat prior to a single by Jon Minucci. Aaron Gates drew a walk to load the bases for Marino.  The third baseman drove a pitch over the wall in left center for a grand slam that made the score 5-2.

Wichita gained a run back in their half of the eighth inning on via an RBI single from the bat of Mackenzie Handel. Once again the Miners were able to respond in the bottom half, this time against lefty Jarret Leverett.  Fairley, Gates, and Marino each drove in a run during the four hit inning to give Southern Illinois an 8-3 lead.

The Miners added their final two runs in the home half of the ninth inning which was played due to the flexibility of exhibition games.  Vasquez capped the scoring with a two-run double off of Brad Mincey. 

The Wingnuts (1-1) will travel to Kansas City to square off with their first American Association opponent, the Kansas City T-Bones, on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Nuts Open Exhibition Season with 4-1 Victory

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

SAUGET, ILL (May 10, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts first exhibition game of 2015 at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Illinois was bumped ahead an hour due to the threat of bad weather on Sunday afternoon. Even though there was suddenly a mad rush by everyone to get prepared for the contest, the Wingnuts pitching staff came out with guns blazing.  The offense took a little time to get warmed up, but broke through with a three-run eighth inning to emerge with a 4-1 victory over the Gateway Grizzlies. 

Andy Moye started the game for Wichita and worked 3.0 shutout innings, allowing just one hit. He passed the torch to Scott Kuzminsky in the fourth inning and the rookie put up the same line as the starter.  Fresh out of the University of Hawaii, Kuzminsky also did not allow a run and surrendered only one hit in 3.0 innings. 

Hard-throwing relief pitcher Daniel Carela worked a perfect seventh inning before the Wingnuts kicked off the scoring in the eighth. Taylor Oldham started the process with a one out walk and moved to second on a single by Jayce Ray.  Oldham stole third base and was still there when Ray was caught stealing for the second out. Former Major Leaguer Luis Hernandez ripped a clutch RBI single to right to grab the advantage 1-0.

Gateway battled back to tie the score in the bottom half of the inning off of reliever Scott Shuman.  Blake Brown ripped a double off the wall in left field to initiate the threat.  After a fielder’s choice grounder from Richard Siegel, Grant Buckner singled in Brown to even things on the scoreboard.

The deadlock didn't last long as the Nuts would put three on the board in the top of the ninth. Kori Melo drew a leadoff walk which was followed by a Chris Garcia single. Two batters later, David Espinosa drove in a run with a single.  Brent Dean followed with a base hit that brought home two more and the lead grew to 4-1.

Closer Matt Nevarez came on to work the ninth and quickly re-gained last season’s form, striking out the side in order to shut the door on the Grizzlies.

The Wingnuts will continue their exhibition schedule with a 10:00 a.m. tilt against the Southern Illinois Miners on Monday morning in Marion, Illinois. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

Wingnuts Roster Set as Espinosa Returns

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 8, 2015) – Per league rules, American Association teams are allowed a maximum of five veteran players on the roster at any given point in the season.  This makes filling those five roster spots with productive players one of the most important tasks facing a team’s brain trust each and every off-season.  With this in mind, the Wichita Wingnuts have exercised the 2015 option on David Espinosa’s contract.

Espinosa was a teammate of Wingnuts’ manager Kevin Hooper in the Detroit Tigers organization at Triple-A Toledo from 2005-2007.  He is currently in the 15th season of a very successful professional baseball career.  Espinosa was a first round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds back in 2000 out Gulliver Prep High School in Coral Gables, Florida.  The 23rd overall pick spent two years at the single-A level for the Reds before joining the Detroit farm system in 2003.  He quickly climbed the ladder to Triple-A, reaching the highest level in the minors by 2005.  Espinosa hit .232 with 14 home runs and 78 RBI over a three year span before being granted his release.

Since his release from the Tigers, the 33-year old has played the entirety of the past seven seasons at the independent level, aside from a 60-game stop in the Seattle Mariners farm system in 2009.  His stops include Camden, Southern Maryland, and York in the Atlantic League and American Association cities such as Grand Prairie, Lincoln, and Kansas City before arriving in Wichita. At these locations he has combined to rack up a .309 batting average, .420 on-base percentage, 54 home runs, 342 RBI, 133 doubles, 48 triples, 110 stolen bases, and 479 walks.

Espinosa began the 2014 season in Kansas City, where he hit a solid .290 with 29 runs driven in over 64 contests.  He represented the South team in the American Association All-Star Game shortly after arriving in Wichita in a trade that sent relief pitcher Patrick Mincey to the T-Bones. It would be safe to say that the native of Venezuela took a liking to his new home as he was almost unstoppable at the plate down the stretch.  In 34 games with the Nuts, Espinosa batted .338 with five doubles, five triples, six home runs and 22 RBI.  He paced the league in triples at the end of the regular season, while also finishing third in walks and eighth in runs scored.  With a championship in sight, he ramped up his efforts even more.  In seven post-season games, Espinosa managed to drive in eight runs on eight hits.

Having played everywhere but pitcher and catcher at some point in his 1,509 career games, Espinosa is expected to see time at first base, corner outfield, and designated hitter this season. 

The return of Espinosa brings the 2015 spring training roster to its maximum of 28 players. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when it must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

Nuts Bring in Former Clemson Catcher Nester

WICHITA, KS (May 4, 2015) – With under a week until the first exhibition game of the 2015 season, the Wichita Wingnuts have a few open spots on their roster to be filled.  The biggest remaining need was a catcher to pair with the re-signed Brent Dean behind the plate.  As of Monday, that is no longer a pressing issue with the team announcing the signing of John Nester.

The 25-year old Nester spent the 2014 season at three different affiliates in the San Diego Padres farm system.  He began the season in High-A Lake Elsinore where he saw 36 games of action behind the dish.  In his time with the Storm, Nester hit .211 with a home run and nine RBI.  The Padres sent him to the Arizona Rookie League for six games before he resurfaced with Single-A Fort Wayne in the Midwest League in early August.  His offense was much improved at this stop, evidenced by his 15 hits in 50 at-bats, a .300 average.

Born in Huntington, West Virginia, Nester attended high school in South Carolina and decided to play his college ball at in-state power Clemson University.  During his freshman season, he played in 30 games and batted .256 which led to him becoming the regular starter at catcher for each of the next two seasons.  As a sophomore in 2005, he enjoyed his best offensive year with the Tigers by blasting five home runs, driving in 33 runs, and maintaining a .304 average.  After catching in 52 games his junior season, Nester was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 39th round of the 2010 draft and chose to begin his professional career. 

He began his career by catching 22 games with the A’s Low-A affiliate in Vancouver at the end of the 2011 campaign.  In each of the next two seasons, Nester applied the trade in Single-A Burlington, combining to hit just north of .200 in 154 games while throwing out 26% of attempted base stealers. 

In 2013, the right-handed hitter spent all year with the Evansville Otters of the Frontier League and caught most of the team’s games.  He enjoyed the best season of his career both offensively and defensively with the Otters.  At the plate he batted a career-high .287 with 18 doubles, five home runs, and 28 RBI while drawing 32 walks.  Defensively, he threw out runners at a career-best 34% rate. 

The signing of Nester increases the 2015 roster to a total of 26 players. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when it must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

 

Hard-Throwing Right Handers Become Pen Pals with Wingnuts

WICHITA, KS (May 1, 2015) – There is a saying in baseball that a team can never have enough quality arms.  The Wichita Wingnuts clearly have subscribed to that philosophy while building their 2015 roster.  With a bullpen already full of talented pitchers of all varieties, the club added a couple of fireballers on Friday in Daniel Carela and Scott Shuman.

The 27-year old Carela will be entering his seventh season of pro baseball and his third in independent ball.  In each of his two previous stops in the indy ball circuit he didn’t last a full season before having his contract purchased by a Major League club.  The imposing hurler features a fastball that hovers in the mid-90s and has reached triple digits on a few occasions.

Carela was signed by the New York Mets in 2009 as a non-drafted free agent following a college career at Wallace State Community College in Alabama.  After two impressive seasons at the lower levels of the Mets’ system, he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for 2011.   The native of New York City appeared in 17 games that season prior to being released and making his first trip to the Frontier League in 2012.

With the Joliet Slammers, he came out of the bullpen for 36 games and finished with a 2-2 record.  Carela finished 10 games and earned one save while posting an earned run average of 3.00.  In 36.0 innings he struck out 41 opposing batters and walked 23.  His velocity and solid numbers earned him another chance with the Dodgers, who picked him up in August for the remainder of the Minor League campaign. He began 2013 with the Dodgers before finishing the year in High-A Clearwater with the Philadelphia Phillies. 

He was in camp with the Cleveland Indians to open last season, but dealt with an ankle injury that limited his effectiveness and ultimately led to his release.  After briefly considering retirement, he was talked into continuing his career by the Windy City ThunderBolts of the Frontier League.  Serving as the team’s closer he was successful in seven of eight save opportunities and posted a 2.28 ERA in 26 appearances and struck out 39 batters in just 27.2 innings.  His great numbers caught the eye of the Atlanta Braves in late August and they purchased his contract from the ThunderBolts.  Carela began this spring in Atlanta’s camp, but was released prior to the MiLB season commencing.

He owns a career 9-9 record and a 3.72 ERA in 141 games, 139 of them in relief.  He has averaged over ten strikeouts per nine innings on the mound.

Shuman, on the other hand, has spent the entirety of his five year career in affiliated ball up until this point. He was a 23rd round selection of the Milwaukee Brewers out of high school in 2006, but chose to attend SEC power Auburn University instead.  After three years with the Tigers, Shuman was again taken in the 2009 MLB Draft, this time by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 19th round.

The 27-year old right-hander got his professional career off to a great start with the Rays rookie ball affiliate at the end of the 2009 season.  In 22.0 innings, Shuman allowed just two earned runs and struck out 29 opponents.  That performance earned him a promotion to Single-A Bowling Green in 2010.  The progression continued at the same rate in each of the next two seasons as he advanced to High-A Charlotte in 2011 and then Double-A Montgomery in 2012.

With a fastball consistently registering in the mid-90s on the radar gun and a knack for racking up big strikeout numbers, Shuman was a sought after prospect.  This lead to his selection by the San Francisco Giants in the Minor League portion of the Rule 5 Draft in 2012.  The native of Valdosta, Georgia spent the entire 2013 campaign with the Double-A affiliate of the Giants in Richmond where he finished with an ERA of 9.51 in 23.2 innings. He was released following the season and did not play in 2014.

For his career, Shuman owns a 4-10 record and a 4.89 ERA in 156 games, all out of the bullpen.  He has finished 98 games and saved 19, while striking out 322 batters over 206 innings, an average of just over 14 whiffs per nine frames. 

The addition of Carela and Shuman increases the 2015 roster to 25 members. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Nuts Know What Brown Does For Them, Re-Sign Starter

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (April 27, 2015) – Tim Brown has suited up for three different teams in the American Association during his six year professional baseball career.  All three of those organizations, the Lincoln Saltdogs, Grand Prairie AirHogs, and Wichita Wingnuts have won championships while Brown was on their roster. Whether it is coincidence, the right-handed pitcher is a good luck charm, or he is simply that impactful on a club’s starting rotation, he has clearly become a valuable commodity within the league.  On Monday, the Wingnuts announced that Brown had re-signed with the club, joining Anthony Capra and Jason Van Skike as returning rotation members from the league’s top pitching staff last year.

With his up-tempo pitching style and incessant pounding of the strike zone, Brown was one of the most efficient pitchers in the league.  He went 10-4 with a 3.12 ERA and issued just 19 walks in 129.2 innings.  He was at the top of the class among American Association pitchers in each category, finishing third in ERA, tied for fifth in wins, and eighth in innings.  By the time the playoffs rolled around, Brown had earned the honor of pitching the opening game of each series.  He won both of his post-season starts, limiting Laredo to a pair of runs in 7.0 innings in the Division Series and then shutting out Lincoln for 7.0 innings to begin the Championship Series.

The 28-year old was not drafted after finishing his collegiate career at Pittsburg State University in 2009. He led the Gorillas pitching staff that year with a 3.71 ERA in 80.0 innings of work.  He has the fourth most strikeouts in a single season at the school with 77.  Brown is the career leader in lowest amount of walks per nine innings pitched with an average of 0.83 and holds the two best single-season marks in the same category with an average of 1.04 in 2008 and 0.68 in 2009.

Following the completion of the college season, Brown joined the Lincoln Saltdogs, going 7-1 in 17 appearances with a 2.59 ERA.  He also began the 2010 season with Lincoln, but after starting the season 7-5 had his contract purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies in July.  Brown was placed with the team’s Gulf Coast League affiliate where he finished with an impressive 1.50 ERA in seven games spanning 24.0 innings. 

He split the 2011 season between Lincoln and Grand Prairie before flourishing with Gateway in the next two seasons.  With the Grizzlies, Brown went a combined 25-5 in 39 starts with a 2.61 ERA.  He struck out 136 batters while issuing just 64 walks.  In 2013, he finished second in the Frontier League with a 2.97 ERA.  In a game against the Lake Erie Crushers that July, Brown threw the third no-hitter in Grizzlies history, allowing just a pair of base runners via walk.

The return of Brown increases the amount of players signed for 2015 to 23. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

Five Players Involved in Massive Bullpen Shakeup

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (April 24, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts roster continues to take shape with a series of transactions at the end of April.  Lately, many of those moves have centered around the team’s bullpen.  On Friday the team announced the signing of Alfonso Yevoli, the trade of Chase Johnson to Sioux Falls in exchange for a player to be named later, and a deal that sent Mike Zouzalik and the rights to Chris Peacock to St. Paul for the rights to Matt Nevarez.

The 25-year old Yevoli has played a majority of his professional career in the Frontier League with the Washington Wild Things.  He first suited up for the club in 2012 following a college career that included stops at both High Point University and Tennessee Wesleyan College.  His rookie season was very successful as he worked 28 games out of the bullpen and finished seven games. Yevoli put together a 1-2 record and a 2.62 ERA while striking out 34 hitters in just 34.1 innings.

The right-hander was signed in the off-season by the Atlanta Braves, but released prior to the beginning of the 2013 campaign.  He initially struggled in his return to Washington, before straightening things out to the tune of allowing only two runs with 21 strikeouts in his final 17.0 innings with the club.  The impressive display earned him a shot with the Chicago Cubs organization for the remainder of the year.  Playing for Kane County, a Single-A affiliate, Yevoli allowed seven earned runs in 11.0 innings while striking out 19.

He spent the entire summer of 2014 back in Washington, appearing in over half of the Wild Things games.  The reliever finished with a 4-5 record and a 2.92 ERA averaging 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings. This winter, the native of New York, pitched for the Melbourne Aces of the Australian Baseball League.

Johnson, a 6’5 right-hander, came to Wichita from the United League during the club’s final road trip of the 2014 regular season.  He pitched one inning in eight of the final 12 games and gave up just one run in that span.  His final numbers featured four games finished with one save, seven strikeouts, four walks, and just seven hits allowed. 

Nevarez will return to the Wingnuts after having his contract purchased in the middle of a season for the second time last year. The native of Mission Hills, California was a 4-0 with a pristine 1.58 ERA in 35 appearances that covered 34 innings.  He struck out 42 opposing hitters, walked just 12, and allowed only 26 hits.  Nevarez recorded 23 saves in 24 chances with the only blown save coming courtesy of two unearned runs.  He allowed an earned run in just three of 34 appearances.  In six games with Altoona, the Double-A farm team of the Pirates, he allowed one run and struck out nine in 6.2 frames.

After beginning the 2011 season with the Houston Astros Double-A affiliate in Corpus Christi, Nevarez joined the Wingnuts for the first time in early July of that year.  He finished five games and earned one save on his way to a 2.76 ERA in 18 appearances.  In 2012, he started the season in Wichita before having his contract purchased by the Tampa Bay Rays in late July.  In his Wingnuts’ career Nevarez is 7-3 with 31 saves and a 2.35 ERA in 78 games.  He has fanned 106 while walking 29 in 76.2 innings.  American Association opponents have hit just .181 against him in his career.

Zouzalik posted a 4-0 record and 3.06 ERA in 47 games out of the pen last season. He finished 14 contests. In 47.0 innings he struck out 31 opposing hitters, walked 16, and allowed three home runs. In addition, he worked 4.0 shutout innings in four appearances while striking out five in the post-season.

Joining the Nuts after winning the United League title with Rio Grande Valley, Peacock made six regular season appearances, all lasting one inning, and gave up six runs, five earned, on nine hits. In the playoffs, Peacock allowed one run in 3.1 innings on the hill, while striking out a pair. He had his contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates following the season.

The moves leave the Wingnuts roster at 22 players signed for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Wingnuts Add Local College Product Melo

Wichita, KS (April 21, 2015) – Local schools are a valuable place for American Association baseball teams to look for under-the-radar rookies who are a necessity on team rosters during the regular season.  Anthony Capra and Charlie Lowell, pitchers from nearby Wichita State, have already signed with the Wichita Wingnuts for the 2015 season.  The team announced today that former Newman University and Tabor College standout Kori Melo has joined the club. 

Melo, a native of California, began his collegiate career at Merced Community College in the Golden State.  After playing two years for the Blue Devils, the diminutive infielder made his initial trek to Wichita to play for Newman University.  In his lone season with the Jets, he made an immediate impact on the Heartland Conference. Melo batted .362 over the course of 199 plate appearances with 38 runs batted in and 48 scored.  He finished second on the team with a .442 on-base percentage and added nine doubles and seven stolen bases.  His most notable performance of the year saw him go 4-6 at the plate with four runs scored and six RBI against Oklahoma Panhandle State.  Following the season, he was named All-Heartland Conference First Team infielder.

For his senior season, Melo stayed in the state of Kansas, but moved north to Tabor College in Hillsboro.  He closed out his college eligibility by hitting .338 with three home runs and 37 RBI for the Bluejays. Melo found his way on base at a .418 clip and chipped in 18 stolen bases.  At the conclusion of the 2011 season he was selected as the First Team Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference second baseman.

Melo did not play professionally until the 2013 season.  He began the United League season with the Fort Worth Cats, where he played 28 games before being dealt to Edinburgh in a four-player trade.  He played in 15 games for the Roadrunners prior to being released.  Melo was not on the market long, however, as Fort Worth re-signed him for the final 18 contests.  His combined numbers for both teams featured a .220 batting average with 12 RBI in 61 games.

The switch-hitter did not play last season. Melo has played second base, shortstop, and third base in his professional career.

Melo is the 22nd player to join the Wingnuts roster for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Pete Rose Visit and Replica Rings Highlight 2015 Nuts Promo Schedule

Photo credit: Meryl Loop

Wichita, KS (April 15, 2015) – Fans who make their way to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium during the summer of 2015 should be able to notice a celebratory theme in the promotions and events the Wichita Wingnuts have scheduled. Whether the organization is recognizing the 2014 championship team, welcoming one of the greatest players in Major League Baseball history, paying homage to a Hall of Famer, or saluting those who fight for our freedom, celebration will be in the air. 

The celebration’s VIP guest list will be headlined by the all-time leader in hits and games played in MLB history.  Pete Rose will make an appearance to help coach the Wingnuts on July 19th courtesy of 7 Clans Casinos.  Rose will be available for a special 45-minute pre-game meet-and greet with 100 fans.  Admission to this opportunity will be part of a $100 package that includes a Wingnuts baseball signed by Rose, photo opportunities, and a ticket to the game.  The man affectionately referred to as Charlie Hustle will also throw out the first pitch and address the crowd before taking on coaching duties for the ball game with Sioux Falls.

Saturday, May 30th is sure to be a party, as the team will hand out replica American Association Championship rings, also courtesy of 7 Clans Casinos, to the first 1,000 fans through the gates.  The festivities will continue as members of the 2014 team will be presented with their jewelry in a pre-game ceremony.  Finally, the championship banner will be raised above the field by General Manager Josh Robertson and Field Manager Kevin Hooper.

The following day, May 31st, TeenView Magazine will attempt to set the world record for the largest water balloon fight on the field after the game.  All fans will be encouraged to stick around after the game to take part in the fun.

2004 WWE Hall of Fame inductee Sgt. Slaughter will make a grand entrance at the ballgame on Saturday, June 13th thanks to Convergys. Adorned in his customary camouflage, the wrestler will sign autographs, toss out the first pitch, and interact with fans while the team attempts to put the Lincoln Saltdogs in the Cobra Clutch.     

June 26th will feature the most meaningful celebration of the whole season. The largest fireworks show of the year will take place on the last Friday home game before Independence Day as part of the Wingnuts’ annual Salute to America’s Heroes by KAKEland and Kansas One Call. 

The very next night will feature a familiar face from another baseball team that has plenty of reason to rejoice.  Sluggerrr, the reigning American League champion Kansas City Royals mascot, will make the voyage a tad west of his normal digs to hang out with Nuts fans as the team hopes to prey on the Joplin Blasters.

Even though the Wingnuts are on the road, Lawrence-Dumont Stadium will be part of the Wichita Parks Foundation’s July 4th event this summer.  At 6:30 p.m. the Puerto Rico National Team will take on the US9 Armed Forces baseball team on the home turf of the Nuts.  The game will be part of team Puerto Rico’s tour of the country leading up to their appearance in the National Baseball Congress Tournament.  Tickets will be general admission and cost $7.

The most jam-packed evening is slated for July 10th with our partners, Pixius Communications and the National Wild Turkey Federation. The first item on the agenda is the annual Teddy Bear Toss, where fans bring stuffed animals and throw them on the field when the Wingnuts score their first run.  The animals are collected and delivered to children in local hospitals by the team.  The players will also be wearing special camouflage jerseys which will be auctioned off following a fireworks display at the conclusion of the game.

Dog lovers will definitely want to circle Saturday, August 9th on their calendars.  The Wingnuts will give fans a chance to watch the boys try to fetch a win with their canine friends on Bark in the Park Day presented by Newman University. 

The Nuts will honor the longest-tenured player in team history on Saturday, August 22nd with a giveaway that will have you shaking with anticipation.  Left-handed pitcher Anthony Capra is the first player to suit up for more than three years with the club and he will receive the ultimate honor, a miniature likeness of himself.  Most teams would go the traditional route and create a bobble head, but the Nuts have gone one step further.  Thanks to R.A. Ruud and Son the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive an Anthony Capra Bobble Butt. This collectible will resemble a traditional bobble head until you turn it around and give it a wiggle. 

Other giveaways slated for 2015 include: magnet schedules (May 26th), championship pennants (May 29th), Wingnuts camo hats (July 11th), and Wingnuts youth jerseys (September 5th).

Aside from the aforementioned events, the Wingnuts will bring exciting daily promotions as well.  Mondays are once again Kwik Shop Dollar Days.  Tuesdays will feature buy-in nights, where tickets can be found at local businesses for free, or two-for-one reserved ticket deals.  Way-Back Wednesdays will return to the docket, this year beginning in the 90’s and moving as far back in time as the 50’s.  Ticket prices for those games will reflect pricing from the era being celebrated.  New to Thursday is Shiner Bock beer for a buck and dollar ribs.  Friday nights will feature select giveaways and conclude with a fireworks show. Entertainment acts, post-game autograph sessions, and giveaways headline Saturday nights and the weekend concludes with Family Funday on Sunday. Following these afternoon games fans will be invited onto the field for a game of catch.

The complete 2015 promotional schedule can be viewed at the following link http://wichitawingnuts.com/promotions.html For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

Moye Becomes Newest Toy in Wingnuts Arsenal

WICHITA, KS (April 13, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts announced the signing of right-handed pitcher Andy Moye on Monday afternoon.  The former Milwaukee Brewers prospect will re-join old teammates Brent Dean (Helena and Brevard County) and T.J. Mittelstaedt (Brevard County and Huntsville) in the home clubhouse at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Moye played his high school baseball at two different schools located in the state of Georgia.  He began at Blessed Trinity High school in Roswell, where he won a state title, before transferring to Alpharetta High school.  During a breakout senior season, Moye set school records for wins, innings pitched, and strikeouts on the mound in addition to hits and doubles at the plate.  In 2006, Baseball America ranked him as one of the “Top 150” recruits in the nation.

Although he was selected in the 11th round of the ’06 MLB draft by the New York Mets, Moye chose to play college ball at Georgia Southern University.  He redshirted in 2007 and was a staple of the Eagles’ starting rotation in both his redshirt freshman and sophomore campaigns.  As a junior, Moye paced the team with eight wins and was selected once again in the draft, this time in the 50th round by the St. Louis Cardinals.  He decided to return for his final season of eligibility which turned out to be the right choice.  Moye enjoyed the best year of his college career, going 7-2 with an earned run average of 2.39 in 12 starts. The performance earned him All-Southern Conference honors and a 15th round selection by the Brewers. 

Receiving his first taste of pro ball in 2011, Moye displayed a willingness to pound the zone and it paid off. Despite giving up a fair share of hits, he walked just 19 batters while striking out 76 and posting a 7-3 record.  The Brewers assigned him to Wisconsin at the outset of 2012, but after eight stellar appearances he was promoted to Brevard County (A+) for the remainder of the year.

Aside from one rehab start back in Single-A, Moye spent each of his final two years with the Brewers at Double-A Huntsville.  He combined to go 10-17 with a 4.32 ERA in 35 starts and a pair of relief appearances.  Moye struck out 118 hitters in 175.0 innings with 55 walks. 

The 6’5 hurler is expected to begin the season as a member of the Wingnuts’ starting rotation.  He is 26-23 with a 4.15 ERA and a 2.68 strikeout/walk ratio in four professional seasons.

Moye is the 21st player to join the Wingnuts roster for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts’ official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Montanez Becomes Second Former Oriole to Join Nuts

WICHITA, KS (April 9, 2015) – The relationship between the Wichita Wingnuts and Baltimore Orioles this off-season has been an active one to say the least.  The Major League club purchased the contract of outfielder Jake Luce from the Nuts in January and then swooped in to sign recent Wichita signee Jhonathan Ramos in March.  On the other side of the transaction wire, the Wingnuts have announced the addition of former Baltimore outfielder Luis Montanez.  The veteran is expected to join former teammate with the Orioles, shortstop Luis Hernandez, in the opening day lineup. 

The Chicago Cubs made Montanez the third overall pick in the 2000 MLB Draft out of Coral Park High School in Miami.  At that time he was considered a complete package at the shortstop position and one of the best defensive players in the country.  He got off to a fantastic start at the plate in rookie ball, batting .344 with 37 RBI in 50 games.  This propelled him on a seven year journey through the Cubs’ farm system that included stops in the following cities: Lansing, Daytona, Boise, Peoria, West Tennessee, and Iowa. After making the transition to the outfield the year before, Montanez reached the Triple-A level for the first time in 2006, but hit just .224 in 82 games.  The Cubs released him following that season.

The 33-year old signed with the Orioles prior to the 2007 campaign and was placed with Double-A Bowie, where he played for a majority of the next two years.  The 2008 season was the best of his career and led to his eventual promotion to the parent club for the first time. In 116 games he put together a .335 average with 26 home runs and 97 RBI which earned him the Eastern League Triple Crown.  Montanez made his big league debut in the field on August 5th and then launched a home run in his first MLB at-bat on the 6th.  In the remaining 37 games he ripped two more long balls and hit .295.

Montanez played 29 games in Baltimore during the early stages of 2009, but missed the rest of the season due to a broken wrist.  He rebounded from the injury enough to pass all tests at the minor league level and eventually played another 26 games with the Orioles in 2010 before being issued his release. 

His former employer, the Cubs, was willing to give him a second chance in the organization and signed him to a minor league contract.  He was impressive enough at Triple-A Iowa that he earned his first chance to suit up for the team on the north side of Chicago.  In 29 contests, Montanez drove in nine runs and managed a .222 batting average. 

After splitting 2012 between the Triple-A affiliates of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Philadelphia Phillies, he played independent ball for the first time in 2013 with the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League.  Montanez didn’t last long with the Patriots due to his .313 average and 41 RBI in 52 games.  The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim purchased his contract and assigned him to Double-A Arkansas.  He was not retained by the Angels at the conclusion of the season, despite putting up solid numbers.

Last season, the native of Puerto Rico, hit .289 with 17 home runs and 74 RBI in 130 games with Somerset.  He owns a career batting average of over .280 with 127 home runs and 780 RBI while taking 482 walks.  He has played just short of 1,000 of his 1,558 career games in the outfield. 

Montanez is the 20th player to join the Wingnuts roster for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

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Backstop Dean Re-Signs for 2015

Photo credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (April 6, 2015) – At times during a schedule that features 100 games crammed into 110 summer days, a baseball team needs a spark or something to rejuvenate them from the daily grind.  In early July of last season the Wichita Wingnuts received just that and filled a position of need with one transaction.   By signing catcher Brent Dean, the team found someone to give all-star Chris McMurray a break and bring energy to the clubhouse on a daily basis.  Dean has signed up to play his seventh season of pro baseball in Wichita this year.

 The backstop began the 2014 season as a free agent after being released by the Milwaukee Brewers following the 2013 campaign.  In 21 games Dean batted .317 with three home runs, 11 RBI, and two stolen bases.  Spending 17 games behind the plate, he finished with a .977 fielding percentage and caught one potential base stealer.

Dean, 28 years old, began his collegiate career with two seasons at L.A. Harbor Junior College, before transferring to UCLA for his final two seasons. He helped lead the Bruins to consecutive NCAA Regional appearances in 2007 and 2008, including the NCAA Super Regional at Cal State Fullerton in 2007. Dean compiled a .276 batting average in two seasons with the Bruins, prior to serving as an undergraduate assistant coach with UCLA in 2009.

As a junior in 2008, he threw out nine of 27 attempted base stealers (33.3 percent), leading UCLA's defense to the highest caught stealing rate among all Pac-10 teams (44.9 percent). Dean played in 29 games, making 26 starts.

After going undrafted out of school, the native of Los Angeles made his professional debut, playing in six games with the Sioux City Explorers in 2009.  The following winter he was a free agent signee of the Brewers. In his first full season as a pro, he hit .272 with four home runs and 30 RBI for their Rookie League affiliate in Helena.  Dean also began the 2011 season with Helena, but was promoted to Advanced-A Brevard County after just eight games.  He spent parts of three seasons with the Manatees before his release.  He is a career .248 hitter, with ten home runs, and 68 RBI.  The backstop has thrown out 28% of base stealers during his six seasons in professional baseball.

Dean is the 19th player to join the Wingnuts roster for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Nuts Make Flurry of Transactions to End March

WICHITA, KS (March 31, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts have 28 roster spots to fill prior to the opening of camp on May 9th.  Three separate occurrences this week have left manager Kevin Hooper and General Manager Josh Robertson with three more open spots to fill.  Pitcher Jhonathan Ramos had his contract purchased, while both Victor Diaz and Abel Nieves were traded. 

The 25-year old Ramos was signed by the Nuts this offseason prior to having his contract picked up by the Baltimore Orioles weeks later.  He started his professional career with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007 as a 17-year old international free agent.  The lefty spent each of the last eight seasons within that organization, reaching Triple-A in 2014 and playing a total of 80 games at the Double-A level.  He owns a career 40-24 record with a 3.40 earned run average and seven saves.  Ramos is the 28th Wingnut to be signed by a Major League organization.  

Diaz signed with the Wingnuts in late August and batted .240 with 12 RBI in 12 games with the club.  The former New York Met and Texas Ranger was sent to the Grand Prairie AirHogs to complete a trade between the two teams that occurred last season.  A native of the Dominican Republic, Diaz is 33 years old and the upcoming season will be his 14th.

Nieves, from Maracay, Venezuela, was fantastic in both of his stints in Wichita, but will now take on a new challenge in the Atlantic League.  Dealt to the Bridgeport Bluefish in exchange for a player to be named later and future considerations, the infielder will look to build on an already impressive independent career.  Last season, the Nuts acquired Nieves from Grand Prairie in order to fill a void created when Jake Kahaulelio suffered a season-ending injury.  In 13 regular season games, Nieves batted .558 and never cooled off during the playoff run.  This came on the heels of a 2013 campaign in which he won the American Association batting title courtesy of a .357 average. 

After these moves the roster currently stands at 18 players. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

Negrete to Continue Pursuing Dream with Wingnuts

 

WICHITA, KS (March 26, 2015) – There are many professional baseball players that have been playing the game since a very young age. There aren‘t very many who have given up the sport for almost two years after college and then come back to wow scouts and earn a Minor League job. The newest member of the Wichita Wingnuts, Jacob Negrete, is part of that limited second group and has hopes of making his way back to affiliated ball with his performance in the American Association this year.

The right-handed pitcher, originally from California, moved to Arizona in 2005 in time to play baseball at Kingman High School. Even though he was a prep star for the Bulldogs, he never considered the possibility of playing baseball for the extended future. Maxing out his fastball at around 87 miles per hour, it took some urging from his family for him to try out at Javapai Community College in Prescott, Arizona. After one year there, Negrete transferred to Mount San Jacinto Community College for his sophomore year. In his only season with the Eagles, he went 9-1 and posted an earned run average of 3.41.

It was following that season, in 2010, when Negrete found out he was going to become a father and turned his attention away from baseball. He moved back to Kingman and took a job as a phlebotomist at a hospital. Recreational softball was his main source of athletic activity when his father convinced him to give baseball one more chance. Negrete attended a tryout for the independent North American League in May of 2011 at the Los Angeles Angels’ spring training facility in Tempe. Angels’ personnel in attendance were so impressed with his warm up session that they shut him down and invited him to throw in front of their scouts the next day. With his fastball now topping out in the mid-90’s, Negrete was signed by Los Angeles as a free agent following the draft in June.

The first stop for the 25-year old in the farm system of the team he grew up cheering for was the Angels’ Arizona Rookie League affiliate. While working to get back in playing shape, Negrete went 2-0 with a 3.93 ERA in 16 relief appearances. He added 22 strikeouts in 18.1 innings while issuing just four walks. He earned a promotion to Single-A Cedar Rapids in 2012, but struggled in six appearances and was sent to extended spring training in late April. The organization released him in June.

In 2013, Negrete got his first taste of independent baseball with the San Angelo Colts of the United League. He made two starts and finished with an 0-2 record after allowing eight runs, six earned, in nine innings. He also played that year with the Copper State Prospectors of the Freedom Pro Baseball League. He did not play in 2014.

Negrete is the 20th player to sign with the Wingnuts for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

Bullpen Grows with Addition of Sinkerballer

WICHITA, KS (March 20, 2015) – Scattered across the rosters of independent baseball teams all over the country are talented players that suffered serious injuries at some point in their career.  For some, the setback caused them to go undrafted and for others it led to their release from an MLB organization.  The newest signee of the Wichita Wingnuts, relief pitcher Brad Mincey, falls into the second category. 

The six foot tall, 190 pound right-hander was dominant during the 2012 season for the Miami Marlins Single-A affiliate in Greensboro.  Mincey posted a 2.73 ERA in 45 relief outings that spanned 69.1 innings. He struck out 58 opposing hitters while walking just 17 on his way to finishing 30 games and recording seven saves.  All signs pointed to Mincey continuing his rapid climb through the Marlins’ farm system in 2013, when he injured the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm.  After undergoing Tommy John surgery, he missed the entire season and never quite regained his form last year in 23 appearances at Single-A Jupiter.  He was released after allowing 34 runs in 38.0 innings.

Mincey began his professional career in 2011 as a 28th round selection of the Florida Marlins out of East Carolina University.  During his rookie year he pitched in 19 games with four different farm teams, eventually concluding the year in Jupiter.  His most extensive action, 22.3 innings in 12 relief appearances, came with Low-A Jamestown in the New York-Penn League.  With the Jammers, Mincey was 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA and fanned 14.  Featuring a heavy sinker as his primary pitch, the Wilmington, North Carolina native has allowed just five home runs in three seasons facing professional hitters.

During his college career at ECU, the now 26-year old Mincey, was 22-13 with a 3.65 ERA in 100 games. He pitched a total of 249.0 collegiate innings in 19 starts and 81 relief appearances.  He was named Second Team All-Conference USA following both his sophomore (2009) and senior (2011) seasons. In 2009, he started a career-high ten games and set collegiate bests with ten wins, 82.2 innings, and 71 strikeouts.  In his final season at the school in Greenville, Mincey appeared in 31 games and had an ERA of 1.57, hi8s top marks in each category.

Mincey is the 19th player to sign with the Wingnuts for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Unsung Hero Agrees to Return in 2015

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop


WICHITA, KS (March 16, 2015) – The dictionary definition of an unsung hero is, “a person who makes a substantive yet unrecognized contribution to a cause”. If the cause was the quest for a 2014 American Association championship, then Taylor Oldham winning the Wichita Wingnuts' annual Unsung Hero Award was almost a foregone conclusion. Despite playing in just over half of the 100 games and receiving no all-star recognition, unlike seven of his teammates, Oldham was integral to the team’s success all season. The team announced today that the talented utility player has been re-signed for the 2015 season.


Often times showing up at the park without an idea of if, or where on the field, he would be playing that night, the 25-year old managed to produce when given the opportunity. In 54 games he hit .285 with nine doubles, three home runs, and 25 RBI. In addition, Oldham finished with an on-base percentage of .379 and tallied six stolen bases. While his offensive success was important, much of Oldham’s value stemmed from another aspect of his game.


The incredible defensive versatility of the Orlando, Florida native allowed manager Kevin Hooper to deal with injuries and giveplayers at various positions a day off. Oldham played 15 games at second base, eight in right field, seven at third base, six at shortstop, five at first base, and three in left field. During the regular season finale, a ninth inning ejection literally left the Wingnuts without an available pitcher, so Oldham made his debut on the mound. He retired all three batters he faced and stranded an inherited runner at third. Completing his journey around the diamond, Oldham worked in center field during spring training and often played the role of bullpen catcher during and before games. Remarkably, he managed to commit just one error in 114 chances at all seven positions combined.

Prior to Wichita, Oldham spent the 2013 season applying his trade for the Taos Blizzard of the Pecos League, where he hit an impressive .379 in 29 games. Playing mostly third base, he hit six home runs, drove in 25, and earned ten free passes on his way to posting a .447 on-base percentage.


His professional baseball career began in 2012 with a pair of Frontier League clubs. He spent the first half of the slate with the Washington WildThings and played the second half with the London Rippers/Road Warriors. Oldham played his first three collegiate seasons at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia before playing his last year of eligibility at Tennessee Wesleyan.


Oldham is the 18th player to sign with the Wingnuts for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Nuts Ink Former Big-Leaguer, Deal Closer

WICHITA, KS (March 5, 2015) – With the calendar flipping to March this week, most of the nation’s attention will turn to college basketball and the NCAA tournament. However, for American Association teams this is a time to begin making important decisions that will shape the roster of baseball players whom arrive for Spring Training in May. Today, the Wichita Wingnuts announced that they have signed five-year MLB infielder Luis Hernandez and traded pitcher Dan Sattler to the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League for a player to be named later.

Hernandez, who is 30 years old, will bring eight seasons of Triple-A and four seasons of Double-A experience to the home clubhouse at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Originally signed as an 18-year old by the Atlanta Braves in 2002, Hernandez has played in the farm system of six different Major League organizations and reached the parent club with four of them. A large majority of his more than 1200 career games have been played at shortstop, but the veteran has also spent time in both corner outfield spots and every infield position aside from first base.

The native of Quibor in Venezuela, advanced through each level of the Braves minor league system, reaching Triple-A Richmond in 2006. Following that season he was placed on waivers and claimed by the Baltimore Orioles. This move paved the way for Hernandez to make his first trip to the big leagues.

After batting .242 with Double-A Bowie and .273 in nine games with Triple-A Norfolk, Hernandez made his major league debut on July 8, 2007. Filling in because of injury for 30 games, he posted five multi-hit games and his first big league homer, a two-run blast against Toronto on September 27th. Known mainly for his superb defense, Hernandez surprised many by finishing with a .290 batting average, a number almost 40 points higher than his career Minor League average. Prior to the 2008 season, the Orioles traded away star shortstop Miguel Tejada to Houston, opening the door for Hernandez to become the opening day shortstop. He held onto the job for 30 games before being sent down to Triple-A in late May.

Beginning with the offseason between 2008 and 2009, his first as a free agent, Hernandez set in motion a stretch of five years in which he journeyed to four different organizations and often shuffled between the parent club and Triple-A. He spent 2009 with Kansas City, 2010-11 with the New York Mets, 2012 in Texas, and 2013 with Cleveland. In those five years he played a combined 92 contests at the MLB level.

The veteran will be commencing his 13th season of professional baseball in 2015. He owns a lifetime .252 batting average with 35 home runs, 432 RBI, and an on-base percentage of just below .300. Hernandez owns a .973 fielding percentage in his 1,262 career games played.

Sattler, a late addition to the bullpen in 2014, pitched in five regular season games for the Wingnuts and recorded three saves after being acquired via trade from the St. Paul Saints. The all-star closer also worked four innings in the playoffs, recording two saves. He struck out Lincoln slugger Ian Gac to clinch the Wingnuts first American Association championship on September 13th.

Hernandez is the 17th player to join the Wingnuts for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Wingnuts Add Former Shocker and High School Phenom to Rotation

WICHITA, KS (March 2, 2015) – The baseball program at nearby Wichita State University has already provided the Wichita Wingnuts with one of the best starting pitchers in franchise history in the form of Anthony Capra. The Wingnuts are hoping to strike it rich once again with a former Shocker southpaw, recently reaching a deal to bring in starting pitcher Charlie Lowell for 2015. Lowell will be the 11th WSU alum to wear a Wingnuts’ uniform.

Prior to deciding to play his college ball in Kansas, Lowell was a top high school prospect on the mound for Winfield High School in Missouri. The 6’4 hurler played four years of varsity baseball, earning both all-conference and all-district honors following each of his final three years. After an outstanding junior campaign in which he posted an 8-1 record and 0.90 earned run average, Lowell managed to raise his game to another level during an incredible senior season. On the way to being named all-state, St. Louis Metro Pitcher of the Year, EA Sports All-American, and Rawlings All-American, Lowell won 11 games and struck out 129 batters. He finished with a miniscule 0.12 ERA and broke the Missouri state record for consecutive innings pitched without allowing a run.

The left-hander was drafted in the 27th round by the Texas Rangers out of high school, but chose to attend Wichita State over Florida International, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Missouri. Lowell went 6-2 in his first collegiate season, earning recognition by Collegiate Baseball as a Freshman All-American. During his final two seasons, he combined for a 13-7 record and an ERA under 3.00. Those numbers earned him a sixth round selection from the Miami Marlins in the 2011 MLB Draft.

After pitching in just four games for the remainder of 2011, Lowell emerged as one of the organization’s top young pitching prospects in his first full professional season. Throwing in 23 games, 21 of them starts, for the Single-A Greensboro Grasshoppers, he went 5-5 with a 4.24 ERA in 109.2 innings. His 122 punch outs allowed him to post a strikeout/walk ratio of better than two. Lowell also made one late-season start for the Advanced-A Jupiter Hammerheads, giving up a lone run in five innings with five strikeouts.

The 24-year old who was born in St. Charles, Missouri missed the entire 2013 season before returning to Jupiter in June of 2014. He made 10 appearances, nine of them in relief, over 7.1 innings before suffering an injury that caused the Marlins to release him.

Lowell is the 16th player to join the Wingnuts for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Wingnuts to Offer New Opportunity for Fundraising in 2015

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (February 26, 2015) – Since the organization was founded more than eight years ago, the Wichita Wingnuts have made it their mission to help give back to the community. In an effort to strengthen that relationship, the Wingnuts are hoping that a variety of organizations will use them as a fundraising tool in 2015. With the new Wingnuts Ticket Fundraiser option, groups like non-profit charities, schools, athletic teams, and others can raise much needed funds by selling tickets to Wingnuts’ games.

This fundraising opportunity involves selling upper box reserved tickets to watch Wingnuts’ home games, and in return the Wingnuts will help raise funds for different organizations or causes.   The upper box reserved section stretches from first base to third base with a large amount of seats located directly behind home plate.  Organizations will be reimbursed based on the following scale:

Upper Box Reserved Tickets – Advanced Purchase Price $10.00

• 20-50 Upper Box Reserved Tickets Sold = $3.00 reimbursement for every ticket sold.

• 51-100 Upper Box Reserved Tickets Sold = $4.00 reimbursement for every ticket sold.

• 101+ Upper Box Reserved Tickets Sold = $5.00 reimbursement for every ticket sold.

If an organization sells over 100 tickets they will have earned over $500 for their fundraiser. All inquiries can be directed to Ticket Sales and Community Relations Manager Robert Slaughter via e-mail at Robert@wichitawingnuts.com.

The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

 

Former Shocker Southpaw Signs for Fourth Season with Wingnuts

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (February 10, 2015) – Independent baseball prides itself on giving fans unprecedented access to players and coaches on a nightly basis each summer.  After completion of the rigorous 100-game schedule, it is not unusual for players to know the people in attendance by their first name.  One individual who has become a fan favorite of Wichita Wingnuts’ followers, recently re-signed pitcher Anthony Capra, is sure to recognize more than a few friendly faces in the crowd at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  On opening night of the 2015 season, Capra will begin his fourth year with the team, making him the longest-tenured player in franchise history.   

The left-handed hurler managed to put together a solid campaign last year, despite missing nearly two months with a hamstring injury.  Capra began the season 3-0 and allowed only one run in his first 21.1 innings with an impressive 24 strikeouts.  On May 21st, in his second outing, Capra took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Kansas City T-Bones, but fell two outs short of tossing the third in team history. The native of Arvada, Colorado ended the regular season with a 7-2 record and 3.03 earned run average and went 1-1 in two postseason starts.  Capra was named the American Association’s Pitcher of the Week for his dominating performance in the final week of the regular season.

In his two previous seasons in Wichita, Capra combined to go 10-4 with a 4.35 ERA in 33 appearances.  In 157.2 innings of work, Capra struck out 176 opposing hitters and walked 87. 

Due to his continued success and longevity with the organization, Capra’s name is littered throughout the team’s record books.  He is the franchise’s career leader in strikeouts (248) and ranks in the top five in career wins, winning percentage, games started, and innings pitched.  During the 2013 campaign, he struck out 122 hitters which is the second-highest single season total for a Wingnuts’ pitcher.

Capra is entering his eighth season of professional baseball and owns a lifetime 37-41 record with a 4.28 ERA in 132 starts and 29 relief appearances.  The 27-year old has averaged a strikeout per inning over 715.1 career frames.  The 6-foot-1 lefty was drafted by the Oakland Athletics as a fourth-round pick out of Wichita State University in 2008.  Capra was 18-4 with a 2.43 ERA during his three seasons with the Shockers, earning All-American and All-Missouri Valley Conference honors in 2008.  He reached Triple-A Sacramento for the Athletics in 2011, and was named organizational Pitcher of the Year in 2009 after striking out 170 in 152.0 innings between two levels. 

Capra is the 15th player to join the Wingnuts for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

For Whom Abel Tolls: Nuts Bring Back Nieves

Photo credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (February 6, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts have been in existence for seven seasons. The club has earned a playoff berth five times, including four straight seasons, and advanced to the championship series three years in a row. In 2014, the team smashed its own American Association record for wins by posting 73 in 100 opportunities. Through all of that team success, there has been an equally impressive individual achievement that has been taken hostage by members of the Wingnuts’ roster in recent campaigns. For the past three seasons, and five times in seven years, the American Association’s batting champion has resided in the clubhouse at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Abel Nieves, who brought home the honor in 2013, has re-signed with the Nuts for the 2015 season.

The versatile veteran began 2014 suiting up for the Wingnuts’ South Division rival in Grand Prairie following an offseason trade. Although the AirHogs struggled to keep pace with the league’s front-runners, Nieves managed to put up impressive individual numbers. In 82 games he batted .327 with two home runs and 35 RBI while walking 35 times and striking out just 37. That resume earned him a trip to the American Association’s All-Star showcase in Winnipeg as the South squad’s starting third baseman.

When Nieves’ former teammate Jake Kahaulelio suffered a season-ending injury in mid-August, the Wingnuts were able to swing a deal that brought the infielder back to town. Wearing the Wingnuts’ colors once again seemed to rejuvenate Nieves as he went on an absolute tear to close out the regular season. He managed to hit safely in all 12 regular season games played with Wichita and six of the seven playoff games. The only night in which he was hitless, the championship clinching contest, he drew three walks and scored three runs. In addition, Nieves managed to score at least one run in eight of 12 regular season games and drive in at least one run in the same number.

The 29-year old enjoyed the best season of his nine-year career at the plate in 2013. Nieves won the American Association's batting title with a .357 average.  He added 23 doubles, five home runs, and 51 RBI.  The Maracay, Venezuela native walked more times (56) than he struck out (46) and reached base in 89 of 99 games played.  Nieves also ranked second among American Association third basemen with a .955 fielding percentage.

Nieves is a career .296 hitter with 371 runs scored, 125 doubles, 27 home runs, 311 RBI, and 379 walks in 737 games played.  A right-handed hitter and fielder, Nieves was drafted by the Anaheim Angels in the 50th round out of Middle Georgia College in 2004.  Nieves spent six seasons in the Angels' system, reaching Triple-A Salt Lake three times and Double-A Arkansas twice.  The 6-foot, 205-pound Nieves' best season with the Angels came in 2008 when he batted .318 with 24 doubles and 54 RBI in 101 games for the High-A California League's Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.

Nieves is the 14th player to join the Wingnuts for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

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Sidearming Former Seminole Signs for 2015

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (January 30, 2015) – In 2015, the sport of baseball is defined by players who are cast in specific roles. Rosters are filled with pinch-hitters from both sides of the plate, designated base stealers, pitchers who specialize in retiring lefties, set-up men, and closers. Daniel Bennett, a relief pitcher who has agreed to return to the Wichita Wingnuts for a third consecutive season, is old-fashioned in the sense that he has not been typecast. Manager Kevin Hooper will not hesitate to call on Bennett when the opposition is threatening, no matter what part of the game the situation arises. This trust has led to Bennett climbing to third in franchise history in career appearances.

The sidearm throwing right-hander appeared in 46 games out of the bullpen in 2014 and finished 6-1 with a 3.17 ERA. Bennett earned one save and finished ten games. He held opponents to 51 hits in 48.1 innings and had an impressive strikeout/walk ratio of 2.25. The 26-year old did not allow a run in 35 of his 46 outings.

In 2013, his first season with the Nuts, Bennett went 1-3 with 13 games finished and a 2.79 ERA in 48 relief appearances. He struck out 56 and walked 27 in 51.2 innings pitched. Bennett did not allow an earned run in 36 of his 48 outings and held right-handed hitters to a .203 average.

Bennett will be beginning his fifth season of professional baseball, and is 16-8 with 23 saves and a 2.58 ERA in 184.2 career innings.  The Tallahassee, FL native has struck out 183 against 69 walks and nine home runs allowed over his first four pro campaigns. 

Bennett was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 19th round in 2011 after playing two seasons of college baseball in his hometown at Florida State University.  Bennett was a combined 8-2 with 18 saves and a 2.73 ERA for the Seminoles, and helped them reach the 2010 College World Series.  Bennett also pitched two seasons at Tallahassee Community College where he holds school records for both single season and career appearances.

Bennett is the 13th player to join the Wingnuts for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Nuts Cut to the Chase, Re-sign Dependable Reliever Johnson

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (January 26, 2015) – From one season to the next, there is typically a large deal of turnover in the roster of an independent baseball team. As a result, looking at the career path of many baseball players with extensive experience in the independent ranks can be an exhausting task. One player who certainly exemplifies the often nomadic lifestyle of such an athlete is the Wichita Wingnuts newest signee, relief pitcher Chase Johnson. Johnson has played for six different teams in the span of four seasons. By re-signing with the Wingnuts for 2015, Johnson has ensured that he will start a season with the same team he finished the previous one, for the first time in his career.

The 6’5 right-hander came to Wichita from the United League during the club’s final road trip of the regular season and immediately made his presence known. He pitched one inning in eight of the final 12 games and gave up just one run in that span. His final numbers featured four games finished with one save, seven strikeouts, four walks, and just seven hits allowed. The momentum created by those stellar performances carried into the postseason where he appeared in five of the seven contests. Johnson never allowed a run to cross the plate and recorded a perfect inning three times. In his 13 combined appearances, opponents are hitting just .208 off of Johnson in a Wingnuts’ uniform.

The 26-year old from Scottsdale, Arizona was selected in the 21st round of the 2009 MLB Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies out of South Mountain Community College in Phoenix. After pitching for three seasons in the organization and making it to Single-A Lakewood in 2011, Johnson was granted his release and began an independent career that has featured stops in Fargo-Moorhead, Amarillo, Grand Prairie, Winnipeg, Fort Worth, and now Wichita. He began 2014 with the Winnipeg Goldeyes, but after allowing three runs in three innings over three games he was released and signed with the Fort Worth Cats. In 30.1 innings he gave up just seven runs, two of which were earned, and finished with a spectacular 0.59 ERA and nine saves for a team that lost in the United League Championship series.

Johnson is the 12th player to join the Wingnuts for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Prolific Power Hitter of International Fame Joins Wingnuts

 

WICHITA, KS (January 21, 2015) – Throughout the long and storied history of baseball in America, many slang terms for a baseball bat have been developed. Club, stick, and lumber are just a few words that immediately come to mind. One word that hasn’t been synonymous with baseball bat in the past is sword. That may change within the confines of Wichita’s Lawrence-Dumont Stadium next summer as the Wichita Wingnuts have officially signed veteran slugger Alex Cabrera, better known internationally as “El Samurai”.

Cabrera, who at the age of 42 is five years older than Wingnuts’ manager Kevin Hooper, will be playing in the United States for the first time since the year 2000 when he played 31 MLB games for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He hit .263 with five home runs and 14 RBI during his brief stint in “The Show” including a home run in his very first at bat.

His professional career began back in 1991 at the age of 19 when he was signed as an amateur free agent by the Chicago Cubs. Cabrera spent the first five years of his career in Minor League Baseball with four different Cubs’ affiliated organizations and the Bakersfield Blaze. At the time, the Blaze were classified as a “co-op team” that had players belonging to many different Major League organizations and some independent players. His best season with the Cubs was in 1994 when, as a member of their Single-A affiliate in Peoria, he batted .278 with 24 home runs.

Following the 1996 campaign, Cabrera received his first taste of international pro ball by spending the next two seasons applying the trade in the Mexican League. He continued his global journey by heading to China in 1999. Arizona brought him back stateside in the year 2000 where he quickly ascended through the farm system to reach the parent club. Cabrera played in two rookie league, 53 Double-A, and 21 Triple-A contests before receiving the call up.

After completing the season with the Diamondbacks, the Seibu Lions of the Japan Pacific League purchased his contract, beginning a home run laden 12-year stint with three different Japanese squads. In seven years with Seibu, Cabrera hit 50 or more long balls twice and launched over 30 in all but two seasons. He moved to the Orix Buffaloes from 2008-10 where he combined to smash 73 home runs and drive in 225 runs in 315 games. Finally, his time in Japan ended with a two year stint playing for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in which he hit 11 home runs in 98 games.

Cabrera only played winter ball in 2013, but in doing so displayed that his skills were not even close to diminishing. On his way to unanimously winning the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League’s MVP award, he hit .391 with 21 home runs and 59 RBI in 62 games. His numbers in each of those categories led all players, earning Cabrera the title of Triple Crown winner. He also had a great deal of success in 14 Mexican League games last season for Veracruz, posting a .404 average with four home runs and ten RBI.

The 2015 season will be his 22nd in pro baseball. To this point he has compiled 451 home runs, 1,274 RBI, and 1,861 hits. Both of his sons, Ramon and Alex, have also played professional baseball.

Cabrera is the 11th player to join the Wingnuts for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

Outfielder Luce Gets Chance to Spread Wings with the Orioles

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (January 16, 2015)The current off-season has been fast-moving and action-packed for the Wichita Wingnuts. The organization has re-signed some familiar faces, brought in plenty of new blood, and watched as some of their stars from last year have received the opportunity to join a Major League organization and pursue the ultimate dream. Today it was announced that outfielder Jake Luce joined the last group, courtesy of having his contract purchased by the Baltimore Orioles.

The 25-year old Luce (pronounced LOO-chee) finished his third season in professional baseball with the Wingnuts last year. After starting the campaign in the United League with the Brownsville Charros, he came to Wichita in a July 24th trade. It didn’t take long for the left-handed hitter to make an impact. He immediately became a regular starter in the outfield and managed to tally at least one hit in nine of his first ten games with the club. The hot start was not just an illusion; Luce finished his time with the Nuts having batted .341 in 34 games with 16 RBI and ten stolen bases.

The McKinney, Texas native began his career with the Amarillo Sox, also of the American Association, back in 2012. He hit .211 in 27 games with the Wingnuts’ current South Division rival after joining the team at the conclusion of his collegiate season at Elon University. The next year he played in just six games with the Rockford Aviators of the Frontier League.

Luce becomes the sixth player from the 2014 edition of the Wingnuts to be sold to a Major League organization and the 27th former Wingnut to be purchased all-time.

The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Nuts Look to Pacific Association for Outfield Depth

 

WICHITA, KS (January 15, 2015) – The Wichita Wingnuts relied heavily on players acquired from the United League in their stretch run toward the title in 2014. Two late-inning relievers, Chase Johnson and Chris Peacock, as well as starting pitcher Celson Polanco were added in the final week of the regular season. Each of them seemed to adjust well to the American Association and made contributions in the post-season. Prior to the 2015 campaign, the Nuts are going to try their luck with a different league, this time the Pacific Association, to add some speed and depth to their outfield. They have acquired Jayce Ray from the Sonoma Stompers in exchange for future considerations.

The Sonoma Valley High School product returned home in 2014 to play for the expansion Stompers after beginning his professional career with the Frontier League’s Windy City ThunderBolts two seasons ago. Ray quickly established himself as one of the top all-around players in the four team circuit and was named the Pacific Association MVP following the season. He was also the batting champion with a .355 average, posted the highest on-base percentage, and also was hit by a league-most 16 pitches. In addition, he finished second in doubles (18) and stolen bases (21), third in runs scored (62), and fourth in walks (46). Those numbers were enough to lead Sonoma in every one of the aforementioned categories aside from doubles.

Besides his prowess at the plate, the outfielder made sure opponents were wary of him on the base paths. He recorded more assists (10) than any other outfielder, causing teams to avoid challenging him altogether late in the season.

After the left-handed batter hit .459 during his senior year of high school and led his team to a 24-4 record, he attended Santa Rosa Junior College in Northern California for three years. Ray redshirted in 2009 before beginning his college career in 2010 by batting .301 and totaling 11 stolen bases in 33 games. In his final year with the Bear Cubs, he batted .350, scored 40 runs, and collected 49 hits in 36 games. Those numbers earned him recognition as a first-team All-American as well as first team All-Northern California and All-Big 8.

Fresh off of those awards, Ray transferred to the University of Washington, earning honorable mention All-Pac 12 honors in 2012 after leading the Huskies in hits, at bats, triples, and stolen bases. In his final season of eligibility, Ray hit .309 and started all 56 games, earning a second honorable mention nod in the Pac-12. Ray led UW in at bats (220), hits (68), runs (35), triples (four), and RBI (36).

Ray is the tenth player to join the Wingnuts for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

 

 

Wingnuts and All-Star Pitcher Agree to Deal for 2015

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (January 7, 2015) – There are many differences between Dorothy Gale and Jason Van Skike. Gale is female, fictional, and the main character in the popular film, “The Wizard of Oz”. Van Skike is male, a real person, and a professional baseball pitcher. However, there is one alarming similarity between the two. Dorothy wants to return to her home in Kansas after meeting the wizard and does so by repeatedly clicking her heels together and saying, “There is no place like home”. On the other hand, Van Skike loves pitching at his home ballpark in Kansas and does so by placing his heels on the rubber at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium and dominating. The Wichita Wingnuts announced today that they have re-signed the right-hander who went 10-0 at home in 2014.

The 25-year old began the season as an important member of the bullpen and after posting a 2-0 record with a 2.57 earned run average in eight appearances, carved out a regular role in the starting rotation for the remainder of the campaign. Often pitching to contact, Van Skike walked just 31 while striking out 55 opposing hitters in 110.0 innings. His great start to the season in both roles earned him a trip to the American Association All-Star Game where he received the starting nod and worked 1.2 scoreless innings in the showcase. For the season, he racked up 12 wins to tie for the top mark in the circuit against only five losses.

While pitching well on the road to the tune of a 4-5 record and 4.13 ERA, Van Skike was brilliant on the home turf. In the 13 games he pitched in at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium he went 8-0 with a sparkling 2.02 ERA. He carried that momentum into the post-season where he won both of his outings and allowed four runs in 12.0 innings. His final start of the year was a memorable one as he took the hill and earned the victory in the championship-clinching win over Lincoln.

Originally from Gig Harbor, Washington, Van Skike spent the first three years of his career with the Chicago White Sox organization. He went undrafted after playing the final three years of his college career at Indiana State University. He was a successful starter for the Sycamores for the entirety of his stay, even tossing a no-hitter in 2011, but was converted to a relief pitcher immediately upon entering White Sox camp. Van Skike played for three different Rookie and Single-A White Sox affiliates from 2011-2013.

Van Skike is the ninth player to join the Wingnuts for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Zouzalik Back in Bullpen for 2015

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (December 18, 2014) – In many ways Mike Zouzalik’s 2014 season mirrored that of the Wichita Wingnuts as a whole. Both got off to an average, up-and-down, start before flipping into another gear and becoming nearly untouchable late in the season. The team and Zouzalik are both hoping for similar conclusions to the 2015 campaign and for that reason the club has announced the re-signing of the right-handed reliever. He is expected to be an integral part of the bullpen once again.

The 24-year old, who stands 6’3, began last season allowing at least one run in four of his first five appearances. However, it didn’t take long for him to adjust to his role as the seventh inning man in front of set-up man Patrick Mincey and closer Matt Nevarez. At one point late in the season, Zouzalik put together an impressive string of outings in which he consistently smothered opposing offenses. He gave up just one earned run in span of 21 outings, including a string of 11 scoreless appearances. In those 11 shutout frames he never faced more than four batters before recording three outs. Zouzalik was consistent in many different roles down the stretch as the bullpen was re-shuffled often due to trades and signings.

When the regular season wrapped up, Zouzalik had posted a 4-0 record and 3.06 ERA in 47 games out of the pen. He finished 14 contests. In 47.0 innings he struck out 31 opposing hitters, walked 16, and allowed three home runs. In addition, he worked 4.0 shutout innings in four appearances while striking out five in the post-season.

This will be Zouzalik’s third season of professional baseball and second with the Wingnuts after splitting his first between the Texas Rangers’ affiliates in Spokane (Low-A) and Myrtle Beach (Advanced-A). He went a combined 4-0 with five saves and 15 games finished in 23 relief appearances between the stops. In 33.2 innings he struck out 27 and walked 14.

The Austin, Texas native went undrafted out of the University of Texas-Pan American after wrapping up his career there in 2012. He was later signed by the Rangers after he attended an open tryout in August at Round Rock that featured over 400 participants. During a stellar senior season with UTPA Zouzalik went 4-1 with a 3.81 ERA in 13 games, eight of them starts. He held opponents to a .237 batting average on his way to being named Second Team All-Great West Conference.

Zouzalik is the eighth player to join the Wingnuts for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Robertson Given Freedom to Pursue Starting Role

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (December 16, 2014) – Matt Robertson had the chance to pitch in front of family and friends for a team that has many close personal ties for him as a member of the Wichita Wingnuts’ bullpen in 2014. However, with a stacked starting rotation, he never had an opportunity to work consistently in the role that he excelled in during his college career. He will have every opportunity to become a member of a starting rotation next season, albeit with a new organization. The Wingnuts have dealt Robertson to the Florence Freedom of the Frontier League in exchange for future considerations.

Robertson, a Valley Center native, appeared in 28 games this season, with all but one of them coming in relief. He posted an 0-2 record with a 6.03 ERA in 34.1 innings, while also finishing seven contests. In his only start of the season, he shut out the Grand Prairie AirHogs for four innings and struck out three batters in the tail end of a late-season doubleheader.  

2013 was Robertson’s first year in professional baseball after finishing up a stellar collegiate career at Emporia State University. The right-hander was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in both 2007 out of Valley Center High School and 2008 out of Barton Community College, but opted to continue with college baseball each time. He spent the 2013 season with the Kitchener (Ontario) Panthers of the Intercounty Baseball League where he finished with a 1-5 record, two saves, and a 6.95 ERA in 17 appearances.

Matt is the youngest of four brothers, all who play a large role in the Wingnuts’ organization.  Eldest brother Josh is the team’s President and General Manager, Nate is a part-owner, and Luke serves as the pitching coach.

The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

 

Wingnuts Hope Newly Signed Bencomo becomes King of the Hill

 

WICHITA, KS (December 9, 2014) – Bencomo was the name of an ancient king who presided over the Kingdom of Taoro in the 1400s. He is best known for refusing to surrender to the Spanish conquerors who were attempting to take over the island of Tenerife, which Taoro was a part of. The Wichita Wingnuts will be attempting to stave off 12 adversaries in the American Association, each of which will be looking to dethrone them from their status as champions. The team hopes that their Bencomo, Omar, will become king of the hill, or at least the mound, in 2015.

Omar Bencomo, a native Venezuelan, began his professional career in his home country at the age of 18 as a member of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ entry in the Venezuelan League for 2007. The right-hander went 2-3 with a 2.89 earned run average in 12 appearances, eight of which came as a starter. In 46.2 innings he struck out 31 batters and walked only six on his way to being named the Rays’ Venezuelan League Pitcher of the Year.

After one more year in Venezuela, Bencomo came stateside for the first time in 2009. Pitching for Princeton, a rookie-level team in the Appalachian League, he started all nine of his appearances and posted a 2-1 record with a 3.47 ERA. Due to his consistent performances, he was promoted one level in each of his next two seasons, eventually reaching single-A Bowling Green for the 2011 campaign. After pitching solely as a reliever in all 12 appearances that season, he was released by Tampa Bay.

The 25-year old sat out the 2012 season entirely, but has played winter ball in Venezuela the past two seasons for the Bravos de Margarita (Margarita Braves). Currently, he owns a 3-1 record and 5.34 ERA in 16 games spanning 28.1 innings.

The most impressive note on Bencomo’s resume is his outstanding control. For his career, he averages just over one base on balls per nine innings and has a strikeout to walk ratio of over six. He is expected to be part of the Wingnuts’ starting rotation when the season begins.

Bencomo is the seventh player to join the Wingnuts for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

 

Former American Association Star Will Make Return with Nuts in ‘15

 

WICHITA, KS (December 4, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts recently found out that they would lose 2014 American Association Player of the Year Brent Clevlen to the Mexican League. Trying to replace the power, speed, and timely hitting of Clevlen with just one person seems like a tall task, but the Nuts believe they have identified an individual who will be up to the challenge. Today, they announced the addition of 2010 all-star Chris Garcia to the roster.

Garcia, a left-handed batting corner infielder/designated hitter, has missed the last two baseball seasons because of injury.   Although he has been unable to play full-time since 2012, Garcia has received a clean bill of health and is expected to report to camp in May at full strength.

The 27-year old began his professional baseball career with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim after being selected in the 15th round of the 2007 MLB Draft out of St. Petersburg College in Florida. That was the second time the native of Brooklyn, New York was picked in the draft, with his initial selection coming two years prior after he starred at Xaverian High School. Garcia split his time between the Angels’ two rookie ball affiliates in both 2007 and 2008, and excelled at the plate. He hit over .300 in both seasons, including a .366 batting average in 2008.

Following his release during the offseason, Garcia got his first taste of independent ball with the New Jersey Jackals of the Can-Am League in 2009. He played in just six games with the Jackals before finishing out the year with much success for the Shreveport-Bossier Captains, a former member of the American Association. Despite hitting .361 with an on-base percentage of .442 for the remainder of 2009, it was just a glimpse of what was to come the next year when Garcia would etch his name in the league record books.

Playing in 94 games, he hit .383, the third highest single-season batting average in American Association history. Remarkably, that total did not earn him the league’s batting title, as Beau Torbert of Sioux Falls hit an incredible .394. In addition, Garcia ripped 31 doubles, 14 home runs, and drove in 90 on his way to being named an all-star at designated hitter. In the career year he also posted personal bests for on-base percentage (.490) and slugging percentage (.597).

Garcia’s 2010 numbers caught the eye of the Atlanta Braves, who purchased his contract from the Captains prior to the 2011 season. Once again hitting over .300 for Single-A Rome, he was promoted to Advanced-A Lynchburg in 2012. Garcia was hitting .285 after 125 games for the Hillcats when he suffered the aforementioned injury and sat out the rest of the campaign.

Garcia is the sixth player to join the Wingnuts for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Corner Piece in Title Run Has Contract Purchased

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (November 25, 2014) – There were a number of players who spent the entire record-breaking 2014 season on the roster of the Wichita Wingnuts. However, among that handful of players, there was only one that started in every single contest. That individual was all-star outfielder Carlo Testa, who was arguably the most consistent player from the start of the season through the conclusion. On Tuesday, the Arizona Diamondbacks organization decided to give Testa his second chance in affiliated ball by purchasing his contract from the St. Paul Saints.

Testa was dealt to the Saints as the player to be named later from a late-season trade that brought closer Dan Sattler to Wichita for the playoffs. The 27-year old played all three outfield positions in addition to being inserted into the lineup as the designated hitter for 17 games. In his first full season in independent ball, the native of Tallmadge, Ohio was outstanding in all three facets of the game. At the plate, he batted .338 with 10 home runs, and 58 RBI while chipping in 25 doubles and nine triples. On the base paths, Testa helped push the Wingnuts to their American Association record 174 stolen bases. He was one of four Nuts that finished with more than 20 as he nabbed 24 in 32 attempts. Finally, the outfielder was aggressive going after every ball hit his way, running into a wall on more than one occasion to make a tough catch, on his way to a .963 fielding percentage.

The left-handed hitting Testa was an 18th round selection by the Royals in the 2008 draft.  He spent six seasons in the organization, reaching as high as Double-A in both 2012 and 2013.  Testa is a career.273 hitter in 516 games. His best season offensively came in 2012 when he launched 15 home runs and tallied 54 RBI for Northwest Arkansas.  Testa played collegiately at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee where he was a standout as both a pitcher and a hitter.  In 2008 he became the first player ever to be named All-Atlantic Sun Conference as both a pitcher and a position player. He led the conference in triples and shutouts and led the team in every traditional offensive category aside from slugging percentage and walks.

Testa becomes the fifth player from the 2014 edition of the Wingnuts to be sold to a Major League organization and the 26th former Wingnut to be purchased all-time.

The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Trade for Rookie Who Can Handel Bat

WICHITA, KS (November 21, 2014) – The rules put in place by the American Association specify that each club must have at least four rookies on the roster at all times during the season. In 2014, while winning their first title, the Wichita Wingnuts finished the season with seven rookies on the playoff roster. Today, the Wingnuts announced the addition of their fourth rookie to the 2015 roster in recent college graduate Mackenzie Handel. He was acquired from the Santa Fe Fuego of the Pecos League in exchange for future considerations.

Handel, who completed his collegiate eligibility in 2014 with his second year at Stephen F. Austin, is a native of Chandler, Arizona. Serving mainly as the designated hitter, but also playing some outfield and first base, he led the Lumberjacks in home runs, RBI, hits, runs, doubles, total bases, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage in his senior year. In addition, he paced the team with 36 walks, while striking out only 32 times. His ten long balls tied for the top mark in the Southland Conference and placed him 28th in the nation. When the season concluded Handel was named first team all-conference.

The breakout senior campaign was preceded by his first year at the Division 1 level in 2013. Handel was the Lumberjacks’ everyday designated hitter, playing in 51 games, batting .272, and driving in 21 runs.   He came to Stephen F. Austin from Chandler-Gilbert Community College in his hometown where he put up outstanding numbers during his sophomore season. On the way to earning Second Team All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference recognition as a designated hitter, Handel batted .329 with four home runs, 10 doubles, and 38 RBI in 53 games.

Handel was successful in the batter’s box on a regular basis dating back to his high school days in the state of Arizona. He was selected to the all-conference team and hit at least .360 in each of his three years lettering at Chandler High School.  

Although this will be Handel’s first foray into professional baseball, it will not be his first time playing at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. As a member of the Hays Larks from 2011-13 he played in the National Baseball Congress World Series on the home turf of the Wingnuts.

Handel is the fifth player to join the Wingnuts for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

Mexican League Says Bienvenida to 2014 Player of Year

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (November 18, 2014) – Former Major League outfielder Brent Clevlen put together an incredible campaign for the Wichita Wingnuts in 2014, both at the plate and in the outfield. He has received an assembly line of accolades during the final months of the season and in the time since it concluded, including the American Association Player of the Year Award and Pointstreak’s “Star of Stars” honor. Members and fans of independent baseball weren’t the only ones who noticed the quality of play from the veteran. In fact, he caught the attention of baseball decision makers outside of the country. Clevlen has signed a contract for 2015 with Pericos de Puebla (the Puebla Parakeets) of the Mexican League.

The 31-year old became the third straight Wingnuts’ hitter to take home the American Association batting title with a .372 average during the regular season which left him just one point shy of manager Kevin Hooper’s franchise record average of .373 in 2008. He finished among the top five players in the league in such offensive categories as extra-base-hits, total bases, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, RBI, and home runs and also broke the Wingnuts’ single-season record for doubles with 33. The 13-year professional baseball veteran displayed great power with his 20 home runs and 80 RBI, while also hitting safely in 70 of 94 games.

2014 was the first full season that Clevlen, an Austin, Texas native, spent in Wichita after playing portions of both the 2011 and 2013 seasons with the organization. In 2013, he hit .322 with 14 home runs and 51 RBI in 70 games after joining the team in mid-June. Clevlen spent the first part of the season in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization with Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno. He has been a post-season all-star outfielder in each of the last two seasons.

The Mexican League schedule begins in April and comes to a conclusion in early September. The league is made up of 16 teams divided into two eight-team divisions. It is considered a Triple-A league in organized Minor League Baseball, but unlike the other two Triple-A circuits, the International League and the Pacific Coast League, Mexican League teams are not affiliated with Major League clubs.

The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

Southpaw Hopes to Continue Comeback by Signing with Wingnuts

 

WICHITA, KS (November 14, 2014) – One of the things that makes an independent baseball team so interesting to watch is the assortment of different players at different points in their career that make up the roster each season. There are veterans who have been to the highest level and continue to play for the love of the game. There are young players trying to make a name for themselves and catch the eye of the right person at the right time. Yet another segment of the independent fraternity consists of talented players who are attempting to come back from a significant injury that forced their career into a detour. The latest signee of the Wichita Wingnuts, Jarret Leverett, fits firmly into that third group. He hopes to follow the path of previous Nuts’ pitchers like Matt Nevarez and Ryan Hinson, who have persevered through injury to get another chance with a Major League organization.

Leverett is a 25-year old left-handed relief pitcher who hails from Cordele, Georgia and played his final two years of college baseball at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro. He ended up with the Eagles after playing junior college ball at Middle Georgia as freshman and sophomore. In his initial year at the school, he played a big role in Middle Georgia earning a trip to the JUCO World Series before helping them to a conference championship in the following campaign.  

In his first season at Georgia Southern, Leverett struggled to an 0-3 record and a 7.84 ERA in 41.1 innings. He made three starts early in the season, before moving permanently to the bullpen and recording two saves. He came back for his final season in 2012 looking like a new pitcher. Pitching almost exclusively in relief, he worked 51.1 frames and finished 4-2 with a 2.81 ERA and a team-best seven saves.

The 6’3 hurler became one of four Georgia Southern players to be selected in the 2012 MLB Draft when the Minnesota Twins called his name in the 15th round. However, just over a month after the draft he was released without having thrown a professional pitch because the team discovered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow. After undergoing surgery and over a year of rehabilitation, Leverett was finally able to make his professional debut on the mound in 2014.

Pitching for the Frontier Greys, a travel team in the Frontier League, Leverett looked healthy on the hill and put up the numbers to prove it. He finished with an 0-6 record, but his earned run average was just 2.72 in 33 relief outings. In 46.2 innings the lefty fanned 44 opposing hitters, finished 15 games, and saved five.

Leverett is the fourth player to join the Wingnuts for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

 

Clevlen Adds to Awards with “Star of Stars” Honor

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (November 12, 2014) – After putting up incredible numbers during the 2014 season and helping to guide the Wichita Wingnuts to their first ever American Association championship, Brent Clevlen received plenty of post-season recognition. In addition to being named the league’s Player of the Year and the best hitter in the circuit during the month of August, the former Major League outfielder has added another award to the laundry list. On Wednesday he was named the Pointstreak American Association “Star of Stars” for the 2014 season. The award is given to the player with the best overall statistical performance by Pointstreak, the official league statistician.

The 31-year old centerfielder made himself a prime candidate for the award by engaging in an all-out assault on the league’s leaderboard in nearly every category. While posting a .372 batting average and running away with the batting title, he completed the regular season among the top five in the following categories: home runs, RBI, extra-base hits, doubles, total bases, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.

Clevlen completed his third year with the Wingnuts after spending portions of the 2011 and 2013 seasons in Wichita. Last season he hit .322 with 14 home runs and 51 RBI in 70 games after joining the team in mid-June. Clevlen spent the first part of the season in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization with Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno. He has been a post-season all-star outfielder in each of the three campaigns.

Clevlen batted .310 with 15 doubles, 10 home runs, and 32 RBI in 46 games for the Wingnuts in 2011.  On June 27th of that season versus El Paso, he hit the first inside-the-park home run in team history.  His contract was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies' organization in August of 2011 and he went on to hit .336 with six homers and 20 RBI in 32 games for the Double-A Reading Phillies.

The 30-year old was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the second round in 2002 out of Westwood High School in Austin.  He first reached the Majors with Detroit in 2006 where he teamed with Wingnuts' manager Kevin Hooper and co-owner Nate Robertson.  He spent parts of the next two seasons with the Tigers and also saw time with the Atlanta Braves in 2010. 

Clevlen becomes the third player in Wingnuts’ history to be named Pointstreak’s American Association “Star of Stars”. The previous winners were C.J. Ziegler in 2013 and Greg Porter in 2009.

The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Wingnuts Deal for All-Star Middle Infielder

WICHITA, KS (November 7, 2014) –When the mayor of Wichita declared that November 7th would be celebrated as Wichita Wingnuts Day throughout the city, there was an expectation that the organization would come up with something to make the day memorable. While fans have been invited to the team office to take part in a day full of special deals and opportunities, General Manager Josh Robertson and Field Manager Kevin Hooper had another idea. They signed what they envision to be a big part of the everyday lineup in 2015, ex-San Francisco Giants’ prospect Ryan Cavan.

The Nuts acquired the 27-year old infielder in exchange for cash from the Fort Worth Cats of the United League. Cavan (CAV-in) spent the entire 2014 season, his first in the independent ranks, with the Southern Illinois Miners of the Frontier League. Playing in 92 games, he batted .309 and drove in 44 runs. In an impressive display of patience and plate discipline, Cavan drew 60 walks and struck out just 59 times on his way to a .420 on-base percentage. Those numbers led to his selection to the mid-season Frontier League All-Star Game.

The switch-hitting native of Belmont, California was a 16th round draft pick of the Giants in 2009 out of the University of California-Santa Barbara. During his five years within the organization, Cavan played for five different affiliates, reaching as high as Double-A Richmond in 2012. During his only season with the Flying Squirrels, Cavan committed just four errors in 684 chances at second base which earned him the Gold Glove Award for the best defensive player at his position in all of Minor League Baseball. He followed that successful campaign with another in 2013. Playing primarily for the High-A San Jose Giants, Cavan hit .311 with 20 doubles and three home runs. For his efforts he was named to the 2013 California League All-Star team.

In his seven year career, he has amassed 130 doubles, 16 triples, 56 home runs and 335 runs batted in with a career on-base percentage of .355.  He has played a majority of his 631 games at second base, but also has experience playing shortstop and third base.

Cavan is the third player to join the Wingnuts for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Wingnuts Make Trio of Moves to Start Building ’15 Roster

WICHITA, KS (November 3, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts were active over the weekend in their effort to build a roster capable of reaching the American Association’s Championship series for a fourth consecutive year in 2015. The first two signees to next season’s roster are a pair of pitchers fresh out of college in Vincent Molesky and Scott Kuzminsky. Also, the Nuts have traded pitcher Frank Del Valle to the Joplin Blasters for a player to be named later.

The 24-year old Molesky completed his college career at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland this spring. A 6’4 right-hander, he posted the best numbers of his four-year career at “The Mount” during his senior season. Appearing in 11 games, 10 of them starts, Molesky went 5-4 with a 3.92 earned run average. He struck out 42 opposing hitters in 57.1 innings and tossed one complete game.

Prior to missing almost all of his junior season with injury, the native of Montoursville, Pennsylvania went a combined 5-11 with most of his action coming as a starter during his freshman and sophomore years. Prior to college he was a standout hurler at Montoursville High School, where he was named to the Susquehanna Valley League All-Star team following his sophomore and junior seasons.

Kuzminsky, who will also be pitching professionally for the first time, played his collegiate ball almost 5,000 miles away from Molesky. The right-hander spent his final two years of school at the University of Hawaii after beginning with a pair of seasons at Bellevue Community College where he helped the team win a conference title in 2011.

The recently turned 23-year old right-hander made 13 relief appearances on the mound during his first season on the islands in 2013. He did not allow a run in eight of his outings which spanned 20.1 innings. As a senior in 2014, Kuzminsky was one of the top pitchers for the Rainbow Warriors. He made 15 appearances, starting in 12 of them, and finished with a 4-7 record. On his way to posting a 3.25 ERA, he recorded two complete game shutouts and a save. While silencing the bats of the New York Institute of Technology, Kuzminsky struck out 14, the highest total for a Hawaii pitcher in 34 years.

Although Kuzminsky is new to professional baseball, this won’t be the Pulyallup, Washington native’s first appearance on the mound at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. While suiting up for the Seattle Studs, a summer baseball power, he started two games in the 80th Annual NBC World Series in Wichita this August. He was dominant in winning both outings, first allowing one run in eight frames against the San Francisco Seals and then tossing a complete-game, nine-strikeout gem to shut out the Hays Larks and move the Studs into the championship game.

Del Valle, a former Chicago Cubs prospect, was sent to Wichita’s brand new South Division rival in Joplin. After joining the Wingnuts mid-season, the left-hander pitched in nine games, seven of them starts, and posted a 1-1 record with a 5.70 ERA.

Molesky and Kuzminsky are the first two players to join the Wingnuts for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

 

Wingnuts Set to Make History with 2015 Schedule

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

2015 Wichita Wingnuts Schedule

WICHITA, KS – The Wichita Wingnuts made history in 2014 by smashing numerous league records and more importantly bringing home their first championship. It won’t take long for the Wingnuts to make more history in the upcoming campaign. The recently released 2015 schedule has guaranteed that the Wingnuts will become part of American Association history with the first pitch of the new season.

The Wingnuts will begin their title defense on May 21st; three hours to the east against new South division rival the Joplin Blasters. They will become the first American Association opponent to play a regular season game in the newly renovated Joe Becker Stadium in Missouri. Joplin’s addition brings the number of teams in the league to 13. Both the North and Central divisions will consist of four teams, while the South features five clubs. No change will be made to the playoff format that includes the division winners and a wild card.

After four games against the Blasters, the Nuts will play their home opener at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Tuesday, May 26th against the Winnipeg Goldeyes. The homestand will last six games and include the presentation of last year’s championship rings and a special replica ring giveaway. Wichita will face every team in the league in 2015, with nine different opponents coming to the ICT.

The Wingnuts will play 51 games against South Division foes, 30 of them on the home turf. They will see first-round playoff opponent Laredo a season-high 17 times, including ten of those match-ups at home. Grand Prairie will come to town nine times including a three-game set to conclude the regular season (September 5th- September 7th). Fans in Wichita will get a chance to see Joplin with their own eyes seven times, with their first trip to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium coming as part of a four-game weekend series beginning on Thursday, June 25th. Finally, the Wingnuts will play four home games and three road games against the Amarillo Sox.

Another highlight of the schedule is two match-ups in the span of one week against last season’s championship-series opponent the Lincoln Saltdogs. Lincoln makes their only trip to Wichita for four games between June 11th and June 14th just three days after the two teams conclude a three-game match-up in Nebraska.

As is the custom, Wichita will depart on an extensive road trip in late July to make way for the NBC World Series at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. The trip which runs from July 23rd- August 7th takes the team to Laredo first, before they embark on a ten day trip east and to Canada for inter-league play with members of the Can-Am League to be named at a later date.

The standard start time for home games is 7:05 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1:05 p.m. on Sunday. There may be some exceptions to those times based on the promotional schedule.

The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

 

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Pirates Hope to Find Buried Treasure by Purchasing Peacock

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

October 13, 2014 (WICHITA, KS) – Chris Peacock joined a revamped Wichita Wingnuts’ bullpen for the stretch run in 2014 and capped off the campaign with a second independent league championship in the span of one month. After first playing an important role for the United League champion Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings, he was impressive in relief for the title-winning Wingnuts. The right-handed pitcher has even more reason to celebrate today, as the Pittsburgh Pirates have purchased his contract.

In Wichita, the 25-year old made six regular season appearances, all lasting one inning, and gave up six runs, five earned, on nine hits. In the playoffs, Peacock allowed one run in 3.1 innings on the hill, while striking out a pair.

The recently completed season was the third for the Mobile, Alabama native after playing collegiately at the University of Mobile. His independent league journey has taken him from the Pecos League to the North American Baseball League, back to the Pecos League, to the United League, and finally the American Association. He was the set-up man for Rio Grande at the outset of 2014 and went 5-2 with an ERA of 2.27 in 35.2 innings. The 6’4 right-hander closed out three games.

Peacock becomes the fourth player the Wingnuts have sold to a Major League organization in 2014 and the 23rd all-time.

For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Third Time is a Charm: Wingnuts Win First Title with 8-3 Victory

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (September 13, 2014) – It took a long time to reach this point, but in their third consecutive season reaching the American Association’s Championship Series, the Wichita Wingnuts finally were crowned as the victors on Saturday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. The Wingnuts came back from an early deficit as they did many times during the 2014 post-season on their way to an 8-3 win that allowed them to sweep the series from the Lincoln Saltdogs 3-0.

Right-handed starting pitcher Jason Van Skike, who was undefeated at home entering play, was jumped on early by an aggressive Saltdogs’ lineup. Chad Mozingo led off the game with a line drive to right in front of back-to-back base hits by Luis Nunez and Matt Forgatch. Forgatch’s was a chopper to short that brought in a run and made it 1-0.

The Saltdogs’ also started out hot in the second frame. Brandon Pinckney began the inning with his first home run of the season to move the lead to 2-0. Mike Gilmartin earned a base on balls and then Tyler Smith singled to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Mozingo lifted a sacrifice fly to left to make it 3-0.

The Wingnuts would start their comeback in the bottom half of the second. Abel Nieves walked to become the team’s first base runner. Chris McMurray also walked to put two on with two outs. David Amberson came to the plate and laid down a bunt between the mound and the plate which he beat out by diving into first base. The play resulted in both the first hit and first run for Wichita.

Mistakes by the Lincoln defense were a theme in the series and that continued on this night. Nieves was walked by Lincoln ace Joe Bisenius (1-2) with one out. After a fly ball by Carlo Testa, McMurray lofted a high fly ball to center that Forgatch charged in on and had glance off of his glove for a huge error. The Nuts took advantage with two outs, as Jake Luce singled to load the bases and then Ryan Khoury drew a base on balls to force in a run and make it 3-2. Chris McClendon followed by dropping a fly ball in shallow left just out of the reach of shortstop Mike Gilmartin that plated a pair and gave the Wingnuts their first lead.

The lead was added to in both the fifth and sixth innings by an advantageous Wichita offense. McMurray drove in Nieves, who had walked again, with a base hit in the fifth and then back-to-back walks issued by Bisenius in the sixth, brought the big bats to the plate in prime position. David Espinosa floated a double over the first baseman to make it 6-3 and the following hitter, Brent Clevlen, smacked a sacrifice fly to push the margin to 7-3.

One more insurance run was tacked on in the Nuts’ final at bat. Luce singled through the left side of the infield and proceeded to race to third when the ball went past left fielder Jeremy Hamilton and to the wall. Khoury took advantage and allowed Luce to cross the plate with a run-scoring base hit.

While the offense was making its’ move, the pitching staff was shutting down the Lincoln offense. Van Skike (2-0) never allowed a run after the second inning in a five frame performance that put him in position for the win. He allowed three runs on seven hits and walked three while striking out one.

The bullpen was as tremendous as ever when they took over in the sixth inning for the starter. Chris Peacock, Mike Zouzalik, Chase Johnson, and Dan Sattler each faced four hitters in scoreless frames. All of them struck out at least one batter, with Sattler finishing the game by whiffing consecutive Saltdogs.

The Wingnuts finished off the 2014 campaign with an overall record of 79-28. Tim Brown became the only player in American Association history to win three championships and each with a different organization. He also won in 2009 with Lincoln and 2011 with Grand Prairie. This is the first title in the team’s seventh season of existence.

For information on 2015 season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Nuts Jump on Saltdogs Early to Win 9-2 and Take 2-0 Series Lead

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

LINCOLN, NE (September 11, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts jumped ahead early for the second straight night in game two of the American Association Championship Series on Thursday at Haymarket Park. The Wingnuts scored six runs in the top of the first to chase the Lincoln Saltdogs’ starter just one out into the game. After adding a few more runs in the second and third frames, all scoring stopped for the night as the bullpens took over and pitching dominated. The early offense was enough to provide a dominant 9-2 victory and give Wichita a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.

The game could not have started on a much better note for the Nuts as they ripped off five consecutive hits to start the game and put up six runs in the first frame against southpaw Kevin McGovern (0-1). Ryan Khoury, Chris McClendon, and David Espinosa each singled in the first three at bats to make it 1-0. The next hitter, Brent Clevlen blasted a mammoth home run to right center field to score three and push the lead to 4-0. Abel Nieves ended the string of hits with an infield single off the glove of McGovern. Carlo Testa grounded into a fielder’s choice for the first out of the inning and then took off on an adventurous trip around the bases. Testa stole second and then raced all the way home on an errant throw into center by Ian Gac the first baseman. Chris McMurray then brought an end to the starter’s short outing by turning on a delivery from the lefty and crushing it over the wall in left to make it 6-0. McGovern gave up six runs on six hits in 0.1 innings.

The Nuts also fared well against the first pitcher out of the pen, Justin Kuks in the second. Khoury and McClendon singled once again and that was followed by a free pass earned by Espinosa to load the bases with nobody down. Clevlen brought home his fourth run with a fielder’s choice bouncer to short and then Nieves did the same to stretch the margin to 8-0.

Wingnuts’ starter Anthony Capra (1-1) would put base runners on in four of his five innings, but didn’t allow any runs after the Lincoln second. Gac hit a leadoff solo home run in the bottom of the second and then another run scored on Mike Gilmartin’s RBI single to trim the lead briefly to 8-2.

Wichita managed the final run of the game during the third frame. David Amberson singled with one out and moved into scoring position on Khoury’s walk. With two outs, McClendon ripped his third base knock of the game to bring home the speedy outfielder.

Capra settled in and never allowed a run for the rest of his five-inning outing. He allowed two runs on five hits, while striking out five and walking four. Beginning in the sixth inning he turned the ball over to an impressive quartet of right-handers out of the bullpen. Chris Peacock and Mike Zouzalik each retired the side in order in the sixth and seventh respectively. Chase Johnson loaded the bases in the eighth, but stranded them full. Dan Sattler came into the contest in the final frame and struck out the side in a dominating performance to close out the win.

Aside from Clevlen’s four RBI performance, McClendon paced the offense by going 4-5 with two runs and an RBI. Khoury also finished with two hits. Nieves continued an unbelievable run down the stretch with a hit in his 19th consecutive game with the Wingnuts. Matt Forgatch and Jeremy Hamilton each had two hits to lead Lincoln.

Game three will provide the Wingnuts with an opportunity to sweep the championship series on their home field. However, they will have to get through Saltdogs’ ace RHP Joe Bisenius. The Nuts’ will go with RHP Jason Van Skike who has not lost a game at home to this point in 2014. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. and there will be a fireworks show following the game. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Nuts Stave off Late Lincoln Push to Take Game 1 of Championship Series

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

LINCOLN, NE (September 10, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts took control of the first game in the American Association’s Championship Series by a 10-0 score on Wednesday night at Haymarket Park thanks to the efforts of Tim Brown and David Espinosa. After a resurgent eighth inning that pulled Lincoln within three runs, the Nuts settled down and emerged with a crucial 11-7 win.

As opposed to each game in the Divisional Series against Laredo, it was the Wingnuts who scored a first inning run to take the lead. Ryan Khoury singled to start the game, stole second, moved to third on a deep fly ball by Chris McClendon, and then tagged and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Espinosa.

Espinosa provided another run in the third inning off of Saltdogs’ starter Marquis Fleming (1-1), but that was just the start of his productive night. In that frame both Jake Luce and Khoury drew free passes and were bunted into scoring position by McClendon. Espinosa grounded a ball softly to first base which plated Luce and made it 2-0.

Chris McMurray singled home a run in the fourth to extend the lead to 3-0 before a crooked number in the fifth made the lead more comfortable. Fleming walked both Khoury and Espinosa to put two on with one out. The next three hitters: Brent Clevlen, Abel Nieves, and Carlo Testa each drove in runs with RBI singles to push the advantage to 6-0.

More runs in both the sixth and seventh innings put Wichita on top by double digits. Espinosa completed his five-RBI day by ripping a three run home run to deep right field that made the lead 9-0. In the latter frame, McClendon split the right center gap with a double after back-to-back base hits by Luce and Khoury to raise the lead to 10-0.

While the offensive exploits were putting Lincoln in a hole, Brown (2-0), the Nuts’ starter was not helping them in their efforts to dig out of it. The right-hander allowed a pair of early base hits, but then managed to hold the Saltdogs hitless for four straight innings while never allowing a run. He departed after seven shutout innings with a pitch count of just 81 and gave up only three hits. Brown has allowed just two runs and seven hits in his 14 playoff innings on the hill.

Matt Robertson came out of the bullpen to work the eighth and in their first chance to see somebody besides Brown the Lincoln bats heated up. A walk and an error started the inning, before the Saltdogs reeled off four straight hits to force Robertson from the contest. Chad Mozingo hit a grand slam along the way to cut the lead to 10-4. Daniel Bennett entered with two base runners on and allowed a two-RBI single to Ian Gac and a run-scoring single by Brandon Pinckney before ending the inning with two runners still aboard. Lincoln had pulled to within 10-7.

The Wingnuts’ offense was able to battle back and bring in a big run for insurance purposes in the top of the ninth. With two outs David Amberson walked, Jared McDonald bunted for a single, and Nieves walked to load the bases. Testa knocked in a run with an infield single to stretch the margin to 11-4.

In the bottom of the inning, Chase Johnson worked a one, two, three stanza to secure the victory in the championship opener.

Four Wingnuts were able to muster multiple hits, while only one starter did not tally a base hit. Wichita racked up 15 hits for the first time in the post-season after reaching that mark 17 times in regular play.

Game two will also be in Lincoln on Thursday night at 6:35 p.m. LHP Anthony Capra (0-1) will make his second playoff start against fellow southpaw Kevin McGovern of the Saltdogs. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Hooper Named American Association’s Best Manager for Second Straight Year

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (September 8, 2014) – There have been a slew of post-season awards coming the way of the Wichita Wingnuts since their record-smashing regular season concluded a little bit less than a week ago. That list has grown even longer with the news that Kevin Hooper has been named the American Association Manager of the Year for a second straight season and the third time in six years on the job.

Hooper directed the Wingnuts to an American Association records in wins (73) and winning percentage (.730) for the second straight season. The 37-year old also won the award in his first year as Wichita’s manager in 2009 and again in 2013. He is the only manager in the history of the American Association, which has existed since 2006, to win the award three times. His winning percentage as a manager (.613) is far above that of any other manager in the league since 2009.

This season, the Wingnuts and Hooper had to maneuver around severe injuries like the one that ended star second baseman Jake Kahaulelio’s season and the fact that three of the most talented pieces of the roster had their contract’s purchased by Major League organizations. Even with some of those setbacks, the team never lost more than four straight games on their way to winning a fourth consecutive division title. The Wingnuts became the first franchise to win a title in all three of the American Association’s divisions.

Hooper enjoyed a 10-year playing career as a professional which concluded with an American Association batting title in 2008 as the Wingnuts' shortstop.  Hooper's .373 mark that summer led the league by 40 points, which remains the widest margin of victory in league history.

Hooper was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 8th round in 1999 following a stellar, four-year career at Wichita State Universiy.  Hooper spent six years at the Triple-A level and reached the Major Leagues with the Detroit Tigers in both 2005 and 2006.

The Wingnuts will take on the Laredo Lemurs in game four of the Division Round on Sunday night at 7:05 p.m. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Clevlen Earns Recognition as American Association’s Top Player

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (September 8, 2014) – For a second straight season the Wichita Wingnuts have the best player in the American Association on their roster. Following a league-wide vote from players and media members, outfielder Brent Clevlen has been named the 2014 American Association Player of the Year.

Clevlen, a former Major Leaguer, became the third straight Wingnuts’ hitter to take home the American Association batting title with a .372 average during the regular season. That mark left him just one point shy of manager Kevin Hooper’s franchise record average of .373 in 2008. He finished among the top five players in the league in such offensive categories as extra-base-hits, total bases, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, RBI, and home runs and also broke the Wingnuts’ single-season record for doubles with 33. The 13-year professional baseball veteran displayed great power with his 20 home runs and 80 RBI, while also hitting safely in 70 of 94 games.

Clevlen is in his third season with the Wingnuts after spending portions of the 2011 and 2013 seasons in Wichita. Last season he hit .322 with 14 home runs and 51 RBI in 70 games after joining the team in mid-June. Clevlen spent the first part of the season in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization with Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno. He has been a post-season all-star outfielder in each of the last two seasons.

Clevlen batted .310 with 15 doubles, 10 home runs, and 32 RBI in 46 games for the Wingnuts in 2011.  On June 27th of that season versus El Paso, he hit the first inside-the-park home run in team history.  His contract was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies' organization in August of 2011 and he went on to hit .336 with six homers and 20 RBI in 32 games for the Double-A Reading Phillies.

The 30-year old was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the second round in 2002 out of Westwood High School in Austin.  He first reached the Majors with Detroit in 2006 where he teamed with Wingnuts' manager Kevin Hooper and co-owner Nate Robertson.  He spent parts of the next two seasons with the Tigers and also saw time with the Atlanta Braves in 2010. 

The Wingnuts will take on the Laredo Lemurs in game four of the Division Round on Sunday night at 7:05 p.m. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Head Back to Championship Series after Thrilling 5-4 Win

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (September 7, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts advanced through the divisional round of the American Association playoffs and into the championship in both 2012 and 2013. Both seasons ended with another team celebrating on the field. In 2014, the Nuts made it their goal to change that trend and took a big first step in reaching that goal by winning their divisional series with the Laredo Lemurs 3-1 courtesy of a 5-4 win in game four on Sunday night.

For the fourth consecutive game, the Wingnuts fell behind after the first at bat by the Lemurs. Nick Van Stratten doubled off of starter Celson Polanco to begin the game and moved to third on Denis Phipps’ sacrifice bunt. The next hitter, Travis Denker, bounced a ball toward short that Ryan Khoury fielded and went to first with; driving in the game’s first run.

Wichita would answer back much quicker in this one than in the first three contests. Nine-hitter Jake Luce blasted a solo home run off of Lemurs’ pitcher Josh Strawn in the third to tie the score at 1-1. However, that wasn’t all the home team had in store in that frame. Khoury singled up the middle, was bunted into scoring position by Chris McClendon, and then raced home on David Espinosa’s RBI single.

Laredo briefly tied the game with back-to-back two out hits by Byron Wiley and Devin Goodwin in the fourth, prior to another two-spot being hung by the Wingnuts in the bottom half. Carlo Testa began the frame by squaring up a ball to left center that left the yard and put Wichita in front 3-2. With one out Chris McMurray roped a double and a wild play with Luce at the plate helped him come in to score. The designated hitter scalded a ball off the end of Denker’s glove at third and into shallow left field. The speedy hitter raced for second as the defender’s throw sailed high over everybody and into right field. McMurray scored easily as a result and Luce tried to as well, but was called out on a close play at the dish. The inning ended with the score 4-2.

Brent Clevlen added his first post-season home run, a solo shot to left in the fifth, to extend the advantage to 5-2. The long ball came off of Tyler Pearson, who was pitching his first inning after relieving Strawn. The starter lasted four innings and gave up four runs on eight hits while striking out four.

Polanco, making his third appearance as a Wingnut, rolled into the seventh inning with a three-run cushion and having allowed just five hits to that point. Goodwin singled to begin the stanza and was bunted to second by J.P. Ramirez. Carlos Ramirez was retired for the second out of the inning before the Lemurs turned up the heat. Kyle Brandenburg drove in his first post-season run with a single to trim the Wingnuts’ lead to 5-3. Back-to-back base knocks by Van Stratten and Phipps brought in another run and closed the gap to just one, while runners remained on the corners. Kevin Hooper called Chris Peacock out of the bullpen to face the dangerous Denker. The right-hander enticed a routine fly ball to right to end the inning.

With the offense unable to get to Pearson and Caleb Graham out of the Lemurs’ pen, everything rode on the arms of the Nuts’ late-inning relievers, Chase Johnson and Dan Sattler. Johnson had no problems knifing through the four, five, and six hitters in the eighth. That left Sattler with the bottom of the order and he started his outing by retiring J.P. Ramirez. He then walked Carlos Ramirez, who was pinch run for by Harrison Kain. Kain stole second base during a Brandenburg at bat that would end with a strikeout. Down to their final out, the Lemurs had Van Stratten at the plate. The all-star hit a sinking line drive to center field that Clevlen read well and caught on the run to end the game. Players and coaches came streaking out of the third base dugout to mob the closer and begin the celebration.

Nieves continued his impressive surge at the end of the season by going 2-4 and extending his hitting streak to 17 games since joining the team. Joining the second baseman with two hits were Espinosa and Luce. Polanco earned the win by allowing four runs on nine hits with four strikeouts in 6.2 innings.

The Wingnuts will have to wait for the conclusion of game five between the Winnipeg Goldeyes and Lincoln Saltdogs on Monday evening to learn their championship opponent. RHP Tim Brown (1-0) will throw in game one on Wednesday night at a location and time to be determined. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Huge Seventh Helps Nuts Leap Lemurs and Grab 2-1 Series Lead

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (September 6, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts fell behind by a run after one inning of play for the third consecutive playoff match-up with the Laredo Lemurs on Saturday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. The score was stuck on 1-0 for a long time because of a pair of brilliant pitching performances, but the Wingnuts used a six-run seventh inning to blow the game open and finish off a 6-3 win in game three of the American Association Division Series. Wichita now has a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five battle.

The Wingnuts felt confident in sending right-handed starter Jason Van Skike to the bump to oppose Lemurs’ ace Cesar Carrillo. After all, Van Skike was 8-0 with a 2.02 ERA within the friendly confines of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium during the regular season. He was, however, the first to be scored upon in this one. After recording the first two outs without issue, he left a breaking ball up in the zone and Travis Denker hit it out of the park to left to put the visiting Lemurs ahead 1-0.

He allowed one more hit, a single by J.P. Ramirez, in the second-inning before flipping into shut down mode. He retired 13 consecutive hitters between the final out of the second and the last out in the seventh inning. The only base runner he allowed for the rest of his stay occurred on an error to begin the seventh. His final line was outstanding: one run on two hits with four strikeouts and nary a base on balls.

The problem was that on the other side, The Wingnuts’ offense could not cash in against Carrillo. He stranded the bases loaded in the second frame, left a runner in scoring position in both the third and fourth and innings, and walked the tightrope while shutting out the Nuts through six. In the seventh, his outing spiraled out of control in a flash. Jake Luce reached on a single up the middle, before Carrillo walked each of the next two hitters while they were trying to lay down a bunt. With the bases loaded, Chris McClendon broke the ice with a two-RBI base knock through the left side that gave the Wingnuts their first advantage at 2-1. The final batter that the pitcher saw, Brent Clevlen, also ripped a single that scored a pair and made it 4-1.

Laredo manager, Pete Incaviglia, went to Scott Weismann out of the bullpen. The side-arm throwing righty gave up a pair of run-scoring hits to Abel Nieves and Carlo Testa, with one of the runs being credited to the starter, before his outing came to an end. The combination of Estevan Uriegas and Chad Povich closed out the inning without further damage.

Mike Zouzalik came on for the eighth inning and gave up just a one out double to Carlos Ramirez in a scoreless inning. He struck out a pair in the stanza. The Wingnuts were held in check in their half of the eighth so Matt Robertson came on for the ninth to try and close it out. The right-hander did just that, although Byron Wiley crushed a two-run home run before the curtain closed to pull Laredo within 6-3.

McClendon and Nieves had multiple hits for the Wingnuts. Nieves has now hit safely in all 16 of his games back in Wichita since being acquired in a trade with Grand Prairie. Luce and Testa each have at least one hit in all three playoff games, equaling the task accomplished by Nieves.

The Wingnuts will attempt to close out the series in game four on Sunday night at 7:05 p.m. RHP Celson Polanco will be making his third start with the Wingnuts against RHP Josh Strawn of Laredo. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Nuts’ Comeback Falls Short in 3-2 Loss to Laredo

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

LAREDO, TX (September 4, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts fell behind for a second straight playoff game at Uni-Trade Stadium on Thursday night. Unlike Wednesday evening, when they were able to rebound and earn a dramatic victory, the Nuts’ come-from-behind-effort fell just short in a 3-2 series-evening loss to the Laredo Lemurs.

Wingnuts’ starter Anthony Capra struggled with his command early in the outing and the Lemurs took advantage right away. After both Denis Phipps and Travis Denker earned free passes with one out, John Alonso popped out in foul territory to first. With two outs, Byron Wiley ripped a groundball single through the left side to score Phipps and put the home team ahead 1-0.

Capra issued a base on balls to Denker once again to begin the third inning and the power-hitter advanced to second on another Wiley base knock. The pair of runners reached scoring position as a result of an ensuing wild pitch. Devin Goodwin took four pitches out of the zone to load the bases for J.P. Ramirez. The left-fielder hit a slow roller toward third, but Chris McClendon’s only play was to first, allowing the runner from third to score and push the Laredo lead to 2-0. Capra found his rhythm in the fourth and fifth innings, striking out Lemurs for four of the six outs in the frames, but had to hand the ball to the pen after his pitch count was raised considerably.

Chris Peacock came on in relief for the sixth and also walked a pair of hitters during the frame, leading to a run-scoring opportunity for the Lemurs. Phipps came through with his second post-season RBI, lining Peacock’s first offering into left for a 3-0 lead.

Left-hander Casey Harman of the Lemurs was extremely effective at limiting the high-flying Wingnuts’ offense through the first six innings of his outing. Entering the seventh, he had allowed only three hits and prevented Wichita from crossing the plate. After walking Brent Clevlen with one out in that stanza, Carlo Testa drove a home run the opposite way to left to pull his team within a run at 3-2. Harman remained in through the eighth inning and never gave up another run. He finished with four strikeouts, two walks, and scattered five hits.

Caleb Graham entered for the save opportunity and retired the first two batters, Espinosa and Clevlen, without issue. Abel Nieves was behind in the count 1-2, but found a way to sneak a ball through the left side of the infield to keep the Wingnuts’ hopes alive. With Testa at the plate representing the go-ahead run, Graham retired the outfielder with a called strike three on a breaking ball.

Nieves extended his string of hitting safely in every game he has played with Wichita to 15 contests. McMurray joined Nieves as the only two Wingnuts with one more than one hit. Wiley paced all hitters with three base knocks and was the only Lemur to finish with more than one. Daniel Bennett and Chase Johnson each worked scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

The series shifts to Wichita on Saturday for game three at 7:05 p.m. RHP Jason Van Skike will throw for the Wingnuts against the regular season ERA leader RHP Cesar Carrillo of the Lemurs. There will be a fireworks show following the conclusion of the game. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Wingnuts Take Game One from Lemurs by 4-2 Score

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (September 3, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts and Laredo Lemurs finished the regular season against one another and immediately jumped back into another set, this time with more on the line. On Wednesday night at Uni-Trade Stadium, the two met in game one of the Divisional Round of the American Association playoffs. The Wingnuts got a great pitching performance from Tim Brown, who fought off a couple of solo home runs by the Lemurs and watched as his teammates eventually pulled the contest out by a 4-2 score on the strength of a couple clutch hits.

Brown, a right-hander, retired Nick Van Stratten to start the bottom of the first inning, but then gave up a line drive home run to left by Denis Phipps that put the home team on top 1-0. The long ball was the 16th of the year for the former Major Leaguer.

Jeremy Strawn was solid through the initial four innings of his first professional playoff start. In the fifth, the Nuts were finally able to string some hits together. Victor Diaz and Chris McMurray started the frame with back-to-back base hits. Both of them advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Chris McClendon. Ryan Khoury lined out to center, which did not result in any advancement, for the second out. Jake Luce came to the plate and had two strikes on him when he pulled a ball through the hole on the right side of the infield to put Wichita on top 2-1.

Brown continued to stymie the Laredo offense through the sixth inning. At one point, after working four consecutive one, two, three innings, he had retired 13 straight opposing hitters without a base runner. That streak ended when Travis Denker ripped his 26th home run of the year to the left field corner to knot the score at 2-2. Brown recorded the next three batters in order to complete his night. He allowed only four hits and the two runs in seven innings of work. Brown struck out six and did not walk a single batter.

Brent Clevlen singled to start the eighth inning in an attempt to reclaim the lead for the Wingnuts. However, Clevlen was caught stealing by Lemurs’ catcher Carlos Ramirez to clear the bases. The next batter, Abel Nieves, drove a ball into dead center off of right-handed reliever Chad Povich. Initially, the ball was ruled as a double, but after some urging from Kevin Hooper the umpires met and decided to change the ruling to a home run. That booming blast put the Nuts on top 3-2.

The Wingnuts would add a big insurance run in the top of the ninth inning when Khoury doubled home McMurray, who had doubled himself to begin the frame. That meant that closer Dan Sattler would enter for the ninth inning with a two run lead as cushion. He walked Nick Van Stratten on five pitches to begin his outing and then allowed an infield single to Phipps to put the tying run on board. Denker grounded into a diving fielder’s choice by Khoury for the first out. At that point, the big right-hander flipped the switch into untouchable mode. He struck out both John Alonso and Byron Wiley on breaking balls to bring an end to the dramatic affair.

Mike Zouzalik retired the side in order in the eighth, his lone inning atop the hill. McMurray and Nieves were the only two Wingnuts with multiple hits, while Phipps was the lone Lemur to accomplish the feat.

The second game of the series will take place on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. from Uni-Trade Stadium once again. LHP Anthony Capra will take the ball for Wichita against fellow lefty Casey Harman of Laredo. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Capra Named Final Pitcher of Week for Regular Season

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (September 2, 2014) – As the Wichita Wingnuts enter post-season play on Wednesday night in Laredo, there are many players who are currently at the top of their games in the most opportune of times. One of those players, left-handed pitcher Anthony Capra, was recognized for his recent performance by being named the American Association Pitcher of the Week for the last week of the regular season.

In his last two regular season starts, the southpaw handcuffed the bats of both Grand Prairie and Laredo. On August 25th, in the first game of a doubleheader against the AirHogs, Capra pitched six of the seven innings for the Wingnuts and allowed just a pair of runs on just four hits. He struck out five and walked three. He was even more dominating against the Lemurs on August 30th. He threw six shutout frames and gave up a mere three hits. Once again he struck out five opposing hitters.

On the season Capra is 7-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 14 games, 13 of them starts. In 74.1 innings, he has fanned 72 opposing hitters and given up just 57 hits. He has not missed a beat after starting the season hot and then sitting out nearly two months with a severe hamstring injury.

Capra will throw in game two of the playoff series in Laredo on Thursday. The series shifts back to Wichita’s Lawrence-Dumont Stadium for a 7:05 p.m. game on Saturday and if necessary games with the same start time on Sunday and Monday. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Clevlen Named American Association Hitter of the Month

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (September 3, 2014) – Wichita Wingnuts’ outfielder Brent Clevlen has had a fantastic 2014 season in all aspects. While providing valuable veteran leadership to a young group of teammates, he has also been the centerpiece in the American Association’s highest scoring offense. Clevlen has played his best baseball in the most important part of the schedule and that success was rewarded on Wednesday with the American Association Pointstreak Playerof the Month honor for August.

In 25 games during the month, the former big leaguer batted .457 and drove in 30 runs. He managed eight multiple RBI games and had 14 contests with more than one hit. The Wingnuts’ all-star outfielder crushed 10 home runs in the month, which is half of his season total. Currently in his 13th season, Clevlen was honored as the 2014 Wichita Wingnuts’ Team MVP prior to Monday’s regular season match-up with Laredo.

Clevlen and his teammates open the 2014 American Association playoffs with the initial game of a best-of-five series with the Laredo Lemurs tonight at 7:30 p.m.   They return home for game three on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. If necessary, games four and five will also be at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium with a start time of 7:05 p.m.

For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Wingnuts Enter Post-Season Red-Hot after 4-1 Win over Laredo

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (September 1, 2014) – There have long been arguments on how a team should go about their business at the end of the regular season after securing a playoff berth. No matter what side of the fence an individual is on, heading into the post-season with a nine-game winning streak and also getting valuable rest for key players is about the best finish a team can ask for. The Wichita Wingnuts accomplished both tasks by finishing a four-game sweep of the Laredo Lemurs on Monday evening at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Early runs and a stellar nine innings from the pitching staff did the trick in a 4-1 win.

After Wingnuts’ starter Celson Polanco (1-0) shut down the Lemurs in the first half inning, the offense started their night by posting a run. With two outs, David Espinosa extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a base hit. Next, Brent Clevlen also ripped a base hit to put two on for Abel Nieves. Nieves wasted no time in pushing his own hit streak to 13 by driving an RBI double into left field that put Wichita (73-27) in front 1-0.

In the third inning, it was the middle of the order coming through once again against Lemurs’ starter Josh Strawn (6-9). Clevlen followed another single by Espinosa with home run number 20 of his season, a two-run bomb to left, that widened the lead to 3-0. After his 2-2 start the center fielder momentarily pulled even with manager Kevin Hooper’s team record for batting average in a season at .373. Clevlen walked and popped out to first base in his final two at bats and ended up hitting .372 in the regular season. Before the inning concluded, Chris McClendon singled up the middle with the bases loaded to push the margin to 4-0.

The Lemurs (58-42) would score their only run of the game in the fourth inning against Polanco. With the bases full of teammates, Devin Goodwin grounded out deep in the hole at first to David Espinosa who could only make the play at first, allowing a run to come in from third. During the three innings prior to that frame and in the pair after, the big right-hander was never threatened much. He turned in six innings, scattered six hits, struck out six, and walked only one Lemurs’ hitter.

After Polanco; Daniel Bennett, Chase Johnson, and Dan Sattler combined to throw three scoreless innings and held Laredo to three base runners down the stretch. Sattler picked up his 22nd save of 2014.

Espinosa, Clevlen, and Diaz paced the Nuts with two hits each, while Ramirez and Denker accomplished the same for Laredo. The 73 wins means the team finishes with a .730 win percentage, a number never before approached in American Association history.

Game one of the Wingnuts playoff series with the Laredo Lemurs is at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday night inside Uni-Trade Stadium in Laredo, Texas. The game can be heard on 92.7 KWME or by clicking on the “Listen Live” tab on the team’s website. RHP Tim Brown will take the ball against Lemurs’ RHP Jeremy Strawn. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Wingnuts Reach the 72-Win Mark with Extraordinary 17-14 Victory

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (August 31, 2014) – The definition of the word extraordinary in the dictionary is listed as very unusual or remarkable. That makes the adjective the perfect term to describe the event that took place at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium during Sunday afternoon’s game featuring the Wichita Wingnuts and Laredo Lemurs. In a battle that featured a combined 31 runs, 30 hits, eight errors, three ejections, five players with multiple RBI, and a position player on the mound to close it out, the Wingnuts prevailed by a 17-14 final score.

The Wingnuts (72-27) would score five runs in three different innings to account for the majority of their runs. The first time they achieved the feat was in the bottom of the first inning after Laredo (58-41) had already scored a pair in the top half to take a 2-0 lead. After Ryan Khoury walked and Jared McDonald singled, David Espinosa gave the Nuts the lead with one swing of the bat by launching a three-run home run to right center. In doing so, he also extended his hitting streak to 16 games. Before the inning ended, Brent Clevlen scored on an error by the first baseman and Brent Dean plated another on a sacrifice fly to deep left to run the lead to 5-2.

The Lemurs were not caught off guard, instead responding with a seven-run inning that chased starter Frank Del Valle after 1.2 innings. Laredo sent 11 batters to the plate and pounded out seven hits to re-take control at 9-5. Both John Alonso (17) and J.P. Ramirez (11) lifted long balls in the frame.

Wichita was able to trim the deficit with a single run in the third on Carlo Testa’s RBI single, before throwing another five-spot on the board in the fourth. Back-to-back singles by Chris McClendon and Khoury allowed McDonald to score both of them on his gap-splitting double to left center. Victor Diaz scored McDonald on a sacrifice fly to tie the score at nine for a brief moment. Abel Nieves extended his hitting streak to 12 games and put the Wingnuts in front with his run-scoring base knock. An error by the shortstop Kyle Brandenburg brought in one more run to end the inning with the score 11-9 in the home team’s favor. Laredo’s manager Pete Incaviglia was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the inning.

Laredo would come back to grab the lead away once again by using four runs in the sixth and seventh innings combined. Pitcher Casey Harman, who entered the game in right field for an injured Alonso, lifted a sacrifice fly in the sixth to pull his team within one run. Nick Van Stratten and Denis Phipps came through with RBI singles, and another run scored on a David Amberson throwing error in the seventh to propel Laredo to a 13-11 lead.

Immediately, the Wingnuts responded with their third five-run frame. Brent Dean blasted his third home run of the season off the lower portion of the scoreboard in left to tie the score at 13. Later, Jake Luce staked the Nuts to a 15-13 lead with a two-run double and the final run of the inning scored on an error by third baseman Travis Denker.

Both teams scored one run in the eighth inning which allowed the Wichita closer, Dan Sattler, to enter for the ninth. It appeared things may return to normalcy, but that was far from the case. Sattler hit Van Stratten with a 3-0 pitch in his first at bat on the hill and was promptly kicked out of the game along with manager Kevin Hooper as a result of an earlier warning issued to both benches. Having nobody left in the bullpen, Taylor Oldham, who has now played every position but catcher in his professional career, made his first appearance on the bump. Oldham retired every hitter he faced and stranded the runner he inherited at third to earn his first save.

Chase Johnson (1-0) worked the eighth inning to earn the victory. Estevan Uriegas (1-2) was beat up in the seventh as he took the loss for the Lemurs. Victor Diaz tallied an RBI for the fourth consecutive game. The Wingnuts increased their winning streak to eight games and finished the month of August with an impressive 25-5 record.

The series will conclude on Monday evening with a special Labor Day start time of 5:05 p.m. It is Fan Appreciation night so head out to the ballpark where you are sure to end up with something to take home. RHP Celson Polanco will get the start in the final regular season game of the year. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Four Wingnuts Named Post-Season All-Stars

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (September 1, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts became the independent team with the highest winning percentage since 2010 on Sunday afternoon. One day later, some of the individuals that were integral to them achieving the level of success that they did were honored by the American Association. After a league-wide vote from managers and media, Chris McMurray, Abel Nieves, and Brent Clevlen were named post-season all-stars. In addition, shortstop Ryan Khoury was honored as the Defensive Player of the Year.

McMurray has made a huge impact behind home plate in his first year with the organization. He has guided the pitching staff to the league’s best team ERA and also provided clutch hitting when the team has needed it the most. He is hitting .260 with seven home runs and 60 RBI and went on a ten game hit streak in late June. Defensively, nobody in the league was better. The backstop threw out 30% of attempted base stealers and has been charged with just one passed ball in 72 games behind the dish. He also represented the South in the mid-season All-Star Game.

Nieves, the 2013 league batting champion while with the Wingnuts, was honored as the best third baseman in the circuit for the second straight year. He was acquired from the Grand Prairie AirHogs in an August 19th trade and has been in the lineup as an everyday player since. Since joining the Nuts, Nieves has at least one hit in each of his 12 games. For the season, he boasts a batting average of .354, which is tied for the fourth best mark in the league. He is also fourth in on-base percentage. Nieves started at the hot corner for the South squad in the All-Star game.

Clevlen, a former Detroit Tigers and Atlanta Braves outfielder, leads the league entering play with a .370 batting average. That mark is just three points shy of manager Kevin Hooper’s franchise record average of .373 in 2008. He is currently among the top five players in the league in such offensive categories as extra-base-hits, total bases, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, RBI, and home runs. He broke the Wingnuts’ single –season record for doubles in Sunday’s contest with his 33rd of the year. The native of Austin, Texas was selected to represent the South in the American Association all-star game earlier this year and was honored with a post-season all-star selection in 2013 as well.

Khoury, a slick-fielding shortstop, was also named as the best defensive player in 2012, his first season with the Wingnuts. The shortstop has started in all but two of his 300 games with the organization. The 30-year old from Utah has committed just 12 errors in 498 chances this year. Khoury’s fielding percentage of .976 is three points higher than the .973 percentage that Hooper put together in 2008. He has also enjoyed one of the best seasons at the plate in his nine-year career. His 12 home runs are a career high and a nice compliment to his .319 batting average and 61 RBI. Those numbers earned him a place as the South squad’s designated hitter in the All-Star Game.

The Wingnuts will close out the regular season tonight at 5:05 p.m. They will begin a first round playoff series with the Laredo Lemurs at Uni-Trade Stadium on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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All They Do is Win: Nuts Lay 10-3 Beating On Lemurs

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (August 30, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts and Laredo Lemurs will face one another in the first round of the American Association playoffs next week. However, on Saturday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, the Wingnuts showed that they aren’t finished yet with an already impressive regular season. Behind the starting pitching of Anthony Capra and a huge seven run sixth inning, Wichita improved to 13-4 against Laredo this year and 71-27 overall with a resounding 10-3 win.

After three scoreless innings for both Capra and Lemurs’ starter Michael Suk (5-2), the Wichita offense got on the board first in the fourth inning. Carlo Testa singled with one out and was able to move to second on a balk with Chris McMurray at the plate, before the catcher flew out to center. The advancement was huge because Testa raced home on a single by Chris McClendon to put Wichita in front 1-0. The next batter, Ryan Khoury, ripped a double to make the lead 2-0.

That advantage would balloon to 9-0 after a monster bottom of the sixth inning by the Wingnuts. The first seven batters of the inning reached base safely against Suk to record a majority of the damage. The runs were plated on a three-run home run by McMurray (7), a bases loaded walk by David Espinosa, a fielder’s choice groundout from Victor Diaz, and an infield single followed by an error by shortstop Kyle Brandenburg with Abel Nieves at the plate.

After the offense blew the game open and with Capra’s pitch count over 100, manager Kevin Hooper decided to pull the lefty and turn to the bullpen. The former Wichita State Shocker allowed only three hits in the six shutout frames, while fanning five and improving his record to 7-2 on the campaign. Mike Zouzalik entered for the seventh and could not prevent the Laredo (58-40) bats from coming alive. After retiring the first two hitters in the inning, Denis Phipps singled and was driven in on an ensuing double by Travis Denker. John Alonso then switched places with his teammate on another two-bagger to cut the deficit to 9-2.

Wichita was able to answer right back with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning before Laredo closed the scoring in the eighth. With the bases loaded and two outs, Brent Clevlen reached on an infield single to extend the lead to 10-2. With Matt Robertson on the hill for the top of the eighth, J.P. Ramirez hit his tenth home run of the season to pull within 10-3, but that was all the Lemurs could muster.

Both Nieves (11) and Espinosa (15) extended their hitting streaks by one more game with base knocks. Diaz drove in a run for his third straight game with at least one RBI. Chase Johnson allowed two runners to reach base in the ninth, but no runs to cross as he worked his sixth consecutive scoreless frame to begin his time in Wichita.

The series resumes on Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. LHP Frank Del Valle (1-1) will take on a Lemurs’ pitcher to be announced. A limited number of Wingnuts’ draw-string backpacks will be passed out to fans at the front gate. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Double Up Lemurs 10-5 for 70th Win

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (August 29, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts broke the American Association record for wins on Wednesday night in Grand Prairie. According to Friday night’s contest with the Laredo Lemurs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium they are not quite finished. They took advantage of 12 Laredo walks and eight hits to lap the Lemurs by a 10-5 final score. Victor Diaz drove in three runs and both David Espinosa and Abel Nieves extended hitting streaks in the double digits to drive the efficient offense.

Laredo (58-39) scored first in the very first frame. They jumped on Wingnuts’ starter Jason Van Skike (12-5), who is now 8-0 at home. Nick Van Stratten led off the game by drawing a walk, stole second base and then moved to third on a fielder’s choice groundout by J.P. Ramirez. Travis Denker also bounced out softly on the infield to put his squad up 1-0.

After Tyler Pearson (7-8) held them quiet through four innings, the Wingnuts (70-27) made a racket in the fourth and the two innings after. Nieves drew a one out walk before Brent Dean singled and Chris McClendon also walked to load the bases. Pearson then issued another of his 10 bases on balls to Ryan Khoury which forced in the tying run. The next batter, Jake Luce, hit a towering pop up above the infield that Kyle Brandenburg whiffed on as it fell behind him and pushed Wichita on top 3-1.

Brent Clevlen and Victor Diaz each walked to start the final inning for Pearson on the mound. An RBI double by Nieves, who now has a hit in all ten of his games with Wichita, made it 4-1. Carlo Testa drew another free pass from Pearson to load the bases. A passed ball brought in Nieves and then a single by Chris McClendon drove in David Amberson, who had pinch run for Testa. The right-handed starter allowed six runs, four earned, on four hits. He has combined to throw 277 pitches in his last two starts, both against the Wingnuts.

Laredo pulled much closer in the sixth using a three-run home run by John Alonso, his 16th, to cut their deficit to 6-4. With the bases loaded against Van Skike and one out in the frame, Kevin Hooper turned to Daniel Bennett out of the bullpen. The side-winding right-hander did not disappoint. He struck out Brandenburg and then got a tapper back to the mound to strand three. Van Skike got credit for a quality start by allowing three earned runs on five hits over 5.1 innings. The Wingnuts got a big run back in the bottom of the inning on a Diaz sacrifice fly to grab a 7-4 advantage.

The Lemurs brought in all-star shortstop Devin Goodwin to pitch in the eighth with rough results. The first three batters he faced reached and he left with the bases loaded and one out. With reliever Caleb Graham in the game, Diaz tallied RBI numbers nine and ten of his season with a line-drive to center that brought in a pair. Before the inning concluded, Nieves lifted a sacrifice fly to left to score Espinosa, who had singled earlier extending his hit streak to a Wingnuts’ season-high 14 games.

Leading by six runs entering the ninth, the Nuts turned the ball over to Matt Robertson who allowed back-to-back two out doubles to Van Stratten and Ramirez which resulted in the final score of 10-5.

In order to bridge the gap between Bennett and Robertson, Mike Zouzalik and Chris Peacock each threw scoreless innings in relief. Clevlen returned to the lineup by going 1-3 with two walks. He is currently leading the league in batting average at .369.

The second game of the four-game battle takes place Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. The Wingnuts will hand the baseball to LHP Anthony Capra (6-2) in a duel with Laredo RHP Michael Suk (5-1). It will be Oklahoma City Thunder night at the park, with appearances from both the Thunder girls and the drum line. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Come From Behind Twice to Make History in 6-5 Win

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

Grand Prairie, TX (August 27, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts made American Association history in two different categories on Wednesday night at QuikTrip Park and it was appropriate that it happened in the most thrilling of contests. They were able to erase two run leads by the Grand Prairie AirHogs in both the eighth and ninth innings on their way to a white-knuckle 6-5 win that pushed them past their 2013 win total of 68 with four games remaining. Jake Luce stole a base in the final inning, the second of the game for the visitors, to break the league record for single-season steals with 165 as well.

With starting pitchers Tim Brown of the Wingnuts (69-27) and Danny Gutierrez of the AirHogs throwing dueling shutouts through three frames, the game appeared destined to be a low-scoring affair for the third straight night, but a fourth inning solo home run by Jason Botts pushed Grand Prairie (40-56) in front 1-0.

The AirHogs would also score the next run of the game against Brown in the sixth inning. Alex Nunez reached second on a slap bunt, moved to third on another bunt, and was scored on a sacrifice fly before the inning reached its’ conclusion by Brian Myrow.

Both pitchers would last through the seventh as they turned in quality starts. Brown put together his ninth in a row, allowing two runs on five hits in seven innings with four strikeouts. Gutierrez, two starts after no-hitting the Wingnuts into the eighth inning, worked seven shutout frames and scattered five hits. The right-hander struck out nine.

When Eric Champion went to the bullpen and brought in Trevor Harden, the Wingnuts were glad to see someone besides Gutierrez and it showed. Luce singled to begin the rally and moved to second on Ryan Khoury’s walk. After an Abel Nieves fly ball, David Espinosa ripped a line drive single to load the bases. A wild pitch from Harden brought in Luce to trim the deficit to 2-1. The next batter, Victor Diaz, crushed a line drive past the third baseman and into the left field corner to score both runners left on base and give Wichita a late lead.

However, the AirHogs weren’t done yet. Nunez flipped a leadoff double to left against Chris Peacock (2-0) in the bottom half and moved to third on a fielder’s choice groundout by Brian Peterson. With the infield drawn in, Botts rolled a single through the right side to tie the score. After Peacock fanned Myrow, Matt Burns, who had three home runs to that point in the season, launched a go-ahead two-run shot to left that put Wichita in a late hole again at 5-3.

The Nuts were facing a familiar face in reliever Alex Hinshaw during the ninth as he came on to try and earn his sixth save. The inning got started on a rough note for Grand Prairie when Alex Nunez dropped a high pop up off the bat of Chris McMurray at second base. Hinshaw followed by issuing a free pass to Jared McDonald. Luce laid down a bunt to the left of the mound in the ensuing at bat that Hinshaw picked up and threw wide of first to allow McMurray to race home and cut the Grand Prairie lead to one. Khoury made contact on a tough two strike pitch and hit a slow roller back to the mound that left the pitcher with only one play and that was to first. The game was tied with a runner on second and just one out. On the record-breaking play, Luce took off for third and slid in safely while the throw from Peterson got away and rolled into left. Luce stood up and raced home with the go-ahead run. The previous record for stolen bags in one season was Gary SouthShore in 2012 with 164.

With the closer Dan Sattler unavailable after pitching in each of the three previous games, Chase Johnson came out of the pen to try and close it out. Johnson had no issues as he got a pop out, strikeout and line drive out to end it in one, two, three fashion for his first save.

The Wingnuts will take Thursday off before welcoming the Laredo Lemurs to town on Friday for a regular season ending four game set. Friday’s game will get underway at 7:05 p.m. There will be a post-game fireworks show following the conclusion. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Opportunity Knocks and Wingnuts Answer in 10-Inning Victory

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

GRAND PRAIRIE, TX (August 26, 2014) – For a period of time on Tuesday night at QuikTrip Park in Grand Prairie, it appeared that neither the Wichita Wingnuts nor Grand Prairie AirHogs would find a way to break a 3-3 tie. Both teams squandered multiple opportunities in the late innings with runners in scoring position before a clutch swing by Chris McMurray in the first extra frame tipped the scale in their favor 4-3.

Grand Prairie (40-55) struck first in the third inning against Wingnuts starter Celson Polanco. Ryan Gasporra and Eric Baker, the eight and nine hitters, each ripped a single to start the frame. After a failed sacrifice bunt attempt by Alex Nunez, McMurray gunned down Baker trying to advance to third. Brian Peterson singled to put runners on the corners for the biggest threat in the AirHogs lineup, Jason Botts. The former big leaguer hooked a double into the right field corner to put the home squad in front 1-0.

The Wingnuts took no time at all to answer with a run in the top of the fourth against Ryan Searle. Abel Nieves earned a leadoff walk in front of two straight singles by Carlo Testa and McMurray. Chris McClendon hit a bouncer to second that was gloved and pitched to the shortstop for one out. The relay throw from Miguel Castano sailed out of reach of the first baseman which allowed for two runs to cross and Wichita to grab a 2-1 advantage.

With Polanco still continuing to work in the sixth, the Airhogs came up with a big inning. Botts and Brian Myrow ripped back-to-back singles to start the stanza and were moved into scoring position via a sacrifice bunt by Matt Burns. Frazier Hall tied the game with a run-scoring fielder’s choice and then Castano chopped a ball high off the turf and over the head of McClendon at third to make it 3-2.

Once again the Nuts were quick to regroup and even the score. In the top of the next inning, David Espinosa roped a ball into the right center gap for his league-leading 16th triple of the year. Adding to the knock was the fact that Jared McDonald was on base and raced around from first to score after singling with two outs.

At that point the missed opportunities came fast and furious. Wichita had runner on third with one out in the eighth after an error and wild pitch, but that threat ended with two ground balls right at infielders. Grand Prairie put a runner on third with one out in the bottom half, but a failed suicide squeeze bunt attempt let the air out of that balloon. In the top of the ninth, the Nuts put runners on first and third with nary out because of a big mistake by the opposing defense. However, a caught stealing, strikeout, and groundout ended the inning with no advancement.

Finally, the visitors grabbed an opportunity by the horns in the top of the tenth against Dakota Watts (0-4). Victor Diaz and Nieves singled at the outset and moved up 90 feet on a throwing error by the catcher, Peterson. Testa struck out for the first out, but McMurray put good wood on a fly ball to right that was deep enough to score a tagging Ryan Khoury, who had pinch run for Diaz. That run put the Wingnuts in the driver’s seat at 4-3.

Dan Sattler came on and walked the first batter he faced on four pitches. That was the only blip on the screen though, as the closer fanned the next two batters and then got a fly ball to right to secure the win. The save was his 21st of the season.

The win means that at the worst the Wingnuts (68-27) will tie their 2013 win total, which is the best in American Association history. Mike Zouzalik (4-0) retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth to earn the win. Espinosa stretched his hit streak to 12 with a fifth inning single, tying him with McClendon for the longest of the season. Nieves came through with three more hits as his streak reached eight. He is hitting over .600 since returning to Wichita.

The season-finale between the two clubs is set for Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. RHP Tim Brown (10-4) will be on the hill for the Nuts against RHP Danny Gutierrez (3-6) of the AirHogs. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Nuts Find Multiple Ways to Roast AirHogs in Sweep of Doubleheader

Photo Credi: Meryl Loop

GRAND PRAIRIE, TX (AUGUST 25, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts and Grand Prairie AirHogs met in a twin-bill for the third time this season and for the second time in Texas at QuikTrip Park on Monday night. The Wingnuts attacked offensively in the late innings of game one to blow open a close contest and win 10-2. In the second contest, Wichita emerged from a scoreless dogfight with a 1-0 victory.

The Wingnuts (67-27) struck first against AirHogs’ starter Jason Jarvis (6-5) in the first inning of the initial battle. Ryan Khoury earned a base on balls to begin the game and then scored on a sacrifice fly from Victor Diaz.

Grand Prairie (40-54) managed to tie it with a lone run of their own off of Anthony Capra (6-2) in the second. The catcher, Brian Peterson, crushed his third home run of the season to left as the leadoff hitter and put the home team on the board.

Wichita continued the back and forth affair by grabbing a 2-1 lead on Carlo Testa’s RBI single, his second hit of the game, in the third. They then waited one more stanza to blow the game open. In the fifth, six straight batters reached in succession to bring in four runs, three of which were unearned. After Jared McDonald doubled and David Espinosa reached when shortstop Miguel Castano dropped a shallow fly ball to center field, the next four hitters Diaz, Testa, Chris McMurray, and Chris McClendon each drove in a run to finish the inning in front 6-1.

Each team plated a run in the sixth inning to keep the lead solid at five. Jake Luce, a Dallas area native, began the top half by yanking a solo home run to right field. In the bottom part of the frame, Matt Burns brought in Jason Botts with a double into the corner in left. Capra exited after getting the final out having allowed two runs on just four hits. The southpaw fanned five in his fourth outing since coming off of a severe hamstring injury.

Before the last at bat for Grand Prairie, the Nuts scored three more runs to extend the advantage to 10-2. Testa capped his 4-4 game with a leadoff double and scored on McClendon’s single. After Taylor Oldham reached with a hit as well, Khoury drove in the final two runs by placing a shallow fly ball perfectly between Airhog fielders in right field.

Daniel Bennett returned from a brief hiatus to finish off the game in the seventh with a scoreless appearance. He stranded a runner on base with a game-ending 1-6-3 double play.

The second game was a fantastic display of pitching and solid defense. Former Wingnuts’ hurler Jared Gaynor (0-1) was on the mound for Grand Prairie in a battle with first-time starter Matt Robertson. Both pitchers were on their game through four innings. At that point, Gaynor had allowed four hits, while Robertson only three. After the fourth, the right-hander would depart and turn things over to the more than capable bullpen.

Gaynor, on the other hand, pitched through the fifth and came back out to work the sixth as well. He would allow a two-strike line drive single by Khoury to start the inning and then watched as McDonald bunted him into scoring position. At that moment Eric Champion, the AirHogs’ interim manager, went down to the pen and called on another former Wingnut, Alex Hinshaw. The former MLB left-hander struck out Espinosa before Diaz roped an opposite field single to right to bring home the game’s first run. The RBI was the third of the day for Diaz.

Both pitchers recently purchased from the United League, Chris Peacock (1-0) and Chase Johnson, retired the side in order in their innings, the seventh and eighth respectively. That meant Dan Sattler would have his first opportunity to earn a save as a Wingnut. The right-hander walked a pair and had a runner reach on an error to load the bases. With the tying on third and the winning run standing on second, Sattler struck out Castanos looking to complete the sweep. Wichita is now 5-1 in games that were part of a doubleheader.

Game three of the series is slated for Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. RHP Celson Polanco will make his Wichita debut in a match-up with RHP Ryan Searle of the AirHogs. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts OutSlug Lemurs 10-7 to Take Series

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

LAREDO, TX (August 24, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts and Laredo Lemurs are two of the highest scoring teams in the American Association and the series finale at Uni-Trade Stadium on Sunday night lived up to that billing. The Wingnuts jumped ahead in the first inning and never looked back on their way to a 10-7 win as they took advantage of an erratic outing by Tyler Pearson.

In the first inning, Wichita (65-27) had two on base when Abel Nieves continued his torrid pace at the plate by driving a ball into the right field corner for a double. Ryan Khoury and David Espinosa easily scored, but Nieves was cut down at third from right field.

In the home half of the second inning Wingnuts’ starter Frank Del Valle (1-1) walked the leadoff hitter Devin Goodwin. The southpaw struck out Carlos Ramirez before Byron Wiley put the Lemurs (54-37) on the board with a run-scoring double. They would tie the game in the third by taking advantage of some defensive miscues by the Nuts. Nick Van Stratten reached on an error, stole second base, and then moved to third on an errant throw from McMurray. He would score when Denis Phipps walked and got caught in a rundown between first and second. Van Stratten waited until the opportunity was right and dashed to the plate.  

At that point, the Wingnuts turned to the long ball in their assault of Pearson (7-7). Catcher Chris McMurray ripped his sixth home run of the season in the fourth, a two-run shot, to make it 4-1. Before the inning ended Jared McDonald took a wild trip around the bases to score himself. He reached on a walk, stole second, stole third, and raced home on a high throw by the catcher that sailed into left. In the fifth, two more Nuts got in on the power display. Carlo Testa launched a three-run shot the opposite way two batters before Taylor Oldham went deep with the bases empty. After the inning concluded it was 9-2.

Del Valle left the game in the sixth with one run having scored already and a pair still on base.   Mike Zouzalik came in and gave up a two-RBI single to Harrison Kain, with both runs being charged to the starter. Del Valle ended up walking seven and striking out four in five-plus innings. He gave up five runs, four earned, on five hits. After the inning completed the score was 9-5 and Del Valle was still in position for his first win.

Travis Denker launched his league-leading 25th home run in the seventh inning off of Zouzalik to pull the Lemurs within three at 9-6. Chase Johnson worked a scoreless eighth inning to send the game to the final inning.

Wichita added a big insurance run in the top half when they loaded the bases with only one out and the eight-hitter Oldham back at the dish. The third baseman hit a ball deep in the hole to short that Goodwin got a glove on, but couldn’t field cleanly. The infield single was the second RBI for Oldham and pushed the lead to four runs. Dan Sattler made his Wingnuts’ debut in the bottom half and allowed one run on a lone hit with one walk in a non-save situation to bring an end to the contest.

Wichita stole three more bases to move within four of the American Association single-season record of 164, set by the 2012 Gary SouthShore RailCats. Nieves had his streak of multiple hit games end at five, but still reached base in four of his five at-bats. David Espinosa extended his hit streak to nine games with a 1-4 two run performance. Pearson walked eight and ended up throwing 149 pitches in the loss.

The Wingnuts will play a twin-bill with the Grand Prairie AirHogs on Monday at QuikTrip Park. Game one will begin at 5:05 p.m. with LHP Anthony Capra on the bump. Game two is expected to get underway approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first. RHP Matt Robertson will take the ball in game two. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Early Onslaught Leads to Lemurs Laughing Last in 6-2 Win

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

LAREDO,TX (August 23, 2014) – The Laredo Lemurs scored a pair of runs in each of the first three innings to jump ahead early on and put the Wichita Wingnuts in a hole that they could never climb out of on Saturday night at Uni-Trade Stadium. Josh Strawn was tough on the mound all evening and gave up just a lone run in two different innings to earn the win by a 6-2 final score.

It didn’t take long for the home team to strike. Jason Van Skike (11-5) gave up a leadoff single to Nick Van Stratten to start the bottom of the first. The very next batter, Denis Phipps, turned on pitch and drove it over the wall in left to make it 2-0 in favor of the Lemurs (54-36).

The Lemurs would get two more in each the second and third innings, while the Wingnuts (64-27) would score their first run in the top of the third. Devin Goodwin reached on an infield single to begin the second, stole second, went to third on a throwing error, and then scored when the ball rolled past Brent Clevlen in center to make it 3-0. Byron Willey also reached with an infield single, prior to an RBI double by the catcher Carlos Ramirez.

In the third, Abel Nieves singled home Jared McDonald to cut the lead to 4-1. In Laredo’s half, John Alonso and Goodwin were already on base and came around to score when Ramirez hit a hard grounder that bounced off of Nieves’ glove and into the outfield to increase their lead to 6-1.

Wichita left the bases loaded in two different innings as they attempted to build a rally. The first instance came in the fifth inning. Taylor Oldham, who had entered the game for a banged up Clevlen in the third, grounded the first pitch to third where Kyle Brandenburg fielded and stepped on the base. Then in the seventh, after Brent Dean had ripped his second home run, a solo shot to left, the Wingnuts chased Strawn (6-9) by filling up the bases with two walks and a hit. Victor Diaz flew out near the warning track against relief pitcher Scott Weismann to end that threat without any further damage. Strawn allowed two runs in 6.2 innings on seven hits with five strikeouts.

Weismann worked a scoreless eighth inning as well before Caleb Graham rebounded after allowing the first two Wingnuts to reach in the ninth to shut the door on the Wingnuts with three straight strikeouts.

Nieves was able to finish 2-4 at the plate to extend his streak of games with multiple hits to six. Both starting pitcher Tim Brown and relief pitcher Chris Peacock did not allow a run in their innings out of the bullpen.   The Wingnuts saw their eight-game win streak come to an end.

The finale of this series will be held at Uni-Trade Stadium on Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. The Wingnuts will throw LHP Frank Del Valle (0-2) against Laredo’s RHP Tyler Pearson (7-6). For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

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Pitching In: Robertson Earns Win as Nuts Clinch South Title

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

LAREDO, TX (August 22, 2014) – Three hours before the start of Friday night’s game against the Laredo Lemurs at Uni-Trade Stadium, the Wichita Wingnuts had no idea who their starting pitcher would be. Prior to leaving for the park they found out that the scheduled starter, Jon Link, was having his contract purchased by the Miami Marlins. In an emergency situation, the Nuts activated pitching coach Luke Robertson to take the hill and the 35-year old was up to the task. He earned his first win on the bump since 2003 when he was in the Oakland A’s farm system. The Wingnuts’ offense also was able to churn out seven runs in eight innings against the league’s ERA leader on their way to the 8-4 win that clinched the South Division title.

After both pitchers stranded a pair of runners in the first inning, the Wingnuts (64-26) got to work with the bats in the second against Cesar Carrillo (7-5). Victor Diaz grounded out to short to begin the inning, but the next six batters all singled to plate five runs. Chris McClendon started the scoring with a bases loaded, two-RBI single. The next batter, Ryan Khoury, pushed home the 56th run of his season with a base knock and then Jake Luce plated both McClendon and Khoury with his own two-RBI rip.

With the help of the early cushion, Robertson (1-0) settled in nicely and shut out the Laredo (53-33) offense through the first three innings. A two-run double with two outs by outfielder Byron Wiley put the Lemurs on the board and trimmed the lead to 5-2.

The teams each traded unearned runs in the fifth to keep the Wingnuts’ lead firm at three. Brent Clevlen doubled with two outs and advanced to third when Denis Phipps let the ball go under his glove in right. The center fielder would score on Diaz’s ensuing single. In the bottom half, Kyle Brandenburg reached on an error by David Espinosa and moved to second on a throwing error by Chris McMurray. He went to third on an infield single by Phipps and then crossed the plate on Travis Denker’s sacrifice fly which made the score 6-3. Robertson turned it over to the bullpen in the sixth, having allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits in five frames. He struck out two and walked one.

Laredo cut the lead to 6-4 in the sixth on an RBI base hit by Carlos Ramirez, before Clevlen provided all of the insurance necessary in the eighth and ninth innings with his bat. He launched his 19th home run of the season to center to begin the second-to-last inning and then plated McClendon in the ninth on a double over the center fielder’s head. The former Major Leaguer now has 30 RBI in his last 23 games and nine in the last four. He also tied the Wingnuts’ single-season record for doubles (32) with the ninth inning drive.

Relief pitcher Chase Johnson took the mound in the ninth and worked a seamless one, two, three inning to spark a jumping celebration on the field behind the mound. The Wingnuts have won four consecutive division crowns, but this was their first as a member of the South. They are now the only American Association franchise to have won the league’s North, Central, and South Division titles at least once.

Both Chris Peacock and Mike Zouzalik threw scoreless innings in relief by stranding runners on the corners in the seventh and eighth respectively. Abel Nieves went 4-4 at the plate to stretch his string of consecutive plate appearances with a hit to eight. The contest was the 15th of the season in which the Wingnuts mashed 15 or more hits. The team’s eight-game winning streak is the second-longest of the year.

The same teams will meet again in game three on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. Wichita will turn to RHP Jason Van Skike (11-4) to battle Laredo RHP Josh Strawn (5-8). For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

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Wingnuts’ Ace Link Has Contract Purchased by Marlins

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (August 23, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts’ top starter Jon Link did not make his scheduled start on Friday in Laredo when the team clinched the South Division title. However, his scratched outing was not due to injury or any negative information at all. Instead, the former Major Leaguer found out that he was having his contract purchased by the Miami Marlins. He will be assigned to Miami’s Double-A affiliate in Jacksonville.

In his second year as a starter, Link was once again dealing on the mound. He will depart the Wingnuts tied atop the list of American Association pitchers with 11 wins. The right-hander is also in the top ten in ERA, currently seventh with a 3.26 number. In his last start with Wichita he set the franchise record for strikeouts in a single-game with 16 in seven innings against the Grand Prairie AirHogs. Link was also named as the league’s pitcher of the week for the first seven days in July. In two starts during the seven day stretch, Link went 2-0 with three runs allowed in 13.0 innings. He struck out 12 opposing hitters, while issuing just one free pass. He defeated the Amarillo Sox and then worked 7.0 shutout innings five days later against Sioux City.

The right-hander spent just over a month with the Wingnuts in the beginning of the 2013 campaign before his contract was purchased by the Detroit Tigers in mid-June. At the time of his departure he led the American Association in both wins (six) and ERA (1.74) and was fifth in the league with 38 strikeouts.  Link also tossed the first complete game of his career on June 17th versus Gary SouthShore. The Columbus, OH native allowed two or fewer earned runs in six of his seven starts and had a string of 24.0 consecutive scoreless innings.

The Tigers initially sent Link to their Double-A affiliate in Erie where went 3-1 with a 1.13 ERA in five games, all starts. In 39.2 innings of work he struck out 21 while allowing 30 hits and five walks. Those impressive numbers earned Link a promotion to the Toledo Mud Hens, Detroit’s Triple-A affiliate. There he worked 43.2 innings in 11 appearances, seven of them starts. He also finished three games and closed the season with a 5.56 ERA.

Link is in the midst of his tenth season of professional baseball and was originally drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 26th round out of Bluefield College (Bluefield, VA) in 2005.  The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Link is 34-27 in his career with 93 saves over 400 appearances. The veteran was named the Double-A Southern League's Relief Pitcher of the Year in 2008 with the Birmingham Barons (Chicago White Sox).  Link had a 4.15 ERA in nine relief appearances for the Dodgers in 2010.  The Columbus, OH native made his Major League debut on April 20th of that season with two shutout relief innings against the Cincinnati Reds.

Link becomes the third player the Wingnuts have sold to a Major League organization in 2014 and the 22nd all-time. Below is the complete list of players who have had their contracts purchased from Wichita.

For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Nuts Shut Door on Roster with Addition of Sattler

 

WICHITA, KS (August 23, 2014) – On the final day before American Association playoff rosters had to be set, the Wichita Wingnuts pulled off one more deal that should help them exponentially in close contests. The Wingnuts traded the reversionary rights of Matt Nevarez and a player to be named later to the St. Paul Saints in exchange for their closer, Dan Sattler.

The Lafayette, Indiana native has had an impressive year closing out games for the Saints in 2014. He currently owns a 3-4 record and 1.80 ERA in 35 appearances which have spanned 40 innings. He has totaled 19 saves and struck out 56 as opposed to issuing 30 bases on balls. He was selected to represent the North Division squad in the All-Star game earlier this season.

The 30-year-old righty had an incredible season in 2012, which also began in St. Paul. During his time with the Saints he went 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and three saves in five relief appearances.  In 7.0 innings of relief he allowed just one hit while walking two and striking out five.  After his stint with the Saints, he had his contract purchased by the Minnesota Twins and moved from Single-A Fort Myers, to Double-A New Britain, to Triple-A Rochester in the matter of five weeks.  Between the three stops he was 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA and three saves in 15 relief appearances.  In 29.2 innings pitched he walked just 10, struck out 20 and opponents hit a microscopic .173 against him.  The fantastic season came to a disappointing end when he injured his elbow in late July and needed Tommy John Surgery to recover.

Last season Sattler began his rehab by pitching 10 games at the Gulf Coast level in July before being promoted to Double-A New Britain.  He was 1-3 with a 7.71 ERA in 18 relief appearances between the two stops.  In 16.1 innings he walked 11 and struck out 14 while opponents hit .279 against him.

Sattler was a 44th round selection by the Texas Rangers out of Purdue University in 2006.  He pitched two seasons for the Rangers reaching Single-A in 2008.  After being released by the Rangers in 2009 he caught on with the Kansas City T-Bones of the Independent Northern League and was dominant.  He went 3-3 with a 1.66 ERA, which included two separate lengthy stints without giving up an earned run.  He went 13 straight relief appearances without allowing an earned run from June 17-July 13 and eight straight relief appearances without allowing a run from July 24-August 8.  His success brought him attention and his contract was purchased by the Oakland Athletics on August 26.

He spent one season with the Athletics organization and pitched at Single-A and Double-A in 2010.  Following the season the Angels took him in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft.

Sattler spent all of 2011 with the Los Angeles Angels organization, most of it at Double-A Arkansas.  He was 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in 19 relief appearances.  In 30.0 innings pitched he walked 21 and struck out 29.  He was placed on the disabled list on May 16 with a left foot contusion and made five rehab assignments with the Arizona Angels from July 20-31. Early in the season he pitched two scoreless appearances with Single-A Inland Empire of the California League.

For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

 

 

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Wingnuts Win Seventh Straight, Lap Laredo 6-2

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

LAREDO, TX (August 21, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts took the field at Uni-Trade Stadium on Thursday night knowing that they would face a stiff test from the second-place Lemurs. The Wichita offense took a while to get started, but once it did everything seemed to fall into place as they lashed out 13 hits and managed to secure a 6-2 victory.

The Lemurs (53-32) took the game’s first advantage in the second frame. After John Alonso reached second base with a leadoff double against Tim Brown (10-4), he raced around to score when the shortstop Devin Goodwin singled him home.

That score stuck until the sixth inning when the Wingnuts (63-26) finally broke free against left-hander Casey Harman. With the middle of the order due up, David Espinosa launched a solo home run, his sixth of the year, to tie the score. Brent Clelven followed with a double and then raced in courtesy of the first RBI of his Wingnuts’ career by Victor Diaz. Two batters later, Harman (6-2) was removed with runners on first and second and one out. Caleb Graham then entered and after getting a groundball out, hit Chris McClendon to load the bases. He then issued a full count base on balls to Ryan Khoury to force home another run and make it 3-1.

After breaking loose in the sixth, the seventh inning provided more opportunity for the Nuts to score and it began with the same person in the box. Espinosa reached on a bunt single right before Clevlen unloaded on his 18th home run of the season, a monster two-run blast to left center that extended the margin to 5-1.

Brown finished off his night by working a scoreless bottom of the seventh. The right-hander struck out his final two batters to finish his outing with six. He also allowed just one run on six hits to one of the top offenses in the league. It was Brown’s eighth consecutive quality start.

Laredo gained a run back by taking advantage of a defensive mistake in the eighth. With Frank Del Valle on the mound, Carlo Testa mishandled a leadoff line drive to right by Kyle Brandenburg for a two-base error. After a bunt single by Nick Van Stratten moved him to the corner, Brandenburg crossed home plate on a sacrifice fly from Denis Phipps.

The Nuts scored the final run of the game in the top of the ninth to pad their lead. Espinosa was involved again, drawing a leadoff walk, stealing second, and moving to third on a throwing error from Carlos Ramirez the catcher. He would come in with Abel Nieves’s fourth hit of the game in five at bats. With the score 6-2, brand new relief pitcher Chase Johnson, signed earlier in the day, walked the initial to batters in the last of the ninth before getting a fly out, a groundout, and a strikeout to seal the deal.

Nieves managed his third multiple hit game in three chances with Wichita, while Clevlen, Luce, Espinosa, and Diaz joined him with two hits each. The Wingnuts extended their win streak to seven games. A victory at some point during the final three games in Laredo will clinch the South Division for Wichita.

The second game of the series features a match-up of former Major League pitchers. Ex-Los Angeles Dodger Jon Link (11-2) will pitch for Wichita while Laredo sends former San Diego Padre Cesar Carrillo to face him. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

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Nuts Rub Salt in Lincoln’s Wounds with 20-12 Victory

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (August 21, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts extended their winning streak to six games and swept a three-game series with the Lincoln Saltdogs by matching a franchise record with 20 runs scored on their way to a dominating 20-12 victory on Wednesday night. The offense combined to steal four bases, rip 23 hits, and finished off an impressive series in which they scored 41 runs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

For the second straight night the Nuts fell behind in the top half of the first inning when Lincoln (62-26) tossed up a crooked number. Anthony Capra issued an initial walk to Matt Forgatch which was immediately followed by a run-scoring double from Luis Nunez that put the Saltdogs on top. With two outs, Brian Joynt was able to push in another run when he singled home Nunez to make it 2-0.

After going down in order in the first, Wichita (62-26) came back to grab their first lead in the second. The first four batters reached against right-hander Nick Green. Brent Clevlen and Abel Nieves knocked back-to-back singles in front of Carlo Testa, who doubled in the team’s first run. Chris McClendon followed by continuing his hot streak at the plate with a two-run double to right center for a 3-2 lead.

The Wingnuts added to the lead with the first of four innings in which they plated four or more runs in the fourth inning. The first three batters reached with the third hitter, Jared McDonald, driving in a pair of runs on a line drive triple to right center. Before the inning ended, David Espinosa added a sacrifice fly and Brent Clevlen continued his torrid performance at the plate since the all-star break with an RBI double. When the inning ended the lead had increased to 7-2.

A marathon fifth inning resulted in the lead changing hands a couple of times. First it was Lincoln chasing Capra from the game by scoring nine runs on five hits in the top half. Joynt doubled in a run for his second RBI of the game before the zone tightened considerably and led to three consecutive walks that ended the left-hander’s outing after the third forced in a run. Jared Gaynor entered from the bullpen and walked in a run of his own before giving up back-to-back run-scoring hits to Nunez and Jon Gaston. Ian Gac put an exclamation point on the frame by launching his 20th home run of the year, a three-run blast to center that put the Saltdogs on top 11-7.

The Wingnuts countered once again as they took the lead for good in the bottom half. Five runs crossed with the big knocks coming off of the bats of the three and four hitters. Espinosa drove in two with his 13th triple of the season and Clevlen answered with a two-run bomb off the base of the scoreboard, his 17th of the year, to re-take the lead at 12-11.

The Wingnuts blew the game open by scoring four runs in both the sixth and eighth innings off of the Lincoln bullpen. Ryan Khoury drove in three runs with his 12th long ball of the season in the sixth. That total is the highest amount of home runs hit in any single season of the shortstop’s career. The big hit in the latter of the innings was a bases-clearing double to right center by catcher Brent Dean that provided the game’s final score. Lincoln Scored their final run on Jon Gaston’s fifth home run in the last six games against the Wingnuts in the visitor’s half of the eighth.

Starting pitcher, Jason Van Skike (11-4) worked a scoreless sixth inning out of the bullpen to earn the victory. Trey Barham (2-1) was the victim of the Nuts’ sixth inning outburst and took the loss. Every batter in Wichita’s lineup finished with a hit and eight of the nine also drove in a run. McClendon reached base in all six of his at bats which included two walks, two singles, two doubles, two RBI, and four runs scored. With a 4-5 and three RBI day, Clevlen increased his total to 26 RBI in the last 21 games. The team’s magic number to clinch the South Division title is down to five.

The Wingnuts travel south to open a four-game series with Laredo on Thursday night. RHP Tim Brown will be on the mound for Wichita against LHP Casey Harman of Laredo. First pitch is scheduled to take place at 7:30 p.m. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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High-Scoring 15-10 Victory Results in Nuts Clinching Playoff Berth

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (August 19, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts needed a win on Tuesday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium over the Lincoln Saltdogs to become the first team in the American Association to clinch a playoff berth. After a wild first inning that featured both teams putting up a crooked number, the Wingnuts could not shake the Saltdogs for the better part of seven innings until a three-run eighth put the finishing touches on a 15-10 thriller.

Frank Del Valle, the Wingnuts starter struggled in his first trip to the hill. He allowed back-to-back singles to start the game for the Saltdogs (46-41) before Jon Gaston started the scoring with an RBI double. Two batters later, Brian Joynt also ripped a double to score two more and make it 3-0.

Without hesitation, the Wingnuts (61-26) responded with six of their own in the bottom half. The first six batters all reached safely and each of them would touch the plate by the end of the inning. In order: Ryan Khoury and Jake Luce walked, David Espinosa singled, Brent Clevlen brought in a pair with a single, Abel Nieves recorded a two-RBI double, Carlo Testa doubled in a run, and to cap it off Chris McClendon doubled home Testa with one out.

After neither team could muster runs in the second, Lincoln chipped away at the lead in the third. Ian Gac drew a one out walk in front of a triple by Joynt that gave the right fielder a third RBI in the contest. Matt Forgatch joined the fun by driving in Joynt and trimming the lead to 6-5.

That score would hold until Testa crushed a two-out solo home run to left that pushed the lead back out to 7-5 after five innings were complete. The long ball was the designated hitter’s ninth of the year.

The pesky Saltdogs found a way to answer in the top of the sixth, but the Wingnuts matched the run to keep the lead at two. Omar Luna drove in Forgatch with a sacrifice fly moments after the left fielder sprinted for a triple. In the home half, it was Espinosa cashing in on an earlier double by Khoury to pick up his 40th RBI.

With both starting pitchers checking out after six, the offenses took a bite out of the opposing bullpen in the seventh. Lincoln grabbed control of the lead for a moment when Gaston hit his fourth home of the season against Wichita, a three-run blast to right off of Daniel Bennett (6-1) that made it 9-8 Saltdogs. The Wingnuts chased Jhonny Montoya (3-2) before their half of the inning could end. McClendon drove in Testa with a base hit, a run crossed on a throwing error by second baseman Luis Nunez, Luce tallied an RBI with a double, and Espinosa traded places with Luce courtesy of another two-bagger. When the dust cleared the scoreboard read 12-9 Wichita.

After the first two batters reached against Mike Zouzalik in the Lincoln eighth, Tyler Smith grounded a single under the glove of Khoury at short and into center field to bring in a run and give Lincoln double digits in the runs column. Justin Kuks, who finished the eighth and came back out for the ninth, could not keep the Wichita offense in check once again. After a sacrifice bunt by Chris McMurray left two in scoring position with one out, McClendon racked up RBI number three and four with his second double of the game. Jared McDonald got in on the action by putting the game’s final mark on the board with a run-scoring double. Starter Jon Link emerged from the bullpen on his side day to record the final three outs in one, two, three fashion.

The Wingnuts finished with more than 15 hits for the 13th time this year as the pair of teams combined for 25 runs on 31 hits. Gaston and McClendon each led their clubs with four RBI, while 11 of the 18 starters finished with more than one hit. Testa scored four runs in a 3-4 day at the plate.

The Wingnuts clinched a playoff spot for the fourth straight year and remained two games ahead of their pace in the 2013 season when they won an American Association record 68 games.

The Nuts will search for the sweep and a victory in the season-series with a win over Lincoln on Wednesday night. The team will be hosting another Way-Back Wednesday and this time we take a trip back to the 1990’s. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and the game will pit LHP Anthony Capra (5-2) of the Wingnuts against RHP Nick Green (3-5) from Lincoln. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

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Oldham Steps Up As Wingnuts Take Series-Opener from Saltdogs 6-2

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (August 18, 2014) – The Lincoln Saltdogs have been a thorn in the side of the Wichita Wingnuts to this point in the 2014 season. On Monday, Wichita took a small step toward removing that pain by knocking off their former divisional opponent from the north by a 6-2 score. Taylor Oldham, who has been thrust into a more prominent role with the news that Jake Kahaulelio would miss the rest of the season, came up with a three-RBI performance to back-up another solid outing by starting pitcher Jason Van Skike.

The Wingnuts (60-26) began their attack in the second inning. Carlo Testa led off with a single and was able to head over to second when Kevin McGovern (3-2) issued a free pass to Chris McMurray. Chris McClendon followed by laying down a textbook sacrifice bunt that moved the pair of runners into scoring position. At that moment, Oldham came up big for the first time. He placed a shallow line drive over the head of Luis Nunez and into center field to plate a pair. After the second baseman moved to second with a steal and third on a wild pitch, Jared McDonald picked up his first RBI with the Wingnuts this year on a sacrifice fly to center. The run made it 3-0.

Wichita took advantage of a huge mistake by the Lincoln (46-40) defense to add to the advantage in the fifth. Jake Luce smacked a double to begin the frame and was on base when a wild play began with a routine single by David Espinosa. The ball was misplayed by the left fielder Matt Forgatch and resulted in the outfielder having to race back to the wall to retrieve it. By the time he did, Luce had scored and Espinosa had circled the bases to increase the lead to 5-0.

While this was all taking place, Van Skike (10-4) was crafting another quality start on the mound. In a much different fashion then Jon Link’s power performance the day before, Van Skike handcuffed the opposition. Using a combination of groundballs and shallow fly balls, Van Skike did not give up a run through his first five innings, despite allowing a hit in four of them. In the sixth one of those hits finally cost him. Jon Gaston crushed his third home run against the Wingnuts in four games to right; a solo shot that trimmed the margin to 5-1. The right-hander left after the inning having allowed only that run on six hits.

Testa sparked a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the inning by leading off with a triple into the right field corner. With two outs and Testa still at third, Oldham beat out a run-scoring infield single with a head first slide into first base to re-claim a five run lead.

After Matt Robertson faced the minimum in a clean seventh inning, Justin Klipp made his first appearance of the season out of the bullpen. After a quick eighth inning, Klipp allowed a solo home run in the ninth to Mike Gilmartin and then gave up a single and a walk to put runners on the corners with one down. Now considered a save situation, Wingnuts’ manager Kevin Hooper called for closer Alex Hinshaw out of the bullpen. McMurray helped the southpaw by turning a pitch in the dirt into a caught stealing by gunning down his opposite backstop, Anderson, trying to head to second. Hinshaw struck out Chad Mozingo to end the contest without further drama. The save was his fourth of the season.

Helping Oldham with the bats were Luce, Espinosa, and Testa, each of whom had multiple hit games. The Nuts improved to 33-10 at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium this year. Wichita needs just one more victory to clinch their fourth straight playoff berth.

The same two teams will battle again on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. Wichita will hand the ball to LHP Frank Del Valle (0-1) in a match-up with RHP Marquis Fleming (9-3) of the Saltdogs. Be prepared for anything as it will be Zombie Night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

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2013 Batting Champion is Back as Nuts Trade for Nieves

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (August 19, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts received some terrible news on Monday afternoon when they found out that second baseman Jake Kahaulelio was going to miss the rest of the season with a thumb injury. However, the team was able to fill the void on the right side of the infield with a very familiar face, the American Association’s 2013 batting champion Abel Nieves. The Wingnuts acquired the versatile player from the Grand Prairie AirHogs in exchange for relief pitcher Alex Hinshaw and a player to be named later.

Last season the 28-year old enjoyed the best season of his nine-year career at the plate. Nieves won the American Association's batting title with a .357 average.  It marked the fourth batting championship for a Wingnuts' player in the team's six-year history.  Nieves added 23 doubles, five home runs, and 51 RBI.  The Maracay, Venezuela native walked more times (56) than he struck out (46) and reached base in 89 of 99 games played with a hit, walk, or hit by pitch.  Nieves also ranked second among American Association third basemen with a .955 fielding percentage.

Nieves is a career .291 hitter with 360 runs scored, 120 doubles, 27 home runs, 301 RBI, and 371 walks in 724 games played.  A right-handed hitter and fielder, Nieves was drafted by the Anaheim Angels in the 50th round out of Middle Georgia College in 2004.  Nieves spent six seasons in the Angels' system, reaching Triple-A Salt Lake three times and Double-A Arkansas twice.  The 6-foot, 205-pound Nieves' best season with the Angels came in 2008 when he batted .318 with 24 doubles and 54 RBI in 101 games for the High-A California League's Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.

Earlier this season, Nieves was named as the lone all-star representative from the Grand Prairie roster. In 82 games he was batting .326 with a pair of home runs and 35 RBI.

The 31-year old Hinshaw recently took over the closer role in the Wingnuts’ bullpen after Matt Nevarez had his contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The former Major League left-hander was 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 34 appearances out of the pen. He struck out 43 and walked 19 in a span of 30.1 innings. Hinshaw gave up a run in only four of his outings.

For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

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Link Fans 16 as Wingnuts Walk-Off against AirHogs

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (August 17, 2014) – Sunday afternoon featured a brilliant display of the art of pitching courtesy of the Wichita Wingnuts’ Jon Link and Danny Gutierrez of the Grand Prairie AirHogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Despite neither of them factoring in the final decision, Link struck out a Wingnuts’ single-game record 16 hitters and Gutierrez took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. In the ninth, David Espinosa decided the contest by launching a walk-off solo home run that gave Wichita a 2-1 win.

Despite being unable to tally a hit against Gutierrez, the Wingnuts (59-26) were able to take the lead in the third inning thanks to some small ball. New addition, Jared McDonald walked to begin the frame and proceeded to steal both second and third base to move just 90 feet away. Ryan Khoury took advantage, driving in the game’s first run on a sacrifice fly to left field that made it 1-0. The run batted in was the 50th of the campaign for the leadoff hitter.

At that point, control of the game was turned over to the pitchers for most of the afternoon. Link, who leads the American Association with 11 wins, racked up multiple strikeouts in every one of his innings on the hill. He fanned two in the first, struck out the side in both the second and third, and then whiffed a pair of hitters in frames four through seven. The right-hander surpassed the franchise’s single-game record for strikeouts in the sixth inning, but did not stop there. He added three more strikeouts to raise the new standard to 16. The former Los Angeles Dodger had thrown 114 pitches through seven innings so he was removed from the contest holding a 1-0 lead. Aside from the punch outs, Link allowed only two hits and walked a lone batter.

Mike Zouzalik (3-0) entered the game in the ninth inning and walked the leadoff hitter, Frazier Hall for a tough start. Eric Baker bunted Hall into scoring position and then the outfielder crossed home plate on a ground ball that went under the glove of Espinosa at first. The run was unearned, but still prevented Link from having an opportunity to pick up the win.

Gutierrez entered the eighth inning with new life and still had not given up a hit. With two outs, Taylor Oldham finally broke through for the first hit by ripping a line drive over everybody’s head and off the top of the wall in left for a double. Gutierrez was removed to applause from the crowd and would watch the thrilling finish from the dugout. Ty’Relle Harris (4-4) came out of the bullpen and recorded the final out of the inning to send the game into the ninth with the score even.

After Zouzalik shut down the AirHogs (38-49) in the top of the ninth, Espinosa atoned for his tough play on the field earlier by driving a Harris offering over the wall in right and sending a stream of teammates onto the field to celebrate wildly as he crossed the plate. The home run was the fifth of the season for Espinosa and the first walk-off home run of the year for the team. Wichita improved to 32-10 at home.

The Wingnuts will welcome to town the Lincoln Saltdogs on Monday for a three-game series between division leaders. RHP Jason Van Skike (9-4) will start the first game for the Wingnuts against LHP Kevin McGovern (3-1) of the Saltdogs. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Early Bird Gets the Win as Nuts Knock Off AirHogs 4-1

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (August 16, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts came out of the chute hot offensively and by the time Grand Prairie Airhogs’ starter Ryan Searle settled in it was too late for his club. The Wingnuts scored all four of their runs in the game’s first three innings and then Tim Brown and the bullpen made them stand up on Saturday inside Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

In the first inning, Jake Luce reached on an infield single, advanced to second on a wild pitch from Searle (5-8), and then moved to third on David Espinosa’s fielder’s choice groundout. That brought Brent Clevlen to the plate with two outs and two bases open. The AirHogs (36-48) decided to try and attack the Nuts’ center fielder and it didn’t work. The former Major Leaguer lifted a line drive just over the outstretched glove of Alex Nunez at second base and into center for his 68th RBI and a 1-0 lead.

In the next inning, it was Chris McMurray who reached with a leadoff walk. He moved from first to third on a base hit from Chris McClendon to put runners on the corners with nobody out. McClendon was caught stealing and then Brent Dean bounced out to third and it appeared that McMurray may be stranded. However, Searle uncorked a wild pitch that skipped past catcher Brian Peterson, and to the backstop, to bring in the run and push Wichita (58-26) in front 2-0.

Ryan Khoury began the third inning with a single and moved to third on a double by Luce that put a pair in scoring position. Espinosa, a switch-hitter, stepped to the plate from the left side and rocketed a double that brought in both runs and increased the Wingnuts lead to 4-0.

The rock-solid Brown (9-4) allowed just three hits through the first four innings of his outing, before giving up his lone run in the fifth. Eric Baker singled with one out and then moved to third on Jimmy Mojica’s ensuing base knock. Nunez drove in the AirHogs’ lone run in the next at bat by lifting a sacrifice fly to left. The run cut the lead to 4-1. Brown finished six innings and scattered seven hits while striking out three.

The right-hander handed the ball to the bullpen trio of Daniel Bennett, Mike Zouzalik, and Alex Hinshaw who were impenetrable. The three pitchers faced the minimum in their three combined frames and did not allow a single base runner. The game ended when Hinshaw punched out Peterson and Baker back-to-back for his third save of the year.

Clevlen and Luce each went three of four at the plate and were joined by Khoury as the Wingnuts with more than one hit. Clevlen has driven in 21 runs in the last 17 games. Wichita is now a league-best 31-10 at home.

The finale of the three-game set will get underway at 2:05 p.m. on Sunday with the home team looking to complete the sweep. RHP Jon Link (11-2) will toe the rubber for Wichita as RHP Danny Gutierrez (3-6) gets the ball for Grand Prairie. A limited number of Wingnuts’ youth jerseys will be given away at the front gate. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

           

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With a Tip of the Cap Nuts Send Away AirHogs 11-4

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (August 15, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts had not played a game at their home stadium in 22 days prior to Friday evening’s contest with the Grand Prairie AirHogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. The Wingnuts showed why they miss the friendly confines in Wichita by racking up 15 hits, gathering seven extra-base hits, and watching starting pitcher Anthony Capra dominate in seven shutout innings on the way to an 11-4 victory.

Grand Prairie (36-47) pitcher Jason Jarvis held the Nuts in check during his first two innings of work, but quickly lost control beginning in the third. With one out, four consecutive Wingnuts’ batters reached to give them an early lead. Brent Dean reached on an infield single and stole second before Taylor Oldham drew a walk to put two on base. Ryan Khoury scored Dean with a base hit and then the next batter, Jake Luce, blasted his first home with the Wingnuts to put them on top 4-0.

The Nuts added to their lead in both the fifth and sixth frames. In the former, Luce doubled with one down and then attempted to tag up on a fly ball to right field by David Espinosa. The throw from the right fielder bounced into the stands which gave the speedy runner a free trip to the plate and his squad a 5-0 lead. In the latter of the innings, after Chris McClendon and Dean reached with two outs, Taylor Oldham ripped a two-RBI double off of the wall to make it 7-0.

The seventh was kind to the Wichita (57-26) offense as well. With Jarvis (6-3) still plugging away on the hill, Espinosa began the frame with his 13th triple of the season and scored on a fielder’s choice groundout by Brent Clevlen. Carlo Testa crushed his eighth home run of the season in the next at bat to push the lead to nine. Jarvis finally departed after giving up 11 hits and nine runs over 6.1 innings of work. Bennett Whitmore entered and did not fair much better. In just 0.1 innings he gave up a double to Chris McMurray, a single to McClendon, an RBI base hit to Oldham, and another running scoring knock to Khoury. After the dust had settled it was 11-0 in favor of the home team.

Meanwhile, Capra (5-2) was dominant during his stint on top of the hill. The left-hander, who had not pitched in nearly two months due to injury, allowed just one hit through his first 5.1 innings. At one point the former Wichita State Shocker retired eight in a row and struck out five out of six. He ended up scattering just four hits in seven shutout innings against the team he was injured pitching against.

Grand Prairie scored three runs against reliever Jared Gaynor in the eighth, including a two-run home run from Matthew Burns. In the final inning, Matt Robertson gave up a solo home run to Alex Nunex before settling in to finish off the AirHogs with just four more pitches.

Every member of the Wingnuts’ starting lineup finished with either a hit or an RBI as the group was led by Oldham and Luce’s three RBI and the three hits of Khoury and Dean.   The game was the 12th in which the team has put 15 or more hits on the board.

In game two on Saturday night the Wingnuts will have RHP Tim Brown (8-4) going up against RHP Ryan Searle (5-7) of Grand Prairie. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

           

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Wingnuts Are Lovin’ It, Trade for McDonald

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (August 16, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts’ roster already featured seven players that were part of their 2013 run to the American Association’s championship series. On Saturday, the team added another when they acquired versatile outfielder Jared McDonald from the St. Paul Saints in exchange for a player to be named later.

The do-it-all 26-year old has played every position but catcher in his six year professional career. He began this season in the Atlantic League with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs where he hit .293 with nine RBI in 28 games. McDonald next headed to the Frontier League to play with the Southern Illinois Miners for almost the entire month of June. On July 2nd, the native of Tucson, Arizona was traded to the St. Paul Saints, making the American Association the third different league he suited up in this season. In 29 games with the North Division club, McDonald was batting .258 with two home runs and 19 RBI. One of his home runs came against Wichita on August 2nd.

The speedy McDonald was an everyday player last season for the Nuts, participating in 97 of the 100 games. He hit .301 and drove in 54 runs with five long balls. He also stole 22 bags. Playing mostly in the outfield, with a few appearances at third base and one at second, McDonald committed eight errors in 168 chances. In 2012, his first season in Wichita, McDonald posted a .236 batting average and .986 fielding percentage at an assortment of positions.

A left-handed hitter and right-handed fielder, McDonald hit .329 with 17 doubles, 53 RBI, and 17 stolen bases for the North American League's Yuma Scorpions in 2011.  McDonald was originally drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 21st round in 2009 out of Arizona State University.  The 6-foot-1, 190-pound McDonald played for the Sun Devils in the 2009 College World Series, and also spent two seasons at Pima Community College where he hit .422 as a freshman and sophomore.  McDonald is a lifetime .270 hitter with 114 runs scored, 35 doubles, nine triples, 14 home runs, 111 RBI, and 36 stolen bases in 235 games played.

McDonald will fill the spot on the active roster that was vacated when fellow outfielder David Amberson was placed on the disabled list. McDonald is expected to be in uniform this evening.

For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Ron Simmons to appear in place of Sgt. Slaughter

Sgt. Slaughter was scheduled to appear at the August 16th Wingnuts game but due to recent health issues, Sgt. Slaughter will not be able to attend the game. The Wingnuts would like to announce that in Sgt. Slaughter’s place will be WWE Hall of Famer, Ron Simmons. Ron Simmons played football for Florida State University and also is in the college Hall of Fame! Come by Saturday August the 16th to see and get an autograph from WWE Hall of Fame member Ron Simmons!!

Closing Another Deal: Nevarez has Contract Purchased by Pirates

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (August 14, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts have not played at home since July 24th because of the annual NBC World Series taking place at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. When the team does finally return to the friendly confines of their home park, they will do so without a key member at the back end of their bullpen. Closer Matt Nevarez has had his contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Over the past month, Nevarez teamed with fellow relievers Mike Zouzalik and Alex Hinshaw to form one of the American Association’s most potent one, two, three punches in the late innings. The right-hander is also a huge part of the Wingnuts’ 44-2 record when the team is leading after six innings have been completed.

Nevarez’s numbers in the 2014 campaign have been unmatched by other relievers in the league. The native of Mission Hills, California holds a 4-0 record and pristine 1.58 ERA in 35 appearances that covered 34 innings. He struck out 42 opposing hitters, walked just 12, and allowed only 26 hits. Nevarez recorded 23 saves in 24 chances with the only blown save coming during the team’s first road trip of the year to Gary on two unearned runs. He allowed an earned run in just three of 34 appearances. Nevarez is currently second in the league in reliever points, a system that gives bullpen members three points for a save, two points for a relief win, and subtracts two points for a relief loss, with a total of 77.

After beginning the 2011 season with the Houston Astros Double-A affiliate in Corpus Christi, Nevarez joined the Wingnuts in early July. He finished five games and earned one save on his way to a 2.76 ERA in 18 appearances. In 2012, he started the season in Wichita before having his contract purchased by the Tampa Bay Rays in late July. In his Wingnuts’ career Nevarez is 7-3 with 31 saves and a 2.35 ERA in 77 games. He has fanned 106 while walking 29 in 76.2 innings. American Association opponents have hit just .165 against him.

Nevarez, who was initially a 10th round draft pick of the Texas Rangers in 2005, appeared in nine games last season for the Montgomery Biscuits (Tampa Bay, Double-A) prior to injuring his arm. He has logged four years in the Rangers system, three seasons with the Houston Astros, and most recently a pair of seasons within the Rays organization in his eight year professional career. He will be assigned to the Pirates Double-A affiliate in Altoona.

Nevarez becomes the second player the Wingnuts have sold to a Major League organization in 2014 and the 21st all-time. Below is the complete list of players who have had their contracts purchased from Wichita.

The Wingnuts return home on Friday, August 15th for the first of a six-game homestand. They are currently leading the South Division by 7.5 games. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Late Run Helps Saltdogs Bite Wingnuts 6-5

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

LINCOLN, NE (August 13, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts and Lincoln Saltdogs engaged in a wild offensive battle for the better part of four innings at Haymarket Park on Wednesday night. Eventually, the pitchers for both sides settled in and turned it over to the bullpen with the score tied. In the end, it was the Saltdogs who mustered a clutch hit in the seventh to win the series by taking the rubber match 6-5.

The game started on a good note against Lincoln starter Marquis Fleming as Brent Clevlen launched a two-out two-run home run to deep left field that made it 2-0 Wichita (56-26). However, with Justin Klipp on the hill for the Wingnuts, Lincoln (44-37) came right back with a two-run blast from their own clean-up hitter Ian Gac to tie the game.

The Wingnuts scored another pair of the second courtesy of four consecutive base knocks. Chris McMurray led off the inning with a double and moved to third on an ensuing single by Chris McClendon. Taylor Oldham drove in his 16th run of the year on a base hit before David Amberson reached on a bunt single to load the bases. Ryan Khoury followed by bouncing into a 6-4-3 double play that caused another run to cross and made it 4-2.

Lincoln would snatch away their first lead in the third frame courtesy of three hits. Klipp issued a free pass to Brian Joynt that loaded the bases following a single by Jon Gaston and double by Gac. The right-hander could not find the zone to Jeremy Hamilton either and walked him to force home a run. The next batter, Brandon Pinckney, grounded into a 4-6-3 double play that brought in the tying run from third. Before the inning ended, Mike Gilmartin added a run-scoring single to put Lincoln in front 5-4.

McClendon would reach to start the fourth inning as the Wingnuts looked to respond immediately. After the next two batters were retired, Khoury earned a free pass and then Jake Luce lined an RBI single to pull his squad even at 5-5.

That score held until the seventh inning when Daniel Bennett (5-1) allowed runners to reach the corners with one out. Joynt laced a ground ball toward the left field corner that McClendon made a diving stab of, even while the infield was drawn in. The third baseman could not make a play at either home or first, however, allowing the go-ahead to cross on the fielder’s choice.

Jhonny Montoya (3-1) held the Nuts in check in both the seventh and eighth innings until turning it over to Marshall Schuler in the final frame. Shuler walked Clevlen in a full count with two away, but that was all as he struck out Carlo Testa to end the game and record his 30th save.

Clevlen was just a triple shy of the cycle in a 3-4, two RBI, performance. McClendon joined him as the only Nut with more than one hit. David Espinosa saw his 11-game hit streak come to an end. Matt Robertson and Mike Zouzalik threw scoreless innings in relief.

The Wingnuts return home for the first time in 17 games on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. when they welcome in the Grand Prairie AirHogs to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. LHP Frank Del Valle will be on the hill for Wichita. The game will feature a post-game fireworks show. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Saltdogs Surpass Short-Handed Nuts 4-2

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop 

LINCOLN, NE (August 12, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts entered their contest with the Lincoln Saltdogs on Tuesday night at Haymarket Park without the services of all-star Jake Kahaulelio and outfielder Jake Luce. Without any healthy bench players the Wingnuts were outdone by the pitching of Kevin McGovern and a couple of well-timed Saltdogs’ home runs in a 4-2 defeat.

A couple of very tough pitchers took the hill opposite one another with both Lincoln’s Kevin McGovern (3-1) and Jason Van Skike (9-4) of the Wingnuts shutting out their opponent through three very sharp innings. McGovern also made it through the fourth, but Van Skike allowed the game’s first run in the bottom half. After navigating through the double-headed monster of Jon Gaston and Ian Gac without issues to start the inning, the right-hander allowed a solo home run to Brian Joynt that started the scoring.

Wichita (56-25) responded immediately by recording three singles in the top of the fifth, with the third of the RBI variety from designated hitter Brent Dean. Unfortunately, the tie would not last through the duration of the inning. With Mike Gilmartin on first base to start the home half, Chris Anderson laid down a bunt that Van Skike fielded and threw off the back of the runner for a two-base error that left runners on the corners with no outs. Matt Forgatch followed by grounding into a double play that brought in the run. Luis Nunez singled and the next hitter, Gaston, came through with a two-run home run that left the park to right and made it 4-1.

The Nuts came back with their final run of the game in the top of the sixth. Chris McClendon singled to lead off the frame and moved to second when David Espinosa walked. With Brent Clevlen at the plate, a ball skipped a small distance away from the catcher Chris Anderson which set the runners in motion. The backstop made a strong throw to second to cut down Espinosa for the first out. Clevlen hit a shallow pop up to right field that was gloved by the second baseman moving towards the outfield and his throw was not accurate enough to prevent the run from scoring.

Lincoln (43-37) received solid work out of their bullpen from Conor Spink and Marshall Schuler to close out the contest. The save that Schuler earned was his league-leading 29th. McGovern went six innings and allowed two runs on seven hits.

Van Skike lasted through seven frames, giving up four runs on five hits with three strikeouts and one base on balls. Daniel Bennett chipped in a scoreless eighth by facing the minimum and getting a double play to end his outing.

The trio of McClendon, Testa, and Dean were the only Nuts to record multiple hits. Gaston homered for his third consecutive game and hit a two-run blast in each of the first two games of the series.

In the final game of the Wingnuts’ 17-game road trip, Wichita will throw RHP Justin Klipp against Lincoln ace RHP Marquis Fleming. The game will begin at 7:05 p.m. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Nuts Play Fetch with Saltdogs on Way to 9-6 Win

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

LINCOLN, NE (August 11, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts had home on the horizon as they began the final leg of their annual NBC World Series Road Trip in Lincoln, Nebraska against the Saltdogs on Monday night at Haymarket Park. Even though the squad is itching to get home, they still realize they have business to attend to and proved that by collecting 15 hits in a 9-6 win.

The game literally could not have started any better than the way it did, with shortstop Ryan Khoury at the plate. Khoury drove a pitch from Saltdogs’ starter Zachary Vance (5-7) over the wall in right center to take a 1-0 lead after one batter. Lincoln (42-37) would not take long to answer, however. In the bottom of the opening frame, Matt Forgatch singled and moved to second when Jon Gaston was walked by Jon Link (11-2). With a double steal in motion, catcher Chris McMurray threw high to second base and over a leaping Jake Kahaulelio into center field to allow the tying run to cross.

Each team would throw a pair of runs on the board in the third as they continued the back and forth affair. After a leadoff triple by David Espinosa and a walk to Brent Clevlen, McMurray bounced out to short which brought home a run. The next hitter, Chris McClendon ripped an RBI single to make it 3-1. In the bottom half, Forgatch laced another single and Gaston launched a two-run home run to pull the home team even.

The decisive inning for the Wingnuts (56-24) came in the fourth frame. After three runners reached without putting the bat on the ball to load the bases, Carlo Testa ripped a two RBI double to put the Nuts in front 5-3. McMurray came through again by scoring two more runs on his own single through the box and in the blink of an eye it was 7-3. Once again, Lincoln answered, but this time they couldn’t match the Wingnuts’ total. Chris Anderson hit his third home run of the year, a two run shot to center, to draw the Saltdogs within 7-5.

The sixth inning featured another tradeoff of runs as Testa finished a string of three straight hits with a run-scoring single in the top half. Anderson, the nine-hitter came through again with a base knock that drove in Mike Gilmartin to make it 8-6 Wichita.

The Wingnuts put an insurance run on the board in the ninth, courtesy of a Khoury base hit to move further in front 9-6. Matt Nevarez earned his 23rd save by retiring the side in order in the last chance for Lincoln.

Mike Zouzalik, Alex Hinshaw, and Nevarez each worked scoreless frames to continue their late-inning dominance. Zouzalik has allowed just one run in his last 18 appearances, Hinshaw has allowed a run in just four of his 32 appearances, and Nevarez has given up just one lead in a save situation. The team is 44-2 when leading after six innings are completed.

Both Testa and McMurray finished the night having driven in three runs, while Khoury added a pair. Espinosa crossed the plate three times with Khoury and Clevlen each scoring twice. The game was the 11th of the season in which the Wingnuts have posted at least 15 hits.

Game two of the series is Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. with RHP Jason Van Skike (9-3) throwing for the Wingnuts and LHP Kevin McGovern (2-1) on the hill for Lincoln. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Can’t Reel In Goldeyes, Drop 5-1 Decision

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA (August 10, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts were attempting to complete a four-game sweep of the Winnipeg Goldeyes on Sunday afternoon at Shaw Park, but ran into a buzz saw in left-handed pitcher Chris Salamida as they fell 5-1 to the North Division leader.

The Goldeyes (48-32) grabbed an early lead against Wingnuts’ starter Tim Brown (8-4) in the very first inning. The first three batters to step to the plate reached, with leadoff hitter Brock Bond drawing a walk and Jake Blackwood singling in front of Tyler Kuhn, who drove in a run with another base hit.

Wichita (55-24) tied it up in the top of the third against Salamida (6-3). Jake Kahaulelio racked up an RBI for the fifth straight game by shooting a double into the right center gap to pull his club even at 1-1. That would be the only run the Nuts could muster against the veteran left-hander.

Brown allowed two infield singles to Goldeyes’ hitters in the bottom of the third to put two on with one down. Reggie Abercrombie stepped to the plate and ripped a line drive single up the middle to push Winnipeg back on top 2-1.

With the Goldeyes still holding the slimmest of leads in the sixth inning, there was a runner on second base with two outs. Luis Alen, the Winnipeg catcher, turned on a pitch and whistled a ball over the wall in left field to provide some breathing room for the home team. Only one of the runs was earned because Abercrombie, the base runner, had reached on an error. Brown’s day was over following the inning. He allowed four runs, three of them earned, on 10 hits to rack up another quality start.

The Goldeyes added another insurance run in the seventh inning to extend their lead to four on Casey Haerther’s sacrifice fly off of reliever Jared Gaynor.

Salamida, who had thrown over 100 pitches, came back onto the bump for the ninth inning with the lead still 5-1, looking for his second complete game of the season. He breezed through the Wingnuts’ five, six, and seven hitters to earn the win and bring an end to his impressive performance on the hill. The fifth-year Goldeye allowed just five hits and struck out a season-high eight batters.

The Wingnuts will begin the final leg of their 17-game, five city, road trip in Lincoln on Monday night at 7:05 p.m. RHP Jon Link will take to the mound against fellow RHP Zachary Varce of the Saltdogs. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Hawaiian Punch: Kahaulelio Helps Nuts KO Goldeyes 4-3

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA (August 9, 2014) – Another classic battle between the American Association’s top two outfits, the Wichita Wingnuts and Winnipeg Goldeyes, entered the late innings tied. On this night it was Wichita second baseman Jake Kahauelio who came up with the huge hit that propelled the Nuts past Winnipeg 4-3 on Saturday evening inside Shaw Park.

Starting pitchers Frank Del Valle of the Wingnuts and Ethan Hollingsworth (6-1) of the Goldeyes were both fantastic through three innings to start the game. Del Valle entered the fourth inning having yet to allow a hit to Winnipeg (47-32). However, the Goldeyes tallied both their first hit and first run in the frame. Donnie Webb led off with a single and immediately stole second base, his league-leading 31st steal of the season, to move into scoring position. After Tyler Kuhn reached on an infield single, Casey Haerther hit a slow chopper to third that brought home the run while he was thrown out at first.

The Wingnuts (55-23) finally got to Hollingsworth for runs in both the fifth and sixth frames. Brent Clevlen knocked his 15th home run of the year out of the park to leadoff the fifth inning and tie the game at one. In the next inning with one out, Ryan Khoury earned his own trot around the bases with a solo blast that put Wichita in front 2-1. The home run, Khoury’s 10th, moved him one long ball shy of matching his career-high.

In his second straight quality start, Del Valle came on for the seventh inning holding the one run advantage and looking for his first win. Unfortunately for the left-hander it was not meant to be, as the first batter he faced, Jake Blackwood, tied the game with a round-tripper to left. After Luis Alen also singled, Wingnuts’ manager Kevin Hooper removed Del Valle from the game in favor of Mike Zouzalik. Zouzalik (2-0) retired all three hitters he faced to continue an impressive stretch of one run allowed in his last 17 appearances. Del Valle’s official line included two runs allowed on six hits with three walks and a strikeout over six innings.

Hollingsworth remained in the game as the eighth inning began. After the right-hander retired the first two batters, Jake Luce doubled to right field which caused Rick Forney, the Goldeyes’ manager, to head to the mound. Instead of removing the pitcher, Forney stuck with Hollingsworth even as the top of the order loomed. Khoury drew a walk to put two on for Kahaulelio. The second baseman split the left center gap with a double to score both runners and push the Nuts ahead 4-2.

In the bottom of the inning, Alex Hinshaw came on to face the middle of the Goldeyes’ order. Kuhn led off with a single and moved to second when Haerther drew a walk. The next batter, Reggie Abercrombie, hit a fly ball deep to left that carried the left fielder Jake Luce back near the wall. At the last moment, Luce jumped and was able to snag the ball high above his head to prevent an extra-base hit. Kuhn moved from second to third on the play. Kuhn tagged and scored on another deep fly ball to left by Josh Mazzola in the ensuing bat to pull Winnipeg within 4-3. Hinshaw got Blackwood to line out to right to end the inning.

Matt Nevarez entered into a one run game for a second straight night and this time left no doubt about the outcome. He retired the side in one, two, three fashion to ensure the Wingnuts of a series win by taking the first three games. The save was the 22nd in 23 opportunities for the native of Mission Hills, California.

Luce and Clevlen were the only two Wingnuts with multiple hits in the game, while the Goldeyes’ Kuhn paced all hitters with three. For a second straight night all of the runs were driven in by members of the top four in Wichita’s order. The Wingnuts have won seven straight games and are currently 11-2 on the 17-game road trip.

RHP Tim Brown will take the mound tomorrow in the series finale at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. He will face a pitcher that is to be decided from the Goldeyes. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Thrive in Clutch for Gutsy 6-5 Win Over Goldeyes

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA (August 8, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts entered another ninth inning tied with their opponent on the road in a hostile environment. After pulling out two such games in Fargo earlier in the week, the Wingnuts used their late-inning magic to thwart the Winnipeg Goldeyes 6-5 on Friday night at Shaw Park. Brent Clevlen tied the game with a solo home run in the eighth, Ryan Khoury gave the team the lead with an RBI single in the ninth, and Matt Nevarez struck out back-to-back hitters in the bottom of the inning to strand the bases loaded and earn his 21st save.

The Goldeyes (47-31) got to Wingnuts’ starter Justin Klipp right away in the first. Leadoff hitter Brock Bond whacked a double over everybody’s head into left center to start the inning and came in to score on Donnie Webb’s 46th RBI of the season. Webb moved to third on a throw to the plate and as a result scored on Casey Haerther’s run-scoring hit. When the inning ended it was 2-0 Winnipeg.

The teams traded fourth inning home runs with the Goldeyes coming out on the better end of the deal. David Espinosa led off the top half of the inning with his fourth long ball, a solo blast to left, that briefly cut the Wingnuts deficit to 2-1. In the bottom half of the inning it was answered by a two-run homer off the bat of Winnipeg’s Ryan Pineda that pushed their lead to 4-1.

Wichita (54-23) would tie the game in the fifth with a little help from an error. David Amberson reached on an infield single with one out and moved to second on a base hit from Khoury. Jake Kahaulelio also singled, bringing in Amberson and cutting the Goldeyes’ lead to 4-2. Espinosa ripped a single to center that scored one and then Reggie Abercrombie had the ball trickle under his glove to allow Kahaulelio to race home and tie the game.

Abercrombie made up for his defensive mistake by driving in a run on his sacrifice fly to left in the bottom half. The run bounced Winnipeg back on top by a 5-4 margin.

Clevlen was the second batter to step to the plate against Brendan Lafferty in the eighth inning. Without a hit to that point in the contest, the center fielder got all of a Lafferty offering and knocked it out of the park to tie the game. Daniel Bennett (5-0) came on in the home half of the eighth and allowed an infield single to Abercrombie with one out. Abercrombie tried to steal second, but Nuts’ catcher Brent Dean had other ideas, gunning him down at second. Bennett got Luis Alen to line out to right to bring an end to the stanza.

Entering the ninth inning with a tie game, the Wingnuts had the bottom of their order due up against Goldeyes’ closer Chris Kissock (0-4). Amberson yanked a double down the left field line to start the push. Jake Luce bunted him over to third to put the go-ahead run 90 feet away. Khoury, behind in the count 1-2, placed a seeing-eye single through the left side of a drawn in defense to put the Nuts non top.

Nevarez came in for the bottom of the ninth and allowed a leadoff single to Jake Blackwood. The next hitter, Sam Kimmel, put down a bunt back to the pitcher who picked it up cleanly, but threw off target to first and pulled Espinosa off the bag. Pineda put down another bunt to put the tying run on third and the winning run at second with just one out. After an intentional walk to Brock Bond loaded the bases, Nevarez struck out both Webb and Tyler Kuhn to bring an end to a dramatic battle.

Eight of the nine Wingnuts’ hitters mustered at least one hit in the contest with Khoury leading the group courtesy of his team-best three knocks. The top four hitters in the lineup drove in all five of the earned runs for the Nuts. The Wichita bullpen worked three shutout innings in relief of Klipp. The team is now 10-2 on their 17-game, five city, road trip.

On Saturday night Shaw Park will play host to game three of the series at 6:05 p.m. The Wingnuts will send LHP Frank Del Valle (0-1) to battle Goldeyes’ RHP (6-0) Ethan Hollingsworth. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Big Home Runs Help Wingnuts Wallop Winnipeg 10-3

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA (August 7, 2014) – Aside from a couple of big innings for the Wichita Wingnuts on Thursday night at Shaw Park, the team was locked in a competitive battle with their opponent, the Winnipeg Goldeyes. It was a three-run blast in the very first inning by Carlo Testa and a grand slam by Chris McMurray in the fifth, coupled with another quality start by starting pitcher Jason Van Skike, that provided the difference in a 10-3 victory for the visitors.

The first inning helped the Wingnuts (53-23) get off to a fast start as they ran off five consecutive hits with one out. Jake Kahaulelio and David Espinosa started the string with singles to put two on base for the clean-up hitter, Brent Clevlen. The center fielder ripped a single up the middle to score Kahaulelio and make it 1-0. The next batter, Testa, was able to grab the spotlight away with a booming three-run blast into the wind to right field that scored three and increased the lead to 4-0.  

Jake Luce reached on a three-base error by the right fielder Jordan Guida to begin the second inning and was doubled home by Kahaulelio two batters later to extend the advantage to 5-0.

Jason Van Skike (9-3), the Wingnuts’ starter, worked the first three innings without allowing a run, but the Goldeyes (47-30) got to him in the fourth. Casey Haerther led off the inning with a single, which was followed by double off the wall in left by Reggie Abercrombie to put two in scoring position. Luis Alen followed by bouncing a ball to short that scored Haerther and trimmed the lead to 5-1. The Goldeyes pulled even closer when the next batter, Jake Blackwood, lofted a home run down the left field line to score a pair and move within 5-3.

A big inning for the Wingnuts began against Jonathan Sintes (0-2) in the fifth. Kahaulelio singled, Espinosa walked, and Clevlen earned an intentional base on balls to load the bases with nobody out. After that sequence, Sintes was replaced by lefty Taylor Bratton. Bratton struck out Carlo Testa, but then Chris McMurray launched a grand slam to left field that blew the game wide open at 9-3.

Wichita tacked on one more in the top of the sixth with another RBI single from Brent Clevlen. After working a scoreless bottom half of the inning Van Skike called it a night. He earned his fifth quality start of the season by giving up three runs on 10 hits through six frames.

Matt Robertson allowed just a hit in the seventh inning before turning the reins over to Jared Gaynor. The left-hander cruised through the final two innings, allowing only one hit to close out Winnipeg.

Seven of the nine Wingnuts’ starters tallied hits with Kahaulelio, Espinosa, Clevlen, and McMurray each finishing with multiple knocks. McMurray paced the team with four runs driven in, while Testa scored three and Clevlen plated a pair. Six different Wichita players scored a run, led by Kahaulelio’s trio of trips across the plate.

In game two on Friday night, the Wingnuts will send RHP Justin Klipp (7-3) to the mound to face off with a pitcher to be named by the Goldeyes. First pitch will take place at 7:05 p.m. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

 

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Espinosa Propels Wingnuts to Four-Game Sweep of RedHawks with Late Home Run

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

FARGO, ND (August 6, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts entered the eighth inning of Wednesday night’s contest with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks trailing by one run and facing building momentum for their opponent. A controversial call followed by a monster two-run home run by David Espinosa silenced the crowd and pushed the Wingnuts to a four-game series sweep of their opponent from the north.

The game started on a positive note when the second batter of the game, Jake Kahaulelio, ripped his seventh home run of the season inside of the left field foul pole to grab an early 1-0 lead against Jake Laber (6-9). Laber, who entered the game one win shy of tying Fargo-Moorhead’s franchise record for career victories, began the season 6-1, but had lost seven consecutive outings.

The Wingnuts (52-23) extended their lead with a lone run in the third inning as well. David Amberson started the inning by shooting a double down the right field line. Both Jake Luce and Ryan Khoury struck out before Kahaulelio stepped into the box once again. Kahaulelio got jammed, but muscled a shallow pop up into right field that landed in the middle of three RedHawks and moved the lead to 2-0.

Jon Link, the starter for the Wingnuts would allow the only run of his outing in the bottom of the same inning. Ronnie Bourquin hit a one out triple to reach scoring position and would cross home plate on a shallow single to left field by C.J. Retherford to make it 2-1.

That score held until the seventh inning when Link was removed just shy of 100 pitches after getting the first two batters of the inning to bounce out to short. Link earned another quality start by allowing just one run on six hits in 6.2 innings. Jared Gaynor entered and immediately walked the first batter he faced, Ronnie Bourquin, on four straight pitches. The young left-hander followed that up by hitting Nick Jackson to put two on with two outs. He would be replaced by right-hander Daniel Bennett (4-0) with Retherford about to step in. The RedHawks’ second baseman yanked a two-RBI double just inside of the third base bag to give Fargo-Moorhead (34-42) their first lead of the game.

Kahaulelio reached first base to begin the eighth inning on the controversial call that ended up with RedHawks’ manager Doug Simunic being ejected. The debate was whether the second baseman’s chopper was fair or foul when third baseman, Bourquin, picked it up. The ruling went in the Wingnuts’ favor and led to the Fargo dugout erupting. Espinosa was the next hitter due up, and launched a go-ahead two-run home run to left that put Wichita back in front 4-3. The long ball was his third of the season.

Mike Zouzalik worked a one, two, three eighth inning before turning the ball over to Alex Hinshaw with an opportunity to earn his second save. Hinshaw wasted no time in sealing the fate of the RedHawks as he struck out all three batters that stepped to the plate against him.

Kahaulelio paced the Nuts’ attack with three hits in four trips to the plate. Chris McClendon and Amberson also were able to rack up multiple hits. Ryan Khoury, Chris McMurray, and Jake Luce had hitting streaks of at least eight games come to an end.

The Wingnuts will begin a four-game series north of the border against the Winnipeg Goldeyes on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. RHP Jason Van Skike will throw for the Wingnuts against RHP Jonathan Sintes of the Goldeyes. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Espinosa Propels Wingnuts to Four-Game Sweep of RedHawks with Late Home Run

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

FARGO, ND (August 6, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts entered the eighth inning of Wednesday night’s contest with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks trailing by one run and facing building momentum for their opponent. A controversial call followed by a monster two-run home run by David Espinosa silenced the crowd and pushed the Wingnuts to a four-game series sweep of their opponent from the north.

The game started on a positive note when the second batter of the game, Jake Kahaulelio, ripped his seventh home run of the season inside of the left field foul pole to grab an early 1-0 lead against Jake Laber (6-9). Laber, who entered the game one win shy of tying Fargo-Moorhead’s franchise record for career victories, began the season 6-1, but had lost seven consecutive outings.

The Wingnuts (52-23) extended their lead with a lone run in the third inning as well. David Amberson started the inning by shooting a double down the right field line. Both Jake Luce and Ryan Khoury struck out before Kahaulelio stepped into the box once again. Kahaulelio got jammed, but muscled a shallow pop up into right field that landed in the middle of three RedHawks and moved the lead to 2-0.

Jon Link, the starter for the Wingnuts would allow the only run of his outing in the bottom of the same inning. Ronnie Bourquin hit a one out triple to reach scoring position and would cross home plate on a shallow single to left field by C.J. Retherford to make it 2-1.

That score held until the seventh inning when Link was removed just shy of 100 pitches after getting the first two batters of the inning to bounce out to short. Link earned another quality start by allowing just one run on six hits in 6.2 innings. Jared Gaynor entered and immediately walked the first batter he faced, Ronnie Bourquin, on four straight pitches. The young left-hander followed that up by hitting Nick Jackson to put two on with two outs. He would be replaced by right-hander Daniel Bennett (4-0) with Retherford about to step in. The RedHawks’ second baseman yanked a two-RBI double just inside of the third base bag to give Fargo-Moorhead (34-42) their first lead of the game.

Kahaulelio reached first base to begin the eighth inning on the controversial call that ended up with RedHawks’ manager Doug Simunic being ejected. The debate was whether the second baseman’s chopper was fair or foul when third baseman, Bourquin, picked it up. The ruling went in the Wingnuts’ favor and led to the Fargo dugout erupting. Espinosa was the next hitter due up, and launched a go-ahead two-run home run to left that put Wichita back in front 4-3. The long ball was his third of the season.

Mike Zouzalik worked a one, two, three eighth inning before turning the ball over to Alex Hinshaw with an opportunity to earn his second save. Hinshaw wasted no time in sealing the fate of the RedHawks as he struck out all three batters that stepped to the plate against him.

Kahaulelio paced the Nuts’ attack with three hits in four trips to the plate. Chris McClendon and Amberson also were able to rack up multiple hits. Ryan Khoury, Chris McMurray, and Jake Luce had hitting streaks of at least eight games come to an end.

The Wingnuts will begin a four-game series north of the border against the Winnipeg Goldeyes on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. RHP Jason Van Skike will throw for the Wingnuts against RHP Jonathan Sintes of the Goldeyes. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Nuts Break Ninth Inning Tie Once Again to Forgo Fargo 4-3

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

FARGO, ND (August 5, 2014) – Neither the Wichita Wingnuts nor Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks could separate themselves from their opponent over the course of eight innings on Tuesday night at Newman Outdoor Field, so the two teams entered the final inning tied for a second straight game. This time it was David Amberson who came up with the big hit to repel the RedHawks. The right fielder flared a soft line drive into right field with two strikes on him to score Chris McMurray and give Wichita a 4-3 victory.

In the second inning, Fargo-Moorhead (34-41) took an early lead courtesy of consecutive base hits off of Wingnuts’ starting pitcher Tim Brown. Erik Castro led off with a double into the left field corner and scored when catcher Petey Paramore followed by ripping a single of his own to make it 1-0 in favor of the home club.

After being held without a hit through three innings by brand new RedHawk Nick McCully, the Wingnuts (51-23) mustered two hits in the fourth and then tied the game in the fifth. Brent Clevlen began the frame with a line drive base hit which preceded another base knock from Carlo Testa that left runners on the corners with nobody out. The first out was recorded when Testa was caught stealing, but Chris McMurray managed to even the score at one shortly afterward with a run-scoring single of his own.

That run started a string of three straight innings in which the Nuts would plate a run. With runners on the corners in the sixth, Clevlen struck with another single for his 59th RBI of the season and a 2-1 advantage. In the seventh, Chris McClendon stole second with one out to move into scoring position for Jake Luce, who promptly drove him in with a single. McClendon’s run gave Wichita a 3-1 cushion.

In the bottom of the same inning Fargo used two three hits to tie the game and chase Brown from the hill. Sawyer Carroll singled and was brought in on a game-tying two run home run to the opposite field by lefty Brandon Tripp. Brown allowed a two-out single to his last batter, Ronnie Bourquin, before being replaced by Daniel Bennett who closed the inning by retiring the first hitter he faced. Brown registered a quality start with three runs allowed over the course of 6.2 innings. The right-hander scattered eight hits in the performance.

Daniel Bennett, who made his team-leading 35th appearance and Kevin Fuqua of Fargo-Moorhead each faced the minimum in the eighth to head to the final inning locked at three. With Fuqua still on the hill, McMurray drew a one out base on balls and moved to second on a fielder’s choice groundball off of the pitcher by McClendon that resulted in the second out. Amberson, who was 0-3 with three strikeouts entering the inning, came to the plate to try to extend the frame at least. With two strikes on him, the eight-hitter took a breaking ball the opposite way and through the hole to plate a run and put Wichita on top 4-3.

Matt Nevarez breezed through the bottom of the ninth for his 20th save of the season, never letting the ball leave the infield. He recorded a pair of 1-3 putouts with a 3-1 groundball out sandwiched in between.

Clevlen, McMurray, and Luce, who now owns a nine-game hitting streak, racked up two hits in the game. The Wingnuts had eight of their nine starters record a hit. After 74 games, the team is maintaining a pace two games better than that of the record-breaking 68-32 team of 2013.

Wichita will look for the sweep on Wednesday night in a premier pitching match-up between RHP Jon Link (10-2) of the Wingnuts and LHP Jake Laber (6-8) of the RedHawks. First pitch is scheduled for 7:02 p.m. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Khoury’s Big Hit Gives Nuts Fiftieth Win

Photo Credit: Meryl Loo

FARGO, ND, (August 4, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts’ Frank Del Valle and Brian Ernst of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks took part in a gold old fashioned pitcher’s duel for five innings on Monday night at Newman Outdoor Field. However, the contest really became interesting after the starters had departed, with the Wingnuts getting a huge, one-out, bases loaded single up the middle from shortstop Ryan Khoury in the ninth that propelled the team to a thrilling 3-1 win.

Del Valle, who was making his third start for the Wingnuts (50-23), was on top of his game in the left-hander’s best performance to date. He struck out seven batters in six innings while scattering six hits. The only run he allowed was a two-out solo home run to Erik Castro in the bottom of the sixth. Unfortunately for the 24-year old, he exited after that inning on the hook for the loss because of the valiant effort that his opposition on the hill was putting together.

Ernst, who had allowed five runs in 5.2 innings in an earlier start in Wichita, was on top of his game. He did not allow a hit until a groundball double to right by David Espinosa in the fourth inning. He entered the eighth inning having thrown over 100 pitches in the contest, but with a 1-0 advantage. The first batter in the frame, Jake Luce, flipped a double into the right field corner that put the tying run in scoring position and ended Ernst’s evening. Former Amarillo hurler Erik Draxton entered and Khoury immediately put down a bunt that moved Luce to third. Jake Kahaulelio followed by dropping a double in front of a diving attempt by the left fielder Sawyer Carroll to tie the score at 1-1. Ernst was responsible for the run and his line became complete with seven innings of work and just three hits allowed.

The game entered the final inning at a 1-1 stalemate. Fargo-Moorhead (34-40) stuck with Joe Harris (4-2), who had finished the previous inning, to begin the ninth. Harris allowed a leadoff single to Chris McMurray, but received a break when his defense cut down the lead runner on an attempted sacrifice bunt by Chris McClendon. Harris couldn’t find the strike zone to the next two hitters, walking both David Amberson and Luce to fill the bases. Doug Simunic, the RedHawks’ manager, turned to Kevin Fuqua with the game on line. Khoury had two strikes in the count when he lined a slider sharply back over the mound for a two-run single that put the Wingnuts on top 3-1.

Matt Nevarez entered the ninth looking for redemption from the night before when he allowed a run for the first time since July 12th. Nevarez walked Petey Paramore to begin the inning and Carroll quickly followed by lining a single into right. With the tying run on base and the crowd beginning to grow excited, Nevarez squashed the rally by striking out both Brandon Tripp and Travis Higgs. The last chance for the RedHawks, Zach Penprase hit a routine groundball to second that sealed the win for the visitors. The save was the closer’s 19th in 20 chances.

Alex Hinshaw (2-1) received the victory after silencing the RedHawks in a one, two, three, eighth inning. Mike Zouzalik struck out the side in the seventh in another solid appearance for the righty. Kahaulelio was the only Wingnut with more than a single base hit, while Luce extended his hit streak to eight games.

The Wingnuts will attempt to secure a series win on Tuesday night at 7:02 p.m. in game three of the series. RHP Tim Brown (8-3) toes the rubber for Wichita against a pitcher that is undecided for Fargo-Moorhead. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Repel RedHawks Rally, Win 7-4

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

FARGO, ND (August 3, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts used a persistent offensive attack to slowly build a solid lead over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks on Sunday night at Newman Outdoor Field. A furious rally in the final inning by the home team put the outcome in question for a brief moment before the Wingnuts finally stomped out the rally and opened the series with a 7-4 win.

The Wingnuts (49-23) were facing a rookie pitcher who was making his professional debut and wasted no time in jumping ahead. After Shawn O’Neill (0-1) faced the minimum in the first inning, Brent Clevlen led off with a single in the second. He moved into scoring position on a fielders’ grounder by Carlo Testa. Following a two-out walk by Brent Dean, David Amberson ripped a single through the left side of the infield to start the scoring.

The RedHawks (34-39) didn’t take long to answer back with a run of their own against Nuts’ starter Justin Klipp (7-3). Nic Jackson singled with one out and would tie the game at one when he raced around on an RBI double by Erik Castro.

Ryan Khoury drew a base on balls to start the third inning and strategically moved his way around the bases to third. He would cross the plate courtesy of a wild pitch from O’Neill to make it 2-0. The Wingnuts would continue to apply pressure throughout the contest, scoring in six consecutive innings. O’Neill allowed a solo home run to Brent Dean to start the fourth, and eventually departed later in the same inning having given up three runs on six hits.

Clevlen ripped his fourth home run in the last three games to begin the fifth frame against Coty Woods which put Wichita in front 4-0. In the next stanza a sacrifice fly by Jake Kahaulelio brought in Jake Luce and the lead was 5-0. The run of scoring came to an end with a pair in the top of inning number seven. Clevlen began with a single and headed to third on an ensuing double by Chris McClendon. Dean knocked a base hit for his second RBI of the game and two batters later Luce came through with a run-scoring single of his own to push the Wingnuts to their biggest lead at 7-1.

Klipp continued his work through five innings, never allowing another run to come home, although the RedHawks has plenty of opportunities. The right-hander allowed seven hits and walked two, while fanning five hitters. Klipp stranded at least one base runner in each of his innings on the hill and in four of the five frames left a pair aboard. Daniel Bennett worked the game’s first one, two, three inning in the sixth and then handed it to Jared Gaynor for two scoreless, one-hit, frames.

Matt Nevarez made his first appearance since the all-star break in the ninth with Wingnuts ahead by six runs. Travis Higgs began the inning with a single, but Nevarez rebounded to retire the next two batters. He then issued a free pass to Jackson and gave up a shallow single to center by C.J. Retherford. With the bases loaded he walked Castro to force in a run and reduce the lead to 7-2. Back-to-back run-scoring infield singles by Petey Paramore and Sawyer Carroll trimmed the lead to three and put the tying run at first with Brandon Tripp coming up. Kevin Hooper went to the bullpen and brought on Alex Hinshaw for a match-up of lefties. Initially the pitcher fell behind in the count 3-1, but he battled back to get a full count groundball to first that David Espinosa fielded a raced to first base to end the game.

Wichita finished with 14 hits, the sixth consecutive game that the team has finished with double digits in the hit column. Clevlen continued a torrid streak at the plate by going 4-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. He is now 12 for his last 18. Khoury, Dean, and Luce also managed multiple hits. Retherford paced the Fargo-Moorhead offense with his own 4-5 performance.

The series continues on Monday at 7:02 p.m. with the second of four games. LHP Frank Del Valle (0-1) takes the hill for Wichita against RHP Brian Ernst (7-4) of Fargo. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Red-Hot Clevlen Named American Association Player of the Week

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (August 4, 2014) – Brent Clevlen was one of eight Wichita Wingnuts’ players to be selected to the South Division all-star squad a week ago in Winnipeg. After participating in the game itself and the home run derby, the former big leaguer has put on a derby of his own in the four contests since, leading to the outfielder being named as the American Association Pointstreak Player of the Week.

Clevlen headed into the three-day break with some productive performances in Amarillo, but since returning to play on the northern part of the Wingnuts 17-game road trip, he has been almost unstoppable. In three games against St. Paul and one versus Fargo-Moorhead the veteran has gone 12-18 at the plate and driven in 11 runs. Clevlen has four home runs in the last three ball games, including a two-homer game at St. Paul’s Midway Stadium on Friday. He has been on base with regularity, leading to a total of six runs scored during the span.

The third-year Wingnut has his name all over the league’s leader board in a multitude of offensive categories. He is atop the American Association in extra-base hits and total bases and among the top five in batting average, doubles, RBI, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and hits. Clevlen is currently hitting .360 on the season with 26 doubles, three triples and 13 home runs to go with 58 RBI.

Clevlen joins J.T. Wise, who had his contract purchased by the Texas Rangers, and starting pitcher Jon Link as Wingnuts that have been honored by the league with a weekly award during the 2014 campaign.

For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Can’t Reel In Goldeyes, Drop 5-1 Decision

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA (August 10, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts were attempting to complete a four-game sweep of the Winnipeg Goldeyes on Sunday afternoon at Shaw Park, but ran into a buzz saw in left-handed pitcher Chris Salamida as they fell 5-1 to the North Division leader.

The Goldeyes (48-32) grabbed an early lead against Wingnuts’ starter Tim Brown (8-4) in the very first inning. The first three batters to step to the plate reached, with leadoff hitter Brock Bond drawing a walk and Jake Blackwood singling in front of Tyler Kuhn, who drove in a run with another base hit.

Wichita (55-24) tied it up in the top of the third against Salamida (6-3). Jake Kahaulelio racked up an RBI for the fifth straight game by shooting a double into the right center gap to pull his club even at 1-1. That would be the only run the Nuts could muster against the veteran left-hander.

Brown allowed two infield singles to Goldeyes’ hitters in the bottom of the third to put two on with one down. Reggie Abercrombie stepped to the plate and ripped a line drive single up the middle to push Winnipeg back on top 2-1.

With the Goldeyes still holding the slimmest of leads in the sixth inning, there was a runner on second base with two outs. Luis Alen, the Winnipeg catcher, turned on a pitch and whistled a ball over the wall in left field to provide some breathing room for the home team. Only one of the runs was earned because Abercrombie, the base runner, had reached on an error. Brown’s day was over following the inning. He allowed four runs, three of them earned, on 10 hits to rack up another quality start.

The Goldeyes added another insurance run in the seventh inning to extend their lead to four on Casey Haerther’s sacrifice fly off of reliever Jared Gaynor.

Salamida, who had thrown over 100 pitches, came back onto the bump for the ninth inning with the lead still 5-1, looking for his second complete game of the season. He breezed through the Wingnuts’ five, six, and seven hitters to earn the win and bring an end to his impressive performance on the hill. The fifth-year Goldeye allowed just five hits and struck out a season-high eight batters.

The Wingnuts will begin the final leg of their 17-game, five city, road trip in Lincoln on Monday night at 7:05 p.m. RHP Jon Link will take to the mound against fellow RHP Zachary Varce of the Saltdogs. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Taylor Blast Leads to 9-7 Saints Win in Wild Battle

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

SAINTS PAUL, MN (August 2, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts and St. Paul Saints took part in a wild contest that featured five home runs and five different half innings with multiple runs crossing home plate on Saturday night at Midway Stadium. Eventually Saints’ catcher Jake Taylor broke an eighth inning tie with a home run to left field that helped his team avoid the sweep and emerge victorious by a 9-7 score.

The contest featured a starting pitching showdown between the top two pitchers in the American Association in ERA, Anthony Claggett and Jason Van Skike. The Wingnuts (48-23) wasted no time in taking an early advantage. Ryan Khoury started the game with a single and his mate in the middle infield, Jake Kahaulelio , followed by blasting his second home run of the series, a two-run shot to left. The lead increased to 3-0 on a run-scoring single by Chris McMurray in the third frame.

Jason Van Skike worked through the St. Paul (41-30) order one time without a base runner, but could not keep up the dominance in the fourth. Devin Thaut led off with a double and then former Wingnut, Jared McDonald, ripped a two-run home run over the wall in right to trim the lead immediately to 3-2. Willie Cabrera also doubled to extend his hitting streak to 15 games. After recording two outs with no advancement, Van Skike issued a walk to Evan Bigley prior to an RBI single by Taylor that evened the game at three.

The game seesawed in the fifth inning with St. Paul closing the frame in the lead. Wichita immediately re-gained the advantage with a Chris McClendon RBI single. Joey Becker led off the bottom half by drawing a walk and moved to second on sacrifice bunt by Thaut. With two down, Cabrera stayed hot by ripping a line drive to left that tied the game once again. After Henry Wrigley reached on an error, Angelo Songco made the mistake hurt with a three-run long ball to right that put the Saints on top 7-4.

With Claggett heading to the dugout after six innings of work, Mikey Mehlich came out of bullpen to pitch the Wichita seventh. Brent Clevlen greeted him with a laser home run to left to pull closer at 7-5. Carlo Testa, McMurray, and McClendon all reached on consecutive infield singles to load the bases. David Amberson inched the Nuts a little closer with a fielder’s groundout to short and then Jake Luce tied the game on a sacrifice fly to shallow center. Amberson attempted to score on a ball that squirted passed Taylor a short distance, but was thrown out on a nice play by both Taylor and Mehlich.

After Daniel Bennett threw a one, two, three bottom of the seventh, left-hander Alex Hinshaw came on for the eighth. After retiring the leadoff hitter, Hinshaw walked Bigley on a close pitch. The next batter, Taylor, ripped his second home run of the series, and fourth of the season, to put St. Paul ahead 9-7. Hinshaw rebounded with two strikeouts to end the inning and send the game to the ninth.

The St. Paul closer, Dan Sattler, came on to work the ninth inning, after recording the final out in the eighth. He issued a free pass to McClendon with one out, but the following hitter, Amberson, hit a soft line drive back to Sattler who caught the ball and threw to first to double up the runner and bring an end to the game.

Five Wingnuts reached double digits in the hit column as the team tallied 14 base knocks. Brent Clevlen finished the St. Paul series with eight hits in 13 at bats and eight runs driven in.

The Wingnuts begin a four-game series with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. The Wingnuts will hand the ball to RHP Justin Klipp (6-3). For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Clevlen’s Big Day at Midway Helps Nuts Knock Off Saints 12-5

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

SAINT PAUL, MN (August 1, 2014) - After posting an impressive 18-6 record in the month of July, the Wichita Wingnuts were hoping to start August off on a positive note when they took on the St. Paul Saints at Midway Stadium on Friday night. Thanks to the big bat of Brent Clevlen, who launched a pair of home runs and racked up six RBI in the contest, the team grabbed an early lead and never looked back on their way to a 12-5 win.

For a second consecutive evening, the Wingnuts (48-22) would jump in front during the second inning. Clevlen began the inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. After Chris McMurray struck out for the second out, both Chris McClendon and David Amberson reached on infield singles, with Amberson’s scoring the game’s first run.

A huge third inning against Saints’ starter Jeff Shields (5-6) allowed the Wingnuts to develop a much larger cushion. With one out, Jake Kahaulelio singled and David Espinosa drew a base on balls before Clevlen crushed a three-run home run off of a light pole in left center to put Wichita on top 4-0. McMurray kept the inning rolling along with a double and raced home on a Chris McClendon RBI single. McClendon advanced to third on another single by Amberson and eventually scored on a wild pitch. After posting five runs in the frame the Wingnuts were on top 6-0.

The Wingnuts added another run on a wild pitch by Mackenzie King in the fifth. Link would make the 8-1 lead hold up into the sixth, when the Saints (40-30) put up a crooked number. During a four hit frame, three different hits drove in runs. Willie Cabrera extended his hit streak to 14 games with an RBI double, Angelo Songco repeated the feat with a run-scoring double of his own, and Evan Bigley brought in a third run with a single. Link escaped further damage by striking out Taylor and McDonald back-to-back to end the inning with runners on the corners and the score 8-4.

In the top of the seventh, Clevlen struck again after a big defensive miscue by St. Paul shortstop Joey Becker. The error on an Espinosa groundball, allowed Kahaulelio, who had singled earlier, to come home and extend the margin to 9-4. Clevlen really made the mistake hurt by smashing a low line drive out of the park to left and pushing the lead even further to 11-4.

An RBI single by Henry Wrigley in the seventh pulled St. Paul within 11-5, but the Wingnuts pitching staff would allow nothing else. Clevlen wasn’t quite finished, as he added a run-scoring single to right for his sixth and final run batted in of the night. Matt Robertson struck out the side in the eighth inning and then stranded the bases loaded after issuing three consecutive one out walks in the final inning.

Jon Link earned the victory after throwing seven innings and allowing five runs on 10 base hits. He walked and struck out three Saints.

Aside from Clevlen, other Wingnuts who finished with multiple hits included Kahaulelio, McClendon, and Amberson. All but one of the players in the Nuts’ lineup tallied a hit. Wichita finished with 17 hits and five of them went for extra bases. The Wingnuts are now 4-1 on their 17-game road trip.

The series finale will take place on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. with RHP Jason Van Skike (8-3) going for Wichita and RHP Anthony Claggett (5-4) throwing for St. Paul. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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SAINT PAUL, MN (August 1, 2014) - After posting an impressive 18-6 record in the month of July, the Wichita Wingnuts were hoping to start August off on a positive note when they took on the St. Paul Saints at Midway Stadium on Friday night. Thanks to the big bat of Brent Clevlen, who launched a pair of home runs and racked up six RBI in the contest, the team grabbed an early lead and never looked back on their way to a 12-5 win.

For a second consecutive evening, the Wingnuts (48-22) would jump in front during the second inning. Clevlen began the inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. After Chris McMurray struck out for the second out, both Chris McClendon and David Amberson reached on infield singles, with Amberson’s scoring the game’s first run.

A huge third inning against Saints’ starter Jeff Shields (5-6) allowed the Wingnuts to develop a much larger cushion. With one out, Jake Kahaulelio singled and David Espinosa drew a base on balls before Clevlen crushed a three-run home run off of a light pole in left center to put Wichita on top 4-0. McMurray kept the inning rolling along with a double and raced home on a Chris McClendon RBI single. McClendon advanced to third on another single by Amberson and eventually scored on a wild pitch. After posting five runs in the frame the Wingnuts were on top 6-0.

The Wingnuts added another run on a wild pitch by Mackenzie King in the fifth. Link would make the 8-1 lead hold up into the sixth, when the Saints (40-30) put up a crooked number. During a four hit frame, three different hits drove in runs. Willie Cabrera extended his hit streak to 14 games with an RBI double, Angelo Songco repeated the feat with a run-scoring double of his own, and Evan Bigley brought in a third run with a single. Link escaped further damage by striking out Taylor and McDonald back-to-back to end the inning with runners on the corners and the score 8-4.

In the top of the seventh, Clevlen struck again after a big defensive miscue by St. Paul shortstop Joey Becker. The error on an Espinosa groundball, allowed Kahaulelio, who had singled earlier, to come home and extend the margin to 9-4. Clevlen really made the mistake hurt by smashing a low line drive out of the park to left and pushing the lead even further to 11-4.

An RBI single by Henry Wrigley in the seventh pulled St. Paul within 11-5, but the Wingnuts pitching staff would allow nothing else. Clevlen wasn’t quite finished, as he added a run-scoring single to right for his sixth and final run batted in of the night. Matt Robertson struck out the side in the eighth inning and then stranded the bases loaded after issuing three consecutive one out walks in the final inning.

Jon Link earned the victory after throwing seven innings and allowing five runs on 10 base hits. He walked and struck out three Saints.

Aside from Clevlen, other Wingnuts who finished with multiple hits included Kahaulelio, McClendon, and Amberson. All but one of the players in the Nuts’ lineup tallied a hit. Wichita finished with 17 hits and five of them went for extra bases. The Wingnuts are now 4-1 on their 17-game road trip.

The series finale will take place on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. with RHP Jason Van Skike (8-3) going for Wichita and RHP Anthony Claggett (5-4) throwing for St. Paul. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Team Effort Helps Nuts Knock off Saints 9-3

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

SAINT PAUL, MN (July 31, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts had everybody chip in at some point in Thursday night’s 9-3 win over the St. Paul Saints at Midway Stadium. Tim Brown was his typical superb self on the hill in garnering his eighth win of the season, while his teammates at the plate poured across six runs in a huge second inning to get off to a great start and never looked back.

After Saints’ starter Nick Barnese (5-6) faced the minimum in his first inning, the Wingnuts brought an early end to his evening with a massive assault in the second. With one out, Wichita (47-22) had seven men reach base consecutively without an out being recorded. In the onslaught Chris McMurray knocked an RBI double, Jake Luce cleared the bases with a three-RBI two-bagger, Ryan Khoury scored a teammate with a single, and the man who began the frame, Brent Clevlen, plated a run with an RBI base hit in his second trip to the plate that inning. After the dust had cleared the Wingnuts had mustered six runs on seven hits to take a commanding lead early. Barnese never came out for the third, having given up six runs on eight hits in two innings.

The Wingnuts added to the lead in the third when Khoury came through with another RBI. With runners on the corners he ripped a single to score David Amberson and make it 7-0.

The early cushion was more than enough for the ultra-consistent Tim Brown (8-3). He would shut down the St. Paul (40-29) offense until the fifth inning when they finally cashed in with runners in scoring position. Devin Thaut singled to start the inning and then moved to second on Sam Maus’s fielder’s choice. A single by Willie Cabrera put runners on the corners for clean-up hitter Henry Wrigley, who beat out a potential double play to drive in a run. Brown would not allow another run as he scattered eight hits over six innings, while striking out three.

Both teams would score a pair of runs in the eighth inning. Jake Kahaulelio, who was moved back to the two spot in the batting order, hit his fifth home run of the season, a blast to left center that scored a pair and advanced the lead to 9-1. In the bottom half, Daniel Bennett gave up two runs, although just one of them was earned. In a four hit inning that featured one Wingnut error, Joey Becker and Thaut each drove in a run. Mike Zouzalik came on for the ninth and mowed down the first two batters he faced with strikeouts before allowing a single to Songco that preceded a game-ending fly ball by Keith Brachold.

Jared Gaynor worked another scoreless inning out of the bullpen in the seventh inning. Five different Wingnuts managed multi-hit games with the group being paced by McMurray’s 4-4 day. With their total of 15 hits in the contest, Wichita increased the number of games in which they have tallied 15 or more hits to nine in 2014.

Game two in the three-game series is set for Friday night at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Jon Link (9-2) will throw for the Wingnuts opposite right-hander Jeff Shields (5-5) of the Saints. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Nuts Kick Sox 10-6 to Head into All-Star Break with Win

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

AMARILLO, TX (July 27, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts will enter the all-star break with a 46-22 record, the best mark in the American Association at this juncture, after their 10-6 victory over the Amarillo Sox at Amarillo National Bank Sox Stadium on Sunday evening. The Wingnuts jumped ahead early and had to stave off many attempted comebacks from the pesky Sox in order to maintain a nine game lead in the South Division standings.

The Wingnuts were facing Sox right-hander Matt Larkins for a fourth time this season and jumped ahead of him early in the third. Jake Luce sparked the inning with a bunt single and then moved to third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run with David Amberson at the plate. Ryan Khoury ended up scoring the both of them with a triple into the right field corner to give his team a 2-0 lead. Khoury was also brought home when Chris McClendon singled on the ground through the right side to put the Nuts in front 3-0.

Amarillo (21-45) answered back with lone runs in both the third and fourth innings against Frank Del Valle. Johnny Bladel brought in the first with a single after the left-hander walked a pair earlier in the frame. Derek Perren walked to start the fourth and moved to third on a throwing error by Ryan Khoury on a groundball off the bat of Gerardo Valentin. The next batter, Jeff Farnham hit a bouncer to short that brought in Perren and made it 3-2.

Both squads would score multiple times in a high-octane fifth inning. The Wingnuts managed a pair of runs on Khoury’s ninth home run of the year, a drive to left field that put the Wingnuts back in front 5-2. However, the Sox would bring across three unearned runs in the bottom half to tie the score. With two outs, Johnny Bladel had a groundball to the right side bounce over the head of David Espinosa at first base for a single. After that, Jason Martin reached on an error by Khoury to put runners on first and second. Derek Perren followed by scoring Bladel on a single to right. Kyle Bellows proceeded to tie the game with a two-RBI single of his own, before the inning came to an end. Daniel Bennett (2-0) recorded the final out of the inning after coming in from the bullpen. Del Valle finished his outing having allowed five runs, just one earned, on three hits, although he did walk four batters.

Wichita received another boost courtesy of the long ball, this time on a two-run blast deep to left field by Chris McMurray. The shot was his fourth of the year and gave the Wingnuts a 7-5 advantage. In the bottom of the same inning, Amarillo’s Travis Weaver singled up the middle just ahead of a run-scoring double by Cory Patton. The RBI was his 35th of the season and the hit was the 999th of his career.

Not satisfied with a one run cushion, the Wingnuts proceeded to add lone runs in the final three innings off of three different Amarillo relief pitchers. In the seventh, Brent Clevlen ripped a ground rule double into the wind to right field that scored a run off of Tyler Hale. In the eighth it was Khoury racking up his fifth RBI of the game by driving in McMurray on a single against Kellen Moen. Finally, Espinosa closed the scoring with a run-scoring base hit versus Jake Feckley that gave the Wingnuts a 10-6 lead.

After Alex Hinshaw faced the minimum in a scoreless eighth inning, he gave the ball to Matt Nevarez who stranded two on board in the ninth to secure the victory.

Eight of the nine members of the Wingnuts starting lineup recorded hits in the game, with Khoury, Chris McClendon, Testa, McMurray, Luce, and Amberson each managing more than one. Khoury went 3-5 with two runs and drove in five, while McMurray was 2-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.

The Wingnuts will now have three days off as all-star festivities take place in Winnipeg on Monday and Tuesday. Wichita will be sending a league-high eight players to the game to represent the South Division. Wichita will resume play on Thursday, July 31st at 7:05 p.m. in St. Paul. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Snap Losing Streak with 8-2 Win in Amarillo

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (July 26, 2014) – Jon Link had pitched well against the Amarillo Sox in three previous outings versus the Wichita Wingnuts’ division rival and he continued that trend on Saturday night at Amarillo National Bank Sox Stadium. With the help of a big offensive performance by a couple of his bat-wielding buddies, Link held the Sox to one run over seven innings on the way to an 8-2 victory.

Brent Clevlen started the scoring in powerful fashion. After Amarillo starter Coleman Stevens (1-4) worked a one, two, three first inning, the Wingnuts’ center fielder hit a moonshot home run over the wall in deep center to give the Wichita (45-22) a 1-0 lead.

That lead was increased in the fourth inning, which featured four hits. David Espinosa walked with one out and that was followed by a Carlo Testa double, putting runners in scoring position for Chris McMurray. The catcher sliced a single through the middle that scored a pair and made the lead 3-0. Jake Luce also singled and proceeded to steal second base. On the steal attempt, the throw from Jeff Farnham, the Sox catcher, rolled into the outfield and allowed McMurray to come in. Up 4-0, Ryan Khoury tacked on an RBI double that extended the lead to five runs.

Amarillo (21-44) would score for the only time against Link (9-2) in the bottom of the fourth. Kevin Mahoney, who ended the contest 3-4 with three base hits, singled to start the frame. He moved to third on an adjacent single by Nichols and eventually scored on Jason Martin’s fielder’s choice groundout.

The Wingnuts responded with another crooked number in the fifth. After there were already two outs in the inning, David Espinosa walked, Testa scored him on a double, and McMurray tallied his third RBI with a single before the inning concluded with Wichita in front 7-1.

Clevlen began the seventh inning with his second extra-base hit, a double, moved to third on a wild pitch and then scored when Testa bounced into a double play. After Link retired the side in the bottom half of the inning he would call it a night. The right-hander, now with the most wins in the league, gave up just a lone run on five hits and struck out a pair of Sox.

Matt Robertson pitched the eighth inning and allowed an RBI double by Cory Patton, the lefty’s 998th career hit, immediately following an infield single by Travis Weaver to trim the advantage to 8-2. Mike Zouzalik worked a scoreless ninth inning, giving up only a base hit, to finish off the Sox and bring an end to a season-high four game losing skid.

Seven of the nine Wingnuts starters recorded a hit and Khoury, Clevlen, Testa, McMurray, and Jake Luce each finished with two. This was the second win in Amarillo for Wichita in five chances.

The two squads will meet for the final time this season on Sunday night at 6:05 p.m. LHP Frank Del Valle (0-1) will make his second start with the Wingnuts against RHP Matt Larkins (5-4) of Amarillo. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Drop Their Fourth Straight as Amarillo Hangs on for 7-5 Win

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

AMARILLO, TX (July 25, 2013) – Amarillo Sox entered play on Friday evening at Amarillo National Bank Sox Stadium with the worst record in the American Association and the most games back of any team from their division leader. No matter what the stats say, they have played the Wichita Wingnuts tough this season, winning their fourth game in 10 meetings by a 7-5 score.

Wingnuts’ starter Jason Van Skike (8-3) had his toughest outing of the season his last time pitching in Amarillo and the Sox got to him in the second inning for the first runs of the game tonight. Jason Martin, who has been a one-man wrecking ball against Wichita, hit a double to start the frame. He moved to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Gerardo Valentin to start the scoring. Two batters later, Jeff Farnham reached on a two-base error by Chris McClendon and then came in to score on Travis Weaver’s base hit.

Wichita (44-22) didn’t take long to punch back. Both Jake Luce and David Amberson bunted for base hits to open the top of the third. After Ryan Khoury walked for the second time to load the bases, both Chris McClendon and Jake Kahaulelio brought in runs with fielder’s choice groundouts to second to tie the score at 2-2.

The see-saw affair continued with Amarillo (21-43) scoring a couple more unearned runs in the home third. Joe Weik reached on a bobbled ground ball by Khoury and Kevin Mahoney then lofted a deep fly ball to left field that Carlo Testa had pop in and out of his glove for a second consecutive error. Weik scored on the miscue and put Amarillo back in front 3-2. After two straight outs, Van Skike gave up a single to Gerardo Valentin to bring in Mahoney and make it 4-2.

David Espinosa hit a solo home run off of Clayton Tanner (1-1) in the sixth inning to draw the Wingnuts within one, before the Sox used the power game to extend the advantage further in the seventh. Mahoney began the inning with a double and then moved over to third on a Kyle Nichols base hit. Martin continued his hitting spree with a run-scoring single that pushed the advantage to 5-3. After the Nuts turned a big double play, Kyle Bellows crushed a two-run home run to left that left Wichita trailing by four. After one more batter reached, Kevin Hooper came to the mound to take the ball from Van Skike. The right-hander pitched 6.2 innings and gave up a season-high 14 hits, while allowing seven runs to score, four of them earned.

The Wingnuts were determined to avoid going down without a fight in the ninth inning despite trailing by four runs at the outset. Brent Clevlen got the inning off to a good start by drawing a walk in a full count situation. With one out Testa singled which allowed Clevlen to head to third. The next hitter, Brent Dean, also singled to score a run and cut the deficit to three. The Sox went to the bullpen and called on Randy Hamrick to try to work out of the jam and take home the save. He began his outing by walking Jake Luce to load the bases with one away. With the drama rising, he uncorked a wild pitch that trimmed the lead to two and moved the tying run into scoring position. The right-hander regrouped to strike out both Amberson and Khoury, the latter with a full count, to close the game.

The Sox doubled up the Wingnuts in the hit column by a 14-7 margin. Espinosa and Luce had multiple hits for Wichita, while Amarillo had five different players with more than one hit. Daniel Bennett appeared in his team-leading 30th game out of the bullpen and worked a scoreless third of an inning. Jared Gaynor, making his first appearance since July 9th, retired all three batters he faced in the eighth.

The Wingnuts and Sox will resume the series on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. RHP Jon Link (8-2) goes for Wichita against Amarillo RHP Coleman Stephens (1-3). For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Nuts Hit Road on Three-Game Skid after 5-4 Loss to Laredo

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (July 24, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts played their final home game for the next 21 days on Thursday night against the Laredo Lemurs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Unfortunately, the Wingnuts will begin their annual NBC World Series road marathon carrying a season-high three game losing streak after the Lemurs held on for a 5-4 victory in the series finale.

Justin Klipp (6-3) was facing the Laredo lineup for a third time this season, and after a one, two, three first inning, the Lemurs took an early lead in the second. Travis Denker and Denis Phipps started the frame with back-to-back base hits. After Klipp was able to get two fly ball outs to left field, Carlos Ramirez earned a walk to load the bases. The nine-hitter Harrison Kain, who would have a huge impact on the game, hit a looping line drive to right that sailed over the head of David Espinosa at first and plated the first two runs of the game.

Laredo (35-28) would also score a pair of runs against Klipp in the fourth inning, but impeccable defense nearly prevented one of them from coming home. Phipps blasted a leadoff solo home run to stretch the lead to 3-0 and was barely back in the dugout when John Alonso, the next hitter, doubled. A fielder’s choice by Byron Wiley moved him to third and brought the Wichita (44-21) defense in. Ramirez grounded a ball to the left side that Ryan Khoury dove for, gloved, and fired to first to not only prevent a run, but also record the second out. Kain stepped to the plate and lined a ball to the gap in left center that Jake Luce, in his first game, made an impressive diving attempt for. The ball bounded in and out of his glove and fell to the turf for an RBI double, Kain’s third RBI in two at bats. The third baseman finished 3-4 with three RBI on the game.

The Wingnuts closed the gap against Josh Strawn (5-7), a pitcher they had fared well against in recent times, in the fifth and sixth innings. Luce was hit by a pitch to reach and quickly stole second base. After both Taylor Oldham and Khoury grounded out, Chris McClendon lined a single up the middle that scored Luce and put the Nuts on the board. Jake Kahaulelio bounced a ball deep into the hole at short that Devin Goodwin fielded and attempted to make a spectacular throw to first on. The ball sailed high and into the crowd, forcing in McClendon and cutting the lead to 4-2. In the sixth, Chris McMurray brought home David Espinosa with an RBI single that pulled Wichita within one.

Klipp handed the ball to Mike Zouzalik for the eighth, finishing his night having allowed four runs on eight hits over six innings. Zouzalik worked a clean frame and then passed the torch to Alex Hinshaw for the eighth. Hinshaw allowed runners to reach the corners with nobody out, before Brent Clevlen dropped a fly ball in center that brought in the runner from third on a fielder’s choice putout at second. The miscue was costly because the next hitter bounced into an inning-ending double play.

Carlo Testa brought his team back to within a lone run on a moon shot blast to right field in the bottom of the eighth against Tyler Pearson. The home run was his sixth of the season. After Matt Nevarez retired the side in order in the top of the ninth, the Wingnuts could not muster a rally against fill-in closer Caleb Graham, who allowed just a two-out single.

Testa paced the Wingnuts attack by going a perfect 4-4 at the dish with the home run and inherent RBI. McClendon wrapped up his day with a trio of base knocks and Khoury added two of his own. The three players accounted for nine of the team’s 12 hits in the game.

The first of 17 straight road games takes place in Amarillo on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. RHP and all-star Jason Van Skike (8-2) will throw in the series opener for the Wingnuts. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Falter for Second Straight Night Against Lemurs

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (July 23, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts fell to their division rival, the Laredo Lemurs, for a second straight night on Wednesday at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Unlike the night before, a high-scoring affair, this match-up featured impressive displays of pitching and defense from both sides. In the end it was the visiting team that emerged from the tussle with a 3-1 victory.

Wichita (44-20) jumped on Laredo’s starter Cesar Carrillo (5-4) in the bottom of the first inning. The leadoff hitter, Ryan Khoury, hit a line drive to left to get things started. Chris McClendon followed by jumping on the first pitch of his at bat and lifting a high fly ball down the left field line. J.P. Ramirez raced over, but could not reach far enough to make the catch and the ball squirted by him to the wall. Khoury easily scored all the way from first and McClendon settled into second with an RBI double. He would eventually be stranded at third when the inning came to an end.

After Tim Brown (7-3) did not allow a run to the vaunted Laredo (34-28) offense in the first two innings, they wrestled away the lead in the third. Nick Van Stratten led off the inning with a single, which was built upon by a base on balls to the next hitter, J.P. Ramirez. Devin Goodwin put down a sacrifice bunt to put them in scoring position for Travis Denker. Denker racked up RBI number 64 with a single that tied the game. Denis Phipps then hit a bouncer to third that brought in Ramirez and gave Laredo the 2-1 advantage.

The Wingnuts had a big chance to tie or take the lead in the fifth when they had two in scoring position with nobody out for the top of the order. Khoury grounded out to third and then McClendon bounced to second. Denker fielded and ran at Trevor Whyte, who was caught in no man’s land between third and home, and after a brief rundown Whyte was tagged out by the third baseman. Jake Kahaulelio grounded out to short to end the threat.

A similar situation arose for the Lemurs in their half of the sixth. They put runners in scoring position with nary an out courtesy of two singles and a wild pitch from Brown. After one out was recorded, and the Wingnuts pitched around Byron Wiley to load the bases, Carlos Ramirez was the batter. With a 2-2 count Brown just missed the outside corner with a fastball that Ramirez let go by and on the next pitch the catcher lifted a sacrifice fly to left field extending the lead to 3-1. Brown allowed no further damage and finished having given up three runs on seven hits in 6.2 innings with six strikeouts.

Carrillo worked through the sixth, handed the ball off to Corey Graham to take care of the seventh and eighth, and then watched as closer Chad Povich entered looking for his second straight save in the ninth. David Amberson and Khoury earned tough walks with one out to put the tying run on base. McClendon struck out looking and Taylor Oldham, who entered when Kahaulelio was ejected following the seventh inning, went down swinging as the Nuts fell just short again.

Daniel Bennett gave Kevin Hooper another scoreless 1.1 inning performance out of the pen. Alex Hinshaw followed Bennett with another shutout inning, his 23rd in 24 appearances, in the top of the ninth. David Espinosa, who made his Wichita debut and was the only Wingnuts with more than one hit, tallied his 1,500th career hit with an infield single in the eighth inning.

Espinosa discusses his first game in Wichita and reaching the milstone.

The Wingnuts will look to earn a split of the four-game set on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. RHP Justin Klipp (6-2) will head to the hill to take on Laredo’s RHP Josh Strawn (4-7). The Wingnuts will be hosting T95’s 35th birthday party at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Can’t Quite Catch Lemurs in 9-7 Loss

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (July 22, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts tried to pull off an impressive comeback multiple times on Tuesday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, but in the end the Laredo Lemurs were just a tad too much. The 9-7 loss for the Wingnuts was the first time they dropped a game to Laredo in nine contests.

Laredo (33-28) got off to a quick start against left-handed starting pitcher Frank Del Valle (0-1) in the first inning. Nick Van Stratten started the game with a groundball down the left field line that resulted in a double. Devin Goodwin then reached on an error that put two on with one away for Travis Denker. The league’s RBI leader added two more to his total with a booming double that gave Laredo a 2-0 lead. After a walk to Denis Phipps and a strikeout of John Alonso, Del Valle got Byron Wiley to ground a ball toward first. The bouncer hopped under Trevor Whyte’s glove and into left field, bringing in two more runs and making it 4-0 by the time the Wingnuts grabbed their bats. Just one of the runs was earned.

The Wingnuts chipped away at the lead immediately in the bottom half of the first inning. Laredo starter Jeremy Strawn (3-0) gave up a booming double to Ryan Khoury to begin the inning. The ball appeared to hit close to the the yellow padding at the top of the wall, which would have given Khoury a leadoff home run for the second consecutive day. Instead, the shortstop moved to third on a fielder’s choice and scored when Jake Kahaulelio beat out an infield single to cut the deficit to 4-1.

A solo home run by John Alonso closed the book on Del Valle, who went five innings and allowed three runs, two earned, on three hits. He also struck out five with just a lone walk. Alan Williams relieved him in the sixth and retired the first two hitters without a problem. However, Williams walked the next four batters in the order to force in a run and push the lead to 6-1. Daniel Bennett entered with the bases still loaded and two down. He allowed a two-RBI single up the middle to J.P Ramirez which extended the margin to 8-1, before striking out the next batter to end the frame. Bennett ended up giving the Nuts a quality 1.1 innings, striking out three of the five batters he dealt with.

Bennett talked about the game and situation he entered into following the contest

The Wingnuts (44-19) never hung their heads, instead punching right back with a five-run bottom half. Carlo Testa launched his fifth home run of the season, a three-run shot to right center, that closed the gap to 8-4. Three batters later, Taylor Oldham followed suit, pummeling a home run to left that brought in Whyte and suddenly it was 8-6.

Each team scored a run in the eighth inning to enter the final frame with the score 9-7 in Laredo’s favor. Pete Incaviglia called on the closer, Chad Povich who was looking for his 11th save. He retired the first two batters, before Kahaulelio and Brent Clevlen reached with time running out. Carlo Testa strode to the plate hoping to re-capture his sixth inning magic, but instead bounced back to Povich to end the game.

Wichita’s offense was led by Jake Kahaulelio’s three-hit game and the three RBI performance of Carlo Testa, who along with Taylor Oldham, finished with two knocks.

The series will continue with another chapter being written on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. The Wingnuts will look to RHP Tim Brown (7-2), while the Lemurs go with RHP Cesar Carrillo (4-4). The Wingnuts will be hosting another Way-Back Wednesdy and this time the focus has turned to the 80’s! For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Wingnuts Put the Lockdown on Lemurs in 5-2 Victory

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (July 21, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts knocked off the Laredo Lemurs in a well-pitched and defended game, that featured a few timely hits for the home team on Monday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.   With the win, two positive numbers were expanded upon.  The Wingnuts’ winning streak moved to four games and the team took its’ biggest lead of the year in the South Division race, advancing their cushion to 11 games. 

The Wingnuts (44-18) jumped on top 2-0 in their first at bat against Mike Shreves, who they were facing for the fourth time this season.   Ryan Khoury took the right-hander deep to left center to start the bottom of the first inning with a bang.  The long ball was the shortstop’s eighth of the year, putting him just three home runs behind his career-high which came back in 2007.  After Shreves (3-2) retired the next hitter, Wichita reeled off four consecutive singles to score another run.  With Jake Kahaulelio, Brent Clevlen, and Carlo Testa on base already, Chris McMurray lined a base knock to right that scored Kahaulelio easily.  Clevlen also tried to score, but was gunned down a nice throw from right fielder Denis Phipps.

The Nuts added another against Shreves in the very next inning.  Taylor Oldham was drilled by a pitch, David Amberson reached on an infield single, and Khoury was put on via a base on balls to load the bases for Chris McClendon.  The third baseman lined a ball to right field that was deep enough to score Oldham and make the score 3-0. 

The Lemurs (32-28) would score their initial run against starting pitcher, Jon Link, in the third frame.  Harrison Kain singled and moved into scoring position on a groundout by Nick Van Stratten.  J.P. Ramirez came through with an RBI double down the left field line to cut the lead to 3-1.

After missing out on a bases loaded opportunity in the third, the Wingnuts used a sacrifice fly to regain a three-run lead in the fourth.  With Khoury starting the inning with a double and moving to third on another deep fly out by McClendon, he was in perfect position to score when Clevlen also skied a ball to center.  The run, which made the score 4-1, also was Clevlen’s 47th driven in this year.

Carlos Ramirez, the Lemurs catcher, hit a solo home run beneath the scoreboard in left field to momentarily pull the Lemurs to within 4-2 in the fifth.  Another solo home run, this time by a Wingnut, stretched the lead to three once again after six.  The shot came courtesy of David Amberson, who drilled a pitch from former teammate, Jack Wagoner, over the wall in left for his first home run of the season and a 5-2 advantage.

That was enough for the league-leading pitching staff.  Link (8-2) worked into the seventh, allowing just two runs on nine hits, while striking out seven and walking one.  It was the right-hander’s 12th quality start in 14 chances.  Alex Hinshaw worked the final out of theseventh and the entire eighth inning, allowing just a single to Denker, that was immediately erased when the left fielder, Testa, threw him out trying to stretch it to extra-bases.  The lefty has allowed a run in just one of his 23 appearances.  Matt Nevarez took the ball in the ninth and quickly brushed off a leadoff walk to Phipps to retire the next three in order and earn his 18th save of the year. 

The Wingnuts improved to 8-0 against Laredo this season with the win and they have now outscored the Lemurs 54-22.  Khoury and Amberson were the only Wingnuts with multiple hits, while Kahaulelio and Clevlen each extended hitting streaks to nine games. 

Kevin Hooper and Link discuss the Wingnuts' success against Laredo this year including Monday's match-up

The same two clubs will face-off again on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m.  LHP Frank Del Valle will match-up with RHP Jeremy Strawn (2-0) of Laredo.  The game begins at 7:05 p.m. with the pre-game show starting at 6:50 on 92.7 KWME or by choosing the “Listen Live” option on wichitawingnuts.com.   For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Wichita Navigates Past Explorers 8-5 to Close Out Season Sweep

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (July 20, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts and Sioux City Explorers met on the diamond six times in 2014. Three were in Iowa and three were in Kansas. Most were played at night, one during the day. There were high-scoring and low-scoring battles, but in the end one thing held true. At the conclusion of every ballgame it was the Wingnuts who were on top in the runs column. They completed a sweep of the season-series with an 8-5 victory on Sunday afternoon.

Right-hander Jason Van Skike (8-2) was on the hill for the Wingnuts and doing battle with recently acquired lefty Lars Ligouri of Sioux City (25-37). Both pitchers got off to a good start, holding the opposing offense scoreless through three. Ligouri (0-1) was impressive, holding the potent Wichita offense hitless one time through the lineup. His team would give him a lead by scoring a pair of runs in the fourth. Van Skike walked Michael Lang to begin the frame and then gave up an opposite-field single by Rene Tosoni. Lang went first to third on the play with a throw from David Amberson sailing high above him and into the seats along the left field line. The errant toss handed Lang home plate and moved to Tosoni to third. He would also score on a single by Andres Perez to go in front 2-0.

It didn’t take long for the Wingnuts (43-18) to answer back. In the bottom of the inning, Ligouri retired the first two batters before Jake Kahaulelio doubled. The following hitter, Brent Clevlen, singled him home for his 43rd RBI of the year. Clevlen then stole second and moved to third when shortstop Chris Escobar committed an error on the play. Carlo Testa then grounded a ball that hopped off the first base bag and into right field to score his outfield partner and tie the game at 2-2.

The Wingnuts brought the lumber in the fifth inning, which helped them pull away. Trevor Whyte ripped a ground rule double to right and then moved to third on a single by David Amberson. Ryan Khoury broke the tie with a fielder’s choice bouncer to short that brought Whyte home. Chris McClendon walked to put two on with one out, before the two speedy runners completed a double steal to move into scoring position. Kahaulelio scored one of them with a double and then with runners on the corners, Clevlen hooked a breaking ball inside the foul pole in left for a three-run home run that put Wichita in command 7-2. The long ball was the eighth of the season for the center fielder who went 3-4 with four RBI on the day.

The Nuts added their final run in the sixth. Brent Dean began the inning by singling up the middle. He moved to third on a fielder’s choice and then came around to score on a line drive single up the middle by Khoury.

The Explorers scored a run in Van Skike’s final inning on the bump. Amos Ramon led off the seventh with a double, tagged up on a fly ball to right by Tommy Mendonca, and then scored on an RBI groundout by Dillon Usiak to make it 8-3. The starter completed the quality start having allowed three runs on seven hits in seven innings and striking out four. Wingnuts’ starters have earned quality starts in 37 of the 61 games this season.

Matt Robertson gave up two runs in the eighth, which made it a save situation for Matt Nevarez in the top of the ninth. With one out Mendonca doubled and Usiak drew a base on balls to bring the tying run to the plate. That is where Nevarez stopped the comeback attempt by striking out Chris Escobar and Oscar Mesa back-to-back to end the game and earn his 17th save of the year.

The Wingnuts tied the franchise record for stolen bases in a game with seven. Amberson had two and McClendon, Kahaulelio, Clevlen, Testa, and Dean each had one. Amberson and Kahaulelio joined Clevlen with multiple base hits in the matinee.

Clevlen, Van Skike, and Kevin Hooper discuss the win that completed the season sweep of the Explorers

The Wingnuts open a four-game series with the second-place Laredo Lemurs on Monday night at 7:05 p.m. inside Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. RHP Jon Link (7-3) will face a Laredo pitcher to be named. It is a Kwik Shop Dollar Day so make sure to swing by your local Kwik Shop and pick up a $1 general admission ticket to the game. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Déjà Vu Against the City of Sioux: Wingnuts Walk-Off 4-3 for Second Straight Night vs. Explorers

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (July 19, 2014) – For those fans that attended both of the Wichita Wingnuts’ Friday and Saturday night contests with the Sioux City Explorers at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, there must have been an overwhelming sense of been there done that. Despite a few major differences, the second game seemed to unfold according to a very similar script as the first. After earning a ninth inning come-from-behind victory on Friday, the Wingnuts closed out a game that entered the ninth inning tied at one with a booming RBI double by Chris McMurray that allowed the Wingnuts to stream onto the field and celebrate around their catcher.

Unlike the night before, the Wingnuts (42-18) jumped ahead in the first inning on Saturday. After Sioux City starter John Straka retired the first two batters he faced, Jake Kahaulelio ripped a two-out double. The right-hander proceeded to walk three straight batters to force in a run and give Wichita a 1-0 advantage.

In the very next inning, Peter Barrows followed a walk to Andres Perez with a booming home run that caromed off of the top of the scoreboard in left center to claim a 2-1 lead.

Both pitchers settled in over the next few innings despite seeing their pitch counts continue to escalate. In the fifth, the Wingnuts got consecutive one out singles by Chris McClendon and Jake Kahaulelio to put multiple runners aboard for the clean-up hitter, Brent Clevlen. The center fielder slapped a single on the ground through the right side which tied the game at 2-2.

After a leadoff walk of Rene Tosoni by Klipp began the sixth, the Explorers’ first baseman stole second and headed to third on a throwing error by McMurray. Andres Perez, the next batter, lifted a fly ball to right field that scored Tosoni and put Sioux City (25-36) in front 3-2. Klipp exited after that inning, having given up three runs on just four hits with two strikeouts. He issued a season-high five walks during the outing.

Jimmer Kennedy came on to pitch in the eighth inning for the Explorers and gave up the tying run in the frame. Trevor Whyte drew a walk as the first batter of the inning and was quickly bunted to second by Taylor Oldham. Friday night’s hero David Amberson came through again, on this occasion shooting a sharp groundball down the left field line and pulling his team even at 3-3.

Chris Bodishbaugh (1-3), who was handed a blown save and took the loss in Friday’s match-up, finished the eighth and stayed in for the final inning. With the score still tied, Clevlen roped a single to center to start the attack. Carlo Testa tried to move Clevlen into scoring position, but his bunt was too hard and allowed Tommy Mendonca, the third baseman, to cut down the lead runner at second. With a full count on the next batter McMurray, Testa took off from first with the pitch. The catcher crushed a line drive directly over the head of center fielder, and defensive replacement, Tim Colwell to plate Testa easily and win in the last at bat for the second straight evening.

Kevin Hooper chats about the walk-off win for a second straight

The win was the fourth walk-off victory of the season for the Wingnuts and third in the last six games. Kahalelio and Barrows paced all players with three hits, while Clevlen and Amberson joined the multiple hits club. The Wingnuts’ pitching staff of Klipp, Frank Del Valle, Mike Zouzalik and Matt Nevarez combined to hold Sioux City to just five total hits. Nevarez (4-0) worked a perfect top of the ninth to earn the win.

The finale of the series will take place on Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. All-star RHP Jason Van Skike (7-2) will be on the mound for Wichita. A limited number of Wingnuts’ trading card sets will be given away at the front gate. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Amberson Ambushes Explorers with Walk-Off in Ninth

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (July 18, 2014) – David Amberson was standing at home plate the last time the Wichita Wingnuts earned a walk-off win this season, July 12. The same man was standing in the batter’s box with one out and two men on base in the bottom of the ninth on Friday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium with the Wingnuts trailing the Sioux City Explorers 3-2. Last time, the right fielder was hit by a pitch to win the game; this time he laced a two-run single into left that sparked a wild celebration in front of second base. The clutch single gave Wichita a 4-3 win and improved their league-best record to 41-18.

Wingnuts’ starter Tim Brown allowed multiple hits in each of the first three innings of the contest, but wasn’t hurt until the third. In that inning, Oscar Mesa and Tim Colwell each singled to begin the threat. Brown then issued his eighth walk of the season to Rene Tosoni to load the bases with nobody out. Brown came back to sit down both Andres Perez and Peter Barrows on strikeouts to give himself a chance to escape. However, Amos Ramon came through with a sharp groundball single up the middle that scored a pair and made it 2-0 Explorers. Brown ended up going six innings and allowed those two runs on nine hits in another stellar outing for the right-hander. He would not factor in the decision.

At the plate, the Wingnuts were scuffling against a couple of pitchers through five innings. Geoff Broussard had to make an emergency start when the regular member of the rotation, Patrick Johnson, was deemed unavailable shortly before first pitch. Broussard worked two hitless frames and struck out three Wingnuts’ hitters before handing the ball to Alex Burnett. Burnett, who was in the Major League’s just last season, retired the Nuts in order in three straight innings before calling it a night. Rob Wort relieved him and allowed the first two hits of the game for Wichita, groundball singles for Jake Kahaulelio and Brent Clevlen in the sixth. They would not score, but were a preview for what happened in the seventh.

With Wort still on the hill, Taylor Oldham singled on a bunt and David Amberson hit a ground rule double to put runners in scoring position for Ryan Khoury.   The shortstop bounced a ball to third that Tommy Mendonca fielded, but threw off target to first. The throw pulled Perez off of first base and up the line, which encouraged Amberson to try and score from second on the play. The throw glanced off the catcher, Dillon Usiak’s, mitt and to the backstop, which allowed Amberson to slide in with the tying run.

Daniel Bennett came on to pitch in the eighth, after a scoreless seventh inning from Alan Williams. The side-arming right-hander gave up a leadoff single to Perez, who was immediately sacrificed over to second by Barrows. After striking out Ramon, Kevin Hooper, the Wingnuts manager, made the call for left-hander Alex Hinshaw to face Mendonca. The lefty squirted a shallow single into center on a tough pitch that pushed in Perez and gave the Explorers (25-35) a 3-2 advantage.

The Wingnuts couldn’t tally in the eighth, but after scoreless inning by Patrick Mincey (2-3) in the top of the ninth, they made an urgent comeback. Chris McMurray led off the inning with a single to left and moved to third when Trevor Whyte put down a bunt that the closer, Chris Bodishbaugh (1-2), fielded and threw off target to second. The ball rolled into left field giving Whyte second base and putting the winning run in scoring position. With a base open, Taylor Oldham filed out to shallow right for the first out of the inning. Amberson then jumped on a 2-1 pitch from Bodishbaugh and ripped it into left to score both McMurray and Whyte, whipping the crowd of 4,196 fans into a frenzy.

Post-Game reaction from Amberson and Hooper

Despite being outhit by the Explorers 11-5, the Wingnuts managed to earn their sixth win of the season when finishing with less hits than their opponent. Amberson was the only Wingnut with multiple hits. Amos Ramon went 3-4 for Sioux City. The Wingnuts 41-18 record matches the 2013 team’s after 59 games. Last year’s squad broke the American Association record for wins in a season with 68.

Game two between the former Central Division foes is Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. RHP Justin Klipp (6-2) throws for Wichita against RHP John Straka (5-4) of Sioux City. It will be K12 Force Out Bullying Night along with a visit from the always entertaining Myron Noodleman. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Mother Nature Cans Series Finale in Grand Prairie

 

GRAND PRAIRIE, TX (July 17, 2014) - Thursday night's game between the Wichita Wingnuts and Grand Prairie AirHogs has been postponed due to inclement weather.

The game will be made up during one of the two remaining series between the two clubs, both in August. This is the second time this season that the Wingnuts have had a contest postponed because of rain, with the first coming at home, also against the AirHogs.

The Wingnuts return home to begin a three-game series with the Sioux City Explorers on Friday, July 18th. There will be a limited number of duck calls handed out at the front gate courtesy of Midwest Huntfest.

For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Streak Snapped in 5-4 Walk-Off Win by AirHogs

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

GRAND PRAIRIE, TX (July 16, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a one run lead and just three outs away from advancing their season-best win streak by another game at QuikTrip Park on Wednesday. However the Grand Prairie AirHogs had different ideas, scoring a pair of runs against their former closer Patrick Mincey to end the night celebrating on the field.

The Wingnuts (40-18) struck first in the game’s initial inning against season-long nemesis and American Association strikeout leader Aaron Wilkerson. Jake Kahaulelio singled with two down and then was driven in on a booming double down the left field line by Brent Clevlen. The RBI was the 40th of the season for the all-star outfielder.

The AirHogs (24-33), the only team that Wingnuts’ starter Jon Link has not completed six innings against this season, evened the score immediately in their first trip to the plate. Sparkplug Jimmy Mojica led off with a double into the left field corner. Alex Nunez moved him to third with a sacrifice bunt and then Abel Nieves tied the game with a sharp single on the ground. After a walk to Jason Botts, Link got Brian Myrow to bounce into a 3-6-1 double play to end the frame.

Both pitchers put it in cruise control during the second and third innings before Grand Prairie broke through once again in the fourth inning. Nieves crushed a ground rule double to right center, which allowed Jason Botts to plate him with a single in the next at bat. Following another double by Brian Myrow, which put runners on second and third with one out, Madison Carter rolled a groundball deep in the hole to short that brought Botts home and gave the AirHogs a 3-1 advantage.

After a scoreless fifth inning concluded, the skies opened up and heavy rain began to fall, forcing the umpires to halt the game prior to the start of the sixth. The rain delay lasted one hour and 10 minutes before play resumed. Wilkerson somehow stayed in the game and retired the Wingnuts in order in both the sixth and seventh innings, prior to calling it a night. The right-hander went seven innings, allowing just one run on three hits and struck out eight hitters.

In the first inning that Wilkerson was not on the hill, the Wingnuts came up with a crooked number and snatched away the lead. Brett Wallach was the victim of the Nuts’ outburst that began with back-to-back singles by Ryan Khoury and Chris McClendon. Kahaulelio then beat out an attempted double play on a grounder to short to leave runners on the corners with one out. Clevlen came through again, with a big knock through the right side that cut the deficit to 3-2. Wallach was removed in favor of Ty’Relle Harris (2-2) after that at bat.

Carlo Testa hit a hard groundball up the middle that glanced off of Jimmy Mojica’s glove and into center field, tying the game at 3-3. After Chris McMurray popped out on the infield, Taylor Oldham lifted a shallow fly ball along the first base line. Botts went back from his first base position to try and make an over-the-shoulder basket catch, only to see the ball hit the pocket of his glove and bounce right back out. The shallow single gave the Wingnuts a 4-3 lead.

With closer Matt Nevarez unavailable to pitch, the save opportunity was put in the hands of Mincey (1-3) after Alex Hinshaw struck out a pair in a scoreless eighth. The former AirHog gave up a base hit to pinch-hitter Frazier Hall to start the ninth inning. Hall, recently activated after an injury, was immediately relieved by Matthew Burns on the base paths. Mojica drew a patient walk, taking two very close pitches to put two aboard with no outs. Nunez put down another sacrifice bunt to move the tying run to third and the winning run to second. Mincey intentionally walked Nieves to load the bases, but then could not find the zone against Botts either and walked him to force in a run. With the game tied, Myrow lifted a fly ball deep enough to center field that Mojica easily tagged up and scored ahead of Clevlen’s throw. The AirHogs flooded the field to celebrate their 5-4 comeback victory over the top team in the South.

Daniel Bennett, Mike Zouzalik, and Alex Hinshaw each allowed at least a base runner in their innings of relief, but managed to wiggle off the hook for scoreless frames. Clevlen drove in a pair of runs on two hits, while Khoury and McClendon each added a pair of hits in the contest. The 10-game win streak fell three victories shy of the franchise record of 13, which was set last season.

The South Division adversaries will wrap up the three-game series on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. RHP Tim Brown (7-2) will go for Wichita, while RHP Danny Gutierrez (2-3) takes the hill for Grand Prairie. The game can be heard on 92.7 KWME or by heading to wichitawingnuts.com and clicking the “Listen Live” link. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Quite the Catch: Wingnuts Extend Winning Streak to 10

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

GRAND PRAIRIE, TX (July 15, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts were one out away from extending their winning streak to 10 games on Tuesday night at QuikTrip Park. The Grand Prairie AirHogs had a runner in scoring position and former Wingnut, Abel Nieves, at the plate trailing by a run. Nieves roped a line drive towards the right field corner, but a running catch by David Amberson with his arm fully extended ended the game at 4-3 and allowed his teammates to breathe a big sigh of relief.

The Wingnuts (40-17) fell behind early, even with all-star pitcher Jason Van Skike (7-2) on the hill. After Wichita left a combined five runners on base in the game’s first two innings, Grand Prairie scored first in the third inning. Jimmy Mojica drew a walk with one out, moved to second on a chopper to the right side by Alex Nunez, and scored when Abel Nieves skied a ground-rule double to right center. The run was the first allowed to the AirHogs by the right-hander in 15.2 innings this season.

In the very next frame, Madison Carter hit a sinking line drive to center that Brent Clevlen made a sliding attempt at. The ball landed short and bounced over his head, rolling to the wall for a triple. Matthew Burns, the very next hitter, lined a sharp single to right and it was 2-0 AirHogs.

After threatening in each of the early innings, the Wingnuts finally cashed in, tying the game in the fifth. Ryan Khoury reached on a base on balls to start the inning. He quickly stole second and moved to third on a fielder’s choice groundball by Chris McClendon. Jake Kahaulelio plated his fellow middle-infielder by beating out an infield single for his team-leading 43rd RBI. Brent Clevlen followed by ripping a groundball through the right side that scooted along the turf all the way to the wall to score Kahaulelio from first and tie the game at two.

The deadlock didn’t last very long with Grand Prairie (23-33) re-taking an advantage in the bottom half of the same frame. Mojica cruised into second with a one-out double and moved to second once again on a Nunez grounder. Abel Nieves earned a free pass prior to an RBI single by the clean-up hitter, Jason Botts.

The lead shifted hands one more time in the top half of inning six which was the last inning for Ryan Searle (3-5). Taylor Oldham and Trevor Whyte reached base to start the inning on a walk and base hit respectively. David Amberson then put down a perfect sacrifice bunt up the third base line, which advanced both runners into scoring position. Khoury then ripped a ground ball right to the third baseman Matthew Burns, who threw to the plate. The throw arrived in time, but was off target and up the first base line, glancing off of the catcher DiFazio’s mitt and to the backstop, allowing Oldham to score. McClendon lofted a fly ball to center field that was deep enough to score Whyte and give Wichita a 4-3 lead.

With Van Skike departing after six innings, in line for the victory, the Wingnuts turned it over to their dominant late-inning relievers. Alex Hinshaw allowed a pair of hits in the seventh, but got Brian Myrow to line sharply to second to end the inning with runners on the corners. Patrick Mincey came on for the eighth inning to face his former team. Mincey made quick work of his ex-mates, retiring the side in order and striking out the final two batters.

Matt Nevarez entered to pitch in what turned out to be an eventful ninth inning. He allowed a leadoff single to the nine-hitter, Eric Baker, who was immediately gunned down trying to steal second base by Chris McMurray. With two outs, Nunez lifted a shallow fly ball to left that ended up bouncing over the head of Carlo Testa in left and allowed the runner to advance to second. That brought Nieves to the dish to face his former team with the game on the line. Last year’s batting champion ripped a line drive that was headed to the right field corner, but Amberson shifted into another gear and made the game-saving grab to end the battle in dramatic fashion. The save was the 16th of the year for Nevarez.

Van Skike pitched six innings and allowed three runs on seven hits for the victory. Clevlen matched Botts with three hits in four at-bats to lead all hitters. Khoury and Kahaulelio each knocked two base hits, while Taylor Oldham was never retired in a 2-2 with two walks performance.

In game two, on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m., the Wingnuts will call on RHP Jon Link (7-2) to match pitches with fellow RHP Aaron Wilkerson (3-1). The game can be heard on 92.7 KWME or by heading to wichitawingnuts.com and clicking the “Listen Live” link. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

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Testa and Klipp Ambush Amarillo for Series Sweep

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (July 13, 2013) – Carlo Testa went 3-4 at the plate with three extra-base hits, including a three-run blast in a big fifth inning, to guide the Wichita Wingnuts past the Amarillo Sox 5-1 on Sunday at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. In addition, Justin Klipp continued a stellar season on the mound by limiting the Sox to just one run in seven innings.

The Wingnuts were facing Amarillo starting pitcher Matt Larkins (5-3) for the third time in the last month and were hoping to beat him for the first time on Sunday. They were able to strike first in the third inning against the big right-hander. Ryan Khoury singled with two outs in the inning and came around to score on an RBI single by Jake Kahaulelio, two batters later.

With Amarillo (18-36) struggling to score against Klipp (6-2), a big fifth inning gave the Wingnuts’ hurler all of the cushion he, and the bullpen, would need. Khoury once again was the straw that stirred the drink, starting the inning with a base hit. After Chris McClendon popped out, three consecutive batters reached for the Wingnuts before another out was recorded, beginning with a walk to Kahaulelio. With two one base, Brent Clevlen slapped a ball through the hole on the right side to extend the lead to 2-0. The next hitter, Testa, already had two doubles to his credit in the game and stayed hot with a three-run home run down the right field line to put Wichita (39-17) in front 5-0.

The right-handed Klipp was on his game all afternoon and had shut out the Sox for the first six innings on just four hits. The Sox couldn’t muster multiple hits in an inning until the top of the seventh. With Brandon Pinckney on base due to a fielder’s choice, Kyle Nichols and Kyle Bellows hit back-to-back singles to trim the lead to 5-1. Bellows drove in the run and tallied his 21st RBI of the season. Klipp would call it a day at the conclusion of the inning, having struck out a pair of Sox hitters.

Patrick Mincey and Matt Robertson each worked a scoreless inning in the eighth and ninth respectively. The Wingnuts are 31-2 when leading after six innings have been completed. Aside from Testa’s three-hit outburst, Khoury was the only other Wingnuts’ hitter to finish with multiple base knocks. Chris McClendon’s base hit in the third inning extended his hit streak to a season-high 12 games.

The Wingnuts will take Monday off, before travelling south to Grand Prairie for a three-game series that begins on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. Jason Van Skike (6-2) will toe the rubber for Wichita in game one. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Six Wingnuts Selected to All-Star Team; Testa Named League’s Player of the Week

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (July 14, 2014) – The American Association will be hosting a mid-season All-Star Game for the first time since 2010 on July 29th in Winnipeg. The Wichita Wingnuts, who currently own the best record in the league, will have six representatives in the event, four of them as starters.

Carlo Testa, who was also named the American Association Pointstreak Player of the Week for the past seven days, will be a starter in the outfield.   In the week beginning on July 7th, Testa went 9-19 (.474) with six runs scored, two triples, and three RBI. He is currently fourth in the league in batting average (.349), tied for third in runs (52), and fourth in hits (80). He is also among the top five league-wide in total bases, triples, and extra-base hits. This is Testa’s first season in the American Association.

He will be joined in the outfield grass at Shaw Park by center fielder Brent Clevlen. The former Detroit Tiger and Atlanta Brave is in his third season with the Wingnuts. He was also named a Post-Season All-Star in the outfield following the 2013 season. Clevlen is hitting .335, good for seventh in the league. He is tied for the lead in both extra-base hits and doubles, while tied for fourth in total bases.

Catcher Chris McMurray will be calling pitches as the starter behind home plate. He was named the top catcher in the American Association back in 2012, spending time with both the Lincoln Saltdogs and Grand Prairie AirHogs that season. In his first year with the Wingnuts he has been a stalwart defensively, throwing out 12 of 29 attempted base stealers and having yet to allow a passed ball. The Mission Viejo, California native has been effective at the plate as well, with a .266 average and 33 RBI in 50 games played.

The designated hitter for the South squad will be Wingnuts’ shortstop Ryan Khoury. This is his third season in Wichita and his first all-star selection, although he was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2012. Khoury is the Wingnuts’ franchise record holder in runs scored, walks, and stolen bases. This year he is tied atop the leaderboard with 22 stolen bases and is second in bases on balls. He is hitting .332 and is second-best with an on-base percentage of .466.

The pitching staff will include closer Matt Nevarez, who is second in the American Association with 15 saves. His earned run average is currently at a miniscule 1.21. He has allowed a run in just two of his 23 appearances and has racked up 30 strikeouts in 22.1 innings. This is the right-hander’s third season with the Nuts and first all-star selection.

Finally, Jason Van Skike, another right-handed hurler, will be participating in the showcase. The Gig Harbor, Washington native, in his first American Association campaign, began the year in the bullpen before earning a starting role. He has posted a 6-2 record and has an ERA of 2.36, which places him behind just one pitcher that has tossed enough innings to qualify. In 53.1 innings he has given up only 50 hits, struck out 29, and walked 13.

The Wichita Wingnuts’ staff of manager Kevin Hooper, pitching coach Luke Robertson, and hitting coach Jose Amado will direct the South Division squad. Greg Tagert of Gary SouthShore will be at the helm for the North.

For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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By an Elbow: Wingnuts Walk-Off in Ninth to Extend Streak to Eight

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (July 12, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts had already won a game in walk-off fashion the traditional way, with a base hit, and on a wild pitch during an attempted intentional walk this season. With those methods already spoken for, they found a new way to spark a celebration in the bottom of the ninth inning at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. David Amberson was drilled in the elbow on the first pitch of an at-bat with the bases loaded and two outs against Adam Maxon, to force in the winning run in a 5-4 come-from-behind victory.

The Wingnuts (38-17) got off to an encouraging start against Sox pitcher Coleman Stephens. The right-hander allowed a leadoff single to Ryan Khoury, who would later score on a double down the left field line by Jake Kahaulelio to put Wichita ahead 1-0.

Khoury was also involved in a productive third inning for the home team. He began the inning by ripping a double and then easily stole third for his 22nd stolen bag of the year. Chris McClendon bounced to first base for the first out of the inning, but on the play Khoury once again crossed home plate to take a 2-0 lead.

Tim Brown, the Wichita starter, was dominant early on. He retired the first 12 batters of the game, before Cory Patton singled off of him to begin the fifth. A double play and three consecutive hits for the Sox (18-35) meant that the bases were loaded with two outs. Brown got Kyle Bellows to fly out to center to escape, but the inning was a sign of trouble in the near future for the right-hander.

In Brown’s final frame on the hill, Amarillo would tie the game on the strength of four consecutive two-out hits. The big knocks were an RBI double by Patton and a run-scoring single by Kyle Nichols. After Mike Zouzalik escaped a bases loaded jam in the seventh, Alex Hinshaw worked a quick eighth and then turned the ball over to closer Matt Nevarez in the top of the ninth.

Nevarez (3-0) allowed a one out double to Kevin Mahoney and then back-to-back singles to Jeff Farnham and Derek Perren, the second of which gave Amarillo a 3-2 lead. After a strikeout of Jason Martin, Brandon Pinckney also lined a run-scoring single to extend the lead to 4-2 in the visiting squad’s favor.

Former Wingnut, Cephas Howard (1-1), entered in the bottom of the ninth looking for his first save of the season. He allowed a leadoff single to McClendon and then caught a monster break when Perren made a head-first, leaping, grab deep in the right center field gap to rob Kahaulelio of extra bases. The next man up, Clevlen, laced a single of his own through the left side and the Wingnuts were in business. Carlo Testa came through with a two-strike single to score McClendon and allow Clevlen to race to third. Amarillo manager, Bobby Brown, went to his bullpen and Adam Maxon to try and stop the bleeding.

Maxon gave up a game-tying, two-strike double to Chris McMurray that also advanced runners to second and third with one down. Maxon collected himself enough to strike out Taylor Oldham, which led to an intentional walk of Trevor Whyte that loaded the bases. With a hitless Amberson digging in, Maxon came too far inside with the first offering and drilled the right fielder on the elbow. The hit by pitch forced in Testa, who touched home plate with the game’s winning run.

Ryan Khoury was the only Wichita player to finish with more than one hit, as he finished 2-4 with a pair of runs scored. McClendon’s single in the final inning extended his hit streak to 11 games, which matches the longest streak for a Wingnuts’ player this year. The walk-off win was the third of the 2014 season.

The Wingnuts look for the sweep and a nine-game winning streak at 2:05 p.m. tomorrow night against the Sox. RHP Justin Klipp (5-2) will go for Wichita, with RHP Matt Larkins (5-2) on the hill for Amarillo. This will be the third time that Larkins faces the Wingnuts in the last month. There will be alimited amount of Wingnuts’ fans given away at the front gate. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Nuts Use 20 Hits to Fold Sox 10-4

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (July 11, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts put a season-high 20 hits, and another quality start by Jon Link, to good use in a 10-4 decision over the Amarillo Sox at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Friday night.   The Wingnuts are currently in the midst of their longest winning streak of the season, seven games.

For the third time in the last four games, the Wingnuts (37-17) found themselves trailing after the first trip to the plate by the opponent. Link (7-2) allowed a one-out double to Jason Martin and then a two-out RBI single to Brandon Pinckney to give the Sox a 1-0 lead.

The bottom of the Wingnuts’ lineup had a large say in a five-run turnaround that put the home team on top 5-1 after three. With runners on second and third and nobody out in the second, Taylor Oldham tied the game with a sacrifice fly to deep center. The next man up, Trevor Whyte, beat out an infield single to score Chris McMurray and grab a 2-1 lead. The duo struck again in the next frame. Once again hitting with two aboard, Oldham whistled a double down the line to clear the bases and make it 4-1. Whyte followed by scoring the designated hitter on a sharp single up the middle.

First baseman Joe Weik was responsible for each of the next two runs the Sox (18-34) would score. He hit solo home runs in both the fourth and sixth innings. The long balls were his second and third of the season. Link had allowed just three home runs this year prior to Weik’s big day. Link allowed nothing else to pick up quality start number 10 on the season and pull into a tie with teammate Tim Brown and Winnipeg’s Matthew Jackson for the league lead in wins with seven. His final line included three runs allowed on nine hits over seven innings of work.

Wichita got to Sox starter Jake Feckley (0-1), who was making his Amarillo debut, for another crooked number in the bottom half of the fourth inning. With runners on the corners and one out, Carlo Testa split the right center gap for a two-RBI triple to push the lead to 7-2. Testa ended the night 3-4 with four runs scored and two runs batted in. The following hitter, McMurray, scored him with a single to extend the advantage to 8-2.

Brent Clevlen hit his seventh home run of the season with two outs in the sixth inning, a solo blast that started a string of five straight hitters who reached base safely. With the bases eventually loaded against former Wingnut Kristhiam Linares, Whyte took a pitch between his shoulders to force in Wichita’s final run. Linares has given up at least one run in three of four appearances against his former team this season. He has allowed a run as a member of Kansas City, Laredo, and now Amarillo.

The Sox scored the final run of the night in a three-hit eighth inning against reliever Daniel Bennett. Kyle Nichols singled to lead off the frame, moved to second on a fielder’s choice groundball, went to third on a balk, and scored on Kevin Mahoney’s single.

17 of the 21 players to appear and 16 of the 18 starters mustered a hit in a contest in which the opponents combined for 32 base knocks. Every Wingnut that batted finished with at least one hit. Chris McClendon, Testa, McMurray, and Whyte each had three hits, while Oldham and Whyte both drove in three.

Game two of the series features Tim Brown (7-2) throwing for the Wingnuts against a starter to be assigned by the Sox. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. on Girl Scout Night, which will also feature a visit from Nutty Super Fan. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Van Skike and Friends Cage Canaries to Complete Sweep

 

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (July 9, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts matched their longest winning streak of the season at six games, with a 1-0 shutout victory over the Sioux Falls Canaries on Wednesday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Jason Van Skike’s pitching, the back-end of the bullpen, and an opportunistic infield single by Trevor Whyte, were the deciding factors as the Wingnuts swept their second consecutive series and fourth of the year. 

Van Skike (6-2) retired the first eight batters he faced, until the Canaries (20-32) registered two hits against him with two outs in the third inning.  Sioux Falls had their best opportunity to score in that frame, but could not, as Whyte made a fantastic diving grab on a line drive that appeared destined for right field with runners on the corners.

Kyle Vasquez (4-4), the starting pitcher opposite Van Skike, was equal to the gauntlet thrown down by the Wingnuts’ hurler.  Through six innings, he had allowed only one runner to reach third base and got out of that jam without any damage. 

In the seventh inning, the Wingnuts’ offense finally broke through against the right-hander.  Brent Clevlen led off with a walk and quickly stole second base to move into scoring position.  After a strikeout by Carlo Testa, Chris McMurray popped a shallow single into right field that advanced Clevlen over to third.  With runners on the corners, Taylor Oldham struck out, bringing Whyte to the dish in a big moment.  The first baseman pounded a high bouncer to the right of the second base bag.  Sam Lind was camped under the high hopper and fielded it while the shortstop Stephen Branca came charging across his face.  As Lin stepped to throw the pair became entangled and the throw to first was soft and low, which allowed Whyte to beat it by a hair.  The play brought Clevlen home and gave Wichita (36-17) a 1-0 lead. 

That run allowed Van Skike to exit the game in line for the win.  He went 7.0 shutout innings and gave up only two hits with four strikeouts.  He departed having retired the final 13 batters he faced.  Vasquez left after the seventh inning as well, having allowed just the one run on five hits and seven strikeouts. 

Alex Hinshaw and Matt Nevarez combined to continue the dominating pitching performance that was put in motion by their starter.   Hinshaw, the left-hander, worked a one, two, three, eighth inning with two strikeouts.  Nevarez retired the first two batters in the ninth, prior to a single by Brandon Jones that ended a streak of 18 consecutive Canaries being put out.  The closer rebounded to strike out A.J. Kirby-Jones for his 15th save of the season. 

Wichita will take Thursday off before welcoming the Amarillo Sox to town for a weekend series.  RHP Jon Link (6-2) will take the bump for the Wingnuts in game one which begins Friday at 7:05 p.m.   As is the case with every Friday home game, there will be a post-game fireworks show.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Wingnuts Extend Streak to Five with Wild 8-7 Walk-Off Win

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (July 8, 2013) – The Wichita Wingnuts battled back from a deficit three different times, including one in the ninth inning, on their way to their first walk-off win of the season on Tuesday at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Center fielder Brent Clevlen finished the day 4-5 with two RBI, the final one ending the game in dramatic fashion with the Wingnuts on top 8-7.

For a second straight night, the Sioux Falls Canaries (20-32) took advantage of a leadoff walk to score a run in the very first inning. Starting pitcher, Justin Klipp, walked the first batter of the game, Steve Tinoco. Tinoco moved to second on a single by A.J. Kirby-Jones and then scored when clean-up hitter Chris Duffy singled him home.

Kyle Ruwe smothered the Wingnuts’ bats through three hitless innings, before finally cracking in the fourth. Chris McClendon hit a sharp bouncer through the middle to break the ice and lead off the frame. The next batter, Jake Kahaulelio, grounded into a double play to erase the runner, but the Nuts weren’t done. Back-to-back singles by Brent Clevlen and Carlo Testa made it possible for Chris McMurray to line a controversial two-RBI double to left that put the Wingnuts ahead 2-1. Sioux Falls believed the ball clearly landed foul, but lost a prolonged argument and the ruling was upheld.

The Canaries would re-take control in the fifth, before extending their lead to three in the sixth. Matt Hitt, the nine-hitter and catcher, singled one home in the fifth with one out and then Tinoco drove in another with a fielder’s choice groundout to third. In the sixth, the first two batters reached against Klipp and he was brought out of the game for Daniel Bennett. Klipp went 5.0 innings and gave up five earned runs on seven hits.   Carlos Mendez moved both runners with a sacrifice bunt, and then Chris Valencia scored the pair with a single. After the dust settled, the score was 5-2 in Sioux Falls’ favor.

Trevor Whyte sparked Wichita (35-17) in the seventh inning with a two-out single off of Ruwe and then came home to score when David Amberson put down a bunt towards third for a single. The catcher, Hitt, fielded the ball, but in his rush, stumbled and threw wild to first. Whyte touched the plate and the speedy Amberson went to second. After Ryan Khoury walked to continue the frame, Chris McClendon lined a game-tying two-RBI single through the left side off of reliever Joe Testa to even the score at five. Ruwe worked 6.2 innings, and allowed five runs, three earned, on eight hits with five strikeouts.

The Wingnuts responded by throwing their set-up man, Patrick Mincey, in the eighth inning. Mincey gave up a single to Valencia and then walked Sam Lind to put two runners on base with two down. Hitt lined a ball to left that Testa couldn’t handle as it glanced off of his glove and rolled to the wall for a two-run error. In the top of the ninth, the Canaries put runners on second and third with nobody out against Matt Nevarez (2-0), as they attempted to stretch their lead. However, the big right-hander had other plans, lowering his ERA to 0.44 as he retired the next three hitters without allowing a run to score.

That became a huge development in the ninth, when the Nuts rallied, even after the bases were empty, with the team down to their final out. McClendon singled and promptly stole second against Alan DeRatt (0-4), the Sioux Falls closer. With a full count, Kahaulelio fouled off two straight pitches before muscling a shallow single to left that tied the game. On the throw to the plate he headed to second and into scoring position. The Canaries opted to face Clevlen, even with a base open, and the former Major Leaguer made that decision hurt. He ripped a line drive over the head of Tinoco in right, that easily allowed Kahaulelio to score and sparked a wild celebration on the field in between first and second base.

McClendon, Clevlen, and McMurray all finished with a pair of runs batted in. The game represented the first walk-off win in 2014 for the Wingnuts and also the first time this season that Wichita won after trailing entering the ninth.

The Wingnuts will look for the sweep and a six-game winning streak in the series finale on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. RHP Jason Van Skike (5-2) will throw for Wichita against RHP Kyle Vasquez (4-3) of Sioux Falls. It will be another edition of Way-Back Wednesday, as bell-bottoms and big hair will be the norm when the team pays tribute to the 70’s. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Bombs Away and the Double Play Propel Wingnuts to 14-4 Win

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (July 7, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts came back from an early deficit to pull away with an impressive 14-4 victory over the Sioux Falls Canaries on Monday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. What made the win impressive was the combination of a powerful offense that kept launching home runs and a determined pitching staff that helped an opportunistic defense turn an American Association record six double plays.

Tim Brown (7-2), the Wingnuts starting pitcher, got off to a very slow start before turning things around. The Canaries (20-30) came out swinging red-hot bats from the words “play ball” in the top of the first. Steve Tinoco walked to start the game, just the seventh of the year issued by the right-hander, and then Brandon Jones grounded a single through the right side. A.J. Kirby-Jones ripped a double to center field and off the wall to score Tinoco and give Sioux Falls an early 1-0 edge. The next batter, Chris Duffy, bounced into a fielder’s choice to score another run, before two more singles by Carlos Mendez and Chris Valencia plated one more to make it 3-0.

In the bottom of the first the Wingnuts (34-17) trimmed that lead with a couple runs of their own. Ryan Khoury began the inning with a single and stole second, which allowed him to score on Jake Kahaulelio’s base hit to right. Tinoco had the ball roll between his legs, so Kahaulelio raced all the way to third as a result of the error. That was big because the next batter, Brent Clevlen, lifted a fly ball to deep enough center field that Kahaulelio easily scored.

After Sioux Falls added a lone run in the second, the Nuts really went to work against Canaries’ starter Matt Wickswat (2-3). With one runner on base and one out Khoury drew a walk and Chris McClendon laced a run-scoring single up the middle to cut the deficit to 4-3. After Kahaulelio walked to load the bases, Clevlen crushed a high fastball to left for Wichita’s second grand slam of the year and a 7-4 lead. The clean-up hitter ended the game 3-4 with a double, home run, five RBI and two runs scored.

The long ball was the method of choice once again in the third inning versus Wickswat. Cody Robinson, who was making his professional debut after being signed earlier in the day, blasted a solo home run to lead off the inning. After a one out David Amberson single, Khoury got all of a pitch and whacked it out to deep left for his sixth home run of the season, making it 9-4.

Trevor Whyte was responsible for the next four runs the Wingnuts would score on two different deep flies to right center. The first was of the solo variety off of Wickswat in the fourth and the second a three-run long ball against Chase Boruff in the sixth. After the pair of blasts, the Wingnuts had jumped ahead 14-4. Wickswat left the game battered and bruised after 5.0 innings in which he allowed 11 runs on 12 hits with four walks.

Meanwhile, Brown settled in nicely on the hill, at one point retiring 10 straight Canaries that stepped to the plate. He used the help of double plays in the first, second, and sixth innings to ease some pressure from the Sioux Falls offense. The right-hander’s line featured 6.0 innings, four runs, nine hits, a walk, and a strikeout. Matt Robertson, Jared Gaynor, and Alex Hinshaw each held the Canaries down with scoreless innings out of the pen. Each of their innings also featured a double play at some point. The six double plays the Wingnuts completed is a new American Association record.

Wichita received multiple RBI from Clevlen (5), Whyte (4), and Khoury (2) and multiple runs scored by Khoury (3), Kahaulelio (2), Clevlen (2), Robinson (2), and Whyte (2). Eight of the nine hitters registered a hit in the barrage. The five home runs tied a Wingnuts record for most in a single game.

Tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. the same two clubs will lock horns in game two of the three-game series. Nuts’ RHP Justin Klipp (4-2) will match-up against RHP Kyle Ruwe (4-4) of Sioux Falls. The game can be heard on 92.7 KWME or by heading to wichitawingnuts.com and clicking the “Listen Live” link. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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3rd Annual Wingnuts Baseball Camp

We have two more baseball camps for your little baseball player! The next camp is July 9th starting at 10am and the final camp will be on July 23rd starting at 10 am  also. Campers receive lunch, a camp t-shirt, 4 upper box seats to any remaining 2014 Wingnuts game and professional instruction from Kevin Hooper, Jose Amado and Luke Robertson. Sign up now because we only have a limited amount of spots left. GO NUTS!

 

 

3rd Annual Wingnuts Baseball Camp

Nuts Break Out Brooms and Sweep Sioux City with 2-0 Shutout

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

Sioux City, IA (July 5,2014) – One swing of the bat in the first inning was all it took for the Wichita Wingnuts to knock off the Sioux City Explorers on Saturday night at Lewis and Clark Park. Jake Kahaulelio hit a two-run home run with one out in the first inning to put the Nuts in front 2-0 and then Jon Link made the number hold up as Wichita completed a three-game sweep of their former central division foe.

In the first inning, Carlo Testa drew a one out walk before the second baseman, Kahaulelio, took advantage of a high fastball from Wade Morrison and knocked it out of the park to left. The two-run home run was Kahaulelio’s fourth of the season.

Wichita (33-17) had a big opportunity to add to the lead when they loaded the bases in the third, while also chasing the starter, Morrison (0-3). He departed after 2.2 innings having allowed two runs on two hits with four strikeouts and three walks. Steve Montgomery summoned righty Geoff Broussard from the bullpen and he got red-hot Chris McClendon to fly out to center field.

Link (6-2) was dominant on this weekend outing. He never allowed a member of the Explorers (20-30) to reach third base as he worked 7.0 shutout innings, allowing just four hits and striking out seven. He has now gone at least 6.0 innings in nine of his eleven starts, all nine qualifying as quality starts. By working through the seventh, he was able to hand the ball to the back-end of the bullpen with a lead, a recipe for success this season.

Before set-up man Patrick Mincey came on in the eighth, the Wingnuts would take another crack at adding to the lead. Brent Clevlen led off the top of the inning with a triple off of Jimmer Kennedy, putting him just 90 feet away from adding a big insurance run. The next batter, Chris McMurray struck out and then Sioux City opted to intentionally walk Chris McClendon and put runners on the corners. The move paid off as Kennedy struck out both Taylor Oldham and Trevor Whyte to escape the inning unscathed.

Mincey struck out one in a one, two, three bottom of the inning to pass the ball to closer Matt Nevarez for the ninth. Facing the top of the order, Nevarez issued a one out walk to Tim Colwell before striking out each of the next two hitters to end the contest. The save was the fourteenth of the season, matching the league-leading total, previously occupied by Lincoln’s Marshall Schuler.

The win was the third shutout of the season for the pitching staff of the Wingnuts. Wichita is currently tied for the league-lead in wins with Winnipeg at 33.

The Wingnuts return home to battle the Sioux Falls Canaries on Monday in the opener of a three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. as Wichita will turn to RHP Tim Brown (6-2) to take on a pitcher that is to be decided for Sioux Falls.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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McClendon Matches Record for RBI in 12-2 Win Over Explorers

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

SIOUX CITY, IA (July 4, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts reached double-digits in the hits column for a fourth time in the last five games and Chris McClendon tied the franchise record for most RBI in a game, with seven, as the Nuts rolled to a 12-2 victory over the Sioux City Explorers on Friday night.

Sioux City scored first in the contest by getting to Wingnuts’ starter, Jason Van Skike (5-2), in the very first inning. With two outs, Rene Tosoni and Andres Perez each lined a ball into the gap for back-to-back doubles, putting the Explorers (20-29) ahead 1-0.

In the top of the second is when McClendon decided to begin his takeover of the ballgame. After the first two hitters in the inning were retired by Greg Holt (2-7), Trevor Whyte and David Amberson each singled. The third baseman came to the plate and skied a three-run home run to left to give the Wingnuts their first lead, which they would never relinquish.

Wichita (32-17) followed that three-run frame by one-upping themselves and scoring four in the third. After a Carlo Testa double began the surge, Jake Kahaulelio scored him with a single. Brent Clevlen reached on an infield single and then J.T. Wise was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Chris McMurray came through with a sacrifice fly to right to advance the margin to 5-1. Following a walk and strikeout of the next two hitters, McClendon punched another two-out hit, this time a two-RBI single that made it 7-1.

The Explorers scored for the last time in the third inning. Tim Colwell reached with a bunt single to start the inning and then advanced to second on a fielder’s choice groundout by Michael Lang. Tosoni came through with a sharp single to score him and cut the lead to 7-2 for a moment.

McClendon continued his hot day at the plate with a single to start the sixth and eventually came around to score on a two-out double by Kahaulelio, who finished the night 3-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. In the next frame it was abou the nine-hitter, McClendon, once again. He came to the plate for another two out at-bat and dropped a double into shallow left field that evaded the grasp of Oscar Mesa and scored Amberson to push the lead out to 9-2.

Van Skike continued to work through the seventh inning, scattering 10 hits and never allowing another Sioux City runner to get past second base. He did not record a strikeout and walked just one batter in the outing, registering his first quality start of the season in his longest outing to date.

The Wingnuts and McClendon capped everything off with a bang in the ninth. Chris McMurray reached on an error by the third baseman Tommy Mendonca, the Explorers seventh in the series, to set the stage for what was to follow. Whyte connected for a single and then runners were left on the corners after a fielder’s choice groundout by Amberson. McClendon hit a slow roller up the middle that scored McMurray and made it 10-2. The run batted in was the seventh of the game for the left-handed hitter and tied him with C.J. Ziegler for the Wingnuts’ record. Ziegler accomplished the feat last June against Laredo. Ryan Khoury then hit long ball number six of the season to score two more and really put an exclamation point on the night as the Nuts shutout the Explorers in the ninth to seal the 12-2 win.

Seven Wingnuts tallied a hit in the game with six of them collecting multiple knocks as the team finished with 16 as a whole. McClendon’s magical evening concluded with him going 4-5 with three runs scored, seven driven in, and a triple shy of the cycle. Matt Robertson and Alan Williams each worked hitless innings in relief of Van Skike.

The series will wrap up on Saturday night as the Wingnuts send RHP Jon Link (5-2) to the mound against a pitcher that has yet to be determined for Sioux City. The game will get underway at 7:05 p.m. The game can be heard on 92.7 KWME or by heading to wichitawingnuts.com and clicking the “Listen Live” link. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Nuts Explore All Avenues to Knock off Sioux City 5-3

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

SIOUX CITY, IOWA (July 3, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts smacked 13 hits and took full advantage of five Sioux City errors to emerge victorious by a 5-3 margin on Thursday night at Lewis and Clark Park.

The game featured a battle between two pitchers that entered play in the top ten of the American Association in ERA. Right-handed pitcher John Straka (5-3) fell victim to the speed of Ryan Khoury and some questionable defense to fall behind after the very first inning. Khoury singled to start things off and then advanced to second on an errant pick-off attempt by the pitcher. The shortstop then stole third easily, but the throw from the catcher Todd Jennings sailed high and allowed him to stand up and race home to give the Nuts a 1-0 lead.

The Winguts (31-17) held on to that same lead until the fourth, when they added on. Brent Clevlen led off the inning with a double and scored when the following batter, J.T. Wise, traded places with him on a two-bagger of his own. With runners on the corners and one out, Taylor Oldham hit a groundball up the middle with a drawn in infield. The shortstop, Chris Escobar, made a nice pick, but threw wide of first and to the fence which allowed Wise to come home and push the lead to 3-0.

The Explorers (20-28) would manage their first run against Wingnuts’ right-hander Justin Klipp (5-2) in the bottom half of the same inning. Peter Barrows led off with a double and appeared to be stuck there when Todd Jennings singled him home with a clutch, two-out single to cut the lead to 3-1. They didn’t take long to attack one again, scoring more in the next inning. Three straight batters reached to start the inning. Oscar Mesa doubled, Tim Colwell bunted for a hit, and then Rene Tosoni drew a walk, to load the bases with nobody out. After Andres Perez lined out to third, Barrows singled to left to score a pair and tie the game. After Carlo Testa’s throw to the plate sailed wide, two runners advanced into scoring position. Klipp made sure they wouldn’t score by getting a strikeout and foul pop out to end the inning all squared at three.

Wichita came right back to re-gain the lead in the top of the sixth on three straight singles, including one of the run-scoring variety by Chris McClendon. Up 4-3 in the seventh, the Wingnuts were not satisfied. Khoury led off the inning with double into the left-center gap and went to third on a Testa single. The right fielder, Barrows, had the ball roll between his legs, allowing Khoury to score. That miscue gave the Nuts a 5-3 advantage.

After Klipp went 6.0 innings, allowing three runs on six hits while both walking and striking out three, the bullpen took over. Alex Hinshaw, Mike Zouzalik, and Matt Nevarez each worked a scoreless inning in order to finish off Sioux City. Matt Nevarez earned his 13th save of the year, which has him one below the league leader Marshal Schuler of Lincoln.

The Wingnuts’ tallied 13 hits in the game, the third time in four games they have been in double digits. Khoury, Testa, and Clevlen each finished the game with two hits, while Wise accumulated three.

The series resumes on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. with RHP Jason Van Skike (4-2) on the hill for Wichita against RHP Greg Holt (2-6) of the Explorers. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Leave Bases Full in 9th and Fall to Sox 5-3

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (July 2, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts scored in just one inning on Wednesday night in their battle with the Amarillo Sox and it wasn’t enough to hold off a late surge by the visitor, who escaped town with a 5-3 win and avoided the sweep. With the Lawrence-Dumont Stadium crowd rocking in the final inning, the Wingnuts loaded the bases with one out for the middle of their lineup, but could not cash in as the Sox ended the night slapping hands on the infield.

In the early innings, the game shaped up as a pitcher’s duel between Tim Brown of the Wingnuts and Matt Larkins of the Sox. Each of them breezed through the first three innings, before Wichita (30-17) made the first mark on the scoreboard. When Brent Clevlen and J.T. Wise led off the fourth inning with back-to-back singles the, Wingnuts put themselves in position to inflict some damage. Chris McMurray took advantage, bouncing into a fielder’s choice groundout back to Larkins to put the Nuts on top 1-0. Trevor Whyte followed with his second home run of the series, a two-run drive to right center, which made it 3-0.

Tim Brown continued to roll into the seventh, but fell victim to a flurry by Amarillo (17-28) in that inning. Jason Martin and Joe Weik singled to start the frame and then Cory Patton continued the string with a run-scoring base knock to put the Sox on the board. After the next hitter, Kyle Nichols, also singled to load the bases, Brown was removed. Kevin Hooper turned to Daniel Bennett, who was making his team-leading 23rd appearance. The first batter he faced, Kyle Bellows, hit a sacrifice fly to left field that cut the Nuts’ lead to one at 3-2. Bennett worked through the jam without further damage. Both runs were charged to Brown, who went 6.0 innings and gave up just six hits, while striking out four.

The Wingnuts entered the eighth inning with a one-run lead, having gone 27-1 when leading after the seventh inning up to that point. Patrick Mincey (1-2), a huge part of that statistic, came on and got off to a decent start. He walked Derek Perren with one out, but then battled back to retire Martin for the second out of the inning. At that point, Amarillo flipped it into another gear. Weik ripped a single to put runners on the corners, prior to Patton muscling a bloop single into shallow right field to tie the game and leave runners on the corners. Patton took off towards second on a pitch with Kyle Nichols at the plate and forced a high throw from the Wingnuts’ catcher, McMurray, that bounced off of Jake Kahaulelio’s glove and into the outfield, allowing the go-ahead run, Weik, to scurry to the plate. After Nichols eventually walked, Mincey gave up a single to Kyle Bellows that pushed in another run and gave the Sox a 5-3 advantage.

After a scoreless inning by set-up man Cephas Howard in the eighth, the Wingnuts were left to try and come back against Sox closer Erik Draxton in the ninth. Trevor Whyte walked to start the inning and then an infield single by David Amberson put two on with nobody out. Chris McClendon put down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the tying run to second base. Ryan Khoury drew his second walk of the game moments later, to fill up the bases with Wingnuts. The two-hitter, Carlo Testa, struck out swinging and then Kahaulelio popped out in foul territory to end the game and give Draxton his sixth save of the year.

Adam Maxon (1-0) earned the first win of his professional career by working a scoreless seventh inning in which he stranded a couple of runners. Brent Clevlen was the only Wichita hitter with multiple knocks, finishing 2-4 with a double and a run scored. Daniel Bennett and Alan Williams each worked a scoreless inning in relief roles.

The Wingnuts will open a short three-game road series in Sioux City this weekend with a 7:05 p.m. start time on Thursday night. The Wingnuts will go with RHP Justin Klipp (4-2), while the Explorers will turn to RHP Michael Straka (4-3) in a match-up of two top ten pitchers in the American Association in ERA. the game can be heard on 92.7 KWME. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

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Nuts Capitalize on Amarillo Miscues to Cruise to 10-5 Win

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (July 1, 2014) – The Amarillo Sox committed four errors, two each in two different frames, on Tuesday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium and the Wichita Wingnuts seemed poised to capitalize on each and every mistake on their way to a 10-5 win. The Wingnuts scored nine unearned runs against Amarillo starter Kellen Moen, three in the first inning and six in the sixth, to put distance between themselves and the South division rival Sox.

The Wingnuts (30-16) threw rookie pitcher Jared Gaynor into the fire right away as he made his professional debut on the bump after being signed earlier in the day. The George Mason product assimilated himself nicely by striking out a pair in a one, two, three first inning. The next time he took the mound he would have a lead thanks to his offense’s bats and poor defense by the Sox.

Ryan Khoury led off the game by squeezing a groundball double down the left field line and moved to third on an infield single by Jake Kahaulelio two batters later. J.T. Wise singled home Khoury to score the first run and then Chris McMurray hit a groundball that was mishandled by the third baseman, Kevin Mahoney, causing Kahaulelio to race home. Chris McClendon followed with a base knock of his own and when right fielder Cory Patton bobbled the ball, Wise crossed home plate to push the lead to 3-0. Taylor Oldham, the next hitter, grounded out to short, bringing in one more run and making it 4-0. Three of the runs were unearned.

The Sox (16-28) figured out the rookie in their second time through the order. Kyle Bellows started the inning with a double and scored when Jason Martin traded places with him on a two-bagger of his own. The next man up, Mahoney, drove a ball over the wall to right center to plate a pair and make it just a 4-3 lead for the Nuts. Gaynor would last through 5.0 innings, allowing those three runs on five hits with three strikeouts.

Daniel Bennett (1-0) replaced him in the sixth for his team-leading 22nd appearance of the year. He gave up a one out infield single to Bellows, before hitting Martin with a pitch that put two on base. Mahoney came up big again, lining a two-RBI double to center that cleared the bases and put the Sox on top 5-4. The Amarillo third baseman was 3-4 with two extra base hits and four RBI.

In the bottom of the inning the Wingnuts pounced on Moen (2-2) and the right-hander’s defense did him no favors. After McClendon and Oldham reached to start the inning, Trevor Whyte attempted to put down a sacrifice bunt on the third base line. When he did so Moen tried to turn quickly and cut down the lead runner at third, but threw it up the left field line and allowed both runners to come in to score. With Whyte at second, Moen rebounded to retire the next two batters, before another error would cause the game to blow wide open. A slow bouncer hit to second by Carlo Testa was bobbled by the second baseman, Michael Broad, allowing Testa to beat the throw to first. Although it appeared harmless at the time, that error was followed by back-to-back home runs from Jake Kahaulelio (3) and J.T. Wise (12) that extended the advantage to 10-5. Kahaulelio’s was a three-run blast , improving his RBI total to 34 for the season. After those two long balls, Moen was pulled by Bobby Brown, the Sox manager, with an unusual line score to his name. He allowed 12 hits and 10 runs in 5.2 innings, but only one of them was earned and his ERA raised only a miniscule amount to 1.64.

Handed the lead, the bullpen trio of Alex Hinshaw, Mike Zouzalik, and Matt Nevarez combined to limit the Sox to just one hit in three shutout innings. Although five batters tallied multiple base hits, Wise paced the group by going 3-5 with two runs scored and two driven in.

The Wingnuts and Sox close out the three-game set on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. RHP Tim Brown (6-2) will go for Wichita against RHP Matt Larkins (5-2) of Amarillo. The Wingnuts will be hosting their “Salute to America’s Heroes” with a post-game fireworks show to follow that is sponsored by KAKEland and Kansas One Call. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Nuts Blow Open Close Game to Stuff Sox 13-3

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 30, 2014) - The Wichita Wingnuts were able to score nine runs in the span of three innings on Monday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium to turn what was a closely contested 4-3 game into a 13-3 triumph over the Amarillo Sox. Jon Link turned in another quality start, his eighth in 2014, and Brent Clevlen teamed with Chris McMurray to drive in six runs between the pair.

The Sox (16-27) actually led for a brief moment at the outset of the game, when they jumped on Link (5-2) immediately. Former Wingnut, Derek Perren, hit a line drive double to begin the game and, two batters later, scored on another double by Joe Weik.

The Wingnuts (29-16) scored in each of the first three frames against the franchise’s all-time leader in starts made, Derek Blacksher (1-5). After Carlo Testa doubled with one out in the bottom of the first, Brent Clevlen lined a two-out single through the middle to tie the game at one. Trevor Whyte would notch both his first home run and RBI with Wichita in the second, when he blasted a pitch over the wall in the right-center field power alley to put the Nuts in front. In the third inning, Blacksher walked the bases full of teammates for McMurray. The catcher responded with a two-RBI single to push the lead out to 4-1.

Amarillo bounced back to pull closer in the top of the fourth inning. Kyle Nichols and Kyle Bellows hit back-to-back two-baggers to make it 4-2, but that wasn’t all. Jason Martin singled, and then with runners on the corners, Jeff Farnham bounced into a 6-4-3 double play that brought in a run and inched the Sox closer at 4-3. After that inning, Link put it in cruise control through 6.0 innings, giving up the three previous runs on nine hits and struck out five. He has eight quality starts (6.0 innings or over and three or less earned runs) in ten chances.

Blacksher would battle into the sixth, with his club hanging around and behind by one. That inning would end up being his demise. He allowed a couple of singles to Trevor Whyte and Chris McClendon prior to a run-scoring hit by Ryan Khoury that ended the right-hander’s evening. With the Nuts now on top 5-3, Testa hit a slow roller to second against relief pitcher Kristhiam Linares, another former Wingnut, which he beat out. The late throw from Michael Broad was wide of the mark and allowed McClendon to race home as well, making it 6-3 by the conclusion of the inning.

A solo home run by Brent Clevlen, the slugger’s fourth of the season, extended that lead in the seventh inning, prior to the dam bursting wide open in the eighth. In an inning that wound up with designated hitter, Corey Patton, on the mound for Amarillo, the Wingnuts amassed six runs on seven hits and two bases on balls. Jake Kahaulelio, Clevlen, J.T. Wise, McMurray, Amberson, and McClendon each earned a single RBI in the stanza that ended with the Nuts out in front 13-3.

As Alex Hinshaw and Matt Robertson had done before him, Mike Zouzalik worked a scoreless inning to put the finishing touches on the win. Testa was the only member of the lineup that did not register a run batted in. Clevlen finished 3-4 with a home run, three RBI, a walk, and two runs scored. McMurray went 2-5 with three RBI.

On Tuesday night the two teams will meet again at 7:05 p.m. The Wingnuts are currently undecided, while the Sox will turn to RHP Kellen Moen (2-1). The game can be heard on 92.7 KWME or by heading to wichitawingnuts.com and clicking the “Listen Live” link. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Saltdogs Use Joynt Effort to Knock Off Nuts 2-0

 

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

LINCOLN, NE (June 29, 2014) – Lincoln Saltdogs’ starting pitcher Marquis Fleming no-hit the Wichita Winnguts through the first 5.2 innings of his start on Sunday evening at Haymarket Park, while his teammate Brian Joynt drove in two runs to provide the only offense necessary in a 2-0 Saltdogs’ victory.

 

The Saltdogs (20-22) didn’t wait long to score the first run of the game, as they got to Jason Van Skike (4-2) in the very first inning. Matt Forgatch started the game with a double and moved to third on a single by Jeremy Hamilton immediately afterward. Joynt did enough to score the first run of the game by lifting a fly ball to deep center field that was plenty long to bring in Forgatch and make it 1-0.

 

Van Skike settled in for the next three innings and was cruising until he allowed three hits in the Lincoln fifth. Tyler Smith started the inning with a one out single. Forgatch followed with an infield single deep into the hole at short before Van Skike walked Jeremy Hamilton to load the bases. Unfortunately the next man to step in was the Saltdogs’ right fielder and Joynt came through again. This time he found a hole in the left side and lined a ball right through it to push the lead to 2-0. Van Skike rebounded to strand the bases loaded and hold the deficit at two.

 

Fleming (4-3), who entered the game with a .500 record, but an ERA under three, was tough on the Wingnuts’ lineup throughout his 6.0 inning outing. He did not allow a hit and had struck out five Wichita batters before the sixth inning began. In that frame, Jake Kahaulelio managed the first hit against him, a two-out single up the middle before Brent Clevlen followed with one of his own. Chris McMurray hit a fly ball to left field that ended the inning with no further damage done and brought an end to Fleming’s day. The right-hander threw 6.0 shutout innings and gave up just the two hits, while adding six strikeouts.

 

Reliever Jhonny Montoya came on in relief of Fleming to work both the seventh and eighth innings. After retiring the side in order in the first of his innings, he struggled a bit more in the latter. Chris McClendon reached with a leadoff single, before being retired on a fielder’s choice groundout by Ryan Khoury. Carlo Testa bounced a single through the left side to put two on base with just one out for the middle of the order. However, Montoya rebounded to strike out Kahaulelio and then get Clevlen to pop out in foul territory to escape the inning with the score still 2-0.

 

The American Association’s saves leader, Marshall Schuler, came on to try and close the game out and did so in one, two, three fashion to seal the win.

 

Matt Forgatch of the Saltdogs was the only player in the game to record more than one hit as he finished 3-4 with double and a run scored. Daniel Bennett and Patrick Mincey each worked a scoreless inning after Van Skike departed. The starter tossed 6.0 innings and allowed seven hits and two runs, while fanning four.

 

The Wingnuts (28-16) will return home to face the Amarillo Sox for the first of a three-game series on Monday night at 7:05 p.m. RHP Jon Link (4-2) will start for Wichita and the Sox pitcher is to be announced. The game can be heard on 92.7 KWME or by heading to wichitawingnuts.com and clicking the “Listen Live” link. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

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Saltdogs Hound Nuts’ All Night in 8-6 Victory

Photo Credit - Meryl Loop

LINCOLN, NE (June 28, 2014) – The Lincoln Saltdogs outhit the Wichita Wingnuts by a 14-9 margin and scored in four different innings to knock off the league-leading Wingnuts 8-6 Saturday at Haymarket Park. Every time the Wingnuts tried to start a comeback, it seemed like the nine for Lincoln answered right back and Wichita never pulled closer than two runs after the top of the fourth inning.

Justin Klipp (4-2), who entered the game leading the American Association in ERA, struggled to find the strike zone early on as he walked each of the first three batters he faced after the Wingnuts were retired in order in the top of the first. With the bases loaded and one out, former Gary SouthShore RailCat Jeremy Hamilton doubled into the left-centerfield gap and cleared the bases to put the Saltdogs ahead 3-0 after one.

The Wingnuts (28-15) reached the scoreboard for the first time in the third inning. David Amberson started the inning with a walk and stole his 14th base of the season to move into scoring position. After Ryan Khoury walked, Carlo Testa hit a bouncer to short that the Saltdogs tried to spin two on. The relay throw from second to first was in the dirt and bounced away from the first baseman Ian Gac, allowing Amberson to race home. Two batters later, Jake Kahaulelio hit an RBI double and the score was 3-2.

The Saltdogs (19-22) responded quickly when Hamilton led off with a single and scored on a Gac double to deep center in the bottom of the third to push the lead to 4-2.

Each team would score in the fourth inning, with the Wingnuts tallying on J.T. Wise’s moonshot solo home run to left. The deep fly was his 11th of the season. Klipp was unable to stave off the Saltdogs, however, allowing a two-RBI single to Hamilton in the home half, to make the lead three runs once again. Hamilton closed the night 3-3 with three runs scored, two RBI, and two walks.

A two-run home run by Brian Joynt gave the Saltdogs their biggest lead of the night at 8-3 in the sixth. Khoury countered with his fifth home run of the season in the top of the seventh, a two-run shot to left to trim the lead to 8-5. Against Lincoln closer Marshall Schuler, the Wingnuts scratched across a run in the ninth on a Testa sacrifice fly. With the tying run at the plate and two out, Kahaulelio flew out to medium-depth right field to end the game and give Schuler his league-leading 13th save.

Seven of the Saltdogs’ eight runs were scored by the top three hitters in the lineup, Matt Forgatch (2), Jeremy Hamilton (3), and Brian Joynt (2). Khoury, Kahaulelio, and Clevlen each racked up multiple hits. Khoury had two extra-base hits and Kahaulelio finished 3-5.

The series finale and rubber-match with the Saltdogs will take place Sunday evening at 5:05 p.m. RHP Jason Van Skike (4-1) works for Wichita, with RHP Marquis Fleming (3-3) tossing for Lincoln. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

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Early Bird Gets the Win; Nuts Top Saltdogs 7-4

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

LINCOLN, NE (June 27, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts blasted out of the gates on Friday night at Haymarket Park to take a 7-0 lead after just three innings. It was a good thing they had a spark early, because they were held in check for the rest of the night by the Lincoln Saltdogs pitching. The home team put a small scare in the Wingnuts late, but the pitching staff remained poised and carried the team through the final innings to a 7-4 victory.

The Wingnuts (28-14) didn’t wait long to jump in front, scoring in the very first inning on a sacrifice fly by Brent Clevlen, the 26th of the year for the centerfielder. Ryan Khoury tagged up from third to score the run, which tied him for the most runs in franchise history with 188. That was just the start of the blitz attack as Wichita would put up a crooked number in both the second and third innings against Varce (2-3)

J.T. Wise led off the second inning with his 10th home run of the year to put the visitors in front 2-0. David Amberson, Chris McClendon, and Ryan Khoury all reached base consecutively, with McClendon hitting a single that scored a run. Another sacrifice fly, this time from Carlo Testa, brought McClendon in and it was 4-0. The next batter, second baseman Jake Kahaulelio, ripped a single to bring Khoury around for his record-breaking run. Khoury finished the night with 188 runs scored in his Wingnuts’ career, which is currently in its’ third season. The shortstop surpassed the previous mark of 187 runs scored by Josh Horn from 2008-11. Khoury is now the franchise leader in runs, walks, and stolen bases. The inning finally came to an end with the Nuts leading 5-0. Two more unearned runs came across in the next frame when the first two hitters in the third, Chris McMurray and Wise, reached base on defensive miscues by the Saltdogs. Trevor Whyte singled to load the bases, before McClendon ripped another RBI single to make it 6-0. Khoury was then drilled by a pitch to force in an additional run and extend the lead to 7-0.

While this was going on at the plate, Tim Brown (6-2), a Saltdog from 2009-11, was cruising through the Lincoln (18-22) lineup. He did not allow a run until the sixth inning, when third baseman Kevin Howard homered to right field to put the Saltdogs on the board and cut the lead to 7-1. In the next frame, Eddie Young and Chris Anderson hit back-to-back one out singles before the leadoff hitter Matt Forgatch smacked a three-run home run to left to suddenly make the lead just 7-4. After another batter reached with a hit, Brown was pulled from the game and Mike Zouzalik worked out of the inning with no further harm done. Brown allowed four runs in 6.2 innings on eight hits with six strikeouts.

The Wingnuts improved to 25-1 when leading after the seventh inning courtesy of Patrick Mincey, the set-up man, and closer Matt Nevarez each working a scoreless inning in the eighth and ninth respectively to close the door on the Saltdogs. Nevarez has not allowed a run in 11 straight appearances and earned his 12th save of the year.

Six of the nine Wingnuts to bat in the game drove in a run, but McClendon finished as the only player with multiple hits. The third baseman went 3-4 with one run and two RBI.

The second game of the series will take place on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. with RHP Justin Klipp (4-1) on the mound for the Wingnuts and former big league RHP Joe Bisenius (2-2) throwing for Lincoln. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Hall Helps AirHogs Pass Nuts 10-3 to Split Series

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 26, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts managed to outhit the Grand Prairie AirHogs 14 to 13 on Thursday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, but in the column that matters most the Airhogs ran away with a 10-3 victory. Right-fielder Frazier Hall paced the AirHogs attack by going 3-4 with two doubles, a home run, three RBI, and two runs scored.  

The start of the game was a sign of things to come and that wasn’t a great thing for the Wingnuts (27-14). After striking out Jimmy Mojica to open the game, Capra injured his leg trying to beat Alex Nunez to first base on a bunt single. The left-hander had to be taken off the field on a cart and did not return. Alan Williams (2-3) was forced to make an unexpected early appearance and held his own in the first inning, escaping with no damage. The second inning wasn’t quite so easy. He allowed a leadoff double to Hall and walked Brian Myrow and Vince DiFazio to load the bases with one away. After Eric Baker flew out to shallow center, Jimmy Mojica made sure the inning wasn’t fruitless, doubling home a pair to go up 2-0.

Andres Rodriguez singled to score Abel Nieves, who led off the third with a triple, to push the lead to 3-0. The Wingnuts climbed closer in the bottom half of the inning, as Jake Kahaulelio scored a pair on a single with the bases loaded to make the score 3-2. Although runners remained on first and second with nobody out, the Wingnuts would not score anything else in the inning against AirHogs’ starter Jason Jarvis (1-1).

Both teams scored again in the fifth inning, but it was Grand Prairie who was able to stretch the lead a little bit further. Hall again came up big, hitting a two-run blast out the opposite way to left, his third of the year, to make it 5-2. Brent Clevlen gave the Wingnuts their final run of the night with an RBI single off of Jarvis in the home half which briefly cut the AirHogs (16-24) advantage to two.

The AirHogs pulled away with a big four run seventh inning. Mike Zouzalik started the frame and handed it over to lefty Alex Hinshaw, who had yet to allow a run this season, with one out and a runner first. Hinshaw faced six hitters and gave up two hits, hit a batter, and walked three before he was replaced by Daniel Bennett.   Bennett allowed an inherited runner to score, but none of his own. By the time the dust had settled the Wingnuts had fallen behind 9-3.

The visitors added one more in the eighth to finish the scoring on another double by Hall. The outfielder’s third extra-base hit scored Nunez.

The Wingnuts used six pitchers out of the bullpen and all of them aside from Matt Nevarez, who threw the ninth, allowed at least one run. Four AirHogs had multiple hits in the game, while the Wingnuts had three players with more than one hit: Clevlen, Ryan Khoury, and Chris McClendon.

Nevarez talked about the tough game and the upcoming road trip to Lincoln.

The Wingnuts will hit the road to play a weekend series against the Saltdogs in Lincoln. In Friday night’s 7:05 p.m. start, RHP Tim Brown (5-2) will pitch for Wichita and RHP Zach Varce (2-2) will take the hill for Lincoln. The game can be heard on 92.7 KWME or by heading to wichitawingnuts.com and clicking the “Listen Live” link. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Lawrence-Dumont Stadium Hosts Johnny Bench Clinic; C.J. Ziegler Takes Home Award Thursday

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 27, 2014) – It was a busy day in sports in the city of Wichita on Thursday and much of the happenings involved the Wichita Wingnuts. Lawrence-Dumont Stadium was the site of the Johnny Bench Award Catcher’s Clinic in the morning and later in the night, while the team was on the field, former Nut C.J. Ziegler was honored as the 2014 Professional Athlete of the Year in Wichita.

The Johnny Bench Award is presented to the nation’s best collegiate catcher after the conclusion of each NCAA season. The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission hosts a banquet each summer to honor achievements in sport at many different levels, including the prestigious award bestowed upon the best backstop in the land. Thursday was the 17th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet.

Prior to the night’s festivities, the Wichita Sports Commission and Mike Gehrer, the owner of Balls-n-Strikes, hosted their annual catcher’s clinic in Wichita that is named after Cincinnati Reds hall of Famer Johnny Bench. The camp was held from 9:00-11:30 a.m. at the home of the Wingnuts and featured a large, energetic, group of future baseball and softball catching stars. With over 175 children in attendance it was the largest group of campers to participate in the event in the last 13 years. The attendees had the opportunity to meet Bench and receive instruction from players and coaches who have excelled at the position. Wingnuts’ catchers J.T. Wise, who won the award back in 2009, and Chris McMurray were on the field instructing the youngsters, as were two of the three finalists for this year’s award, Max Pentecost (Kennesaw State) and Will Allen (Ole Miss). Pentecost was named the winner at the conclusion of the banquet.

Also taking home an award was Wichita’s 2014 Professional Athlete of the Year C.J. Ziegler, who smashed team and league records during the 2013 campaign. The first baseman, currently playing for the Atlantic League’s Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, played in all 107 games at first base and hit .316, while also hitting both an American Association and Wingnuts’ single-season record 30 home runs. In addition, he led the league by driving in 100 runs. Ziegler finished in the top ten in the American Association in runs scored, doubles, walks, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. On August 21 he hit for the first cycle in franchise history against Gary SouthShore. His impressive numbers earned him recognition as American Association Player of the Year, the Star of Stars award winner, and Baseball America’s Independent Player of the Year for the 2013 season.

The Tucson, AZ native spent a pair of seasons with the Wingnuts and exited, after having his contract purchased by the Minnesota Twins this off-season, as the all-time leader in home runs (48) and second in RBI (161). In his two seasons in Wichita, Ziegler hit .317 in 165 games, drew 92 walks, and racked up a .640 slugging percentage.

For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Use Big Inning in Both Games to Sweep Doubleheader

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 25, 2014) – The Wingnuts used a five-run fifth inning in game one and a big four-run sixth inning to come from behind in game two to take both ends of a doubleheader, 6-2 and 6-4, from the Grand Prairie AirHogs on Wednesday at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

The Wingnuts (27-13) received a spark from their leadoff hitter Ryan Khoury in the third inning of the first contest when he homered to left field to take a 1-0 lead over Brandon Bargas (2-5) and the AirHogs (15-24).

After Bargas stranded a pair in the fourth, the Nuts offense went into attack mode in the fifth. Bargas allowed a leadoff double to Chris McClendon and then walked Khoury. Carlo Testa attempted to move the runners with a sacrifice bunt, but was unsuccessful, as Grand Prairie threw out the lead runner at third. Jake Kahaulelio scored a pair with a groundball double that he tucked inside the first base line, extending the lead to 3-0. Two batters later, Chris McMurray traded places with Kahaulelio on an RBI double of his own. The next man up was J.T. Wise who smoked a two-run home run halfway up the batter’s eye in center field to score a couple more and run the lead to 6-0.

Jason Van Skike (4-1) exited with two outs in the sixth and a pair of runners on base. Alan Williams threw one pitch and escaped the inning when Jason Botts swung and lined the first offering to Brent Clevlen in center. Van Skike finished with this line: 5.2 shutout innings, three hits, three strikeouts, and one base on balls. He has now thrown 13.0 shutout innings against Grand Prairie this season in four appearances, two as a reliever and two as a starter.

Williams would have less success in the seventh and final inning. He allowed a single and three walks to the first four batters he faced, one base on balls forcing in a run, before being replaced by Daniel Bennett. Bennett earned his first save of the season by allowing just an RBI fielder’s choice groundout to Jimmy Mojica.

Khoury finished the opener 3-3 with a home run, RBI, and two runs scored. He reached base in all four of his trips to the plate. Kahaulelio and Wise ended the game with two runs batted in each.

There was more late-inning drama in the second game as the Wingnuts had to come from behind twice to emerge on top. Initially, it was the Wingnuts who got out of the gates fast. Testa walked, stole second, moved to third on a single to left by Kahaulelio, and raced around to score when Botts had trouble fielding the ball.  

The AirHogs took their first lead of the day against Jon Link in the third inning. Mojica and Alex Nunez both singled to start the inning and then Abel Nieves sacrificed them over to third. Botts did just enough to get the game’s first run home when he bounced out to second base, bringing in Mojica. Frazier Hall, who had the game-winning hit in the 11th on Monday, singled to score Nunez and it was 2-0.

Khoury tied the game with his second home run of the day and fourth of the season, another deep fly to left, in the fifth inning.

However, the AirHogs weren’t about to go quietly, they answered right back in the top of the sixth. With two on and one out, Brian Myrow, the Grand Prairie hitting coach who was activated earlier in the day, doubled off of the wall in right-centerfield to clear the bases and put his team back in front 4-2. Patrick Mincey (1-1) came on to record the final two outs of the winning and put himself in line for the win. Link finished having thrown 5.1 innings and allowed four runs on seven hits.

Ty’Relle Harris (1-1) came on to pitch in the bottom of the sixth and the Wingnuts jumped all over him. The first four batters of the inning reached on base hits to tie the game. Clevlen hit a double that plated David Amberson and Wise knocked in Clevlen two batters later. With two on base the newest Wingnut, Trevor Whyte, tried laying down a sacrifice bunt, but it was bobbled by the catcher and he reached to load the bases. Taylor Oldham strode to the plate and ripped a two-RBI double to right-centerfield that put the Wingnuts in front by a 6-4 score.

Closer Matt Nevarez retired the side in order in the bottom half of the inning to earn his league-high tying 11thsave of the season. Clevlen was the only Wingnuts’ hitter with multiple hits, while Mojica and Hall accomplished the task for the AirHogs.

Van Skike and Oldham chat about the sweep after the games

The teams will close out the four-game series on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. in the final game of the Wingnuts’ seven-game homestand. LHP Anthony Capra (4-2) will toss for Wichita against RHP Jason Jarvis (0-1) of the AirHogs. The game will be followed by the PF Chang’s Post-Game Home Run Derby in which fans can sign up to try to hit a ball out of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Tuesday’s Contest with Grand Prairie Washed Away by Rain

Photo Credit: Kevin Jenks

WICHITA, KS (June 24, 2014) – Tuesday night’s contest between the Wichita Wingnuts(25-13) and Grand Prairie AirHogs (15-22) has been postponed due to excessive rain.

The two teams will play a doubleheader beginning at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday morning. The twin-bill will feature a pair of seven-inning contests with approximately 30 minutes in between them. RHP Jason Van Skike (3-1) will pitch in the first game and fellow RHP Jon Link (4-2) will toss in the second.

Fans that have purchased tickets for Wednesday’s game will have admittance to both ends of the doubleheader. Buy-in vouchers that were received through United Way will be good for the 7:05 p.m. game on Tuesday, July 1 against Amarillo. That date will be the United Way of the Plains Placesetter Campaign Kick-Off which was originally scheduled for Tuesday night. Any other ticket purchases can be exchanged for the same number of tickets to any remaining home game.

For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Extra Painful: AirHogs Prevail Over Wingnuts in 11

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 23, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts and Grand Prairie AirHogs locked horns in a pitcher’s duel on Monday evening at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. It took two extra innings for somebody to take the upper hand and thanks to the bat of Frazier Hall it was the visiting AirHogs who emerged with a 3-1 win.

With Justin Klipp and Trevor Harden on the hill for Wichita (25-13) and Grand Prairie (15-22) respectively, a low-scoring battle appeared to be imminent. Both hurlers made sure that was the case, working their first three innings without a hiccup. However, in the fourth frame, the Wingnuts used some small ball to score first. Carlo Testa led off with a single and moved to second on a fielder’s choice groundout by Jake Kahaulelio. The speedy Testa then took third by tagging up on a deep fly ball to center by Brent Clevlen. He would cross home when Chris McMurray, the designated hitter, laced a two out single up the middle to put the Wingnuts out in front 1-0.   The RBI was McMurray’s 23rd of the season. Harden went into shut down mode after that, never allowing another run in 8.0 innings pitched and exited having retired the last 13 Wingnuts he faced.

As well as Klipp was throwing it seemed like it would take something out of the ordinary to scratch across a run against the right-hander who entered play fourth in the American Association with a 1.90 ERA. That is exactly what happened in the sixth and it allowed the AirHogs to tie the game. Eric Baker led off with a single and advanced to second when Klipp collided with third baseman Chris McClendon on an attempted sacrifice bunt by Jimmy Mojica and threw high to first base. The error put runners on second and third with nobody out. A wild pitch short of home plate led to Baker racing home and Mojica moving to third. Klipp was able to get out of the inning without further damage. He eventually departed having worked 8.0 innings and giving up just the unearned run on four hits.

Klipp and manager Kevin Hooper after the game

The score remained that way into the ninth, when Wichita was presented a golden opportunity to walk-off with a win. Ryan Khoury started the inning with a double into the right field corner and then was sacrificed to third base by Carlo Testa. Reliever Ty’relle Harris (1-0) bowed his back and struck out both Kahaulelio and Brent Clevlen to strand the winning run 90 feet from home.

Patrick Mincey (0-1) was forced to work multiple innings for the first time this season and his second on the rubber was when the AirHogs took the lead for good. In the top of the 11th, Mojica led off with a single and then Alex Nunez reached on a bunt single up the first base line. A fielder’s choice groundout by Abel Nieves moved each runner into scoring position with one away. Mincey issued an intentional free pass to Jason Botts to load the bases. Andres Rodriguez popped out in foul territory for the second out before Hall came through in the clutch by shooting a single through the right side and scoring a pair to put Grand Prairie ahead 3-1. Closer Dakota Watts walked Khoury with two outs in the bottom half of the inning, but Testa struck out swinging to end the game.

Game two takes place tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. with RHP Jason Van Skike (3-1) on the mound for Wichita and LHP Brandon Bargas (2-4) throwing for Grand Prairie. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Bourquin’s Cycle Helps RedHawks Soar Past Wingnuts 13-10

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 22, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts and Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks played a crazy game for the second day in a row on Sunday at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, but this time it was the visiting team that came out ahead 13-10. Ronnie Bourquin hit for the second cycle in RedHawks’ history and Drew Bowlin (2-0) allowed three runs through a season-high 6.1 innings to put the Wingnuts behind the eight-ball early on.

After each team went scoreless in the opening two innings, Fargo-Moorhead (21-15) jumped on Wingnuts’ starter Tim Brown (5-2) for five runs during the second and third frames. With the bases loaded in the third, Nic Jackson cleared the bases by driving in two on a double off the right field wall. The third run scored when Miguel Mendez, playing his first professional game, misplayed the relay throw from centerfielder Brent Clevlen and allowed C.J. Retherford to come home and make it 3-0. In the fourth, Bourquin struck again with an RBI single and later Carroll bounced into a run-scoring fielder’s choice to extend the lead to 5-0.

In the bottom of the fourth J.T. Wise continued his power surge by blasting his fourth home run of the series, and seventh of the season, to score Clevlen and trim the lead to 5-2 in Fargo’s favor.

However, those two runs were cancelled out when the nine-hitter of the RedHawks’, catcher Travis Higgs, hit a solo home run off of Brown to begin the sixth. After Alan Williams replaced the starter, Ronnie Bourquin singled and C.J. Retherford drove him home two batters later to take a 7-2 advantage.

Needing just a home run to complete the cycle, Bourquin stepped to the plate against Matt Robertson in the seventh. Bourquin crushed a high fastball over the wall in right field for a grand slam to complete the rare achievement. The only other Fargo-Moorhead hitter to hit for the cycle was Richard Austin in 2005. The second-year RedHawk finished the game 4-6 with five RBI and three runs scored.

Wichita (25-12) gained two back in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI double by Clevlen and a sacrifice fly to deep center by Chris McMurray.

After Anthony Kaskadden drove in a run on a bloop single over second base, Tim Alberts pushed the lead to 13-4 with a sacrifice fly of his own in the top of the ninth off of Mike Zouzalik to set the stage for a late comeback attempt by the home team.

The inning began with reliever Justin Erasmus allowing three consecutive hits to Ryan Khoury, David Amberson, and Carlo Testa to load the bases. Clevlen then drew a five-pitch base on balls from the right-hander, forcing in a run and cut the deficit to eight at 13-5. McMurray followed with a sharp single to left and the Wingnuts were within seven and had Wise coming to the plate and the bases still loaded, with nary an out. Wise jumped all over a belt-high fastball and hammered it out to left for a grand slam that put his team right back in the game at 13-10. The long ball was Wise’s fifth of the series and eighth of 2014. The former Los Angeles Dodger prospect finished the day with six RBI and two home runs in a 2-5 showing at the dish. After Wise’s smash, the RedHawks brought in Coty Woods to try and finish the deal. He forced three straight hitters to bounce out to second base and the game was over just like that.

Khoury stole the 100th base of his career in the game’s first inning off of Bowlin. Wise, Clevlen, and McMurray combined for all 10 of the team’s RBI. Nic Jackson of Fargo also found success at the plate in this one, going 4-5 with a double and two RBI.

The Wingnuts open a four-game series with division rival Grand Prairie on Monday night at 7:05 p.m. RHP Justin Klipp (5-1) will get the start while the AirHogs hurler is to be decided. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wise’s Fireworks Aid 5-1 Win Over RedHawks

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (JUNE 20, 2014) – As is the case on every Friday night that features a Wichita Wingnuts’ home game at Lawrence-Dumont, there was a post-game fireworks show scheduled to entertain the fans after the final out was recorded. Much to the pleasure of the 3,943 fans in attendance, designated hitter J.T. Wise decided to begin the explosives earlier than planned. The former Johnny Bench Award winner launched two home runs and finished with three RBI and paired with Jon Link and the bullpen to beat the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 5-1.

The Wingnuts (24-11) jumped on Fargo starting pitcher Danny Gutierrez (2-3) in the second inning to take the first lead. Chris McMurray walked with one out and then raced around the bases to score when Chris McClendon laced a two-out double toward the right-center gap. McClendon advanced to third on a throwing error by Brandon Newton, but was stranded there when Colt Loehrs bounced out.

Wise struck with his first long ball of the evening in the fifth to double the lead. He drove a Gutierrez fastball out to deep center and off of the video board for his fourth home run of the season.

Link (4-2) had held Fargo-Moorhead (20-14) to just a lone hit through the first five innings of the ballgame. He also retired the first two hitters of the sixth inning, before allowing a ground-rule double to Ronnie Bourquin and a follow-up RBI single by Sawyer Carroll that trimmed the advantage to 2-1. Link would end up working into the eighth, having allowed the lone run on four hits, while striking out seven. The right-hander’s solid outing moved the starting rotation’s total of quality starts to 23. Link allowed one run or less for the fourth time this season in eight starts.

The Wingnuts added big insurance runs in both the seventh and eighth frames. Taylor Oldham scored McClendon with a fielder’s ground out to third base in the seventh inning, before Wise plated two with his fifth home run of the year in the next stanza. Those runs pushed the lead to 5-1.

Kevin Hooper and Link reflect on the nice win and Wise's big day.

Relievers Patrick Mincey and Alex Hinshaw finished off the RedHawks with a scoreless inning each, moving the Nuts record to 21-1 when holding a lead after seven innings.

Aside from Wise, Ryan Khoury, David Amberson, Carlo Testa, and McClendon each ended the night with a pair of base knocks. The RedHawks had pitchers commit throwing errors on attempted pickoffs at first base in three consecutive innings that allowed a Wichita runner to go from first to third.

The same two foes will meet again on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. The pitching match-up will feature Wichita LHP Anthony Capra (4-2) against RedHawks’ RHP Brian Ernst (2-3). It is Bark in the Park Night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium so feel free to bring your dog along for the game! The game can be heard live on 92.7 KWME with pre-game kicking off at 6:50 p.m. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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GM Robertson Named One of Top 25 Most Influential People in Wichita Sports

WICHITA, KS (June 18, 2014) – Wichita Wingnuts’ President and General Manager Josh Robertson has been involved in the game of baseball his whole life and has received many honors both on and off the field.  His name has become synonymous with professional baseball in the city of Wichita and as a result he was named one of the Top 25 Most Influential People in Wichita Sports by the Wichita sports Hall of Fame and KGSO Sports Talk Radio.

“Josh’s family upbringing has played a large role in his success throughout his career.  He loves the game of baseball and always displays honesty, integrity, and a knack for being in the right place at the right time,” said Steve Ruud, one of three owners of the team.  “He deserves this award because he loves the city of Wichita immeasurably.  We are sure glad to have him working for us.”

Robertson, one of four brothers who each serve a different role in the organization, began his successful journey within America’s pastime at Maize High School.  The 1993 graduate earned All-State honors before heading to Allen County Community College to play at the next level.  The catcher eventually made his way to Wichita’s own Friends University, where he became an NAIA First-Team All-American, Triple Crown Winner, and National Player of The Year Finalist.  Injuries would eventually cause Robertson to hang up the spikes and move into a coaching role.

He spent a couple of years directing the Trinity Academy varsity squad before moving to Wichita Collegiate School in an assistant role.  During his six years with the Spartans, Robertson’s teams won back-to-back state championships and made it to the state tournament three straight years.  During the summer he was also the coach of the Wichita Twins, now known as the Derby Twins, leading them to three different NBC World Series appearances.

Following Robertson’s coaching stint; he found his way to Kansas City, where he was employed by Recreational Technologies as a Team Representative for the Seattle Mariners and Chicago White Sox.  After a year in KC, he moved back to Wichita to marry the love of his life, Monica, and made his first voyage to the front office, a place he has not departed from in 15 years.  He spent eight years with the Wichita Wranglers,the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, and is now in his seventh season with the Wingnuts. 

“Josh is one of the most passionate baseball people I have ever been around and it shows in his dedication to the team, fans, and Wichita baseball”, owner Gary Austerman explained. “I know that I speak for all the members of the Wichita Wingnuts ownership when I say we are very lucky to have him as our General Manager. He really gets the job done.”

A general manager, by definition, is supposed to oversee all facets of an organization from sales, to marketing, to the coaches and players on the field. Robertson’s path through the front office of the Wranglers, and now the Wingnuts, has allowed him to become familiar with all aspects of running a baseball team.   He began as the Wranglers’ and National Baseball Congress World Series’ Operations Manager in December of the year 2000.  After a pair of seasons in that role he became the Baseball and Stadiums Operation Manager.  He continued to climb the organizational ladder, advancing to the position of Assistant General Manager and eventually becoming co-General Manager before the franchise departed town.

Steve Shaad, Robertson’s former boss with the Wranglers, credited his old employee’s work ethic and pedigree.  “Josh is a terrifically hard worker that will do everything and literally has done everything at the ballpark.  Clearly the family upbringing he had, with baseball engrained in his life, has played a role in that. I initially hired him as groundskeeper and he just kept moving up the ranks in no time at all.”

Robertson took over as President and General Manager of the Wingnuts prior to their first season in 2008 and is the only individual to hold that role.  He is also the President and GM of the NBC World Series.  With Robertson at the helm, Wichita has reached the American Association’s Championship Series in each of the past two seasons and has won four division titles. 

Wingnuts’ owner Nate Robertson, who is Josh’s younger brother, knows that his sibling takes pride in both the team and the city.  “Growing up together I have had a chance to be around Josh my whole life.  For him to be recognized as one of the most influential Wichitans in sports comes as no surprise to me”, the former Major Leaguer explained.  “He is extremely dedicated and the amount of time and passion he puts into the job is immeasurable.  Josh takes pride in his hometown and makes it a priority of his to ensure that the organization is run in the best way possible and offers a great experience to fans in the city.”

The Wichita Sports Hall of Fame and KGSO honor the most influential sports-related people in the city every five years.  Robertson was ranked 21st in the 2014 edition of the awards.  Paul Savage, who operates the hall, had high praise for Robertson.  “As the GM of the Wichita Wingnuts’ professional baseball team, Josh’s importance to the city’

s sports scene includes not only the high-quality product on the field, but a large, positive, economic impact on Wichita and the quality of life of its’ residents,” said Savage. The 39-year old also received a similar honor in 2009, when he was named one of the Top 40 Most Influential People in Wichita Sports by the same committee.  

For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Win Wild One 13-7 To Complete Sweep of Laredo

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

Laredo, TX (June 18, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts needed a victory on Wednesday night at Uni-Trade Stadium to sweep the Lemurs for a second time this season and move to 7-0 against the second-place team in the South in 2014. They used 13 hits to score 13 runs and hung a crooked number on the board in four different innings to run away with a 13-7 victory in a 3:52 inning marathon.

The Wingnuts (23-11) had Justin Klipp (5-1) on the hill with his league-leading 0.94 ERA. John Alonso was able to put a quick run on the board in Laredo’s column in the second inning with a solo home run just out of Carlo Testa’s reach in left field to make it 1-0 in favor of the home team. It was Laredo’s first time holding the lead in the series.

The Wingnuts would grab the lead away in the third inning by taking full advantage of some shoddy defense by the Lemurs (17-15). With Josh Strawn (3-3) on the bump, David Amberson reached to start the inning on an error by third baseman Josh Scheffert. Amberson was caught stealing to clear the bases before Ryan Khoury also reached via an error on shortstop Devin Goodwin. Testa followed with a single and then with two down, Brent Clevlen hit a groundball back to the pitcher Strawn. The right-hander threw the ball over the head of first baseman Gerardo Avila allowing Khoury to score and two men to remain on base. Chris McClendon, who had struggled at the plate of late, smashed a three-run home run the opposite way to left to put Wichita ahead 4-1.

The Wingnuts would score four more runs in the fourth inning. Khoury contributed with an RBI double, Jake Kahaulelio scored a run with a fielder’s choice groundout, and Clevlen looped a two-RBI single to shallow right to grab an 8-1 advantage. The lead was extended to 9-1 in the fifth, when Khoury added his second RBI on a single that scored Chris McMurray.

Thing appeared to be easily in control at the time, but Laredo came back with a vengeance in the fifth. Five straight batters reached against Klipp to start the inning with Travis Denker and Alonso gathering RBI. After a strikeout by Avila, Josh Scheffert added one more run-scoring single to chase Klipp after 4.1 innings. Jason Van Skike, whose next scheduled start will be skipped, came out of the bullpen and retired the two batters he faced in the remainder of the inning to retain a 9-5 lead. Denker added another RBI in the sixth on a single that scored Devin Goodwin to cut the lead to three.

Each team would score in the eighth frame, adding to an already full scoreboard. McMurray made sure that the Wingnuts would remain in control by hitting his third home run of the year, a two run blast to left, which pushed the lead out to 11-6. The Lemurs got one back on a sacrifice fly by Goodwin in the bottom half.

The Wingnuts put the finishing touches on the game against Jeremy Strawn, the starting pitcher’s younger brother, in the ninth. Strawn walked the bases full and then allowed an RBI single to Testa. Strawn was removed in favor of Estevan Uriegas who allowed a sacrifice fly to Kahaulelio, the first batter he faced. Uriegas walked Clevlen to reload the bases before striking out a pair to end the frame with the final margin of 13-7.

Mike Zouzalik and Matt Robertson each worked a scoreless inning in relief of Klipp, who earned his league-high tying fifth win of the season. Seven batters in the game managed to tally multiple RBI, five for Wichita and two for Laredo. Denker and Alonso each had a pair for the Lemurs. Khoury, Kahaulelio, Clevlen, and McMurray had two for the Wingnuts and McClendon finsished with three.

It was the second sweep of the Lemurs by the Wingnuts in 2014. They extended their lead in the south division to 5.0 games.

The Wingnuts have an off day on Thursday, before hosting the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks for the only time this season at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Jon Link (3-2) will take the mound for the Wingnuts that night. It will be Teddy Bear Toss, so make sure to bring new or lightly used stuffed animals to throw on the field when the Winguts score their first run of the game. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Brown and Testa Team Up To Take Out Laredo 5-1

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

Laredo, TX (June 17, 2014) - Tim Brown worked his sixth straight quality start and limited the Laredo Lemurs, the American Association’s top offense, to just one run in 7.0 innings on Tuesday night in a 5-1 victory at Uni-Trade Stadium.He was helped by a 2-4 performance from left fielder Carlo Testa who was responsible for all four RBI the Wingnuts were credited with in the game.

The Wingnuts (22-11) struck first against Laredo fill-in starter Mike Shreves (1-1) in the second inning. David Amberson led off the inning with a double down the left field line and moved to third on a single by Ryan Khoury that caromed off of third baseman Josh Scheffert’s glove. Amberson raced home on a passed ball by catcher Angel Flores to put the Nuts on top and then Testa ripped a single through the right side to score Khoury and put Wichita in front 2-0.

Brown (5-1) would allow his only run of the night in the third, when Scheffert hit a one out homer to left in the third inning that cut the lead in half. Brown would end up allowing a hit in six of the innings he threw, but never gave up more than one in an inning. The quality start was the rotation’s 22nd in 33 games to start to the season. Brown currently has a league-leading five wins.

The short-handed pitching rotation of the Lemurs was pushed to the limit as Pete Incaviglia, the Laredo manager, was forced to throw six different pitchers in the game after Shreves lasted just 4.0 innings. The Wingnuts, specifically Testa, capitalized on the first and second pitchers out of the bullpen to pad the advantage. During Seth Lintz’s third inning in relief of Shreves, J.T. Wise started the inning by doubling to left. With two outs Khoury drew a walk and Incaviglia made the decision to go with lefty Kristhiam Linares against the left-handed hitting Testa. The Wingnuts’ leading hitter jumped on the first pitch from Linares and rocketed a ball out of the park to left to score three and give Wichita a 5-1 lead.

Post-game thioughts of Kevin Hooper and Testa

Neither team would score the rest of the way as Caleb Graham, Tyler Pearson, and Chad Povich combined to slow the Wingnuts and the combination of Daniel Bennett and Alex Hinshaw each worked a scoreless, hitless inning to close out Laredo (17-14). Hinshaw struck out the side in his frame and has yet to allow a run this year.

Seven members of the Wichita lineup mustered a hit, while Testa was the lone individual with multiple. The Wingnuts improved to 6-0 against Laredo this season and pushed their lead in the South Division standings to four games.

RHP Justin Klipp (4-1), the league’s ERA leader, will start in Wednesday night’s series-finale at 7:30 p.m. with RHP Josh Strawn (3-2) toeing the rubber for the Lemurs. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Long-Balls Lead to 7-4 Win Over Lemurs

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

Laredo, TX (June 16, 2014) – After losing their first series of the season the day-before to Amarillo, the Wichita Wingnuts entered Monday night’s showdown with the second-place Laredo Lemurs starving for a victory at Uni-Trade Stadium. The pitching of starter Anthony Capra and three home runs by the bats, helped to quell that hunger in a big way as the Wingnuts took home a 7-4 road victory.

The display of power began with no warning at the very beginning of the night as leadoff hitter Ryan Khoury took Laredo starter Cesar Carillo deep in the first at-bat of the game for his first home run of the season.

Laredo (17-13) would manage to tie the game with a run of their own in the bottom of the first, without the aid of a hit. Capra walked Nick Van Stratten to begin the game and then the centerfielder took matters into his own hands. He tagged up and went to second on a deep fly out by Goodwin, stole third, and came home when Chris McClendon dropped a throw from Chris McMurray who was trying to pick Van Stratten off of third after a pitch.

In the very next inning, McMurray reached on an error by shortstop Devin Goodwin and was driven in with a blast to left of the two-run variety by DH J.T. Wise. The long-ball was the third this year for Wise and moved Wichita back in front 3-1.

With Capra slowing the Lemurs’ bats, David Amberson led off inning number five with an infield single and advanced to second when the third baseman, Angel Flores, hurried a throw and was off target, sending it rolling down the right field line. After Khoury flied out, Carlo Testa put the Wingnuts ahead 4-1 with a single through the right side.

Capra would be removed in the seventh inning, having surrendered his first earned run on an RBI single by Carlos Ramirez that brought in designated hitter John Alonso, who had previously walked. Capra was nothing short of efficient in limiting the league’s leading offense in numerous categories through 6.1 innings. He gave up just three hits and one earned run, while striking out six and walking four. The call went to right-hander Mike Zouzalik with the Wingnuts leading 4-2 and a runner on first with one out. It took Zouzalik only two pitches to coax a 6-4-3 double play from Harrison Kain to end the frame.

With lefty Casey Harman replacing Carillo for the eighth inning, Wichita struck for a trio of big insurance runs. Khoury began the inning by drawing his league-high tying 30th walk of the season which began the inning. With one out, Jake Kahaulelio singled and then Brent Clevlen came through with a mammoth shot to left center to score three and put a 7-2 margin between the rivals.

That turned out to be a huge hit when shortstop Devin Goodwin lined his seventh home run of the season over the wall in left off of set-up man Patrick Mincey to cut the Wingnuts’ edge to three at 7-4. After a scoreless top of the ninth, Matt Nevarez entered in the bottom half and did not allow a base runner on his way to earning his league-leading 10th save.

Khoury and Testa each finished with two hits apiece. Clevlen closed the night with three RBI and Wise added a pair of runs driven in. Capra added another quality start to the long list of them this season by the starting rotation. Tonight’s was the 21st in 32 games.

Clevlen and manager Kevin Hooper share their thoughts on the win after the game.

The Wingnuts (21-11) will throw RHP Tim Brown (4-1) in game two on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The Lemurs starter is to be announced. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Sox Smother Wingnuts in 5-1 Defeat

Amarillo, TX (June 14. 2014) – One night after racking up 15 runs on 19 hits, the Wichita Wingnuts were not as successful going up against a trio of Amarillo pitchers on Saturday night in Amarillo National Bank Sox Stadium. Starter Dayne Quist partnered with relievers Kellen Moen and Erik Draxton to limit the Nuts offense to one run on six hits in a 5-1 Sox victory.

Amarillo (10-18) jumped ahead in the second inning against Wingnuts’ starter Jason Van Skike (2-1), who was making his second start of the year, when Kyle Bellows hit a solo home run to left and made it 1-0.

The Sox used the long ball to strike once again off of Van Skike in the third. Jason Martin, the nine-hitter, tripled to left field to start the frame. After Keith Brachold was retired for the first out, Omar Luna lofted a sacrifice fly to centerfield that was deep enough to score Martin and it was 2-0. After Derek Perren singled, Cory Patton crushed a ball over both fences in right field to extend the home team’s cushion to 4-0.

The Wingnuts (20-10) would not get on the board until the fourth against Quist (1-2) who has been the best pitcher in 2014 for the Sox. Jake Kahahulelio started the inning by drawing a walk and moved all the way to third on a double to left-center by Brent Clevlen. With runners on second and third and nobody out, Chris McMurray grounded to Luna at second to score a run and cut the deficit to 4-1. However, the next two batters, J.T. Wise and Chris McClendon, were retired and Clevlen was stranded on third.

The Sox were able to get that run back immediately in the bottom half with an RBI double courtesy of Jason Martin who finished the night 2-3 with a pair of extra-base hits. Van Skike worked 6.0 innings and allowed five runs on six hits with one strikeout and was dealt his first loss of the season.

Quist was just a little too good on this night and allowed only the one run on five hits through 5.2 innings. He walked four and struck out one, but stranded runners on base throughout the evening. He turned things over to Kellen Moen, the most often used Amarillo reliever, with two outs in the sixth and Moen was up to the task. The right-hander worked through the eighth inning without giving up even a single hit. The closer Erik Draxton came in for the ninth and allowed two runners to reach, but none of them to cross home plate on his way to closing the door on the Nuts.

After the Wingnuts had every member of the starting lineup register a hit in back-to-back nights, McMurray was the only one to collect multiple base knocks in this one. He finished 2-4. The Wingnuts left 10 runners on base in the game and six in scoring position.

The starting pitchers in tomorrow’s series-finale will be RHP Jon Link (3-1) for Wichita and RHP Mike Nannini (3-2) for Amarillo. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. The game can be heard on 92.7 KWME or by heading to wichitawingnuts.com and clicking the “Listen Live” link. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Late Comeback Attempt Falls Short as Wingnuts Drop First Series in ‘14

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

Amarillo, TX (June 15, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts entered the rubber match of a three-game series with Amarillo on Sunday evening having won or earned a split in every series up to that point in the 2014 season. However, an opportunistic Amarillo club that cashed in on the limited chances they were presented, held on late to defeat the Wingnuts 4-3 at Amarillo National Bank Sox Stadium and win the series 2-1.

The Sox (11-18) were forced to pitch reliever Matt Larkins (3-2) in a starting role for the second time this year, after appearing out of the bullpen in 11 of his first 12 appearances. After shutting out Wichita for the first two innings, the Wingnuts took the lead in the third. With two outs Ryan Khoury hit a line drive directly at the third baseman Kevin Mahoney. Mahoney had the ball bounce in and out of his glove and fall to the turf, allowing Khoury to reach on the error. Carlo Testa followed by rifling a ball on the ground at first baseman Keith Brachold, who had it bound off of his chest and down the line to allow a pair on with two out. Jake Kahaulelio ripped a clutch single through the left side to put Wichita ahead 1-0.

Amarillo answered back with a crooked number against Wingnuts starter Jon Link (3-2), who entered play with a string of five consecutive quality starts intact. Jeff Farnham led off with a single and Mahoney followed immediately with a double to put two in scoring position with nary an out. Jason Martin grounded to second base to push in the first run for the home team and tie the game. Brachold then hit a triple just out of the reach of a diving Brent Clevlen in center that rolled to the wall and put Amarillo on top 2-1. The next batter, Omar Luna, tallied his second hit of the game and drove in a third run in the frame with a single to extend the advantage to 3-1.

Corey Patton drove in what would turn out to be a huge run in the sixth inning when he hit the first offering from Link over the wall in straight-away center to put Amarillo ahead 4-1.

That run would be huge because of what the Wingnuts did in the seventh against Larkins. J.T. Wise started things with a leadoff double and then with one out David Amberson singled to left to put runners on the corners. Sox manager Bobby Brown went to the bullpen and called on righty Casey Beck. Beck allowed an RBI fielder’s choice groundout to the first batter he faced, Khoury, and a run-scoring double to left by Carlo Testa before he was pulled. Those two runs closed the book on Larkins who went 6.1 innings, allowed three runs, and gave up six hits. Andrew Brooks made his professional debut by striking out Clevlen on three pitches to end the inning with two on base and Wichita still trailing 4-3.

The duo of John Holdzkom and closer Erik Draxton shut down the Wingnuts in the eighth and ninth respectively, each stranding a runner at second base in their frame.

Khoury paced the Wichita offense with three hits, a run scored, and an RBI. Testa was the only other member of the lineup with multiple hits, finishing 2-5 with an RBI double. Link ended up throwing 8.0 innings and giving up four runs on seven hits.

The Wingnuts will travel to Laredo for a big match-up with the second place team in the South, the Laredo Lemurs, on Monday night at 7:30 p.m. LHP Anthony Capra (3-2) works for the Wingnuts against RHP Cesar Carillo (2-1) of the Lemurs. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Wear Out Sox in High-Scoring Affair

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

AMARILLO, TX (June 13, 2014) – By the time Friday night’s game at National Bank Sox Stadium reached the ninth inning, cars passing by on the highway that caught a glimpse of the scoreboard probably assumed there was a football game taking place inside. That wasn’t the case, however, it was simply an offensive clinic put on by the Wichita Wingnuts as they secured a 15-7 victory over the Amarillo Sox and racked up a season-high 19 hits.

The Wingnuts (20-9) scored early and often against Sox starter, and former Wingnut, Derek Blacksher and the rest of the Amarillo pitching staff. By the time the night was over, every hitter in the starting lineup had registered at least one hit, five tallied more than one RBI, five scored multiple runs, and six had a multi-hit game.

The scoring began in the third inning with a bases-loaded two-RBI single by Carlo Testa off of Blacksher to jump in front 2-0. Testa would end up going 4-5 with two RBI and scored three runs. J.T. Wise scored Chris McMurray with a double down the left field line in the next inning to increase the lead by one run.

Testa shared his thoughta on the game afterwards.

The Sox (9-18) were able to scratch across a couple of runs in the fourth inning by taking advantage of multiple defensive miscues by the Wingnuts, who came into the game leading the American Association in fielding percentage. Kyle Nichols and Keith Brachold both reached on errors to kick the frame off and then Kyle Bellows singled to load the bases with nobody out. Kevin Mahoney grounded into a fielder’s choice in which the Wingnuts threw out the lead runner at the plate for the first out. Jeff Farnham hit a hard groundball to third that took a nasty hop and hit Taylor Oldham in the side of the head. The ball caromed back to pitcher Justin Klipp who threw home for the force out, but the ball bounced out Wise’s mitt and rolled away, allowing two runs to cross the plate and the lead to shrink to 3-2. Oldham left the game, but was in good spirits afterwards and shouldn’t miss considerable time.

Klipp (4-1), who began the game second in the league in ERA, allowed nothing after the sloppy inning and worked his way to another quality start by giving up no earned runs in 6.0 innings on the mound and surrendering just four hits. The Wingnuts have now received a quality start in 20 of their first 29 games. Klipp saw his earned run average shrink even further to a league-best 0.94.

Wichita hung a crooked number in back-to-back innings in the fifth and sixth. In the first of the two, McMurray struck the initial blow with a two-RBI single that scored both Ryan Khoury and Testa. The next batter, Wise, pummeled a pitch over the wall to left field that scored three more and put the visiting ahead 8-2. The catcher went 3-4 and drove in four runs while scoring two. The next inning was capped off by a two-RBI double by Brent Clevlen that extended the cushion to 10-2.

The lead would reach as high as 10 after a two-run home run by Colt Loehrs made it 12-2, but Amarillo cut that in half in the bottom half of the same inning. In Alan Williams’ second inning out of the bullpen, Amarillo had seven consecutive hitters reach base as they scored five runs on six hits and one walk. Kevin Hooper brought in Mike Zouzalik for damage control and the right-hander induced a 5-3 double play on his first pitch and struck out the next batter to make the decision pay off and escape the inning up 12-7.

The Wingnuts added three more runs in the top of the ninth against former major leaguer Josh Spence topushthe lead to the final margin. Clevlen and McMurray were responsible for the runs coming in. Daniel Bennett worked a scoreless ninth inning to seal the win.

The same teams will play again on Saturday night with RHP Jason Van Skike (2-0) of the Wingnuts facing LHP Dayne Quist of Amarillo at 7:05 p.m. The game can be heard on 92.7 KWME or by heading to wichitawingnuts.com and clicking the “Listen Live” link. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Grill T-Bones 4-3 To Take Series

Wingnuts Grill T-Bones 4-3 To Take Series

WICHITA, KS (June 12, 2014) – It wasn’t the prettiest victory of the season, but the Wichita Wingnuts put their resiliency on display and ended up laughing last in Thursday night’s 4-3 win over the visiting Kansas City T-Bones at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Tim Brown allowed the T-Bones to reach double digits in the hits column, but stranded numerous runners throughout the night on his way to another quality start. The Wingnuts matched the T-Bones hit-for-hit and everybody in the starting lineup registered at least one hit.

Kansas City (13-14) would scratch across a run in the first inning for a second straight night as David Espinosa reached on an error and then eventually scored when Danny Richar doubled down the left field line to give KC an early 1-0 lead. Brown bore down for the first time of the night when he followed by getting consecutive groundouts to strand Richar at second.

Unlike the night before, the Wingnuts (19-9) responded immediately with runs over their own, using three doubles to get the job done. Carlo Testa ripped the first two-bagger with one out and Jake Kahaulelio followed with one of his own to score Testa and tie the game. After Brent Clevlen flied out to right field, Chris McClendon also split the gap to drive in Kahahulelio and give the Wingnuts their first lead at 2-1.

The Wingnuts added an unearned run in the second inning to go up 3-1. Colt Loehrs reached on an error by third baseman T.J. Mittelstaedt to get the frame started. The next two batters made the error hurt as Taylor Oldham singled and Ryan Khoury followed with another base hit that scored Loehrs and made it 3-1 in the Nuts’ favor.

Kansas City would chip away at the lead off of Brown in the fourth. Mittelstaedt reached on a fielder’s choice with one down and then stole second base. Vladimir Frias moved him to third with a single, before Brian Erie grounded out to short and beat out the attempted double play to bring home a run and cut the lead to 3-2.

The same combination of hitters came through for the visitors two innings later to tie the game. Giarraputo led off with an infield single to third and was moved to second courtesy of a sacrifice bunt from Mittelstaedt. The small ball continued with a ground out to the right side by Frias, allowing Giarraputo to advance 90 feet. Erie got the job done again, this time singling home a run to knot the score at three.

The T-Bones threatened to take the lead in Brown’s final inning on the hill. With one out Espinosa doubled, forcing Kevin Hooper to call on southpaw Alex Hinshaw to face a pair of upcoming lefties. Hinshaw struck out both batters he faced, Richar and Nick Schwaner, to hold the score. Brown threw 6.1 innings and gave up ten hits, but allowed just three runs, two of them earned. The quality start was the 19th in 28 games for the league’s top pitching staff.

Hinshaw (1-0) became the winning pitcher when his offense scored the winning run in the bottom half of the same inning. After the first two batters were struck out by reliever Kyle Devore, Clevlen hit a double and McClendon followed with an RBI single to grab the lead away for good. The third baseman finished the game 2-4 with two runs driven in.

Set-up man Patrick Mincey and closer Matt Nevarez continued to stifle opposing bats by shutting down the T-Bones in the eighth and ninth innings. Mincey allowed a base runner via a base on balls and Nevarez allowed just a single on the way to recording his league-leading ninth save. The Wingnuts now hold a 17-1 record when leading after the seventh inning.

The Wingnuts will travel to play the Amarillo Sox for the first time this year on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. In the opener of the three-game series, RHP Justin Klipp will toss for Wichita and RHP Derek Blacksher will go for Amarillo. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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KC Scores Late to Knock Off Nuts 4-2

WICHITA, KS (June 11, 2014) – Anthony Capra of the Wichita Wingnuts and Daniel Barone of the Kansas City T-Bones were each facing their opponent for a third time in the 2014 season on Wednesday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. The two starting pitchers battled to a dead heat through seven innings, but the bullpen of the T-Bones was just a little bit sturdier on this night as Kansas City held on for a 4-2 win.

The T-Bones (13-13) didn’t waste any time getting on the board against Capra. The second batter of the game, David Espinosa, launched a ball out of the park to left to put KC on top 1-0. The T-Bones struck again before Capra got settled in on the hill to go up 2-0 in the second. T.J. Mittelstaedt singled with one out and catcher Brian Erie followed with a run-scoring double down the left field line.

Capra would shut out the T-Bones the rest of the way, ending his night after working 7.0 innings and having allowed two runs on seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Capra continued the early-season dominance by the Wingnuts’ starting rotation. They have now lasted at least 6.0 innings in 22 of 27 games and 18 of such appearances have qualified for a quality start (6.0 innings, three earned runs or less).

Barone (4-0), meanwhile, was continuing his domination of the Wingnuts’ offense. Before the seventh inning began, the right-hander had allowed just three earned runs to Wichita in 18.2 innings against them. In the seventh the Wingnuts would fight back without smacking the ball around. Jake Kahaulelio was hit by a pitch to start the inning and then Brent Clevlen was walked. Third baseman Chris McClendon advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt before Chris McMurray ended the drought by bouncing into an RBI fielder’s choice to cut the lead in half at 2-1. With two outs, J.T. Wise clutched up and singled home Clevlen to tie the game.

Barone was taken out of the game following that inning having thrown 7.0 innings and allowing the two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and a walk.

Matt Robertson came on to pitch the eighth inning and the first two batters he faced singled right back through the middle to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Robertson was replaced by left-hander Alex Hinshaw who gave up an RBI single to Danny Richar, the first batter he faced. After hitting Nick Schwaner with a pitch, Hinshaw allowed a second run-scoring base hit to Nick Giarraputo to push the KC lead to 4-2. After an error by McClendon on the following play, Daniel Bennett came on and stranded the bases loaded to keep the game within reach.

Daniel Bennett worked 1.1 scoreless innings out of the bullpen, but the offense couldn’t score against either Chris Squires or Kris Regas, sealing their fate. Robertson (0-2) was dealt the loss with both eighth-inning runs charged to him. Wise went 3-4 at the plate with a double and an RBI.

Wise and manager Kevin Hooper share their post-game thoughts.

The two teams play once again on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. The game will represent the final match-up in the KTA Turnpike Showdown, which Wichita currently leads 5-4. On the mound will be RHP Tim Brown of the Wingnuts and T-Bones’ RHP Andy Noga. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Mac Attacks as Nuts Take 7-1 Decision Over KC

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 10,2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts rode their Tuesday night battery of Jon Link and Chris McMurray to a 7-1 win over in-state rival Kansas City at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Link contributed his fifth straight quality start in limiting the T-Bones to one run in 7.0 innings, while the catcher McMurray went 3-4 and drove in three runs.

The Wingnuts (18-8) struck first against Wichita native, and T-Bones’ starter, Matt Smith in the bottom of the second inning. Brent Clevlen doubled to start the frame and moved over to third on a deep fly ball by the next batter Chris McClendon. McMurray took advantage of the opportunity by grounding deep into the hole at short to allow Clevlen to score and give the Nuts a 1-0 lead.

After breezing through the first two innings, Link allowed a run in the third, but rebounded to strand the bases loaded and preserve a tie. The right-hander walked T.J. Mittelstaedt and Robby Kuzdale with a groundout by Brian Erie sandwiched in between. Bryan Sabatella singled to load the bases with one out for David Espinosa. The left fielder grounded a ball softly to second and Jake Kahaulelio’s only play was to first, so the tying run crossed home plate. After another walk to Danny Richar, Link got Nick Schwaner to fly out to left and end the inning.

Link would not allow another run in the game as he held the T-Bones (12-13) to just a pair of hits and let one more runner reach scoring position in his outing. Link (3-1) lowered his ERA to 3.15 and continued an impressive start to the season for the league’s best pitching staff. The Wingnuts have now received an outing of at least 6.0 innings by their starting pitcher in 21 of the first 26 games, with 17 of them being quality starts.

Kevin Hooper and Jon Link share their thoughts post-game

The Wingnuts grabbed the lead at 2-1 in the fifth inning on an RBI single by Colt Loehrs that scored McMurray from second after he had singled and stole second base. That lead held until the seventh when Wichita finally hung a crooked number on Smith, once again courtesy of the Wingnuts’ backstop. With one out McClendon singled and then McMurray jumped all over a 2-2 fastball and laced it over the wall in left to extend the advantage to 4-1.

The home team used a combination of speed and timely hitting to add three more in the eighth inning against reliever Jared Messer. David Amberson reached on an infield single prior to a bloop single by Ryan Khoury. With runners on the corners Carlo Testa grounded into a run-scoring fielder’s choice to move the lead to 5-1. Kahaulelio then hit a chopper to short, where Vladimir Frias fielded and threw low and wide to first. The ball escaped Schwaner and rolled into foul territory while Testa raced around the bases and scored. With Kahaulelio at third, McClendon lofted a sacrifice fly to left to score the final run of the game which made it 7-1.

Patrick Mincey and Alan Williams each worked a scoreless inning in relief of Link. Khoury and Clevlen joined McMurray in the multi-hit club, while McClendon extended his hit streak at the outset of his Wingnuts’ career to eight games.

The Wingnuts and T-Bones are back at it on Wednesday night with Wichita sending LHP Anthony Capra (3-2) to the mound to face off with RHP Daniel Barone (3-0) of KC. It will be the third edition of Way-Back Wednesday at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium as the team celebrates the 1960’s. General admission tickets will cost just one dollar and many events throughout the night will have a 60’s feel to them. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Pitching Shines as Wingnuts Split Doubleheader with Grand Prairie

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

GRAND PRAIRIE, TX (June 8, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts struggled to score for most of their Sunday afternoon doubleheader at QuikTrip Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, but managed to break free at the plate in the nick of time to win game two and earn a split for the day. The AirHogs won a pitcher’s duel to take game one 1-0 and the Wingnuts allowed a couple of late runs to force extra innings in game two before running away 8-2 in eight innings.

In game one, Justin Klipp brought his miniscule 1.03 ERA to the hill in a match-up with Grand Prairie right-hander Aaron Wilkerson. The AirHogs were able to scratch across the game’s only run in the very first inning. Former Wingnut Abel Nieves singled with one out in the inning and after a walk to Palmer Karr Jr., raced home on an RBI single by former major leaguer Jason Botts.

The Wingnuts would have plenty of chances to score throughout the game, but could never cash in and reach the scoreboard. In both the second and third inning, Wichita put a pair of runners on with one out, but could not move them from there. In the fifth inning, Carlo Testa drove a one out triple off the wall in center to put the tying run just 90 feet away for the middle of the order. However, Wilkerson struck out Jake Kahaulelio and was able to get Brent Clevlen to ground out to short to preserve the AirHogs’ advantage.

In the sixth, the offense put runners on second and third with just one down after Wise and McMurray reached base and were bunted over by Chris McClendon. Back-to-back ground outs to short by Colt Loehrs and David Amberson kept the score in Grand Prairie’s favor.

Trailing by one in the final inning, the Wingnuts came up empty in their best chance of the afternoon. With closer Dakota Watts in the game, the Wingnuts loaded the bases with one out on a single by Testa, double by Kahaulelio, and intentional walk to Clevlen. With the game teetering in Wichita’s favor, J.T. Wise struck out looking and McMurray grounded out to end the game. The Nuts left at least one runner on base in each of the seven innings.

Klipp (3-1) was handed his first loss despite turning in another stellar outing. He allowed just the one run in 6.0 innings on three hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

The second game of the twin-bill was scoreless until Taylor Oldham changed that in the fifth. The designated hitter, who hadn’t played since Wednesday, launched a 2-run home run off of reliever Jeremy Tietze, who had just entered the game to face him.

Jason Van Skike, who was making his first start of the year, worked 5.0 scoreless innings and allowed just three hits, while striking out three.

Patrick Mincey came on to pitch the eighth inning against his former team having not allowed a run in the 2014 season to that point. Abel Nieves singled with one out and that was followed by a booming double to center by Palmer Karr Jr. After Botts popped out on the infield, Andres Rodriguez smashed a double off of the wall to score both runners and tie the game at two.

After neither team scored in the seventh inning, the Wingnuts broke through for six in the eighth, the first extra frame. Testa gave Wichita the lead with a one out solo home run that left the park on a line and landed in the right field bleacher seats. Kahaulelio followed with a double and then Clevlen also hit a ball that left the yard to put the Wingnuts on top 5-2. Before the inning was over, Oldham added a two-run double off of the wall and Testa was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded for his second RBI of the inning.

Matt Nevarez came on in the bottom half and struck out the side to close out the win. Oldham finished game two 2-4 with four RBI and two runs scored, while Clevlen and Loehrs each added a pair of knocks themselves. Mike Zouzalik worked a scoreless seventh inning to earn his first win of the season.

The Wingnuts will take the day off on Monday, before hosting Kansas City at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in game one of a three-game series on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Kansas City Clutches Up; Tops Wingnuts 6-2

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

KANSAS CITY, KS (June 5, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts missed on a couple of big opportunities and the Kansas City T-Bones cashed in on their chances on Thursday night at Community America Ballpark, propelling the T-Bones to a 6-2 victory.

The Wingnuts (15-7) loaded the bases in the first inning with nobody out as they threatened to score a first inning run for the fifth straight game. Ryan Khoury walked, Carlo Testa singled, and Jake Kahaulelio was hit by a pitch to set the stage for the middle of the order. However, T-Bones’ starter Daniel Barone rebounded to strike out the next three hitters in a row and escape the inning unscathed.

The Wingnuts shook off that disappointment to score the game’s first run in the third inning.   Brent Clevlen singled with two out and would race around to score on a two-strike double by the designated hitter J.T. Wise, putting Wichita up 1-0.

The lead wouldn’t last long however, as Kansas City (10-11) snatched the lead away in the bottom of the fourth when they got to starting pitcher Anthony Capra for the first time. Leadoff hitter T.J. Mittelstaedt started the inning with a double down the right field line. Mittelstaedt went to third base on a wild pitch prior to a walk to David Espinosa. Clean-up hitter Danny Richar then grounded a ball deep into the hole on the right side to bring home the T-Bones’ first run and tie the score. Nick Schwaner was hit by a pitch and then Nick Giarraputo drew a walk to load the bases for the shortstop, Vladimir Frias. Frias and Capra battled to a full count, but the hitter won the war when he singled to left and made it 3-1 in favor of the home team.

The Wingnuts cut the lead in half in the seventh, but came up empty on a chance to tie or take the lead. Testa reached on a fielder’s choice with one out, before Kahaulelio singled to put two on for Clevlen. The veteran centerfielder laced a single the opposite way, allowing Testa to streak home and Kahaulelio to advance to third. With the tying run 90 feet away, Wise bounced into a 6-3 double play to end the threat with the Nuts still trailing 3-2.

Another clutch two out hit hurt the Wingnuts in the seventh. Daniel Bennett began the inning by allowing a single to Giarraputo. After retiring the next two hitters on fielder’s choice groundouts, Bennett walked Robby Kuzdale, the nine-hitter. With the lefty Mittelstaedt coming to the plate and two on base, manager Kevin Hooper called on left-hander Alex Hinshaw from the bullpen. The former big leaguer, who had yet to allow a hit this season, walked the first batter he faced and then allowed a two-run single to left off of Espinosa’s bat. After the clutch hit the T-Bones led 5-2. They would add another in the eighth with an RBI double by the opportunistic Frias, this time against Mike Zouzalik.

Barone (3-0) worked 6.0 innings and allowed one run on seven hits while striking out five as he remained unbeaten. Capra (3-2) took his second consecutive loss despite another quality start. The lefty allowed three runs in 6.0 innings on two hits with four walks, while striking out five.

Khoury, Testa, Clevlen, Wise, and Colt Loehrs each finished with two hits apiece. Testa scored a run for the fifth straight game.

RHP Tim Brown will start the first of a three-game series in Grand Prairie on Friday night. The AirHogs are to be decided. The game begins at 7:05 p.m. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Former Wingnut Peralta Gets Call to the Show

WICHITA, KS (June 5, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts have had many former Major Leaguers standing in the home dugout at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium throughout their eight seasons of existence. The current roster features the trio of Jon Link, Brent Clevlen, and Alex Hinshaw, who all played at the highest level at some point in the past. However, on Sunday the Wingnuts had their first former player ascend to the MLB when outfielder David Peralta made his major league debut.

Peralta, who played 98 games for Wichita during the 2012 season, went 2-4 in his big league debut against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday afternoon in Arizona. The 26-year old is less than one year removed from the American Association, but moved through the D-Backs system quickly by posting impressive numbers at each stop. Prior to his summons, Peralta was hitting .297 in 53 games with Arizona’s Double-A affiliate in Mobile.

What makes his success story even more satisfying is the fact that he began his professional career with two seasons in the St. Louis organization as a pitcher. After giving up pitching in 2007, Peralta made it back to the pro ranks as a position player in 2011 with the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings of the North American Baseball League.

He made his way to Wichita in 2012 when he hit .332 with three home runs and 70 RBI for a club that lost to Winnipeg in the American Association championship series. Peralta moved on to fellow American Association franchise Amarillo for the start of 2013 before having his contract purchased by Arizona. In 140 American Association games, Peralta hit .338 with 11 home runs and 108 RBI.

Peralta sent the following message to the Wingnuts via his Facebook page: “I want to thank the managers, staff and my fellow teammates from the Wichita Wingnuts. I want to thank the hitting coach Jose Amado, he helped me learn a lot about hitting. We had a great season in 2012 and it was a pleasure to work and play with you all. Thanks to all for believing in me and helping me get where I am today!”

Peralta is the 16th former American Association player to reach the pinnacle of the sport.

For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

 

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Wingnuts Use Big First Inning to Tame T-Bones

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS (June 4, 2014) – After waiting approximately 50 minutes for the field at Community America Ballpark to dry out from severe storms that rolled through the night before, the Wingnuts were anything but rusty coming out of the gates. They threw a crooked number on the board in their first trip to the plate, scored a couple more in the fourth, and used superb pitching to take a wire-to-wire 6-1 decision.

Facing Wichita native and former Wichita State Shocker’s pitcher Matt Smith, the Wingnuts (15-6) wasted no time in exerting their will. After Ryan Khoury walked to start the game, Carlo Testa reached on a fielder’s choice groundout. Jake Kahaulelio followed with a base hit to put two aboard. After Brent Clevlen went down on strikes, J.T. Wise responded with a clutch two-out double to score Testa and put the Wingnuts in front 1-0. Chris McClendon punched a ball through the infield to bring home both Kahaulelio and Wise and suddenly the lead was 3-0. Before the inning was over, Colt Loehrs brought home another run with an RBI single of his own.

As they did the previous night, the T-Bones (9-11) answered right back in the bottom half. With Jon Link on the mound for the Wingnuts , T.J. Mittelstaedt singled up the middle to start the frame. The next batter David Espinosa earned a walk to put two on with nobody out. After Bryan Sabatella lined out sharply to first base, Danny Richar followed with his team-leading 17th RBI to cut the lead to 4-1. Link was able to escape the jam by inducing an inning-ending double play groundout by Nick Schwaner.

Wichita turned to the bottom of their order to score two more in the fourth inning. David Amberson and Taylor Oldham led off with back-to-back singles. They each moved into scoring position on a fielder’s choice groundout by Khoury. With Testa at the plate, Smith uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Amberson to score and Oldham to move to third. On the next pitch Testa hit a ground ball deep enough at second base to bring in Oldjam and extend the advantage to 6-1.

Link, the former Los Angeles Dodger, had things under control from that point forward in his outing. He ended up working 6.0 innings and allowing the lone run on five hits. The right-hander walked four and struck out one. It was Link’s fourth quality start in five outings. Manager Kevin Hooper then went into the always tough back end of his bullpen. Alex Hinshaw (7th), Patrick Mincey (8th), and Matt Nevarez (9th) combined to work three scoreless, hitless innings in relief. Hinshaw struck out the side in his appearance.

McClendon had a 2-4 day at the plate and two RBI along with a run scored, while Kahaulelio and Loehrs also finished with two hits. Meanwhile Carlo Testa’s 11-game hitting streak came to an end as he was 0-5 with an RBI and scored a run.

Kevin Hooper and Chris McClendon share their post-game thoughts

The four-game series will conclude tomorrow as Wichita opts for LHP Anthony Capra against RHP Daniel Barone of Kansas City. The game will begin at 7:05 p.m. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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T-Bones Sizzle Early On, Prevail 9-4

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

KANSAS CITY, KS (June 3, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts couldn’t keep the Kansas City T-Bones off of the scoreboard early on in Tuesday night’s game at Community America Ballpark.   When they finally figured out how to corral the T-Bones, it was too little too late, as they dropped a 9-4 decision to their in-state rival.

The game began on a very positive note when Carlo Testa extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a one out triple in the top of the first inning. He raced home as a result of the following hitter, Jake Kahaulelio, singling up the middle and it was 1-0 Wingnuts.

However, the T-Bones (9-10) were quick to find an answer. David Espinosa reached with a one out single and shortly afterward, stole second. Danny Richar drew a two-out base on balls prior to a run-scoring single by first baseman Nick Schwaner that tied the game.

Kansas City used the long ball to strike against Alan Williams, Wichita’s starter, in the second frame. Catcher Brian Erie launched a full count pitch to deep left field for a two-run home run two batters before leadoff hitter T.J. Mittelstaedt hit a solo blast of his own. The deep flies put the T-Bones up 4-1.

The Wingnuts (14-6) chipped away at the lead in the visiting half of the third. Testa, who finished 3-5 with three runs scored and a home run shy of the cycle, singled to start the inning. Kahaulelio walked and then the two executed a double steal to move into scoring position for J.T. Wise. The designated hitter pulled a groundball inside of third base and down the line to score both, pulling the team within one at 4-3.

The T-Bones continued their early onslaught in the bottom half of the inning. Three straight hits, two of the extra-base variety, by Nick Schwaner, Vladimir Frias, and Danny Richar allowed two runs to score. Erie then struck again by singling in Frias and Mittelstaedt later added a run-scoring double which caused the lead to balloon to 8-2. Williams was chased from the game in the middle of the outburst, having allowed eight runs on nine hits in 2.1 innings of work.

The Wingnuts scored their final run in the fifth inning on a Brent Clevlen RBI single. In the eighth inning the T-Bones tacked on the final run of the night, when Espinosa doubled in Erie, who had just recorded his third hit of the night.

Daniel Bennett turned in 2.2 solid innings in relief of Williams, holding the T-Bones at bay by allowing just two hits. First baseman Colt Loehrs was the only Wingnut besides Testa to register multiple hits in the game. Second baseman Jake Kahaulelio left the game in the eighth inning after being hit by an Andy Noga pitch in the seventh.

View Bennett's Post-Game Comments

The Wingnuts will look to re-take a lead in the series Wednesday morning by sending RHP Jon Link to the mound to square off with RHP Matt Smith of KC. First pitch is slated for 11:05 a.m. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

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Wingnuts Walk Past Kansas City 11-2

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

KANSAS CITY, KS (June 2, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts have a number of hitters in their everyday lineup that have the ability to hit any given pitch a long way. However, the value of laying off of pitches that do not enter the strike zone cannot be understated. A combination of the two, seven extra base hits and 11 walks, allowed Wichita to roll to an easy 11-2 win over the Kansas City T-Bones on Monday night at Community America Ballpark.

The walk parade began in the very first inning when T-Bones’ starter Pat Doyle (1-2) issued three free passes. Ryan Khoury began the game by drawing one and then after Carlo Testa followed with a single, Doyle couldn’t find the strike zone to either Brent Clevlen or Chris McMurray and forced home a run.

In the next inning it was both the free bases and the bats that put a crooked number on the board. David Amberson led off with a walk and then advanced to second and third on a pair of wild pitches. Testa singled him home and then proceeded to steal second and third on consecutive Doyle pitches. After Jake Kahaulelio walked, Clevlen smacked a double to left-center field that scored both and made it 4-0.

In Doyle’s last inning, the fifth, the Wingnuts tacked on an unearned run to his line before he departed. Colt Loehrs reached on an infield single and advanced to second on an errant throw from shortstop Vladimir Frias. That put him in scoring position for the newest Wingnut, Chris McClendon, who was acquired earlier in the day. McClendon slapped a ball through the infield to grab a 5-0 lead and record his first RBI with Wichita.

While this was going on in the top half of various innings, Wingnuts’ starter Justin Klipp (3-0) was working his way efficiently through the bottom halves. He escaped the few jams the T-Bones (8-10) put him in on his way to working 7.0 scoreless innings, allowing six hits, and striking out seven.

Klipp and Kevin Hooper share their thoughts post-game.

Wichita (14-5) added two more in the seventh inning on a couple more bases loaded walks, one by Kristhiam Linares and the other by Zach Fowler, to push the lead to 7-0. In the eighth, a McMurray double brought home Clevlen to add one more to the advantage. In the bottom of the same inning Kansas City reached the scoreboard for the only time when, with two on and two out, Carlo Testa dropped a ball near the warning track allowing both runners to score.

In the top of the ninth Testa made up for his defensive miscue by driving in a run prior to Kahaulelio crushing a fastball to left field for a two-run homer and extending the margin to 11-2.

Seven of the nine hitters in Wichita’s lineup drove in a run, while Testa, Clevlen, Kahaulelio, and McMurray each had two. Testa was 3-6 and Clevlen and McMurray both had multiple extra-base knocks.

Left-hander Alan Williams will make the start for the Wingnuts on Tuesday night against left-handed pitcher Rick Zagone of Kansas City. The game begins at 7:05 p.m. with the pre-game show starting at 6:50 on 92.7 KWME or by choosing the “Listen Live” option on wichitawingnuts.com.   For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Win Streak Ends at Six as Wingnuts Rolled by RailCats

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 31, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts entered play on Saturday evening with a season-high six game win streak and feeling very good about the way they were playing. After the dust had settled on a 15-0 RailCats victory, it was the team from Indiana that was walking off of the Lawrence-Dumont turf with a skip in their step.

Wingnuts’ starter Anthony Capra (3-1) entered the game having allowed just one run in his last four regular season starts going back to 2013. Capra was facing a left-hand dominant lineup for the RailCats, but things didn’t go his way from the opening at bat. Danny Pulfer led off the game with a triple and came around to score a few pitches later when Drew Martinez singled him home. Josh Romanski followed with a third straight hit that put runners on the corners with nobody out. Romanski was caught in a rundown between first and second shortly afterward, which allowed Martinez to score without a throw and it was quickly 2-0 RailCats.

After Capra regrouped to work a clean second, Gary SouthShore (8-7) put another crooked number up in the third. With two outs, Martinez reached on another base hit and was driven in by a two-run blast to right-center by Romanski that landed beyond the outfield wall. Ryan Babineau followed by reaching on an infield single and then moving into scoring position on throwing error by Ryan Khoury. He would score the fifth run of the night on an RBI single by Jeremey Hamilton.

Capra was chased in the fourth inning after he walked in a pair of runs and had two more score on an error by first baseman J.T. Wise. Capra finished the day having thrown 3.2 innings while giving up nine runs, four earned, on nine hits and three walks. The start was the shortest of the season by a member of the Wingnuts’ rotation. When the inning reached its’ conclusion the scoreboard read 9-0 in Gary’s favor.

The RailCats did not let up against new pitcher Matt Robertson in the fifth. Gary’s lineup recorded eight straight hits to start the inning and scored a run on a sacrifice fly to finish the disastrous frame leading 15-0.

The Wingnuts (12-5) could never start a rally against Gary starter Stephen Hiscock (1-1). Hiscock, who had pitched against the Nuts last week, scattered six hits over 6.0 scoreless innings. Ethan Gibbons worked two scoreless innings himself, and Chuck Fontana followed by retiring the side in order in the ninth to close it out. It was the first time the Wingnuts were shutout since July 22, 2013.

Kevin Hooper Reacts to the Loss

Gary SouthShore’s 21 hits and 15 runs were the most allowed in both categories by the Wingnuts this season. In fact the 15 runs were the most scored against the Wingnuts since June 16, 2011 at Amarillo, when the Sox scored 17. Hamilton led the RailCats by going 4-6 with three RBI and Martinez, Romanski, and Miles Walding each chipped in three hits apiece. The Wingnuts had three players record all eight of their hits. Brent Clevlen went 4-4 and the duo of Carlo Testa and David Amberson each racked up two.

The finale of this three-game set and the rubber match in the season series will take place on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. RHP Tim Brown works for the Wingnuts against RHP Stephen Bougher of the RailCats. There will be a limited number of Wingnuts’ lanyards given away at the front gate to fans of all ages. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Win Season Series with Gary after 8-3 Victory

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (June 1, 2014) - After falling in a lopsided manner to the Gary SouthShore RailCats in Saturday night’s match-up, the Wichita Wingnuts brought their bats to the park on Sunday. Timely hitting and a couple of big innings allowed Wichita to win the game 8-3 and take the seven-game season series 4-3.

Carlo Testa started the game off on the right foot by blasting a long home run to dead centerfield in the very first inning. The ball bounded off of the bottom of the batter’s eye to give the Wingnuts (13-5) a 1-0 lead against RailCats’ starter Stephen Bougher (2-1).

Tim Brown (3-1) held Gary SouthShore (8-8) scoreless until the top of inning number four. Having faced the minimum through three, Brown left a two strike pitch out over the plate and Danny Pulfer drove it out of the park to left to tie the game.

In the fifth, the RailCats used their more customary small-ball manner to score a run and take the lead. With one out, Justin Gominsky doubled and moved to third on a Zac Mitchell base hit. The ninth batter Miles Walding put down a safety squeeze bunt that got past the glove of Brown and scored Gominsky from third.   As Jake Kahaulelio, the second basemen, threw out Walding at first, the Gary shortstop went down in a heap grabbing his leg. He would not return to the game.

David Amberson began a Wingnuts’ comeback in the fifth by drilling a ground rule double to right center. He advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by the very next batter Taylor Oldham. Ryan Khoury then hit a high pop up into shallow left field that nobody could corral, allowing Amberson to score and the Wingnuts to pull even. They took a 3-2 lead when Khoury stole second, advanced to third when Derek Smith, Walding’s replacement, committed an error on a ball hit by Kahaulelio, and scored on a Bougher wild pitch. That inning was the last for the Gary right-hander who allowed three runs, two earned, on five hits and a walk.

The potent Wichita offense scored five runs combined in the seventh and eighth innings. A two-out, seventh inning, single by Mike Hernandez scored Kahaulelio, who had earlier been hit by a Coleman Stephens pitch. In the eighth it was RBI singles by Khoury and Testa as well as a two-run triple by Brent Clevlen that did the damage and gave the home squad an 8-3 cushion. Daniel Bennett allowed a solo home run to Wally Backman Jr. in the top of the ninth to close the scoring.

Khoury, Testa, and Clevlen each finished with a couple of RBI, while Amberson recorded his third straight multi-hit game. The Wingnuts concluded their seven-game homestand with an impressive 6-1 record.

Tim Brown and Brent Clevlen React to the Win

The Wingnuts hit the road for the next week, beginning with a 7:05 p.m. start Monday night at Kansas City for the continuation of the KTA Turnpike Showdown. Wichita will call on RHP Justin Klipp to continue the hot start and the T-Bones will go with RHP Pat Doyle. The game can be heard live on 92.7 KWME with pre-game kicking off at 6:50 p.m. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Testa Turns Out the Lights on RailCats

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 30, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts’ game with the Gary SouthShore RailCats on Friday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium featured all kinds of fireworks, both the literal and figurative kind. In a game that was delayed 40 minutes for Riverfest fireworks, the Wingnuts (12-4) used a huge bases-clearing, go-ahead, three RBI double by Carlo Testa to score their first runs of the game and take a 3-2 lead. They would add one more before the inning ended and held on for the 4-2 win.

The RailCats (7-7) scratched their way onto the scoreboard first in the third inning. Nine-hitter Cody Bishop led off the inning against Wingnuts’ starter Jon Link with a single. With one out, Drew Martinez executed a hit-and-run to perfection to reach via an infield single. Josh Romanski hit a ground ball to first to advance each runner 90 feet and set up the catcher Craig Maddox. With two strikes, the left-handed hitting RailCats backstop hooked a line drive into fair territory down the right field line to score both teammates and give Gary a 2-0 lead.

Link was stingy both prior to and after that inning, as he completed six innings on the hill, giving up the two runs on five hits while striking out and walking a pair. Link’s quality start was the tenth of the season for the rotation and sixth in a row.

Gary starting pitcher Dustin Crenshaw was much better in this game then when he started against Wichita on the previous Sunday. In that game he lasted just five innings, but on Friday he had held the same lineup scoreless through 7.0 innings. In the eighth inning, however, it was Wichita’s turn to shine. Crenshaw allowed a leadoff single to Chris McMurray, before he was pulled in favor of Coleman Stephens. Stephens walked Colt Loehrs before David Amberson laid down a sacrifice bunt attempt to the left side. Stephens and third baseman Wally Backman miscommunicated and the ball rolled between them to load the bases. Gary manager Greg Tagert went to the pen again, this time summoning lefty Joe Testa to face Carlo Testa. The Wingnuts’ Testa lined a bases-clearing double over the head of Bishop in center and to the wall to give Wichita a 3-2 lead. Testa went 2-3 with a double, walk, and three RBI.

Immediately after Testa’s heroics, the game was halted to allow the Riverfest opening night fireworks display to take place. After a 40-minute delay the teams returned to the field and Jake Kahaulelio ripped a double that bounced off of Bishop’s glove and to the turf, allowing Testa to cross the plate and give the Wingnuts a 4-2 advantage. Stephens ended up allowing one run on six hits and struck out four. The second and third runs belonged to Stephens (1-1), who was saddled with the loss, and Testa allowed the fourth.

Post-Game Reaction from Kevin Hooper, David Amberson, and Jason Van Skike

Matt Nevarez earned his eighth save of the season by allowing just a hit in the ninth and striking out one. Jason Van Skike (2-0) earned the win, pitching a scoreless top of the eighth inning before the Wingnuts’ outburst. Alex Hinshaw also added a scoreless inning out of the pen.

The same two teams meet again tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. Wichita LHP Anthony Capra (3-0) will take to the hill and square off with RHP Stephen Hiscock (0-1) of Gary SouthShore. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Wingnuts Leave Lemurs in the Dust, Sweep Series

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 29, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts have hit a rhythm both at the plate and on the mound since returning home four days ago from a trip to Gary SouthShore. Everything was on display on Thursday night, when the Wingnuts dismantled the Laredo Lemurs 11-2 at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

Starting pitcher Alan Williams allowed a run in the first inning to the Lemurs (6-8), but his teammates picked him up and then some in the bottom of the inning. With one out Carlo Testa doubled to left field and Jake Kahaulelio was hit by a pitch from Laredo starter Sean Tracey to put two on with one out. After Brent Clevlen grounded into a fielder’s choice for the second out, six straight Wingnuts reached base safely and the team had snatched away a 6-1 lead. J.T. Wise (2), Mike Hernandez, Taylor Oldham, and Ryan Khoury (2) all drove in runs in the inning.

Williams would allow one more run in the outing and that came in the Lemurs’ half of inning number four. Josh Scheffert drove in Gerardo Avila, who had previously singled, to trim the lead to 6-2. Williams would go on to work 6.0 innings, allowing the two runs on four hits, while walking three. His quality start was the 11th in the first 15 games for the Wingnuts’ starting rotation.

Kevin Hooper and Alan Williams Post-Game Remarks

The Wingnuts (11-4) added two more runs against Tracey in the third inning, eventually chasing him from the game. The right-hander threw two wild pitches that allowed Ryan Khoury and Testa to score and make it 8-1. Tracey departed after working 2.2 innings and allowing eight runs on six hits and five walks.

Mike Hernandez drove in his second run of the game in the fifth inning when his single up the middle scored Clevlen, who had reached earlier on an infield single. Wichita also added lone runs in both the seventh and eighth innings to continue extending the lead to the eventual final mark of 11-2.

The bullpen was stellar once again, as Matt Robertson, Jason Van Skike, and Daniel Bennett each worked scoreless innings to salt away the game. Bennett finished things with a flurry by striking out the side in the ninth.

On Friday night the Wingnuts begin a three-game series with the Gary SouthShore RailCats at home. RHP Jon Link will make the start for Wichita against RHP Dustin Crenshaw of Gary. The game will begin at 7:05 p.m. and there will be a fireworks show following the game. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Wingnuts' Riverfest Parking

WICHITA, KS (May 30, 2014) - There will be a parking and shuttle service for the Wichita Wingnuts' three weekend home games during the opening weekend of RiverFest Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  The parking lots at Friends University, just to the north of the football field off of Maple Street, will be available for the use of fans coming to catch a game at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. 

Two trolleys from River City Trolley will transport fans to and from the ballpark between the following times:

Friday - 6 p.m. -11 p.m.

Saturday - 6 p.m. -10 p.m.

Sunday - 1 p.m. -5 p.m.

 

Call (316) 264-6887 with any questions.  We look forward to seeing you at the games and go Nuts!!!!!

Wingnuts Rally Late to Win Fourth Straight

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 28, 2014) – To be a really good team in professional baseball, it takes an uncanny ability to win games in a variety of fashions. On Wednesday night against the Laredo Lemurs, Wichita used a huge seventh inning mistake by a Laredo fielder and a big hit by Ryan Khoury to escape with a 2-1 win, a season-high fourth in a row, at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

The Lemurs (6-7) jumped ahead in the fourth inning when they scored an unearned run off of Wingnuts’ starter Justin Klipp. Devin Goodwin singled up the middle for Laredo’s first hit of the game to begin the frame. He stole second a couple of pitches later, and when catcher J.T. Wise’s throw was wide of the bag and bounced off of Jake Kahulelio’s glove and into right field, Goodwin raced to third. The next batter Travis Denker lofted a sacrifice fly to center that scored Goodwin. The RBI was Denker’s American Association leading 18th of the year.

That would be the only run scored off of Klipp, who was nothing but efficient once again tonight. The right-hander pitched 7.0 innings, allowed just the unearned run on four hits and one walk, while striking out one. The quality start was the 10th in 13 games for a Wingnuts’ starting pitcher.

The Wingnuts (10-4) didn’t have much success themselves against Lemurs’ pitcher Tyler Pearson until the fateful seventh inning. Mike Hernandez began the inning by hitting a high fly ball to medium-depth left field. It appeared to be a routine play for Laredo left-fielder J.P. Ramirez until he lost sight of the ball in the lights. It dropped harmlessly next to him as Hernandez eased into second with a double. When Ramirez bobbled the ball in his attempt to pick it up, the Wichita designated hitter hustled to third.   After Chris McMurray flied out, Colt Loehrs blooped a single down the third base line to tie the game at one before being thrown out in an attempt to take second base. David Amberson then walked, before Khoury provided the dagger, a double off the top of the wall in the left field power alley. Amberson scored easily and the Wingnuts led 2-1.

Kevin Hooper and Ryan Khoury Post-Game Interviews

Pearson ended up allowing two runs in 6.2 innings on five hits and five walks. The right-hander struck out one batter.

Patrick Mincey allowed only a lone hit in the eighth while working a clean inning. Matt Nevarez earned his seventh save of the year by striking out the top three hitters in Laredo’s batting order consecutively.

Tomorrow night the Wingnuts will try to sweep their first series of the season when Laredo comes to the ballpark for a final game at 7:05 p.m. The Wingnuts turn to lefty Alan Williams, while the Lemurs go with RHP Sean Tracey. There will be $2 Shiner Blondes served all night and a home run derby on the field following the game courtesy of PF Chang’s. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wise’s Four RBI Help Wingnuts Outsmart Laredo

WICHITA, KS (May 27, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts vs. Laredo Lemurs series has pitted the American Association’s best pitching staff against the league’s best offense, at least in the first few weeks of 2014. Through two games, it has been the Wingnuts who have held a decided advantage both on the mound and at the plate. The team used the bat of J.T. Wise and the arm of Tim Brown to defeat the Lemurs by a 6-2 score on Tuesday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

The Wingnuts (9-4) scored first for the 10th time in the first 13 games when they took a third inning lead over Laredo starter Josh Strawn. Ryan Khoury doubled with one out and Carlo Testa traded bases with him a few pitches later by driving a ball to left field that gave the Wingnuts a 1-0 lead

Tim Brown, Wichita’s starting pitcher, held the league’s top lineup in check for his first four innings on the bump, before a defensive miscue and a mistake cost him in the fifth. Gerardo Avila reached on an error by third baseman Colt Loehrs, one batter prior to a deep home run by catcher Angel Flores that gave Laredo (6-6) the lead at 2-1.

In the sixth inning, the Wingnuts would add a few more to their total. Jake Kahaulelio started the frame by drawing a walk. Brent Clevlen followed by ripping a single up the middle to put two runners aboard with nobody out. At that point Wise struck his first blow, hitting the base of the wall with a two-RBI double that put the Wingnuts on top for good. Chris McMurray reached on an infield single later in the inning, and when the throw to first went wide of the mark, Wise raced around to score which pushed the lead to 4-2.

With Strawn (1-1) no longer in the game the Wingnuts turned their attention to left-handed reliever Estevan Uriegas in the seventh.   Three straight hits off the bats of Kahaulelio, Clevlen, and Wise allowed Wichita to gain further separation. Wise’s single was responsible for two more runs scoring and as a result the lead ballooned to 6-2. Wise went 2-4 at the plate with a double, run scored, and four driven in.

Tim Brown (2-1) tamed the Lemurs all night as he worked 7.0 innings and allowed two runs on three hits while striking out four. The bullpen tandem of Patrick Mincey and Mike Zouzalik teamed up to keep the Lemurs off the board in the final two innings.

Kevin Hooper and Carlo Testa's Post-Game Comments

Wichita and Laredo meet again on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. RHP Justin Klipp of Wichita and RHP Tyler Pearson of Laredo will square off on the mound. It is the second edition of Way-Back Wednesday as the team celebrates the 50’s this time around. There will be fun facts, music, and trivia from that decade as well as general admission tickets being sold at the box office for just 50 cents. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Kahaulelio Leads Wingnuts to 5-3 Win Over Laredo

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 26, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts had nine players in their lineup on Monday night when they hosted the Laredo Lemurs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, but the way Jake Kahaulelio is hitting these days his name seems to be attached to every big offensive play. The second baseman made some memories on Memorial Day by putting on a show for the 3,844 fans in attendance for Wichita’s 5-3 win over Laredo. Kahaulelio went 3-3 at the plate, with four RBI, a double, and a home run.

Anthony Capra had a tough first inning, but would eventually shut down the league’s top-ranked offense for most of his outing. Nick Van Stratten began the game with a triple and scored shortly thereafter on an RBI single by Devin Goodwin to make it 1-0 Lemurs in the early going. Capra settled in after the initial burst, working 7.0 innings of four-hit baseball and issuing just two walks compared to seven strikeouts. The quality start marked the eighth time in the first 12 games that the starting pitcher for Wichita has gone at least 6.0 innings and allowed three or less runs.

Kahaulelio tied the game at one in the bottom of the first inning when he scored Ryan Khoury on a sacrifice fly to shallow right field. Khoury reached on a walk and stole second base to reach scoring position for his teammate.

Kahaulelio was back on the attack in the fourth inning. Carlo Testa tripled to start the inning and then the California native whacked a home run to left field that gave the Wingnuts a 3-1 cushion.

In the very next inning the Wingnuts relentless bats got to Laredo starter Mike Piazza once again. David Amberson led off with a single before Ryan Khoury drew his league-leading 13th base on balls. The dynamic duo then executed a double steal to put runners in scoring position with nobody out. Testa brought home Amberson on a sacrifice fly to left before Kahaulelio drilled another extra base hit, this time an RBI double to push the lead to 5-1. Piazza allowed all five runs and seven hits over his 6.2 innings of work.

Daniel Bennett came on in relief of Capra for the eighth inning and allowed a one out single to Harrison Kain that was followed by a 2-run home run by Goodwin. Goodwin went 2-4 and drove in three runs to bring his season total to 17. Lefty Alex Hinshaw relieved Bennett with two runners in scoring position and two outs and struck out the only batter he faced to end the threat.

Matt Nevarez allowed just a single in the ninth inning on his way to picking up his sixth save in seven opportunities.

Post-Game Comments from Kevin Hooper and starting pitcher Anthony Capra

The top two teams in the South will meet again on Tuesday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium as RHP Tim Brown works for Wichita against RHP Josh Strawn of Laredo. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. There will be $3 Rolling Rocks served all night long. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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4th Annual Twister's Tee-Off

Thank you for registering to play in the 4th Annual Twister’s Tee-Off this Monday, June 9th at 1PM at beautiful Sand Creek Station Golf Course! We are excited for a fun filled day on the course!

***IMPORTANT NOTICE***

Due to road construction on Hwy 50, you will need to use exit 28 (the outlet mall exit) to get to the course. Please click here for more details and spread the word to your teammates.

The 4th Annual Twister's Tee-Off is here! Come out to Sand Creek Station in Newton, KS on Monday, June 9th for the 4th Annual Wingnuts Golf Tournament. Enjoy your summer by taking part in a day of golf with the Wingnuts! GO NUTS! Sign Up Now! We have lot's of prizes, the Diamond Dolls will be there, plus players will be on the course and available for teams to use to their advantage. Call 264-6887 to get your team signed up and we will see you on Monday June 9th for another great day of golf and fun with the Wichita Wingnuts. GO NUTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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Wingnuts Get Complete Win in 7-1 Victory at Gary

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

GARY, IN (May 25, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts needed a win at U.S. Steelyard in Gary, Indiana on Sunday afternoon to earn a split in the four game weekend series that was a rematch of the 2013 American Association Championship. Starting pitcher Jon Link was up to the task and the Wingnuts offense broke loose on the way to a 7-1 victory.

The Wingnuts scored first for the ninth time in 11 games when Ryan Khoury raced around to score on an RBI single by Jake Kahaulelio in the very first inning. The Wingnuts’ second baseman would be heard from throughout the ball game.

Wichita wasn’t done there, they added a couple more in the third inning when they took advantage of an error by third baseman Wally Backman Jr. After J.T. Wise reached on the miscue, Mike Hernandez and Chris McMurray hit back-to-back doubles to push the lead to 3-0.

The RailCats were able to get to Link for the first time in the game in the third inning. After the Wingnuts’ starter retired the first two hitters he faced, Danny Pulfer reached on an infield single that glanced off of Link’s glove and ricocheted to short. Ryan Khoury’s running throw was wide of first base and sailed into the first base dugout allowing Pulfer to reach second. The following hitter, Drew Martinez, grounded a run-scoring single up the middle to cut the lead to 3-1. After that Link put his foot down and would allow just two more runners in the game to reach scoring position, both on Craig Maddox doubles.

Kahaulelio continued to stay hot by ripping RBI doubles in his next two at-bats in the fourth and sixth innings respectively. That pair of hits put Wichita ahead by a 5-1 margin. With runners on second and third later in the sixth frame, Hernandez lined a single to left that scored both teammates and provided the final run total.

Link continued to cruise, throwing his 100th pitch midway through the ninth. He finished the first complete game of the season for Wichita, having allowed one unearned run on eight hits and a walk, while striking out three.

Kahaulelio and Hernandez both drove in three runs. The former was 5-5 with two doubles, while Hernandez finished 3-5 with a two-bagger.

The Wingnuts will return home to begin a four-game set with new South Division rival Laredo on Monday night at 7:05 p.m. Left-hander Anthony Capra will toe the rubber for Wichita against right-hander Mike Piazza of the Lemurs. It will be a Kwik Shop Dollar Day so select concession and gift store items will be sold for just one dollar. Make sure to stop by a local Kwik Shop to pick up your voucher for one dollar general admission tickets. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Wingnuts Captured by Bishop; Lose 7-1

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

GARY, IN (May 24, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts and Gary SouthShore RailCats played a close to the vest, low-scoring game for most of their match-up on Saturday night at U.S. Steelyard. However, the Railcats put crooked numbers on the board in both the sixth and seventh inning to pull away and win 7-1.

The Wingnuts (6-4) would strike first for the eighth time in 10 games when Mike Hernandez drove home his third run in four games on an RBI single to left in the second inning off of RailCats’ starter Morgan Coombs. That would be the only run that Wichita would score against the right-hander, who lasted 6.2 innings and allowed just seven hits, while striking out five.

Gary (5-4) answered back immediately in the home half of the inning. Zac Mitchell singled home Derek Smith to tie the game at two.

That score held all the way until the sixth, when the RailCats loaded the bases against Wingnuts’ starter Alan Williams. Cody Bishop, the nine-hitter, playing in his second game this season, ripped a line drive to the wall in the right-center gap to clear the bases and put Gary ahead 4-1. That ended the night for Williams, who allowed five runs, three earned, on six hits and walked six. Bishop would score on Matt Robertson’s first pitch out of the bullpen on a sacrifice fly by Danny Pulfer.

Already leading 5-1, the RailCats tacked on a couple more unearned runs in the seventh against Robertson. Mitchell struck again with a two-out, two-RBI single through the right side and in the blink of an eye it was 7-1.

The Wingnuts could not muster anything against Chuck Fontana who earned a three inning save as a result of the Gary win. Mitchell went 2-2 at the plate with a run scored and an RBI to lead the RailCats, while Carlo Testa was the lone Wichita hitter to record multiple hits.

Kevin Hooper's Post-Game Reaction

The same two teams close out the series on Sunday afternoon at 2:10 p.m. RHP Jon Link will be handed the baseball for the Wingnuts and he will match up with RHP Dustin Crenshaw of the RailCats. .   For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

 

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Wingnuts Drop 6-5 Decision in 14-Inning Marathon

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

GARY, IN (May 23, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts and Gary SouthShore RailCats began play in game two of their four game series at U.S. Steelyard on Friday night in front of 3,387 fans. By the time a winner was decided in the 14th inning it was early Saturday morning and there were only a few hearty souls left in attendance.

Wichita scored first in the third inning when Jake Kahaulelio doubled home Ryan Khoury to grab the 1-0 edge against RailCats’ starter Stephen Bougher. However, the lead would be short-lived when Gary answered with a third inning run of their own against Wingnuts’ hurler Justin Klipp to tie the score.

The RailCats managed to take their first lead of the series via a fielder’s choice RBI groundout by Drew Martinez with one out in the fifth. The Wingnuts would rally back two innings later when they tied the game at two on an RBI triple by catcher Chris McMurray. McMurry then raced in to score on a wild pitch by reliever Kevin Brahney, who had replaced Bougher, to snatch away the lead at 3-2. The starter went six innings and allowed three runs on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts.

Klipp’s day would come to a close when he allowed a run to the RailCats once more in the seventh, which tied the game. Klipp worked a quality 6.1 innings and allowed three runs on just four hits before being replaced by Daniel Bennett.

Wichita re-claimed the lead in the eighth; taking a one run advantage, on single by J.T. Wise that scored Carlo Testa. The Wingnuts added an insurance run in the ninth inning when Dillon Hazlett led off with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by David Amberson, and eventually raced home on a passed ball charged to Gary catcher Craig Maddox. The second run made it 5-3 in the Wingnuts’ favor.

Kevin Hooper called on closer Matt Nevarez to try and close out the game in the bottom half of the ninth. Zac Mitchell appeared to ground out to first base, but Wise had the ball bounce off of his glove and into right field to give the RailCats a leadoff runner. After Nevarez struck out Cody Bishop to record the first out, Danny Pulfer drew a walk. Drew Martinez followed with an RBI single to cut the lead to one and put runners on the corners. That set the stage for Josh Romanski to tie the game on a sacrifice fly to deep center. Wally Backman Jr. popped out to short with the potential winning run on third base and the game continued on.

The RailCats had plenty of chances to win the ballgame early in the extra frames, but Jason Van Skike kept finding a way out of the inning. He stranded the bases full in the 11th inning by striking out Backman on a full count pitch. In the very next inning he stranded two RailCat runners again. Van Skike ended up throwing 3.2 innings and allowing nothing on three base knocks.

Matt Robertson recorded the final out of the 13th and came on to work the 14th as well. He allowed a leadoff double to the gap in left-center field.   The next batter Adam Taylor, failed to lay a sacrifice bunt down on the first pitch, but singled through the middle on the next. Pinch-runner and pitcher Morgan Coombs crossed home plate with the winning run.

Kevin Hooper's Post-Game Thoughts

Most of the players in the lineup on each side made seven appearances at the plate and only four finished the night without having recorded a hit. Each team used six different pitchers before the game concluded.

The two teams will get right back at it on Saturday night with a 6:10 p.m. first pitch. Left-hander Alan Williams gets the start for Wichita and he will oppose the Gary right-hander Morgan Coombs. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Survive Late Scare to Outlast RailCats 5-3

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

GARY, IN (May 22, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts took a comfortable 5-0 lead into the ninth inning on Thursday night at U.S. Steelyard, but as usual the RailCats found a way to climb back into the game and even put the potential tying run on base before Wichita closed the door for good on a 5-3 victory.

Kevin Hooper's Post-Game Thoughts

Starters Tim Brown of Wichita and Stephen Hiscock of Gary were locked in a duel for the first four innings of the game until Mike Hernandez drove in his second run in as many games with a solo shot to left to begin the fifth. Leading 1-0, the Wingnuts (6-2) were not satisfied. In the sixth, the team used four consecutive hits off of Hiscock to score three more runs and chase the starter from the game. Both Brent Clevlen and J.T. Wise knotched RBI singles in the flurry that extended the lead to 4-0.

Tim Brown left the game after working six scoreless innings while allowing six hits and striking out three. Matt Robertson worked a scoreless seventh inning out of the bullpen before the bats came through again with an insurance run in the top of the eighth. Jake Kahaulelio led the inning off with a double and came around to score two batters later on Wise’s second RBI of the night to go up 5-0.

Daniel Bennett shut down Gary (3-4) in the eighth and Mike Zouzalik entered the ninth inning with a five-run cushion. Zouzalik walked the leadoff batter he faced and then, after a one-out single by Zac Mitchell, walked back-to-back hitters to force home a run and cut the lead to 5-1. The next hitter, Josh Romanski, singled home a pair and suddenly the game was on. Closer Matt Nevarez entered with runners on the corners and one out and promptly struck out both Ryan Babineau and Wally Backman Jr. to end the game. The save was Nevarez’s sixth of the season.

Wise led the offense by going 3-4 at the plate with two RBI. Kahaulelio and Carlo Testa also registered multiple hits.

Tomorrow night the two squads clash again at 7:10 p.m. Right-hander Justin Klipp will get the nod for Wichita, while Gary SouthShore counters with fellow righty Stephen Bougher.   For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Oh No-No So Close

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 21, 2014) – Will Savage threw the only solo no-hitter in Wichita Wingnuts’ history back in July of 2009. For 8.1 innings on Wednesday night it appeared that Anthony Capra was prepared to join the illustrious club. Capra allowed a one out single to Nick Giarraputo in the Kansas City T-Bones ninth to end the no-hit bid, but Matt Nevarez saved the day as the Wingnuts (5-2) held on for a 2-0 victory at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

The scheduled starter for the T-Bones (3-4), Rick Zagone, was a late scratch due to injury so Kansas City gave the ball to reliever Andy Noga in an emergency start. Noga was brilliant during his 3.0 innings of work striking out five and allowing just two hits. Jared Messer threw a scoreless pair of innings in relief of Noga, as the game was locked in a scoreless tie through five.

That changed when lefty Zach fowler entered the game in the sixth. David Amberson reached scoring position by hustling for a leadoff double on a sharp line drive to left. After Ryan Khoury walked to put runners on the corners, Jake Kahaulelio also doubled, allowing Amberson to trot home and giving the Wingnuts a 1-0 lead. That would be the only run necessary with the brilliance of Capra on the mound, but Newcomer Mike Hernandez drove in another on a fielder’s choice groundout with the bases loaded to go up 2-0.

Capra continued to baffle Kansas City hitters through the eighth inning, but had walked seven so his pitch count was well over 100 entering the ninth. He made his way to the hill anyways with a chance to make history. He retired the first hitter he faced, David Espinosa, on a fly out to center field before walking the next man up Bryan Sabatella. Immediately afterwards, clean-up hitter Nick Giarraputo singled through the right side to end Capra’s aspirations. He was removed to a standing ovation from the crowd in favor of Nevarez. The reliever induced a fly ball to center for the first out and then walked Vladimir Frias to load the bases. He rebounded to strike out Byron Wiley and end the game with the tying run on second base.

Capra’s impressive numbers included 8.1 shutout innings, allowing one hit and eight walks while striking out nine.

The Wingnuts will hit the road for the first time on Thursday night when they play at Gary SouthShore, in a rematch of the 2013 championship series. RHP Tim Brown will get the nod for Wichita and will face RHP Stephen Hiscock of the RailCats. The game can be heard on 92.7 KWME or by heading to wichitawingnuts.com and clicking the “Listen Live” link. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

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Wingnuts Fall in Battle of Former Big Leaguers

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 20, 2014) – With a pair of former Major League right-handers throwing in Tuesday night’s battle between the Wichita Wingnuts and Kansas City T-Bones at Lawrence-Dumont stadium, it was safe to assume that a pitcher’s duel was at hand. Neither the Wingnuts’ Jon Link nor the T-Bones’ Daniel Barone disappointed in Kansas City’s 4-2 triumph.

Things started out on a sour note for Link when leadoff hitter Byron Wiley hit an opposite field home run in the first at bat of the night. However, after that pitch, Link was nearly unhittable for much of his start. The 30-year old ended up striking out a career-high 10 batters in the game over 7.1 innings of work.

His opposite, Daniel Barone, was equal to the gauntlet that Link had thrown down. Barone, a former Florida Marlin, was perfect through the first 11 Wingnuts’ hitters he faced before a Brent Clevlen double in the fourth. Barone wound up with seven strikeouts and one walk in 6.2 innings pitched.

It took some time, but the Wingnuts’ bats got to Barone in the fifth. J.T. Wise led off the inning with a single. After a fly out to center, Chris McMurray, Carlo Testa, and David Amberson singled in order. Testa’s and Amberson’s were good for RBI as they scored Wise and McMurray respectively to establish a 2-1 lead.

Link came out to pitch the top of the eighth inning and allowed back-to-back hits to start it off. David Espinosa lined out to second for the first out of the inning, but Bryan Sabatella singled home the tying run one batter later. Patrick Mincey was selected to enter from the bullpen and replace the Wingnuts’ starter with runners on the corner and one out. Mincey allowed a run-scoring single to the first batter he faced, Nick Giarraputo, before retiring the rest of the side.

After a quiet eighth inning for the Wingnuts offense, Mike Zouzalik allowed an RBI triple to Wiley which extended the T-Bones advantage to 4-2. That would be the final score as Kris Regas was nearly untouchable in striking out the side in the ninth and earning the 1.1 inning save.

Byron Wiley was a thorn in Wichita’s side all night, going 3-5 with a double, triple, home run, two RBI, and two runs scored. He and David Amberson were the only two hitters in either lineup to record multiple hits. Every T-Bone in the order reached base at least once in the game.

Wednesday’s 7:05 p.m. start between the same two teams features a match-up of lefties in Anthony Capra of the Wingnuts and Rick Zagone of Kansas City. It is the first Way-Back Wednesday of the year and will be dedicated to the 1940’s, with music, trivia, and games from that decade taking place all night. General admission tickets and select concession items will also reflect the pricing from that era. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 Kevin Hooper's post-game thoughts.

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Wingnuts Open Series vs. T-Bones with Wild Win

Phot Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA,KS (May 19,2014) – The wind was blowing hard all night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, which led to a lot of runs on the board and a bunch of extra base hits when the Wichita Wingnuts (4-1) matched up with the Kansas City T-Bones (2-3) on Monday night.   In the end a caught stealing by Nuts’ catcher Chris McMurray sealed the deal as Wichita held on for a 9-8 victory.

Alan Williams, making his fourth career start, allowed five runs in his first two innings of work, before settling into a rhythm and earning the victory. The first four T-Bones to bat in the game reached base as Bobby Kuzdale began the game with a double to the gap. David Espinosa followed with an RBI single before Bryan Sabatella hammered a ground rule double. After Williams walked Nick Giarraputo, Danny Richar drove in a pair with the third double of the inning to push KC to a 4-0 lead. Kuzdale then hit a solo shot in the second to extend that advantage to five.

The Wingnuts came back in a hurry in the bottom of the second though. T-Bones starter Justin d’alessandro, who was saddled with the loss, walked the first two batters of the frame. One out later McMurray doubled home the home team’s first run. Carlo Testa and David Amberson each walked, setting the stage for Ryan Khoury to single home a pair. Khoury was then thrown out attempting to steal, but in the process Amberson raced home to tie the game at five.

With Williams getting into a groove on the mound, the offense gave him a lead for the first time in the fourth. McMurray was hit by a pitch prior to a bunt single by Testa. David Amberson reached on an error, which brought in a run and then two batters later Jake Kahaulelio singled home two more. That ended a four-run inning and gave Wichita a 9-5 advantage.

Jason Van Skike worked a clean seventh, but in the eighth the T-Bones’ first three hitters reached base via hit and scored to pull Kansas City within one. Patrick Mincey entered from the bullpen and ended the push with three consecutive outs.

In the ninth inning, Matt Nevarez allowed two runners to reach on hit by pitches. With two on and two out and the powerful Giarraputo at the plate, the T-Bones attempted a double steal. McMurray delivered a bullet strike down to second base and Kahaulelio applied the tag to end the game.

Williams went 6.0 innings and allowed five runs on six hits. The southpaw walked three and struck out the same number. McMurray went 2-3 with an RBI and scored twice to supplement his game-ending play.

The Wingnuts and T-Bones do it all over on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. Wichita throws RHP Jon Link, while KC is undecided. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 Post-Game video of Kevin Hooper and Matt Nevarez

 

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Wingnuts Klipp AirHogs 3-0 and Take Series

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 18, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts (3-1) proved that they can win games by outscoring opponents already, but with Sunday afternoon’s 3-0 shutout win over the Grand Prairie AirHogs (1-3) at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, they showed that they can hold their own in a pitcher’s duel as well. With the win the Wingnuts took the series three games to one.

Wichita starter Justin Klipp achieved a quality start in his first outing of 2014, working 6.0 shutout innings and allowing just four hits and a walk to go with six strikeouts. In relief of Klipp, relievers Mike Zouzalik, Patrick Mincey, and Matt Nevarez each worked a scoreless frame and combined for three strikeouts. Nevarez earned his second save as a result of his efforts.

The Wingnuts’ scored all the runs necessary in the very first inning against left-hander Shawn Spainhoward, who was making his professional debut. Jake Kahaulelio hit a one out single, stole second base, and scored on an RBI double by Brent Clevlen, the 700th of Clevlen’s career. After Clevlen swiped third, Chun-Hsiu Chen followed with a single to plate Clevlen and make it 2-0. Two batters later, Dillon Hazlett lifted a shallow fly ball into center field. The shortstop Abel Nieves and the center fielder Eric Baker did not communicate and the ball dropped and bounced over Baker’s head for another run producing double and a 3-0 advantage.

The AirHogs tried to make a push in the sixth, Klipp’s final frame of the day. Brandon Pinckney and Nieves singled to start the inning, but were each retired when Andres Rodriguez grounded into a 5-4 fielder’s choice that fell just short of a triple play.

The Wingnuts will go with left-hander Alan Williams in Monday’s match-up with the Kansas City T-Bones, the first installment of the KTA Turnpike Showdown. The T-Bones hurler is to be announced. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. and the game can be found on Oldies 92.7 KWME. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Missed Opportunities Cost Wingnuts in 6-3 Loss

WICHITA, KS (May 17, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts (2-1) didn’t have many chances to score runs on Saturday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium against the pitching of the Grand Prairie AirHogs (1-2). When opportunity knocked in the later innings, the team was unable to take full advantage and the AirHogs held on to hand the Wingnuts a 6-3 loss, their first of the season.

For the third straight night Wichita was the first team to reach the scoreboard. AirHogs’ starter Brandon Bargas allowed a single and walked three batters in the second inning, the third a Ryan Khoury base on balls that forced home a run with the bases loaded.

Grand Prairie responded quickly in the top of the third against Wingnuts’ starting pitcher Tim Brown. Frazier Hall led off the inning with a double which was followed immediately by another double off the bat of Vince DiFazio, scoring Hall and tying the game. Two batters later, Brandon Pinckney also hit a run-scoring two-bagger to give the AirHogs a 2-1 lead.

Both pitchers cruised along until the top of the 6th inning when Brown was close to enticing Andres Rodriguez into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. However Chun-Hsiu Chen could not make a clean scoop of a low relay throw from second and Rodriguez reached on the fielder’s choice. The next batter, Jason Botts, made the Wingnuts pay by launching a two-run homer over the right field wall and extending the AirHogs’ advantage to 4-1.

Brown allowed an RBI double to Eric Baker with two outs in the seventh inning before Mike Zouzalik relieved him. Brown took the loss and worked 6.2 innings in his first start of the season, allowing five earned runs on eight hits, while striking out six. Zouzalik also allowed a run in the eighth inning, making it 6-1 in Grand Prairie’s favor.

The best chance for the home team to rally was in the eighth inning against AirHogs’ reliever Dustin Cameron. J.T. Wise greeted Cameron with a lead-off solo blast to trim one run off of the deficit. Cameron then proceeded to hit two batters, bringing Carlo Testa to the dish with two on and nobody out. Testa lined sharply to Pinckney, the second baseman, who flipped it to shortstop Matthew Burns doubling off Hazlett who was caught leaning towards third. David Amberson reached on an infield single before Cameron drilled Ryan Khoury to load the bases once again. With Jake Kahaulelio due up as the potential tying run, the AirHogs brought in Cesar Lopez from the bullpen. The move paid off as Lopez got Kahaulelio to foul tip a two-strike pitch into the catcher’s mitt, ending the threat.

Brent Clevlen launched a solo home run in the ninth, but the Wingnuts could not muster anything else against Yhency Brazoban. Bargas earned the win, allowing one run on four hits in 5.0 innings. Clevlen had a big night going 3-5 with two doubles and the long ball.

The Wingnuts will send right-hander Justin Klipp to the mound for game four on Sunday, while the AirHogs will turn to left-hander Shawn Spainhoward. First pitch is at 2:05 p.m. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Wingnuts Lead Start to Finish, Best AirHogs 9-1

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 16, 2014) – After escaping with a wild win on opening night, the Wichita Wingnuts (2-0) won in a much more comfortable fashion on Friday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. After a 30-minute rain delay prior to first pitch, the Wingnuts jumped ahead in the second inning and never relinquished the lead on their way to a 9-1 victory over the Grand Prairie AirHogs (0-2).

Wichita put at least one run on the board in four consecutive innings after being shutout in the bottom of the first. They used four consecutive hits, three of the extra base variety, to strike first in the second inning. Dillon Hazlett legged out a leadoff double ahead of Chris McMurray and Carlo Testa who knocked in a run each with a double and triple respectively. David Amberson capped off the inning by extending the lead to 3-0 with a single up the middle.

The Wingnuts tallied three more in the third on an RBI triple by Chun-Hsiu Chen which was immediately backed up by a run-scoring double courtesy of J.T. Wise. Two batters later McMurray rose to the occasion again with a sacrifice fly to center. The Wingnuts’ backstop finished the day 2-3 with three RBI and two runs scored. After the inning ended, the Wingnuts held a 6-0 lead.

Wichita tacked on three more insurance runs over the next two innings. Chen and Wise added to their totals with RBI extra base hits in the fourth inning. In the fifth, McMurray welcomed new pitcher Brett Hunter to the ballgame by driving the first pitch of his at-bat over the wall in left field for the Wingnuts’ first home run of the year.

Meanwhile Anthony Capra was dealing on the hill. The southpaw allowed an AirHogs’ runner to reach third base in each of the first two innings, but never gave in. He ended up earning the win after working 6.0 shutout innings and allowing four hits while striking out eight opposing batters. On the other side, Grand Prairie starter Trevor Harden was chased after 4.0 innings, having allowed eight earned runs on nine hits and three walks.

Capra turned the ball over to relievers Matt Robertson and Daniel Bennett to work the final three innings. Robertson allowed the lone run of the night for the AirHogs in the seventh on an RBI single by Vince DiFazio that followed a Palmer Karr Jr. double. Bennett allowed a hit and walked one, but finished the game without a run crossing the plate.

Right-hander Tim Brown will make his Wingnuts debut on Saturday night in game three of the four-game series with the AirHogs. Grand Prairie counters with lefty Brandon Bargas. Come out to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium to meet the Kansas City Chiefs cheerleaders who will be in attendance at the game. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. and the game can be heard on 92.7 KWME. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

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Wingnuts Earn Wild 10-8 Win on Opening Night

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 15, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts (1-0) 2014 season did not necessarily start the way they had hoped, as they found themselves trailing the Grand Prairie AirHogs (0-1) by five runs after an inning and a half of play on Thursday night in the season-opener at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. However, the Wingnuts showed their resilience by slowly chipping away at the deficit until they finally broke through to take a lead that they would never relinquish on their way to a 10-8 victory in front of 2,563 fans.

Things looked great early when Jon Link worked a scoreless top half of the first inning and then the team jumped ahead 1-0 on an RBI single by Chun-Hsiu Chen in the bottom half.

The AirHogs answered in a big way in the second by scoring six runs against Wingnuts’ starter Jon Link. A pair of walks and a single loaded the bases for Michael Hur, who jumped on a fastball and drove it over the wall in left field for a grand slam and a 4-1 Grand Prairie advantage. Later Mitch Abeita and Brandon Pinckney came around to touch the plate on a two out, two RBI double by former Wingnut Abel Nieves making it 6-1.

Possibly the most exciting play of the night occurred when David Amberson hit a groundball deep in the hole at third with Carlo Testa already on base. Amberson legged out an infield single, but the throw from Frazier Hall got by Andres Rodriguez and into right field allowing Amberson to head towards third. The throw to that base also escaped and Amberson managed to beat the throw from shallow left field with a directional slide into home and cut the deficit to 6-3.

Each squad tacked on a lone run in the fifth inning before the Wingnuts put together a big sixth frame. Ryan Khoury led off with a single which was followed immediately by a Jake Kahaulelio double. Khoury scored on a wild pitch and then Brent Clevlen drove home Kahaulelio with a single. After Clevlen reached third on a stolen base and wild pitch, Chen garnered his second RBI by lifting a sacrifice fly to right field. The Wingnuts finished the inning with an 8-7 lead.

Kahaulelio added another sacrifice fly in the seventh, one of two insurance runs Wichita would add in the inning.

The AirHogs put together a threat in the ninth against closer Matt Nevarez, scoring one run and putting a couple more on base with one out before the right-hander induced Mitch Abeita into game-ending 6-4-3 double play.

Jason Van Skike earned the win after working 1.1 innings and allowing nothing on two hits and a pair of strikeouts. Daniel Bennett and Patrick Mincey, a former AirHog, also worked scoreless innings in relief. Khoury went 3-4 with a walk, run scored, and three stolen bases and was a spark plug at the plate and on the field all night. He became the franchise’s all-time leader in walks with his 118th career base on balls in the second inning.

The Wingnuts and the AirHogs will clash again on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. with LHP Anthony Capra receiving the nod for the Nuts and RHP Trevor Harden going for Grand Prairie. A limited number of magnet schedules will be given away at the front gate and fireworks will follow the conclusion of the game.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Wingnuts End Exhibition Slate with 10-2 Victory

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 12, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts finished off their seven-game exhibition schedule on Monday afternoon with a 10-2 win over the Gary SouthShore Railcats at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. The Wingnuts used three separate big innings to tally double-digits on the scoreboard for the second straight day against RailCat pitching.

Gary was able to scratch first against Wingnuts’ starter Tim Brown. Danny Pulfer led off the game with a base hit and proceeded to steal second base. He would score when the following batter, Cody Bishop, singled him home.

The Wingnuts were able to respond in a big way in the bottom of the inning. Taylor Oldham was walked to start the frame and stole second base. Two batters later, Brent Clevlen also walked and then the pair executed a double steal to put two in scoring position. J.T. Wise tied the game with a sacrifice fly to right field before RailCats’ starter Edwin Walker issued two more free passes to load the bases. That set the stage for Jose Roman, who cleared the base paths with a three-RBI double and put Wichita ahead 4-1.

The hot bats struck again in the third inning as Wise followed a leadoff walk by Clevlen with a 2-run blast to left field. Dillon Hazlett tripled in the ensuing at bat and two outs later scored on an RBI single by Carlo Testa. After the dust settled the lead had ballooned to 7-1.

Wichita would tack on three more insurance runs during a three-hit eighth inning. After Oldham reached via an error to start things and then stole second base, Mike McCarthy brought him home with a single. Hazlett also singled and then Roman came up big again. With two strikes against him, the lefty ripped a single through the right side, scoring two more and pushing the advantage to 10-1.

Meanwhile, the Wingnuts’ combination of relievers Jason Van Skike, Erik Lambe, Daniel Bennett, and Jack Wagoner was holding the RailCats offense off the board. The four pitchers combined for 5.0 scoreless, hitless innings and three strikeouts. Gary managed to put their final run on the board against Patrick Mincey in the top of the ninth.

Roman led the way with a 3-5 afternoon and five RBI. Other major contributors included Wise, who drove in three and Hazlett, who scored three runs in the ballgame.

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie Airhogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Rout RailCats 12-1 in Lawrence

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

LAWRENCE, KS (MAY 11th, 2014) – After scoring only one late run on Saturday night, the Wichita Wingnuts closed out their three-game exhibition road trip with an impressive offensive display in beating the Gary SouthShore RailCats 12-1 at Lawrence Free State High School. On a day in which there was a stiff breeze blowing out to left field all game, Wichita blasted four home runs and put up a crooked number in four different innings.

The Wingnuts gave the crowd a glimpse of what would happen throughout the afternoon in the very first inning. Ryan Khoury led off the game with a single and scored when Chun-Hsiu Chen crushed a fastball from RailCats’ starter Stephen Hiscock over the fence in center field to give the Nuts a 2-0 lead.

Wichita was back at it in the second inning, using four straight hits to lead off the frame, including a two-RBI double by Carlo Testa to make the lead to 4-0. Before the inning was over Brent Clevlen tacked on a three-run blast to increase the advantage to seven runs.

The RailCats scratched across their only run in the top of the fifth as Brooks Braga crossed home plate on a bases loaded wild pitch by Wingnuts’ reliever Alan Williams. However, Wichita didn’t take long to answer back. In the bottom of the same inning Clevlen led off with his second long ball of the day and three batters later Dillon Hazlett drove home Chad Kruse with a two-out RBI double to left, making it 9-1.

The Wingnuts would add two more insurance runs in the sixth and another in the eighth to reach the final margin. Jake Kahaulelio hit his second home run of the spring with two down in the sixth, while Taylor Oldham singled home the final run two innings later.

The wind seemed to have no effect on the Wingnuts’ pitching staff as seven pitchers combined to strike out nine Gary hitters, while allowing just three hits. Of the three base knocks for the RailCats only one left the infield. Anthony Capra, who started the game, worked 3.0 shutout innings, striking out five, and giving up a pair of singles. Jack Wagoner, Nelson Curry, Daniel Bennett, Mike Zouzalik, and Matt Nevarez all threw scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

The offensive standouts for Wichita included Clevlen, 2-3 with two home runs and four RBI, Hazlett, two doubles, and Amberson, who had his second two hit game in as many days.

The Wingnuts and RailCats will square off once again on Monday morning at 11:05 a.m. for another “School Kid’s Day” at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Tickets for the final exhibition contest are general admission and cost $7 at the gate.

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie Airhogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Drop Second Straight on Road Trip

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

SAUGET, IL (May 10th, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts played a Frontier League opponent on the road for the second straight day on Saturday, and just like Friday night they came up just a bit short. Great pitching, good defense, and a three-run inning led the Gateway Grizzlies to a 3-1 victory at GCS Ballpark.

Starter Jon Link looked outstanding in his second and final start of the spring. He worked 3.0 innings, allowed just one hit and a lone walk, while striking out four.

The Grizzlies did the first damage of the night in their half of the fourth inning against the Wingnuts’ Erik Lambe. Niko Vasquez singled with one out, before Michel Wing struck with a two out, two-run home run to deep left field. Lambe then issued a free pass to Richard Seigel, who raced around to score when Xavier Macklin drove a ball into the left field corner for an RBI double.

The Wingnuts loaded the bases with one out in the eighth inning against reliever Alex Bos, but couldn’t cash in. Jake Kahaulelio was called out on strikes and Brent Clevlen was retired on a fly ball to right field to end the threat.

Chun-Hsiu Chen hit his first home run of the spring to begin the ninth, but the rest of the hitters went down in order as Justin Erasmus earned the save for the Grizzlies.

David Amberson was the only member of the Wichita lineup to record multiple hits as he singled in both the third and seventh innings. In addition to Link, Matt Robertson, Alan Williams, Mike Zouzalik, and Matt Nevarez also threw scoreless innings of relief in their appearances.

The Wingnuts travel to Lawrence Free State High School on Sunday to play the Gary SouthShore RailCats at 2:05 p.m.

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie Airhogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

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Rascals Rally Late to Knock off Wingnuts

O’Fallon, MO (May 9th, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts led for most of the afternoon on Friday at TR Hughes Ballpark against the River City Rascals, but a three-run eighth inning and a walk-off home run by Taylor Ard in the ninth propelled the Rascals to a dramatic victory.

The Wingnuts jumped ahead 1-0 early when J.T. Wise ripped a home run to straight-away center field.

Wichita has managed to put together a big inning of at least three runs in each of their four games so far this spring and on Friday it came in the third against Cory Caruso. Four straight Wingnuts reached to start the frame, with Brent Clevlen driving in a pair on a groundball single into left field. After Chun-Hsiu Chen walked, Wise struck again, this time with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0. Chris McMurray finished off the inning with an RBI to push the lead to five runs.

The lead held until the bottom of the fifth inning when the Rascals scored a pair off of Michael Schlact on a two-RBI single by Saxon Butler.

The Wingnuts led 5-2 entering the eighth inning, but the Rascals were not finished. River City scored three runs against Nelson Curry on three hits and three walks. The big hit was a clutch, game-tying double by Bryan Aanderud with two outs.

After the Wingnuts went scoreless in their half of the ninth inning, Taylor Ard led off with a home run to left field against Wichita’s Patrick Mincey to ice the game and send River City home victorious. .

Justin Klipp worked 3.0 scoreless innings at the beginning of game to push his scoreless inning streak this spring to six. Wise led the offense by going 1-3 with a home run and two RBI at the plate.

The Wingnuts will next play the Gateway Grizzlies at 7:05 p.m. Saturday Night in Sauget, Illinois. The game can be heard on 92.7 KWME or streamed online by visiting wichitawingnuts.com.

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie Airhogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Big Inning Leads Wingnuts to 8-5 Win over KC

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 7th, 2014) – For a third straight exhibition game the Wichita Wingnuts found themselves trailing entering the middle innings. This time it was against the Kansas City T-Bones and the team used a five-run fourth inning to grab the lead and never looked back on the way to an 8-5 victory. The win pushed the Wingnuts to 2-1 in pre-season play.

The Wingnuts took the initial lead by scoring in their very first opportunity. Ryan Khoury began the bottom of the first with a double and moved to third on a fielder’s choice groundout by Jake Kahaulelio. Brent Clevlen stayed hot with an RBI single to take a 1-0 advantage.

The T-Bones got to Wingnuts’ starter Tim Brown in his third and final inning of work. With one down, Darrell Hudson drew a walk. He then took off for second on a perfectly executed hit and run with Vladimir Frias. After sliding safely into a third, an errant throw to first base allowed Hudson to scamper home with the tying run. David Espinosa followed by driving a double in the left-center gap to give Kansas City a 2-1 lead.

That score held until the fifth inning, when the Wingnuts knocked seven hits and scored five runs against Booby Shore to jump in front 6-2. Ryan Khoury, Brent Clevlen, Chris McMurray, and David Amberson each registered RBI doubles, while Chun-Hsiu Chen, Dillon Hazlett, and  Jose Roman also added hits.

Each team scored a pair in the sixth. The T-Bones used three walks and a hit by pitch to score without putting a ball in play. The Wingnuts got their first home run of the exhibition season when Jake Kahaulelio followed a Taylor Oldham double with a 2-run blast to left field. After the wild frame the Wingnuts led 8-3.

The T-Bones managed one more run in the top of the ninth off of Matt Nevarez on a bases loaded fielder’s choice groundout by Danny Richar.

Jason Van Skike earned the win by pitching 2.0 perfect innings and recording a pair of strikeouts. Ryan Khoury was 2-3 with two doubles, an RBI, and two runs scored. Brent Clevlen also finished 2-3 with a double and a couple RBI.

The Wingnuts hit the road for another exhibition game against the River City Rascals on Friday, May 9th at 11:05 a.m.

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie Airhogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

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Wingnuts to Honor “Hero of the Game” During Each Friday Home Game

WICHITA, KS (May 6, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts are pleased to announce that they will be partnering with Corvias Military Living to honor a “Hero of the Game” prior to each Friday home game during the 2014 season.

Fans will have the opportunity to nominate a member of the military that has recently returned from active duty to receive the honor through a link on the Wingnuts’ website.   Each honoree will be invited onto the field prior to the game to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and have their story shared over the P.A. system. In addition, the selected hero will receive tickets to the game for their immediate family members, a game-worn Wichita Wingnuts American flag jersey, and a baseball autographed by the team.

Corvias Military Living is a privately-owned and fully integrated development, construction, and property management company. Corvias began operations Sept. 1, 2013 to construct, manage, and maintain family housing at McConnell AFB in Wichita. Corvias also manages military housing at Edwards AFB in California, Eielson AFB in Alaska, Hurlburt Field and Eglin AFB in Florida, Seymour Johnson AFB and Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Meade and Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, Fort Polk in Louisiana, Fort Rucker in Alabama, Fort Still in Oklahoma, and Fort Riley in Kansas.

“We are proud to have the opportunity to work with the Wichita Wingnuts in honoring and recognizing local military members for their sacrifices in securing our freedom,” said John Pearsall, program manager for Corvias Military Living at McConnell AFB.

The Wingnuts have seven Friday home games slated for 2014. The dates are May 16, May 30, June 20, July 11, July 18, August 15, and August 29.

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie AirHogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Stung by Emporia State 6-3 in Exhibition Game

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 5th, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts battled an in-state college opponent for the second straight night of exhibition play on Monday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. For the second straight night they fell behind early and battled back to take the lead, but this time Emporia State University (36-16) answered with a big seventh inning and pulled away for a 6-3 victory.

The Hornets struck first against former Major Leaguer, and Wingnuts’ starter, Jon Link. The leadoff batter reached against Link in each of the first three frames, but didn’t do any damage until the third. Shortstop Toby Cornejo ripped a two-RBI single through the left side to stake ESU to a 2-0 lead.

The Wingnuts were held in check by a carousel of Hornets’ pitchers until they broke through with a crooked number of their own in the fifth. The first three batters of the inning Carlo Testa, David Amberson, and Ryan Khoury reached base safely, before a pair of wild pitches allowed the Wingnuts to tie the game. Brent Clevlen then pounded a double to the left-center gap to plate another and make it 3-2 Wichita.

The 3-2 lead would hold until the top of the seventh when the first four Hornets’ hitters reached base against Nelson Curry. That set the stage for Daniel Lorenzen who singled home a pair of teammates and pushed Emporia State ahead 4-3. Another unearned run would cross the plate before the inning was finished.

ESU tacked on an insurance run in the eighth inning against reliever Jack Wagoner with an RBI groundout by catcher Tyler Beebe leading to the 6-3 final score.

Brent Clevlen paced the Wingnuts offensively by reaching base all four times he batted and finishing 3-4 with three doubles and the lone Wichita RBI. Matt Robertson (2.0 innings), Erik Lambe, and Mike Zouzalik each shut out the Hornets during their appearances on the mound.

The Wingnuts will play a fellow American Association team for the first time this exhibition season on Wednesday, May 7th at 11:05 a.m. when they host the Kansas City T-Bones at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium for School Kid’s Day. The game can be heard live on 92.7 KWME with pre-game beginning at 11:00 a.m.

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie AirHogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

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Wingnuts Open Exhibition Season by Doubling Up Friends University 12-6

WICHITA, KS (May 4, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts fell behind early in their exhibition opener against Friends University at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Sunday afternoon, but had runners on base all day, grabbed the lead with a big fifth inning, and pulled away for a comfortable 12-6 victory in their first live action of 2014.

The Falcons jumped ahead 4-0 in the second inning courtesy of three hits and three hit batsmen against Wingnuts’ starter Michael Schlact. Schlact was pitching in a professional game for the first time in two years since coming off of arm surgery. He allowed four runs on six hits in 3.0 innings of work.

Wichita answered back immediately by cutting the lead in half in the bottom of the inning. Dillon Hazlett reached with a two out single to start the rally before Chris McMurray singled him home and Carlo Testa followed with an RBI double.

Hazlett trimmed the deficit to 4-3 with an RBI single in the third, before the floodgates opened in the bottom of the fifth. The Wingnuts sent 12 batters to the plate in the frame, chasing Falcons starter Ryan Householder, and scoring seven runs. Pinch-hitters Jose Roman and Taylor Oldham each drove in a pair with one out, line drive, base knocks.

Wichita scored a pair of runs to cushion their lead in the seventh, the second coming on another RBI by Hazlett. The Wingnuts’ relief corps managed to shut out the Falcons until they put up a pair against Matt Nevarez in the ninth inning. Justin Klipp worked three shutout innings to earn the win, while Daniel Bennett and Patrick Mincey each showed why they figure to factor in the back end of the bullpen this season by breezing through their innings on the hill.

Wichita finished with 14 hits and 12 of the 13 Wingnuts to make a plate appearance reached base safely. Hazlett, a Topeka native, had a great start to his pre-season as he went a perfect 4-4 at the plate with two runs scored, three RBI, a walk, and a stolen base.

The Wingnuts will again turn to the college ranks for their second exhibition game as they welcome the Emporia State Hornets to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium at 6:05 p.m. Monday evening. Tickets are general admission and cost just seven dollars.

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie AirHogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Wingnuts to Open Camp on Saturday

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (May 2, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts have their sights set on a third straight trip to the American Association’s Championship Series in 2014. The team has a long journey to navigate and a trio of new foes in the South Division to battle along the way. The sound of gloves popping and bats cracking will return to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium this weekend as the Wingnuts officially begin training camp on Saturday morning.

Some familiar faces will be taking the field on a daily basis as Ryan Khoury, Jake Kahaulelio, David Amberson, and Brent Clevlen all return. The same applies to the mound where Jon Link, Matt Nevarez, Anthony Capra, Justin Klipp, Daniel Bennett, and Erik Lambe will wear a Wingnuts’ uniform once again. Add to that a group of exciting new faces including former Grand Prairie closer Patrick Mincey who saved 24 games and finished with a 1.01 ERA last season, towering right-hander Michael Schlact, Emporia State standout Dillon Hazlett, ex-Royals prospect Carlo Testa, and Johnny Bench Award winner J.T. Wise to name a few. The Wingnuts are currently carrying 28 players on the roster and must reduce that number to 22 by May 13th.

The club opens its’ seven-game exhibition slate with three straight home games. The Wingnuts will battle a pair of local colleges, Friends University and Emporia State University, on Sunday, May 4th and Monday, May 5th respectively, before welcoming the Kansas City T-Bones on Wednesday, May 7th. A trio of road games will follow as the club plays at River City (Frontier League) on Friday, May 9th, Gateway (Frontier League) on Saturday, May 10th, and matches up with Gary SouthShore at Lawrence Free State High School on Sunday May 11th. The pre-season schedule concludes with another game against Gary SouthShore at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Monday, May 12th. The contests on the 7th, 10th, and 12th will be broadcast live on 92.7 KWME, your radio home for Wingnuts’ baseball. Tickets for all exhibition games are general admission and cost $7.

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts’ baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie AirHogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

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Wingnuts and your Hometown Chevy Dealers to Host Free Youth Baseball Instructional Clinic

 

WICHITA, KS (May 1, 2014) - The Wichita Wingnuts in partnership with your Hometown Chevy Dealers are excited to offer a free Chevy Youth Baseball Instructional Clinic on Tuesday, May 6th from 6:00-9:00 p.m.  The clinic is for children ages 6-14 and all family members are encouraged to attend.  Participants will have the opportunity to take the field at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium and receive instruction from Wingnuts' manager, and former Major Leaguer, Kevin Hooper as well as current Wingnuts' players.  Click the link below for more details! 

 

 

2014 Wichita CYB Clinic Invitation

 

Wingnuts Sign Two Backstops; Make Additional Wise Move

WICHITA, KS (April 30, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts have signed a pair of catchers in Chris McMurray and Mike McCarthy , while also adding power hitter, and former first team All-American catcher J.T. Wise to the roster.

The 27-year old McMurray is entering his seventh season of professional baseball and first in Wichita.  A career .247 hitter, the right-handed catcher spent 2013 playing in both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox farm systems.  He began the season in Visalia (Advanced-A, Diamondbacks) where he collected eight hits in 48 at-bats over the span of 15 games.  McMurray hit one home run and drove in eight, while drawing 12 walks.  He was traded to Chicago in late July and was assigned to Double-A Birmingham.  In 14 games with the Barons, the Mission Viejo, California resident hit an even .200 with one long ball, four RBI, and 10 walks. 

“Chris is a guy we have had our eye on for a couple of years now.  From the first day I saw him play, I was impressed with his abilities,” said Wingnuts’ manager Kevin Hooper.  “He could arguably be the best catcher in the league.  We have been fortunate in the past to have a great line of catchers and Chris has a chance to be the best one yet.”

McMurray was selected in the 18th round of the 2008 MLB draft by the Cincinnati Reds out of the University of California-Santa Barbara.  He spent four seasons in the Reds organization, reaching as high as Double-A Carolina in both 2010 and 2011.  McMurray began the 2012 campaign with the Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliate in Reno before playing out the remainder of the year with Lincoln and Grand Prairie of the American Association.  In 138 independent baseball games he has posted a .287 batting average, 22 home runs, and 85 RBI.  In his professional career McMurray has been charged with just 14 passed balls and has thrown out 36% of attempted base stealers.

“From everything that I have heard Wichita runs a fantastic program.  In talking to coach Hooper, I love the talent that is on the roster and think we have a chance to make a run at a championship,” McMurray said.  “I can’t wait to get in to town and get the season started.”

McCarthy, 24, will be entering his second season of professional baseball in2014.   The native of Dayton Beach, Florida has been putting up big numbers since his days at Lyman Hall High School.  McCarthy was named team captain, all-league, and all-state in his high school days, while also setting school records for home runs, RBI, and slugging percentage.  He played his freshman season of college ball at the University of Vermont in 2009, hitting .313 and was named to the America East All-Rookie team.  After transferring to the University of Texas- Pan American, McCarthy led the team in batting average and RBI in 2011 and finished his collegiate career as the First Team All-Great West catcher in 2012.  

“I am extremely excited and grateful that coach Hooper is giving me the opportunity to play in Wichita.  I have heard nothing but great things about both the city and the Wingnuts’ organization,” said McCarthy.  “It’s been a long off-season and I can’t wait for camp to begin.”

The right-handed backstop began his pro career playing for Roswell of the Pecos League last summer.  In 53 games with the Invaders, McCarthy hit .328 with 13 doubles, a triple, five home runs, and 34 RBI.  He managed to draw 33 walks last season, which is the same number of times he struck out.  Defensively, he was charged with four passed balls and threw out 18 of 57 potential base stealers.

“Mike is another case of using one of our current players as a recruiting tool.  He came highly recommended from Erik Lambe, along with many others that I have spoken to,” Hooper explained.  “He will come into camp battling for the backup spot.  I am very excited to see what he is capable of.”

Wise spent his college days playing for two traditional powerhouse programs.  He began his career at Louisiana State in 2006. Playing mostly third base, he hit 11 home runs and drove in 40 on his way to being named to the All-SEC Freshman and Freshman All-America teams.  After being selected in the 45th round of the 2007 draft by Oakland following his sophomore season, Wise transferred to Oklahoma University for his junior and senior campaigns.  He put together a solid season in his first go-around in Norman before exploding with a remarkable final year.  In 2009, Wise finished in the top five of all Big-12 players in six different offensive categories, led the Sooners in four offensive categories, and threw out a whopping 52% of all potential base stealers.  His long list of honors following the season included Big 12 Player of the Year, first team All-Big 12, ABCA Midwest All-Region first team, first team All-American, and Golden Spikes Award semi-finalist.  He was also presented the Johnny Bench Award (nation’s best catcher) in Wichita that summer.

“In talking to “Hoop” and (General Manager) Josh Robertson the Wingnuts’ organization seems to have a positive and upbeat feel to it. They will take care of their players, but expect everyone to work hard.  You get out of it what you put into it,” said the Orlando, Florida native.  “I would obviously love to get picked up by an affiliated club, but I won’t treat this as just a stop in the road.  This club has the feel of a high-level minor league team, if not better.  They went out on a limb for me so I want to pay them back for that.”

The 27-year old was drafted once again in 2009, this time in the fifth round by the Los Angeles Dodgers. After completing the 2009 season with the Dodgers rookie-ball affiliate in Ogden, Wise began a steady climb through the L.A. farm system.  He advanced a level each season, playing a majority of his games at first base, until peaking at Double-A Chattanooga where he played in both 2012 and 2013.  Last year, Wise hit .245 with eight home runs and 35 RBI for the Lookouts.   In 106 games he finished with 20 doubles, drew 39 walks, and struck out 88 times.

“Once we got wind that he wanted to play for us, it was a no-brainer to get him signed.  He will be a big piece for us in the middle of the lineup,” Hooper said.  “J.T. will be able to play first base, DH, and also get a day or two a week behind the plate.  He had a great college career at Oklahoma and has also put up great numbers in pro ball.” 

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie AirHogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

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Call to Arms: Four More Pitchers Added to Roster

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (April 28, 2014) – With under a week until spring training opens for the 2014 season, the Wichita Wingnuts have completed their pitching staff with the addition of four arms.  The team has re-signed Erik Lambe and will welcome newcomers Matt Robertson, Michael Zouzalik, and Jack Wagoner.

Lambe joined the Wingnuts’ bullpen late in the 2013 season as the team was gearing up for its’ playoff run.  He appeared in three regular season games prior to allowing one run in 3.2 post-season innings.  He earned the first save of his career in Game 2 of the American Association Championship Series against Gary SouthShore.  Lambe spent a majority of the season with the Roswell Invaders of the Pecos League.  While there, he made 16 appearances, eight of them starts, and put together an impressive 10-0 record and 2.33 ERA in 69.2 innings.  He tossed a pair of complete games, finished two others, and struck out 66 while walking only 17.  Lambe’s strong performance helped guide the Invaders to the Pecos League title. 

“Lamber was a shot in the dark for us late last season and I can definitely say I'm glad we brought him in. He had a monster year in the Pecos League and gives us the option to start him or throw him out of the pen,” said Wingnuts’ manager Kevin Hooper.   “He gave us a small glimpse of what he can do and I am anxious to see the improvements he has made.”

Lambe, entering his second season of pro baseball, played collegiately for LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York.  The 6’4 right-hander put together his best statistical season for the Dolphins as a sophomore in 2010. That year he posted a 2.28 ERA, one save, and a 7-1 record.  As a senior, Lambe helped lead the school to an NE-10 championship by going 4-2 with three saves and 3.10 ERA, while fanning 37 hitters in 40.2 innings.

“I am really looking forward to coming back to Wichita this year.  I only spent about a month with them last year, but I immediately felt like part of the team and enjoyed every minute I was there,” said the 23-year old Lambe. “I look forward to getting the season started and contributing to the team in any way possible.”

The Robertson name is synonymous with baseball in Wichita, and even more so within the Wingnuts’ organization.  The family will have the opportunity to feature a sibling in four different aspects of the club in 2014.  Eldest brother Josh is the team’s General Manager, Nate is part-owner, Luke serves as the pitching coach, and now youngest brother Matt has signed as a pitcher. 

“It means a lot to me to have the chance to play for the Wingnuts.  Being a part of something like this with my brothers is very special and playing in my hometown means that parents, family, and friends will be able to come to the ballpark to watch,” the youngest Robertson revealed.  “My goal is to have a good spring training and earn the opportunity to wear the “Nuts” jersey all season.”

Last season was Robertson’s first in professional baseball after finishing up a stellar collegiate career at Emporia State University.  The right-hander was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in both 2007 out of Valley Center High School and 2008 out of Barton Community College, but opted to continue with college baseball each time.  He spent the 2013 season with the Kitchener (Ontario) Panthers of the Intercounty Baseball League where he finished with a 1-5 record, two saves, and a 6.95 ERA in 17 appearances.

“I have known Matt for almost twenty years now and can't say enough about him.  This is obviously a unique situation with the Robertson family playing such a big role in our organization,” explained Hooper.   “We thought this was a perfect opportunity to bring Matt into camp and have him battle for a spot on our pitching staff.”

The 23-year old Zouzalik joins the Wingnuts for his second season of professional baseball after splitting his first between the Texas Rangers’ affiliates in Spokane (Low-A) and Myrtle Beach (Advanced-A).  He went a combined 4-0 with five saves and 15 games finished in 23 relief appearances between the stops.  In 33.2 innings the right-handed Zouzalik struck out 27 and walked 14.

“I am very excited to be going to Wichita as I’ve heard nothing but great things about the whole Wingnuts’ organization in the conversations I have had with coach Hooper on the phone,” said Zouzalik. “I can’t wait to get going and help the team win some games.”

The Austin, Texas native went undrafted out of the University of Texas-Pan American after wrapping up his career there in 2012.  He was later signed by the Rangers after he attended an open tryout in August at Round Rock that featured over 400 participants.  During a stellar senior season with UTPA Zouzalik went 4-1 with a 3.81 ERA in 13 games, eight of them starts.  He held opponents to a .237 batting average on his way to being named Second Team All-Great West Conference.

“Mike is a pretty neat story having opened some eyes at the Rangers’ open tryout. He had a solid first season and as a rookie could be very valuable for us,” Hooper said.  “He is a low-to-mid 90's guy with a lot of upside from the reports I have gotten.  Mike is another quality individual that we have added to the roster.”

The most experienced of the four arms belongs to the 24-year old Wagoner.  The right-hander played the first three seasons of his career within the Cleveland Indians organization.  After spending a pair of campaigns with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Low-A) Wagoner pitched for Lake County (Single-A) in 2013.  With the Captains, he posted a 4-5 record and 5.17 ERA while also earning a pair of saves.  In 42 relief appearances covering 55.2 innings he finished 15 games, struck out an average of just over one hitter per inning, and walked 34. 

Hooper shared the story of how Wagoner ended up a Wingnut as well as a brief scouting report. “I got wind of Jack from a friend of mine with Cleveland right after he got released in camp. Jack is hungry for this opportunity and anxious to get back on the mound to prove he is worthy of getting another shot in affiliated ball.  He is another power arm that we can bring out of the bullpen.”

Wagoner, who spent the final two years of college playing at Florida Gulf Coast University, is thrilled to be coming to Wichita. “I have heard great things about coach Hooper and the rest of the staff as well as the fan base in the city.  It looks like a tremendous atmosphere to play in as well as a fun league for traveling,” said the Eagles single-season record holder for saves.  “I am excited for the opportunity to come to Wichita and spend some quality time in a great place.”

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie AirHogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

 

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Wingnuts 2014 Promotions Schedule Released

 

WICHITA, KS (April 23, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts released their 2014 promotions schedule on Wednesday and it features something for everyone.   Whether you like to take home a collectible, have the chance to rub shoulders with a celebrity, interact with the players, or take a trip back in time, Lawrence-Dumont Stadium is the place to be this summer!

Full 2014 Promotional Schedule

The season will begin with a flourish as the Wingnuts open with a seven-game homestand right out of the gates. Opening Day takes place on Thursday, May 15th at 7:05 p.m. against the Grand Prairie AirHogs and is presented by Southwestern College. A limited number of magnet schedules will be given away at the front gate.

The Wingnuts will have the pleasure of welcoming a number of familiar faces to the ballpark this season. A group of women that you may be used to seeing on Sundays in the fall at Arrowhead Stadium, the Kansas City Chiefs cheerleaders, will stop by on Saturday, May 17th as the Wingnuts attempt to dance all over the Grand Prairie AirHogs. The team will look to outsmart the Sioux City Explorers on Saturday, July 19th with renowned ballpark nerd Myron Noodleman in attendance. Finally, the Nuts will try to lay the smackdown on the AirHogs as WWE superstar Sgt. Slaughter makes an appearance.

The Wingnuts are pleased to offer many family friendly activities throughout the season. The team is offering Scout Night and Sleepover twice at the park this season. The first will take place on Friday, May 16th and the second on Saturday, July 19th. Each of the days will include tickets for as little as five dollars, a commemorative Scout Night patch for each Scout and Leader, and a movie shown on the video board following the completion of the game. Afterwards the scouts are invited to camp out overnight in center field. On Saturday, May 31st the Wingnuts’ mascot, Spinner, will be celebrating his birthday with many other large and furry friends at our “Mascot Palooza”. Finally, the second annual Teddy Bear Toss will take place on Friday, June 20. Fans can bring a new or gently used bear to toss on the field after the Wingnuts score their first run. Players will later distribute the teddy bears to children at local hospitals.

If you enjoy hunting or the outdoors the Friday, July 18th game with the Sioux City Explorers will be right up your alley as it will be Duck Call Giveaway Night. There will be limited supply of duck calls courtesy of Midwest Huntfest passed out upon entrance to the stadium.

The tradition of post-game fireworks will continue in 2014 with six spectacular shows planned for prime weekend dates and a special Tribute to America’s Heroes in the final home game prior to the Fourth of July on Wednesday, July 2nd. The other fireworks shows will take place on May 16th, May 30th, June 20th, July 11th, July 18th, August 15th, and August 29th.

Another Wingnuts' fan-friendly tradition takes place after every Saturday game with post-game autographs.  Immediately following every Saturday contest fans are invited down on the field to meet and greet their favorite Wingnuts’ players.  A final autograph session featuring the entire team takes place on Fan Appreciation Night, which is Monday, September 1st against Laredo.

Each Sunday home game will feature a different limited Wingnuts-related giveaway. The first will take place on Sunday, May 18th when fans will receive mini-bats. Other giveaways planned for the season include Wingnuts lanyards (June 1st), Wingnuts Nut Cups (June 22nd), Wingnuts hats (July 13th), Wingnuts trading card sets (July 20th), Wingnuts youth jerseys (August 17th), and Wingnuts draw-string backpacks (August 31st). Following all Sunday games fans have the opportunity to play catch on the field.

Fans can also stop by any Wichita area Kwik Shop for a $1 general admission voucher for every Monday game.  The eight Kwik Shop Dollar Days include May 19th, May 26th, June 23rd, June 30th, July 7th, July 21st, August 18th, and September 1st. Select concession and gift shop items will also be on sale for just $1 during each Monday.

The Wingnuts have once again partnered with various local businesses to offer Buy-In Nights.  Fans can stop by any of the presenting sponsor's locations to pick up a complimentary general admission voucher that can be upgraded to a lower box or upper chair-back seat at a discount rate.  This year's Buy-In partners include American Family Insurance (Tuesday, July 8th) and Delta Dental (Tuesday, July 22nd).

For the first time, the Wingnuts will turn back the clocks mid-week with Way-Back Wednesdays. Each Wednesday home game will feature a tribute to a certain decade in our past. Help us go back in time to the 1940’s on May 21st, the 1950’s on May 28th, the 1960’s on June 11th, the 1970’s on July 9th, the 1980’s on July 23rd, and the 1990’s on August 20th. Each night will feature music from the highlighted era as well as tickets and select concessions items priced as they would have been in that time period.

Finally, Thursdays will be PF Chang’s Home Run Derby Night. The first 20 fans to sign up and pay ten dollars in the Wingnuts' merchandise store will receive a chance to take ten swings. Every fan who hits a home run will receive a t-shirt that says "I HIT ONE OUT OF LAWRENCE DUMONT STADIUM!”.  Those fans will also be invited back to our final Thursday home game of the season for the Home Run Derby Championship with the winner receiving a great prize from PF Chang’s.

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie AirHogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

 

 

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Wingnuts Add to Bullpen, Bring in Three New Arms

WICHITA, KS (April 21, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts’ coaching staff feels great about their starting rotation and the back end of their bullpen for 2014. With those areas of the pitching staff seemingly locked down, the team has turned their focus to bridging the gap between the two.  The Wingnuts have announced the signings of pitchers Nelson Curry, Alan Williams, and Jason Van Skike.

The right-handed Curry, 27, will be beginning his sixth professional season and first with the Wingnuts.  He spent a majority of last season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of United League Baseball before finishing 2013 with the Frontier League’s Southern Illinois Miners.  In 23 relief appearances with the Vipers, Curry worked 27.0 innings and finished with a sparkling 1.67 ERA.  He finished 14 games and earned four saves while striking out 34 and walking just eight, a 4.25/1 ratio.  After the season he was one of five relievers named to the ULB’s All-League Team.  After the move to Southern Illinois late in the year, Curry allowed seven runs in 4.2 innings pitched for the Miners.

Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper explained how he became aware of Curry, “A lot of times my best recruiters are other players and Nelson is a case of this.  Johnny Bowden (former Wingnuts’ catcher) played with him in the United League last year and told me we needed to get this guy,” said the skipper. “We went out and got him in a trade and hopefully he will come in and help our bullpen.  He has a low 90's fastball to go along with a plus slider and is a quality individual that will be a great fit in the clubhouse.”

The Mobile, Alabama native was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Chicago White Sox in 2011 after completing his career at his hometown school, the University of Mobile.  Curry spent a pair of seasons with the White Sox rookie-ball affiliate in Great Falls before embarking on an independent career that has taken him to five different stops, four in the Frontier League.  He posted a 7-5 career record in two seasons at the University of Mobile, striking out 58 in 79.2 innings. Curry also played 113 games as an outfielder and designated hitter, batting .349 for his career.

“I am really excited and anxious for spring training to get here so I can start playing again,” said Curry.  “I have heard great things about the program and team in Wichita, so I am thrilled to be playing there.”

The 24-year old Williams joins the Wingnuts after spending most of the first three years of his career in the Milwaukee Brewers farm system.  He was drafted by the Florida Marlins in both 2008 and 2009, but elected to return to Meridian Community College in Mississippi each time.  Williams thrived in striking out opposing hitters in college, fanning 32 in 28.1 innings in 2009 and 25 in 24.1 innings in 2010.  He appeared in three games for the Washington Wild Things of the Frontier League to begin 2011 before the Brewers purchased his contract.  Williams made stops at four different affiliates within the organization, reaching as high as Double-A Huntsville.

“I got a lead on Alan once Milwaukee released him from camp this spring.  He will be a key piece down in that bullpen being our only left-hander to start the season,” Hooper said.  “He was in Double-A last year at the age of 23, so I know he has the stuff to pitch at a high level.  He also has the capability to start if we ever need him to.”

A southpaw from Monroe, Louisiana, Williams spent 2013 at three different stops in the Brewers system.  He played two games for the Arizona Brewers (Rookie), three for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Single-A), and 13 for the Huntsville Stars (Double-A).  Williams finished with a combined 0-4 record and 3.96 ERA.  He struck out 40 and walked just 15 opposing batters.  Williams has held left-handed batters to a career .241 average against him.

“I am excited and grateful for this opportunity,” said an appreciative Williams.  “Thanks to Hoop I am getting a second chance at this wild ride.”

Van Skike, originally from Gig Harbor, Washington, will play independent ball for the first time in 2014 after spending the previous three years in the Chicago White Sox organization. He went undrafted after playing the final three years of his college career at Indiana State University.  He was a successful starter for the Sycamores for the entirety of his stay, even tossing a no-hitter in 2011, but was converted to a relief pitcher immediately upon entering White Sox camp.  Van Skike played for three different Rookie and Single-A White Sox affiliates from 2011-2013. 

Versatility is always desired in baseball and Hooper explained that Van Skike possesses that trait, “Jason is one of those guys that is very valuable to a ball club in that he can start or throw out of the pen.  His career numbers are very good, and from what I've heard he is a guy that pounds the strike zone and lets his defense play behind him.” 

Last year the 25-year old Van Skike made a lone appearance in Kannapolis (Single-A) before being promoted to Winston-Salem (Advanced-A) less than one week into the season.  Spending the remainder of the year with the Dash, the right-hander made 30 appearances, including nine starts.  He posted a 3-5 record and 2.80 ERA, allowing 76 hits and 25 walks while striking out 45. 

“I am excited about the opportunity to play for Kevin Hooper and the Wichita Wingnuts,” Van Skike offered. “Having played in Wichita for the NBC Tournament and in college I know that some of the most passionate and knowledgeable baseball fans in the country reside there.”

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie AirHogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.  

 

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Wingnuts Search Near and Far for Latest Signees

WICHITA, KS (April 18, 2014) – Way back in 1939 when Abner Doubleday wrote the rules for the sport we call baseball; the game was dominated by players from America.  In the present day, however, there are talented players in every corner of the globe, giving teams an opportunity to search internationally for quality players to fill out their rosters.  The Wichita Wingnuts have caught on, as evidenced by their latest round of additions: Dillon Hazlett from Topeka, Chad Kruse from San Antonio, Texas, Jose Roman from Puerto Rico, and Chun-Hsiu Chen (pronounced CHUHN-sue-CHEN) from Taiwan.

The 25-year old Chen has been playing affiliated ball in the Cleveland Indians organization since 2008 when he was signed at the age of 19.  In Taiwan he played mainly as a pitcher and a third baseman, but was converted to catcher with the Indians.  After starting his career slowly in rookie ball, Chen quickly adapted to the new position and advanced steadily through the organization.  In 2011, with Akron (Double-A) he put up the best power numbers of his career by launching 16 home runs and driving in 70.  In 2012 he was moved to first base and has played mainly that position since then.

Wingnuts’ manager Kevin Hooper was looking for a big bat to add to the lineup and feels like he has found that in Chen, “I got great reports on him and I love the fact that he has a lot of experience at the upper levels in the minor leagues,” said Hooper. “I am anxious to see him produce in the middle of our order. He can DH, play first base, and is also capable of playing some outfield.”

Last season Chen, born in Hualien County, Taiwan, played 38 games with Akron and 94 games with the Indians’ Triple-A affiliate in Columbus.  He combined to hit .253 in 132 games with 15 home runs and 69 RBI.  He also racked up 23 doubles, three triples, 13 stolen bases, and 60 walks.  In 76 games at first base and 20 in left field, Chen finished with .987 fielding percentage, committing eight errors in 611 chances.

“I am going to enjoy playing for the Wingnuts, they run everything as close to an affiliated team as possible,” said Chen.  “They take care of their players, there aren’t a ton of teams that are worth playing for, but Wichita is one of them.  I appreciate the opportunity and cherish what I have now.”

Roman (pronounced roh-MAHN) was born and raised in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.  He played two years for the Pittsburgh Pirates’ affiliate in the Venezuelan Summer League, but the 2014 season will be his first playing professionally stateside.  In 2010 and 2011 for the VESL Pirates the 23-year old Roman played first base as well as all three outfield positions.  In those two seasons he played in 126 games and hit an even .300 with eight home runs, 86 RBI, 33 doubles, eight stolen bases, and 64 walks while striking out just 74 times.

“I am hoping that Jose will be one of those hidden gems that you are able to find every once in a while.  I like what I've heard and seen on video and am excited to see how he can help us,” Hooper said.  “He will come into camp competing for our first base job, but can also play some outfield, which is always a bonus.”

Hazlett (pronounced HAYZ-lett) grew up, played high school ball, finished his college career, and now will resume his professional career in the state of Kansas.  After starring at Topeka High, Hazlett attended Allen County Community College in Iola, KS for two years.  Playing shortstop, he was named the Jayhawk Conference Freshman of the Year and then as a sophomore hit .462.  Hazlett transferred to the University of North Carolina for his junior season, hitting .325 with four home runs and 54 RBI.  Finally, he chose to move closer to home and finish his collegiate career at Emporia State University in 2011 where he was an All-MIAA and All-American selection after driving in 42 runs, stealing 43 bases and hitting a whopping .433.

Hazlett played 77 games for the Seattle Mariners Single-A affiliate in High Desert during the 2013 season.  He hit .211 with seven home runs and 31 RBI while playing almost anywhere on the infield.  The Mariners originally selected Hazlett in the 20th round of the 2011 draft and he has spent the past three seasons at rookie and Single-A affiliates in their system.

Hooper explained that he was impressed with Hazlett’s versatility and athleticism, while also partial to his home state, “We brought Dillon in for an individual workout after being released this winter and fell in love with him.   The fact that he is a Kansas kid is also a plus as we like to bring in as many quality local guys as we can.” Hazlett will begin the season at third base.

The versatile Kruse (pronounced KROO-zee) will be playing his second season of professional baseball in 2014.  He began his career playing for the Roswell Invaders of the Pecos League in 2013.  The 24-year old infielder split his time between second and third base last season on his way to hitting .321 with 38 RBI in 59 games.  In addition he tallied 20 doubles, two triples, and 24 walks.  The right handed Kruse committed seven errors 161 chances.  After the season he was named to the Pecos League’s All-Star Team.

“Chad will come into camp competing for a utility spot.  He played in the Texas Winter League and the feedback I got from folks was very positive,” Hooper said while adding that he likes the way Kruse plays the game.  “He seems to be a grinder/dirtbag type of guy and as far as I'm concerned, you can't have enough of those.”

After playing two seasons at Richland College in Dallas and redshirting one year at Sam Houston State the right-handed Kruse came into his own during his two years at the University of Houston-Victoria.  While playing for the Generals in 2011 and 2012 Kruse compiled a .367 batting average in 89 games and finished with a .951 fielding percentage.  He also put together 25 multi-hit games and a 10-game hitting streak.  During his summers he played a pair of seasons for the Victoria Generals of the Texas Collegiate League.  Due to his exceptional performance with them he was the first player in the five year history of the team to have his number retired.

“I am extremely excited and blessed to have the opportunity to play for the Wingnuts,” Kruse stated.  “There are going to be a lot of talented and experienced players on the roster so it’s going to be an exciting challenge to compete for a job.  I can’t wait to get things rolling in a few weeks.”

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie AirHogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Help Us Put Spinner “Over the Edge”

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (April 17, 2014) – Everybody knows that your average, every day, garden-variety squirrel is fleet of foot and possesses the ability to climb and jump pretty much anywhere.  Have you ever wondered how a lovable seven-foot tall squirrel in a Wingnuts’ jersey would fare on the side of a 14 story building?  With your help we will all be able to find out!  

The Wichita Wingnuts are asking for your assistance to send Spinner, the Wingnuts’ mascot, “Over the Edge” on May 10th.  If the team can reach their goal of $750 by the aforementioned date Spinner will rappel down the side of the Ambassador Hotel in what is sure to be an unforgettable experience.  You can make your donation today by visiting overtheedgekansas.com and clicking on Spinner’s page under the “Donate to An Edger Page” tab or clicking on the following link http://www.overtheedgekansas.com/edgers/spinner-wichita-wingnuts-mascot/.

All proceeds from the event will support the Scouting program of the Quivira Council, which serves youth in 30 counties in southern and southeast Kansas with a values based, character development program.  Scouts grow in leadership, citizenship, physical fitness and self-confidence as they set goals and achieve them.  Your participation in this event can help to make a difference in the lives of youth and families involved in the Scouting program.

The Wingnuts have teamed up with the Boy Scouts of America on many occasions in the past and will continue that tradition this season.  The team will host a pair of Scout Nights and Sleepovers at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in 2014.  The first of those dates is on Friday, May 16th against the Grand Prairie AirHogs with the second taking place Saturday, July 19th against the Sioux City Explorers.  Each of the days will include tickets for as little as five dollars, a commemorative Scout Night patch for each Scout and Leader, and a movie shown on the video board following the completion of the game. 

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie Airhogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Lights Out: Wingnuts Fill Late-Inning Relief Roles

Photo Credit:  Meryl Loop 

WICHITA, KS (April 14, 2014) – In 1964 there was a film released in Japan featuring a terrifying and intimidating dragon-like creature with three heads called Ghidorah.  Nearly 60 years later the Wichita Wingnuts are hoping that the back end of their bullpen will strike a similar fear in opposing hitters.  With that thought in mind, the Wingnuts have signed three pitchers with closing experience, Daniel Bennett, Patrick Mincey, and Matt Nevarez.

The 25-year old Bennett returns to Wichita after serving as a valuable asset in the Wingnuts’ bullpen in 2013.  The sidearm throwing right-hander went 1-3 with 13 games finished and a 2.79 ERA in 48 relief appearances.  He struck out 56 and walked 27 in 51.2 innings pitched.  Bennett did not allow an earned run in 36 of his 48 outings and held right-handed hitters to a .203 average.

“Benny had a quality year for us in 2013 and I am hoping 2014 is going to be even better,” said Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper.  “He is a unique guy for us to have in the pen because he adds a different look being a sidearm pitcher.  He is very tough on righties and has come up big for us in crucial situations.”

Bennett will be beginning his fourth season of professional baseball, and is 10-7 with 22 saves and a 2.38 ERA in 136.1 career innings.  The Tallahassee, FL native has struck out 156 against 57 walks and six home runs over his first three pro campaigns.  Bennett was drafted by the Tigers in the 19th round in 2011 after playing two seasons of college baseball in his hometown at Florida State University.  Bennett was a combined 8-2 with 18 saves and a 2.73 ERA for the Seminoles, and helped them reach the 2010 College World Series.  Bennett also pitched two seasons at Tallahassee Community College where he holds school records for both single season and career appearances.

The 24-year old Mincey was also in the American Association last season, but wore a different uniform.   After a dominant season as the closer for the Grand Prairie AirHogs the Wingnuts were able to acquire him via trade in exchange for third baseman Abel Nieves.  The right-hander’s impressive numbers included a 5-1 record, 43 games finished, 24 saves, and a miniscule 1.01 ERA.  In 53.1 innings of work, all in relief, he struck out 55, walked just 14, and allowed a lone long ball.   Mincey’s WHIP of 0.881 ranked him fourth in the league among pitchers who threw at least 20.0 innings.  Following the season he was named the American Association’s Relief Pitcher of the Year and was one of three relief pitchers included on Baseball America’s All-Independent Leagues Team.

“We were adamant that if we were going to trade Abel Nieves, Mincey was going to be the guy we had to get,” explained Hooper.  “I like to have as many closer type guys as I can in the late innings of a game.  I know for a fact our guys didn't like facing him so I am glad he will be wearing our uniform this year.”

The Hartsville, South Carolina native spent his first professional season with the Schaumburg Boomers of the Frontier League in 2012.  While there he earned 17 saves throwing 35.2 innings in 34 games.   He posted a 2.78 ERA and struck out 57 while issuing just 17 free passes, a 3.35 ratio.  Mincey finished his college career playing two seasons at Division II Francis Marion University in Florence, SC. after spending his first two years of eligibility at Spartanburg Methodist College.

“I’ve heard only good things about Kevin Hooper and the facilities in Wichita are great, I have nothing but respect for the organization,” said Mincey.  As for his goals this year, “I just want to win a ring.  Everybody would love to get picked up at some point, but I’m not going to worry about things I can’t control or what my stats are.”

Nevarez, also a right-handed thrower, will be joining the Wingnuts for a third time in 2014.  After beginning the 2011 season with the Houston Astros Double-A affiliate in Corpus Christi Nevarez joined the Wingnuts in early July.  He finished five games and earned one save on his way to a 2.76 ERA in 18 appearances.  In 2012, he started the season in Wichita before having his contract purchased by the Tampa Bay Rays in late July.  In his Wingnuts’ career Nevarez is 3-3 with eight saves and a 2.95 ERA in 43 games.  He has fanned 64 while walking 17 in 42.2 innings.  American Association opponents have hit just .167 against him.

“I am excited to get back and work with all the coaches and players,” said the 27-year old pitcher.  “It is a great organization that always works hard to put the best team possible on the field; I wouldn’t want to play anywhere else.”

Nevarez, who was initially a 10th round draft pick of the Texas Rangers in 2005, appeared in nine games last season for the Montgomery Biscuits (Tampa Bay, Double-A) prior to injuring his arm.  He has logged four years in the Rangers system, three seasons with the Houston Astros, and most recently a pair of seasons within the Rays organization in his eight year professional career. 

Hooper knows that Nevarez possesses the tools necessary to be special, “We have had Matty in the past and are ecstatic to have him back to begin this season.  He is coming off of surgery and if he can show he is healthy we may not have him for long.  Not many guys are blessed with a mid to upper 90's fastball, but he is one of them.”

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie AirHogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Amberson Returns, Nuts Welcome Two Newcomers

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (April 11, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts have announced the addition of two new players and the re-signing of another.  David Amberson will be back to roam the outfield turf at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, while Carlo Testa and Taylor Oldham will look to become familiar with it in 2014.

The right-handed hitting Amberson returns after spending his first professional baseball season with the Wingnuts in 2013. The 26-year old outfielder hit .280 with two home runs and 29 RBI in 69 games.  He scored 38 runs with nine doubles, one triple, 15 stolen bases, and 12 walks.  Amberson hit safely in 40 of 69 games and had a personal best 16-game hitting streak at one point.  Although he hit eight or ninth in every game he played in, Amberson was a thorn in opposing pitchers’ sides.  He hit .295 against right-handed pitching, .323 with runners in scoring position, and was named the American Association’s Batter of the Week in mid-June.

Wingnuts’ manager Kevin Hooper is expecting even more out of Amberson now that he has a season under his belt. “I believe Ambo is going to be much more polished this year after a quality first season.  He brings an element to the game that you cannot teach, nor defend, and that is his dynamic speed,” said Hooper.  “He will be penciled in as our right fielder and help us turn over the lineup batting ninth.”

Amberson played for the Australian Baseball League's Perth Heat during their 2012-13 campaign, where he was a teammate of Ryan Khoury.  The Everett, Washington native hit .380 for Perth in 19 games with five doubles, two triples, one home run, seven RBI, and nine stolen bases.  He finished his college career at Western Oregon University after playing two seasons at Everett Community College in his home state of Washington.

Amberson is enthusiastic in looking ahead to the season, “I am excited for another chance to try and take home the American Association title and to spend the summer around some great people.”

Also an outfielder, the 27-year old Testa began last season with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, and concluded it with the Traverse City Beach Bums of the Frontier League.  He played 13 games with the Naturals prior to being released and signing with the Beach Bums ten days later. In 72 Frontier League games Testa hit .271 with seven home runs and 42 RBI.  He also stole 31 bases (third in the league) and drew 22 walks to help guide the team to the Frontier League playoffs.

“I am eager to play for a team that comes highly touted as one of the best independent ball clubs to play for.  From coaching staff, to veteran players, to clubhouse personnel I have heard nothing but positives,” said Testa before adding that he has high hopes for 2014. “I have great expectations that my teammates and I will do whatever it takes to have a winning season.”

The left-handed hitting Testa was an 18th round selection by the Royals in the 2008 draft.  He spent six seasons in the organization, reaching as high as Double-A in both 2012 and 2013.  Testa is a career .273 hitter in 516 games. His best season offensively came in 2012 when he launched 15 home runs and tallied 54 RBI for Northwest Arkansas.  A native of Tallmadge, Ohio, Testa played collegiately at Belmont University in Nashville, TN where he was a standout as both a pitcher and a hitter.  In 2008 he became the first player ever to be named All-Atlantic Sun Conference as both a pitcher and a position player. He led the conference in triples and shutouts and led the team in every traditional offensive category aside from slugging percentage and walks.

“Carlo will start the season as our everyday left fielder and probably hit somewhere in the middle of the order,” Hooper confided. “I am very excited to see what he can bring to the table for us.  The report from the Royals is that he has a lot of plus tools and will be a great fit in the clubhouse.”

The versatile Oldham is valuable to any team he suits up for because of his ability to literally play anywhere on the field.   In his two year professional career Oldham has played at least two games at every position besides pitcher and catcher, however, the majority of his time has been spent manning the hot corner as a third baseman.  He spent the 2013 season applying his trade for the Taos Blizzard of the Pecos League where he hit an impressive .379 in 29 games.  Oldham hit six home runs, drove in 25 runs, and earned ten free passes on his way to posting a .447 on-base percentage.

Taylor will come into camp battling for one of our utility spots,” Hooper said.  “We have heard nothing but great things about him and I am anxious to see what he can do in camp to help contribute to our team.”

The 24-year old began his professional baseball career in 2012 with a pair of Frontier League clubs.  He spent the first half of the slate with the Washington WildThings and played the second half with the London Rippers/Road Warriors.  Oldham played his first three collegiate seasons at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia before playing his last year of eligibility at Tennessee Wesleyan.

“You don’t get to play for a manager who has not only had success coaching, but also a fantastic playing career because of an amazing understanding of the game very often,” Oldham said in reference to Hooper.  “My new teammates have experience in consistently putting winning seasons together and I am blessed to have the opportunity to be a Wingnut.”

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie Airhogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Diamond Dolls are coming back!

 Are you fun, energetic, outgoing, love people and baseball? If you can answer yes to any of those descriptions, please contact Drew Hays with the Wichita Wingnuts to set up an interview. Being a Wingnuts Diamond Doll means having fun with the fans and helping us with the on-field promotions. Contact Drew@wichitawingnuts.com for more details. GO NUTS!!

Wichita! Joe Maddon Finds Unlikely Connection with Kansas' Largest City

 

by Andrew Astleford

Fox Sports Florida

 

Joe Maddon has done time in Wichita. He said as much late in March, during spring training, when he chose the Kansas community as the Tampa Bay Rays' code word to signal that a call should be challenged as part of Major League Baseball's expanded replay. The moment was vintage Maddon: funny, creative, smart. He's one of a kind.

Why let Omaha, made famous by Peyton Manning's audibles last fall with the Denver Broncos, have all the fun?

Why not pass the love to another Midwestern city?

"Omaha and Wichita, kind of almost in a perverse way, rhyme," the manager said last month. "I never served time in Omaha, but I have in Wichita."

Wichita had quite a run with the Rays to start this season. Maddon won his first challenge last Friday, when Wil Myers' diving catch of a ball from the Texas Rangers' J.P. Arencibia in right field during the seventh inning was first ruled a single. He won another Saturday, when shortstop Yunel Escobar's throw to first base to retire the Rangers' Robinson Chirinos in the second inning was first ruled too late. He lost one both Monday and Tuesday, when his winning streak ended against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

Still, Wichita has become part of the fabric of this Rays season. The label is a nod to Kansas' largest city, with a population of about 382,000 people. It's known as the "Air Capital of the World" because of its background in aircraft manufacturing. Its sports ties are a mix of Royals and Kansas City Chiefs love, with college allegiances to Kansas, Kansas State and Wichita State sprinkled about its Old Town district and elsewhere. Its Shockers were the first team in college basketball history to go 35-0.

Its passions vary like any metro area: Arts, culture, entertainment. But baseball is an interest that has owned a soft spot throughout Wichita's history.

"Maybe that's why Wichita is his call sign, his code," said Josh Robertson, president/general manager of the Wichita Wingnuts, part of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. "He's got a warm place in his heart for it."

Robertson would know. He also serves as general manager of the National Baseball Congress. The NBC World Series is held each summer at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium near downtown. It has grown into one of the country's most storied amateur tournaments since its start in 1935, when Satchel Paige's team from Bismarck, N.D., won the title. It has a proud past.

Maddon participated as a member of the champion Boulder (Colo.) Collegians in 1975. He returned as a player-coach in 1980. He was inducted into the NBC Hall of Fame in 2012, joining others like Barry Bonds and Buck O'Neil and Ozzie Smith to receive the honor since the inaugural class in 1991.

So Maddon has served time in Wichita, all right. Some Wichitans see themselves in him. They are proud people.

"I kind of think of Wichita State as a perennial underdog," said Steve Shaad, former general manager of the now-defunct Double-A Wichita Wranglers. "With his managing background and not a lot of success in the minor leagues and coming into the big leagues, he wasn't really successful as a player. But he has managed to persevere and be extremely successful as a major league manager. I think he's a kind of a roll-up-your-sleeves, get-hard-to-work kind of guy that overcomes obstacles. I think Wichitans, as a whole, can relate to that."

No doubt.

This has been quite the year for Wichita. The Shockers' run under coach Gregg Marshall nudged the city from the shadows of Kansas City to the northeast and Dallas and Oklahoma City to the south. Now, Wichita is known for more than the site of the original Pizza Hut and a convenient place to stop on a drive to the Rocky Mountains. Wichita offers a lot.

But for many years, baseball has remained a pride point within this city nestled on the Arkansas River. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Wichita has been home to some form of minor league baseball since 1887. Wichita State grew into one of the country's best programs under manager Gene Stephenson after his arrival in spring 1977, with seven College World Series berths and a national championship in 1989. Future major league stars like Carlos Beltran and Johnny Damon, a former Rays member, played in a combined 161 games with the Wranglers in the late 1990s and early 2000s as part of the Royals organization. If only the stands at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium could talk.

"Wichita's ties in the baseball community run deep,” Susie Santo, president and CEO of the Go Wichita Convention and Visitors Bureau, said in a statement. "Hopefully some of our hometown spirit can help push Tampa towards a historic season of its own.”

So Maddon's nod to Wichita fits. It's a tip of the cap to his past. For Wichitans, it's another reason to brag about their present. A bond has formed between the nation's breadbasket and Florida's Bay Area.

Why Wichita?

Why not?

"Knowing that Mr. Maddon grew up as a Cardinals fan, he's obviously a very smart fellow," said Ted Ayres, vice present and general counsel at Wichita State, and a die-hard St. Louis Cardinals fan. "And I think he's a sports fan if he's showing respect to Peyton Manning and his career as a quarterback. I'd also like to think the performance of the men's basketball team here, the Shockers, this year -- going 35-0 before finally being defeated -- must have caught his attention. So it's only natural that he'd want to be associated with a winner like Wichita."

That's the interesting thing about Maddon. You never know what you'll live around him. From DJs and penguins and pythons in the clubhouse to a 40-foot RV at spring training to feeding the homeless during his "Thanksmas" celebration each winter, he's a renaissance man. Life is his playground.

The unpredictability makes him entertaining. The variety makes him insightful.

Now, Wichita is part of his tapestry.

"I like watching the guy manage -- him with his glasses on," Robertson said. "He's got that old-school, hard-nosed, blue-collar-type manager (approach). He gets the most out of his players. From what I can see, and the things that I have heard ... he's old-school, blue-collar, respectable, that type of guy who gets everything out of his players. And obviously, Wichita has got a place in his heart."

The beat will live with each Rays' replay challenge this season.

Why Wichita?

Why not?

The time seems right.

Rotation Taking Shape as Three More Arms Added

 

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (Monday, April 7) – With opening night just over five weeks away, the Wichita Wingnuts’ starting rotation is beginning to take form.  With Jon Link and Anthony Capra already in the fold the team has added two experienced arms in Michael Schlact and Tim Brown and will bring back a familiar face in Justin Klipp.

The 28-year old Schlact sat out the 2013 baseball season while he recovered from his second shoulder surgery.  His last baseball action came in 2012 with the Atlantic League’s Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.  He appeared in just three games that season before he was injured. During his most recent full season, which came in 2011 with Southern Maryland, he was 6-4 with a 4.61 ERA in 21 appearances, 18 of which were starts.  He struck out 38 and walked 25 in 107.1 innings of work. 

Manager Kevin Hooper is looking forward to watching the towering Schlact throw this season.  “Michael is a guy I am very excited to see in May when the guys report.  He is a 6'7" right-hander that will hopefully fit somewhere right in the middle of our rotation.  He seems to pound the strike zone and doesn't give out many free passes.”

Schlact is entering his tenth season of professional baseball since being selected by the Texas Rangers in the 3rd round of the 2004 MLB Amateur Draft out of Wheeler High School in Marietta, GA.  He spent seven years in the Rangers organization reaching as high as Double-A Frisco, where he spent four seasons from 2007-10.  Schlact enjoyed his best season statistically with the Low-A Clinton LumberKings in 2005.  There he posted a 10-7 record in 28 starts to go along with a 4.17 ERA. 

“I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to be part of such a classy and successful organization,” Schlact said.  “I am looking forward to being on the field with some really talented players and a top notch coaching staff.”

Although relatively young in age, Tim Brown is an independent baseball veteran.  The 27-year old has already completed five seasons with three different independent baseball clubs.  He pitched for the Lincoln Saltdogs and Grand Prairie AirHogs, both of the American Association, between 2009 and 2011 before spending each of the last two campaigns with the Gateway Grizzlies of the Frontier League.

“I’m very excited to be joining the Wingnuts this year,” Brown stated. “I have always enjoyed the city of Wichita and playing against the team in the past.  I have nothing but respect for them and I look forward to a great season.”

Brown was not drafted after finishing his collegiate career at Pittsburg State University in 2009. Brown led the Gorillas pitching staff that year with a 3.71 ERA in 80.0 innings of work.  He has the fourth most strikeouts in a single season at the school with 77.  Brown is the career leader in lowest amount of walks per nine innings pitched with an average of 0.83 and holds the two best single-season marks in the same category with an average of 1.04 in 2008 and 0.68 in 2009.

Following the completion of the college season Brown joined the Lincoln Saltdogs, going 7-1 in 17 appearances with a 2.59 ERA.  He also began the 2010 season with Lincoln, but after starting the season 7-5 had his contract purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies in July.  Brown was placed with the team’s Gulf Coast League affiliate where he finished with an impressive 1.50 ERA in seven games spanning 24.0 innings. 

He split the 2011 season between Lincoln and Grand Prairie before flourishing with Gateway the past two seasons.  With the Grizzlies Brown was a combined 25-5 in 39 starts with a 2.61 ERA.  He struck out 136 batters while issuing just 64 walks.  In 2013, he finished second in the Frontier League with a 2.97 ERA.  On July 20th of last year in a game against the Lake Erie Crushers Brown threw the third no-hitter in Grizzlies history, allowing just a pair of base runners via walk.

“I have kept a close eye on Tim since the first time I saw him pitch for Lincoln in 2009 as a true rookie,” explained Hooper.  “He pitches to our philosophy of going right at guys, pounding the zone, and letting his defense play behind him.  He is a proven winner and I can't wait to see him in a Wingnuts uniform.”

The right-handed Klipp played professional baseball for the first time last season at the age of 28.  He spent the final three months of the season with the Wingnuts after being acquired via trade from the Edinburgh Roadrunners of United League Baseball.  In 17 appearances with Wichita, 15 of which were starts, Klipp posted an 8-3 record and 3.88 ERA.  In 92.2 innings he struck out 56 and walked 21. 

According to the 29-year old from Tarzana, California the season cannot begin soon enough.  “I am excited to be in Wichita and have been chomping at the bit to be playing every day again since the new year began.  I want redemption for last year and will settle for nothing less than a ring.”

Klipp started just three games with Edinburgh prior to the trade to Wichita, but made his mark in the short time frame.  He was 2-1 with a 1.24 ERA in 21.2 innings pitched.  He struck out 14 batters in 6.1 innings against Fort Worth in his professional debut and followed that by fanning another 14 in his next outing.

Klipp was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 22nd round in 2007, but did not see live action professionally until last year due to a pair of back injuries.  The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Klipp was drafted following two successful years at Cal State Fullerton.  Klipp posted a 2.15 ERA during his senior season with the Titans, striking out 28 in 37.2 innings of work.

“Klipper is an older rookie that had dealt with a serious injury, but has come back hungrier than ever.  I'm expecting big things out of him this year,” expressed Hooper. “He continues to want to get better every time out and I really like that he isn't fazed by anything thrown at him.”

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie AirHogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

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Experienced Arm from Both Sides Back to Lead Rotation

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (April 4, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts pitching staff led the American Association in both ERA and strikeouts in 2013. In fact, the numbers they posted in both categories blew away the previous league records for each. Two of the arms that were big contributors in putting up those impressive numbers will take the mound at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium again this season. Both Jon Link and Anthony Capra have re-signed with the Wingnuts for 2014.

Link, a former Major Leaguer who started for the Wingnuts on Opening Day last year, will be entering his second season in Wichita. The right-handed pitcher spent just over a month with the Wingnuts in the beginning of the 2013 campaign before his contract was purchased by the Detroit Tigers in mid-June. At the time of his departure he led the American Association in both wins (six) and ERA (1.74) and was fifth in the league with 38 strikeouts.  Link also tossed the first complete game of his career on June 17th versus Gary SouthShore. The Columbus, OH native allowed two or fewer earned runs in six of his seven starts and had a string of 24.0 consecutive scoreless innings.

The Tigers initially sent Link to their Double-A affiliate in Erie. Link went 3-1 with a 1.13 ERA in five games, all starts. In 39.2 innings of work he struck out 21 while allowing 30 hits and five walks. Those impressive numbers earned Link a promotion to the Toledo Mud Hens, Detroit’s Triple-A affiliate. There he worked 43.2 innings in 11 appearances, seven of them starts. He also finished three games and closed the season with a 5.56 ERA. He was granted free agency by the Tigers in November.

Manager Kevin Hooper is glad that Link is back to provide both pitching and guidance.  “Jon will once again be the leader in our rotation this upcoming season.  Having pitched in the big leagues, he is willing to teach the younger guys what it takes to be successful on the mound,” the skipper said. “He is very smart and knows how to give himself a chance to win a ball-game every fifth day.”

Link enters his tenth season of professional baseball and was originally drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 26th round out of Bluefield College (Bluefield, VA) in 2005.  The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Link is 34-27 in his career with 93 saves over 400 appearances. The veteran was named the Double-A Southern League's Relief Pitcher of the Year in 2008 with the Birmingham Barons (Chicago White Sox).  Link had a 4.15 ERA in nine relief appearances for the Dodgers in 2010.  The Columbus, OH native made his Major League debut on April 20th of that season with two shutout relief innings against the Cincinnati Reds.

“I’m really excited to be back in a great city playing in front of great fans and for a first class organization,” Link expressed. “We definitely have some unfinished business from last year to take care of. This year it’s all about the ring.”

With Link providing a top-notch right-handed arm at the top of the rotation, every team would love to have a left-handed stalwart as a compliment. That is where Anthony Capra comes in. The southpaw, who will begin his third season in Wichita, was 7-2 with a 3.92 ERA in 22 appearances last season. In 100.0 innings of work Capra struck out 122 opposing hitters and walked 59. He had one of his best starts of the season when it mattered most, throwing 7.1 shutout innings against Grand Prairie in Game 3 of the Division Series. Capra racked up double-digit strikeout totals in three games.

“I’m excited to be coming back to play in Wichita, which I consider my second home. Playing for Kevin Hooper has allowed me to rediscover my love of the game as well as learn some things as a pitcher along the way,” Capra said. He also agreed with Link about one thing, “We’ve finished just short of our goal twice now and everyone that is coming back knows what our end goal is for 2014.”

Capra is entering his seventh season of professional baseball and owns a lifetime 28-37 record with a 4.20 ERA in 115 starts and 14 relief appearances.  Capra, 27, has averaged 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings over 608.0 career frames.  The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Capra was drafted by the Oakland Athletics as a fourth-round pick out of Wichita State University in 2008.  Capra was 18-4 with a 2.43 ERA during his three seasons with the Shockers, earning All-American and All-Missouri Valley Conference honors in 2008.  Capra reached Triple-A Sacramento for the Athletics in 2011, and was named organizational Pitcher of the Year in 2009 after striking out 170 in 152.0 innings between two levels.  Capra is the 10th former Shocker to wear a Wingnuts' uniform.

Hooper is very familiar with Capra and has high hopes for his future. “I have known Cap since his college days at WSU and feel very fortunate to have him in our rotation.  He put together a stellar season last year and will be another huge part of our success in 2014.  I'm hoping if he can go out and repeat what he did last year that it won't be long before he gets another opportunity in affiliated ball.”

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie Airhogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Special K's: Double Play Duo Re-Signs

 

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

 

WICHITA, KS (March 31, 2014) – In baseball the letter “K” is usually something you want to avoid unless you are a pitcher.  In the case of the Wichita Wingnuts, however, the more “K’s” you can place in the middle of the infield the better the chance you have to win on a nightly basis.  Appropriately, shortstop Ryan Khoury and second baseman Jake Kahaulelio will each be back for a third season with the Wingnuts in 2014.

Khoury, who recently turned 30, has been an absolute ironman during his two previous seasons in Wichita, playing in 199 out of a possible 200 regular-season games.  In 2013, he hit .244 with 14 doubles and 46 RBI while hitting safely in 89 of 99 games.  A staple at the top of the order, Khoury drew 58 walks which tied him for the team lead with CJ Ziegler.

The right-handed hitting shortstop is the Wingnuts’ franchise leader in stolen bases (67) and sacrifice flies (16).  He is also tied with Josh Horn for the most career walks at 117. 

In 2012, his first season in Wichita, Khoury (pronounced KORE-ee) put together a remarkable campaign by both team and league standards.  He hit .256 with 18 doubles, three triples, four home runs, 38 RBI, and a .360 on-base percentage.  The Salt Lake City, UT native finished third in the American Association in stolen bases (37), fourth in runs scored (79), and tied for fourth in walks (59).  The 37 steals remains a franchise single-season record.  After the season he was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Wingnuts’ Manager Kevin Hooper knows that Khoury is valuable in multiple facets of the game, “Ryno will not only set the tone for us offensively as our leadoff hitter, but defensively as well. In addition, he is a huge threat out on the base paths.”

Khoury was originally drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 12th round out of the University of Utah in 2006.  During his senior season with the Utes, Khoury earned Mountain West Conference Player of the Year honors, batting .437 with 13 home runs and 56 RBI in just 56 games played.  Khoury spent six years in the Red Sox' farm system, reaching the Triple-A level three times. 

Kahaulelio, who hit behind Khoury in the second spot in the order last season, is hoping to build on an impressive all-around season in 2013.  Last year the 28-year old hit .322 in 95 games while piling up 17 home runs, 68 RBI, 91 runs scored, and .408 on-base percentage.  The 91 runs scored led the American Association.  In addition, he was hit by 22 pitches, a Wingnuts’ single-season and American Association record.

As impressive as Kahaulelio was with a bat in his hands he may have been even more impressive with his glove.  He had the top fielding percentage of any second basemen in the league (.991) on his way to being named the American Association’s All-Star at the position.   Of the 448 total chances he received Kahaulelio committed only four errors.

“Coming back to Wichita was the best decision I could make, the staff works so hard for us and playing here has put the fun back in the game for me,” Kahaulelio shared.  “I look forward to making another run at a championship this year.”

One person that Kahaulelio has definitely impressed during his two previous seasons with the team is his manager, “Jake provides so much to our team in that he can hit for average, hit for power, provide speed, and play stellar defense on a nightly basis,” Hooper stated. “Not only is he an outstanding baseball player, but a class act all around.  I am so grateful to have a guy like Jake on our ball club.”

Kahaulelio (pronounced kuh-HAU-lay-lee-oh) was also the American Association's all-star second baseman in 2012, and captured the league's batting crown with a .372 average that year.  Kahaulelio added 60 runs scored, 19 doubles, six home runs, and 11 stolen bases in 59 games played.  The Petaluma, CA native also finished second in the American Association in on-base percentage (.448) and seventh in slugging percentage (.536).  Kahaulelio hit safely in 47 of 59 contests, had four hitting streaks of at least seven games, and batted an incredible .475 with runners in scoring position.  Again, he led the league’s second basemen in fielding percentage (.990) and committed only three errors.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Kahaulelio was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 20th round in 2007 out of Oral Roberts University.  Kahaulelio has three years of experience at the Double-A level, including an all-star campaign with the Southern League's Carolina Mudcats in 2010.   Kahaulelio hit a combined .319 during his two seasons at Oral Roberts and also spent two years at Santa Rosa Junior College where he won a California State championship in 2005.

Hooper used his prior experience to sum up the importance of this tandem returning to his club, “Being a former shortstop myself, I take a lot of pride in building teams that are strong up the middle.  Ryno and Jake form possibly the best double play combination I have ever seen in the American Association.”

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie Airhogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Powerful Pair of Veteran Sluggers Returns

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS (March 27, 2014) – In 2013 the Wichita Wingnuts’ lineup was a force to be reckoned with.  The team led the American Association in home runs, RBI, and slugging percentage among other categories.  With plans to continue putting up big numbers offensively in 2014, the Wingnuts have announced the re-signing of a pair of power-hitting former big leaguers in John Rodriguez and Brent Clevlen.

  The duo brings with them a combined 29 years of professional baseball experience and nearly 400 career home runs.  Both Rodriguez and Clevlen were named American Association Post-Season All-Stars after their stellar 2013 campaigns with the Wingnuts.

Rodriguez, who was the designated hitter in all 100 games last season, will be returning to Wichita for the third consecutive season.  He has driven in more runs in his Wingnuts career than any other player (167) and is second in franchise history in runs, hits, total bases, and intentional walks.  Last season he hit .337 while launching 19 homers and driving in 86 runs.  The left-handed hitter also drew 42 walks and set a single-season franchise record with 409 at-bats.

Wingnuts’ manager Kevin Hooper is thrilled to have Rodriguez back in the fold, “J-Rod is arguably one of the best hitters in our league and is a great leader not only on the field, but in the clubhouse.   It's not very often that you get to have a World Series Champion on your team at this level so he is a great example for our younger players.” 

The 2014 season will be a special one for the 36-year old slugger as it will be the final year of an impressive baseball career.  “I will be retiring after this season so I really want to bring home a championship.  General Manager Josh Robertson and Kevin Hooper do a great job of putting together a quality team each year and I believe that we have a great chance to win it all this year,” Rodriguez said. “Everyone in this city has been great to my family and I and Wichita has become like a second home for me.”

Rodriguez played two seasons in the Major Leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals (2005-06), helping the Redbirds win back-to-back National League Central Division crowns, as well as the 2006 World Series.  The New York City native hit .298 with 46 runs scored, 18 doubles, seven home runs, and 43 RBI in 158 Major League games.  During his time with St. Louis, Rodriguez collected base hits against numerous all-stars, including Roger Clemens, Trevor Hoffman, Greg Maddux, and John Smoltz.

Rodriguez enters his 18th year of professional baseball after having been originally signed by the New York Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in 1996.  Rodriguez is a career .283 hitter with 1,577 base hits, 233 home runs, and 950 RBI in 5,554 at bats over 1,638 games played.  In addition to his time with the Cardinals, Rodriguez has nine years of experience at the Triple-A level, and was a teammate of Wingnuts' manager Kevin Hooper with the International League's Columbus Clippers in 2004.

Clevlen will also be back for his third season with the Wingnuts after spending portions of the 2011 and 2013 seasons in Wichita.  Last season he hit .322 with 14 home runs and 51 RBI in 70 games after joining the team in mid-June.  Clevlen spent the first part of the season in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization with Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno.

The 30-year old outfielder has one thing on his mind after last year’s team fell just short in the championship series, “I am very excited to be back because I want to make another run at the championship.  The fans and staff make it very easy for the players to go out and do what we love so it’s time to bring that trophy to Wichita!”

Clevlen batted .310 with 15 doubles, 10 home runs, and 32 RBI in 46 games for the Wingnuts in 2011.  On June 27th of that season versus El Paso, he hit the first inside-the-park home run in team history.  His contract was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies' organization in August of 2011 and he went on to hit .336 with six homers and 20 RBI in 32 games for the Double-A Reading Phillies.

Clevlen was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the second round in 2002 out of Westwood High School in Austin.  He first reached the Majors with Detroit in 2006 where he teamed with Wingnuts' manager Kevin Hooper and co-owner Nate Robertson.  He spent parts of the next two seasons with the Tigers and also saw time with the Atlanta Braves in 2010.

 "Clev is a special player and I feel very fortunate to pencil him into our lineup night in and night out,” Hooper said. “He is without a doubt one of the best players in the league and will once again be a key run producer in the middle of our order.”

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie Airhogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

National Team Coming to NBC World Series

WICHITA, KS – Each and every summer the National Baseball Congress World Series serves as a showcase for some of the best amateur baseball players and teams in North America.  This year the 80th edition of the tournament is sure to continue that proud tradition, especially with the announcement that a national team will compete for the first time in 15 years.

The NJCAA National team, featuring the best players in the country from the National Junior College Athletic Association, will be traveling to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita to try to bring home a championship in the 2014 World Series.  “We are grateful for the opportunity to participate in this year’s event and would like to thank the NBC and their staff for the invitation and the hospitable nature in which they have approached our group.  We are looking forward to a great event,” said NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association President Rick Hitt.

This will be the first time the NJCAA has compiled a national team for tournament play since their entry in the 2010 Honkbal Tournament in Holland.  That squad went 2-4 in the international competition, knocking off Chinese Taipei twice.

“The National Baseball Congress is very excited to have the NJCAA National Team compete in the 80th Annual World Series,” said NBC General Manager Josh Robertson.  “It will be the first time since 1999 that a USA National Team has competed in the tournament and our fans still remember how exciting it was to have them here.”

In the past four years players from the NJCAA ranks have made a sizeable impact on Major League Baseball’s June Amateur Draft.  The 2010 draft featured a record 175 players chosen from NJCAA schools, while there have been at least 93 selected in every draft since.  The 2013 draft featured 124 NJCAA draft picks highlighted by the Chicago White Sox choosing shortstop Tim Anderson of East Central Community College in Mississippi with the 17th overall pick.  Anderson’s high draft position makes it the third time in four years there has been a NJCAA player taken in the first round.

Many household names in the sport of baseball have started their careers by playing collegiately for an NJCAA program.  In fact, nine former NJCAA players participated in the 2013 MLB All-Star Game including big names like Bryce Harper, Cliff Lee, Sergio Romo, Chris Davis, and Craig Kimbrel.

The potential to see future stars isn’t the only reason to pay attention to this group of collegians. “Some players go on to have great professional careers, but what is amazing to me is the constant success stories from all over the country about players making it to college with an opportunity to play collegiate baseball, who lived for that opportunity, took nothing for granted, and made the most of the chance they received to play this great game,” explained Hitt, who is also the head baseball coach at NJCAA program South Florida State.  “The experience of being part of the NJCAA National Team is one that the players and staff who participate will always remember.”

Two-time NJCAA National Coach of the Year at Iowa Western Marc Rardin will coach the national team this summer.

“It will be a great experience for everyone to see a fresh new team in the World Series and no doubt some future Major League players in the mix,” Robertson added. “We are grateful to the NJCAA Committee for choosing The National Baseball Congress World Series as the post-season tournament of choice to showcase these talented young men.”

The 2014 NBC World Series will begin on Friday, July 25th and conclude on Saturday, August 9th.  The field challenging the NJCAA National Team will include last year’s champion the Seattle Studs, 2007 champion the Wellington Heat, Alaska, and long-time power Prairie Gravel.  It is possible that six former World Series champions will be in the field.

Tickets for the 80th annual NBC World Series can be ordered by calling the NBC Baseball Box Office at 316-264-6887.

 

Manager Hooper Highlights Return of Wingnuts Coaching Staff

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS - Over the past four seasons the Wichita Wingnuts have compiled a 240-173 record, won three division titles, and appeared in the American Association’s Championship series twice.  During that string of success players have come and gone, but one thing has remained unchanged, the coaching staff.  The Wichita Wingnuts have announced that the trio of field manager Kevin Hooper, pitching coach Luke Robertson, and hitting coach Jose Amado will return in 2014 for their fifth season together as a staff.  

"I am very grateful to have the opportunity to manage the Wingnuts again for the upcoming season," said Hooper.  "We have had players throughout the years who have bought into our system and beliefs as an organization and it has been a successful match.”

Hooper enters his sixth year as Wingnuts' manager, and 16th overall in professional baseball.  The Lawrence, KS native has guided the Wingnuts to a winning record in each of his five seasons at the helm, with an overall mark of 290-202 (.589).  During this stretch, the Wingnuts have reached the playoffs four times--winning division titles in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013--while falling just one game shy of both the division crown and wild card in 2010.  The team reached the championship series in both 2012 and 2013.

General Manager Josh Robertson is pleased to see Hooper return, “The Wingnuts organization is thrilled to have “Hoop” back at the helm for the 2014 season.  He has proven time and again that we will always have a chance to make the playoffs.  Off the field, he is as first class as they come and we couldn’t ask for a better representative for our organization.”

During the last five years, the Wingnuts have sold the contracts of 18 players to Major League organizations.  En route to winning the Central Division title in 2013, the Wingnuts set American Association single-season records for wins (68), team ERA (3.38), and strikeouts by a pitching staff (782).  In addition, the club led the league in batting average (.297), runs (609), and home runs (107). Hooper has seen many individual accomplishments achieved during his tenure as well.   He has been named the American Association's Manager of the Year after both the 2009 and 2013 seasons.  Also, he has managed 23 all-stars, two Players of the Year, three Pitchers of the Year, and a Defensive Player of the Year.  A member of the Wingnuts has won the league’s batting title in four of the last six seasons, including Hooper himself who took home the crown in 2008.

Hooper's playing career started in 1999 when the Florida Marlins drafted him in the 8th round out of Wichita State University.  The 37-year old Hooper ascended quickly through the minors and spent six of his 10 professional seasons at the Triple-A level.  Hooper reached the Major Leagues with the Detroit Tigers in both 2005 and 2006.  Hooper's playing career concluded with the Wingnuts in 2008, a season that saw him notch his 1,000th professional hit, and win the American Association batting title by 40 points.

Hooper and his wife Lindsey now reside in Valley Center with their two daughters Lucy and Laney.

“We are truly blessed to have our coaching staff returning including pitching coach Luke Robertson and hitting coach Jose Amado”, Robertson adds. “The Wingnuts have been atop the league year in and year out on the mound and at the plate thanks to the efforts of these guys.  One thing you can count on, former bench coach Brian Rose is always looking down and cheering us on.”

Pitching coach Luke Robertson returns for his seventh year in the same role, while hitting coach Jose Amado is back for his fifth campaign.  Hooper has high praise for both, “I am very fortunate to have Luke and Jose returning to our coaching staff.  I know I get a lot of the credit for our success, but I can't do what I do without the help from the two of them.  They have been a vital piece to our organization throughout the years.” 

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie Airhogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

 

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Wingnuts Receive Best of Wichita Award

WICHITA, KS – The Wichita Wingnuts are busy preparing for the upcoming 2014 American Association season.  There is, however, one more reason to reflect back on a very successful campaign last year as the Wingnuts have been selected for the 2013 Best of Wichita Award in the Sports Promoters & Managers category by the Wichita Award Program.


The Wichita Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Wichita area. Recognition is given to companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.  Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Wichita Award Program and data provided by third parties.


“We are honored to receive an award like this and I am proud of our entire staff for working long and hard to deliver the product that everyone saw on game day last year”, said Wingnuts’ President and General Manager Josh Robertson.  “That being said, we are in the midst of coming up with new promotions that will give fans a different, but still exciting, experience in 2014.”


The Best of Wichita Award comes on the heels of the organization also being named “Best Local Sports Team” in the Wichita Eagle Reader’s Choice for 2010, 2011, and 2012.


The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie Airhogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.


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Wingnuts 2014 Schedule is Set

2014 Wichita Wingnuts Schedule

WICHITA, KS - The Wichita Wingnuts will attempt to reach the American Association's championship series for the third consecutive year in 2014, but will have to battle a new set of divisional opponents in order to reach the post-season. 


With the El Paso Diablos exiting, the 12-team league now features three four-team divisions.  In order to balance the numbers the Wingnuts have moved from the Central to the South Division. General Manager Josh Robertson shares why the move could result in a special accomplishment, “We have won one North Division title and the last three Central Division titles.  It would be another historical moment if we can go capture the South Division crown this season and be the first team to win all three divisions.”  Once again, the three division winners and one wild-card will advance to the playoffs following a 100 game regular season schedule. 


Wichita will face every team in the league at least once and will welcome nine different opponents into Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  The Wingnuts will open the 2014 campaign at home against new division rival, and 2013 playoff opponent, Grand Prairie on Thursday, May 15th. 


The Wingnuts will play 51 games against South Division foes, 29 of them coming at home.  They will see Grand Prairie a season-high 20 times, including the four game series to begin the season (May 15th-May 18th).  Laredo will come to town 12 times including a four-game set to conclude the regular season (August 29th- September 1st).  Finally, Wichita will play six home and six road games with Amarillo.


A highlight of the schedule is seven games against defending champion Gary SouthShore.  The RailCats make their only stop in Wichita for three games between May 30th and June 1st.  The Wingnuts will play a combined 32 games with their former Central Division opponents.


As is the custom, Wichita will depart on an extensive road trip in late July to make way for the NBC World Series at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. The trip which runs from July 25th- August 13th takes the team in order to Amarillo, St. Paul, Fargo-Moorhead, Winnipeg, and Lincoln. 


The 80th annual amateur and semi-pro National Baseball Congress tournament, which begins on July 25th and continues through August 9th, will allow fans to get their baseball fix even while the Wingnuts are on the road.  Robertson says there are a few things for fans to look forward to this year, “We are building on the format change that was implemented in 2013 and will be seeing some new teams such as the USA Junior College National Team, Alaska, and long-time powerhouse Prairie Gravel.”


There will be a brief respite near the mid-point of the schedule for the two-day American Association All-Star event in Winnipeg.  There will be a fan fest and skills competition on Monday, July 28th followed by an all-star luncheon and the game itself on Tuesday, July 29th.  Wingnuts' manager Kevin Hooper will manage the south squad in the game. This is the first American Association All-Star Game since 2010 when Wichita was the host city. Robertson explained why there is reason to look forward to the mid-season break, “The All-Star game will be a welcome addition to the schedule in 2014 and I am excited that it will played in a great city and environment like Winnipeg.  One of our own is managing in the game and hopefully we can send a number of players to accompany him.”


The Wingnuts schedule features seven home weekend series as well as four exhibition games at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on May 4th, 5th, 7th, and 13th, two of which are school kid’s day games.  There is ample opportunity for avid baseball fans and families to catch a glimpse of the 2014 edition of the team.  “We will be changing many of our promotions and fans can expect a fresh look in terms of entertainment,” Robertson says. 


The standard start time for home games is 7:05 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 2:05 p.m. on Sunday.  The two exceptions are on Thursday, June 26th (11:05 a.m.) and Labor Day, Monday, September 1st (5:05 p.m.).


The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 15th against the Grand Prairie Airhogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com



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Independent Player of the Year Signed by Twins

WICHITA, KS – Former Wichita Wingnuts’ slugger C.J. Ziegler has signed a contract with the Minnesota Twins and will report to spring training with the organization in February. 


The 28- year old infielder enjoyed a record-breaking 2013 campaign.  Playing in all 107 games at first base, Ziegler hit .316 while also setting both an American Association and Wingnuts’ single-season record 30 home runs.  He also led the league by driving in 100 runs.  In addition, Ziegler finished in the top ten in the American Association in runs scored, doubles, walks, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.  On August 21 he hit for the first cycle in franchise history against Gary SouthShore.  His impressive numbers earned him both American Association Player of the Year and Baseball America’s Independent Player of the Year for 2013.


“It was a fun two years having C.J. on our ball club,” said Wingnuts’ manager Kevin Hooper.  “For him to be named player of the year is a special achievement.  He had a terrific season and was a huge part of our team’s success on the field.  We wish him the best of luck.”


The Tucson, AZ native spent a pair of seasons with the Wingnuts and leaves as the all-time leader in home runs (48) and second in RBI (161).  In his two seasons in Wichita Ziegler hit .317 in 165 games, drew 92 walks, and racked up a .640 slugging percentage.


Ziegler is the fourth player the Wingnuts have sold to a Major League organization in 2013 and the 19th all-time.


Wingnuts Sold to Major League Organizations
OF Dustan Mohr, 2008 - Colorado Rockies
RHP Will Savage, 2010 - Los Angeles Dodgers
RHP Ben Graham, 2010 - Washington Nationals
LHP Justin Dowdy, 2010 - Tampa Bay Rays
OF Ryan Patterson, 2011 - Arizona Diamondbacks
LHP Dustin Pease, 2011 - San Diego Padres
RHP Cephas Howard, 2011 - Texas Rangers
OF Kenny Gilbert, 2011 - Chicago White Sox
OF Brent Clevlen, 2011 - Cincinnati Reds
OF Brent Clevlen, 2011 - Philadelphia Phillies
SS Jose Martinez, 2012 - Houston Astros
LHP Nate Robertson, 2012 - Toronto Blue Jays
RHP Matt Nevarez, 2012 - Tampa Bay Rays
RHP Andrew Aizenstadt, 2012 - Philadelphia Phillies
RHP James Hoyt, 2012 - Atlanta Braves
OF Adam Buschini, 2013 - San Diego Padres
RHP Jon Link, 2013 - Detroit Tigers
LHP Ryan Hinson, 2013 - Atlanta Braves
1B C.J. Ziegler, 2013 - Minnesota Twins


The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins in May.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

 

 

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Hooper to Skipper All-Star Game

Photo Credit: Jancy Ireland Photography

WICHITA, KS- Wichita Wingnuts' manager Kevin Hooper has been named a field manager for the 2014 American Association All-Star Game.

The game is scheduled for July 29th at Shaw Park, home of the North Division's Winnipeg Goldeyes.  A fan fest and skills competition will take place one day prior.  The event returns for the first time since the Wingnuts' hosted the 2010 edition at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

The official format of the game will be announced at a later date.  Hooper will manage across Gary SouthShore RailCats' skipper Greg Tagert.

Hooper guided the Wingnuts to an American Association record 68 wins in 2013, as well as a second consecutive berth in the league's Championship Series.  Since taking over the club in 2009, Hooper has led Wichita to the most wins (290) and the highest winning percentage (.589) in the league.

The seventh season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins in May.  For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

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Baseball America Recognizes Trio of Wingnuts

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS- Wichita Wingnuts' first baseman C.J. Ziegler, third baseman Abel Nieves, and right-handed pitcher Junior Guerra recently gained national attention on two of Baseball America's end-of-season lists.

Ziegler and Guerra placed eighth and ninth respectively on the publication's Independent Leagues Top-10 Prospects list, while Ziegler and Nieves were named to the All-Independent Leagues team.

Ziegler hit .318 and led the American Association in both home runs (30) and RBI (99).  The 30 home runs set a league record.  The Tucson, AZ native was voted American Association Player of the Year and recently earned similar honors from Baseball America.  In two seasons with the Wingnuts, Ziegler has slugged a franchise-best 48 home runs with 160 RBI in just 158 games played.

Guerra was 9-4 with a 3.30 ERA in 19 starts and two relief appearances.  The 28-year-old righty finished tied for ninth in the American Association in wins, fifth in ERA, and second in strikeouts (126).  A native of San Felix, Venezuela, Guerra allowed three or fewer earned runs in 14 of his 19 starts and posted a 2.63 ERA from June 21st through the end of the regular season.

Nieves won the American Association's batting title with a .357 average.  It marked the fourth batting championship for a Wingnuts' player in the team's six-year history.  Nieves added 23 doubles, five home runs, and 51 RBI.  The Maracay, Venezuela native walked more times (56) than he struck out (46) and reached base in 89 of 99 games played with a hit, walk, or hit by pitch.  Nieves also ranked second among American Association third basemen with a .955 fielding percentage.

Baseball America 2013 Independent Leagues Top-10 Prospects
1. K.C. Serna, SS - Amarillo Sox, American Association
2. Pete Perez, RHP - Southern Illinois Miners, Frontier League
3. Tim Adleman, RHP - New Jersey Jackals, Can-Am League
4. Jeff Shields, RHP - Trois-Rivieres Aigles, Can-Am League
5. Nathan Kilcrease, RHP - Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, American Association
6. Race Parmenter, RHP - Southern Illinois Miners, Frontier League
7. Marquis Riley, 2B - Joliet Slammers, Frontier League
8. C.J. Ziegler, 1B - Wichita Wingnuts, American Association
9. Junior Guerra, RHP - Wichita Wingnuts, American Association
10. Lucas Irvine, RHP - Kansas City T-Bones, American Association

Baseball America 2013 Independent Leagues All-Star Team
C Danny Canela - River City Rascals, Frontier League
1B C.J. Ziegler - Wichita Wingnuts, American Association
2B C.J. Beatty - Washington Wild Things, Frontier League
3B Abel Nieves - Wichita Wingnuts, American Association
SS Jeremy Barnes - New Jersey Jackals, Can-Am League
OF Nick Van Stratten - Sioux Falls Canaries, American Association
OF Nick Akins - Joliet Slammers, Frontier League
OF Cyle Hankerd - Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, Atlantic League
DH Jake Fox - Somerset Patriots, Atlantic League
SP Taylor Stanton - Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, American Association
SP Scott Dunn - Traverse City Beach Bums, Frontier League
SP Josh Lowey - Somerset Patriots, Atlantic League
SP Dwayne Pollock - Lancaster Barnstormers, Atlantic League
SP Jeff Shields - Trois-Rivieres Aigles, Can-Am League
RP Patrick Mincey - Grand Prairie AirHogs, American Association
RP Jason Urquidez - Lancaster Barnstormers, Atlantic League
RP Joe Harris - Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, American Association

The 2014 season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins next May.  For information on season tickets, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS or visit the team's official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

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Ziegler Earns BA's Top Indy Honor

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS- Wichita Wingnuts' first baseman C.J. Ziegler has been named Baseball America's 2013 Independent Leagues Player of the Year.

Ziegler (pronounced ZIH-glur) compiled an historic 2013 season that included an American Association record 30 home runs.  The Tucson, AZ native started all 100 games for the Wingnuts while hitting .318 and ranking first in the league with 99 RBI.  Ziegler also ranked tied for fourth in runs scored (81), tied for fourth in doubles (32), tied for fifth in walks (58), tied for ninth in on-base percentage (.408), and second in slugging percentage (.645).  Ziegler's accomplishments earned him a spot on the league's Postseason All-Star Team, as well as American Association Player of the Year honors.

The 27-year-old Ziegler hit safely in 73 of 100 contests and reached with a hit, walk, or hit by pitch in 88 of them.  Ziegler was twice named the American Association's Batter of the Week (June 24th-30th and August 19th-25th).  On August 21st at Gary SouthShore, Ziegler hit for the first cycle in team history.  Earlier this month, Ziegler was named the American Association's Pointstreak Star of Stars.

Ziegler is the second Wingnuts player to receive the honor.  Greg Porter was named Baseball America's Independent Leagues Player of the Year in 2009.  The award encompasses more than 40 independent clubs across North America.

The 2014 season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins next May.  For information on season tickets, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS or visit the team's official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

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Wingnuts' Dream Season Ends in Game Four

Photo Credit: Abbygail Wells

WICHITA, KS- The Wichita Wingnuts lost 6-5 to the Gary SouthShore RailCats in Game Four of the 2013 American Association Championship Series at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Saturday night.

Highlights

The RailCats win the series 3-1 and claim the 2013 American Association championship.

Gary SouthShore built an early 4-0 lead over the first two innings.  Adam Klein led off the game with a walk.  A Mike Massaro single and a Cristian Guerrero walk loaded the bases with no outs.  Reid Fronk grounded into a double play at second base to drive in Klein with the game's first run.

In the top of the second, Brian Kolb singled to center field and advanced to second when Drew Martinez reached on a fielder's choice to third.  Zac Mitchell beat out a sacrifice bunt attempt which resulted in a throwing error by Wingnuts' starter Junior Guerra.  Kolb scored on the play.  Danny Pulfer plated Martinez and Mitchell with a line drive single to left that made it 4-0.

Craig Maddox led off the top of the fifth with a double down the left field line.  Maddox took third on Kolb's sacrifice and scored when Drew Martinez lined a single to left.

The Wingnuts scored their first runs in the bottom of the seventh against RailCats' starter Morgan Coombs.  Jake Kahaulelio singled to center and moved to second when Abel Nieves walked.  Both runners advanced on a groudball to first from Cole Armstrong.  David Amberson ripped a groundball single to right field that cut the RailCats' lead to 5-2.

Mitchell tripled to right-center with one out in the top of the eighth and scored what proved to be the decisive run on Pulfer's sacrifice fly to left.

In the bottom of the inning, Wichita sent nine men to the plate to pull within one.   With first and third and one out, C.J. Ziegler hit a sacrifice fly to left that scored Jared McDonald.  Kahaulelio blooped a single down the right field line, while Nieves walked to load the bases.  Armstrong worked a bases loaded walk to cut the lead to 6-4.  Amberson drove in Wichita's fifth run with an infield single.  RailCats' reliever Kyle Lindquist kept the lead intact when Madison Beaird lined out to second base.

Josh Dew threw a scoreless top of the ninth to keep the Wingnuts within one run.

Marco Gonzalez closed out the game for a second straight night to earn the save.  Rodriguez reached first on a two-out, infield single before Gonzalez retired Ziegler on a flyball to center field that ended the game.

Guerra took the loss, allowing five earned runs on nine hits in five innings.  Guerra walked four and struck out two.

Coombs earned the win, allowing two earned runs on five hits in seven and one-third.  Coombs walked two and struck out four.

Erik Lambe worked three strong innings of long relief, allowing one earned run on just one hit.

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Wingnuts Drop Game Three to RailCats

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS- The Wichita Wingnuts lost 7-6 to the Gary SouthShore RailCats in Game Three of the 2013 American Association Championship Series at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Friday night.

Highlights and Postgame Comments From Kevin Hooper

The RailCats now lead the series 2-1.  Wichita must win Game Four on Saturday night to force a Game Five on Sunday.

With two outs and no one on base in the top of the eighth inning, Adam Klein and Mike Massaro reached on back-to-back infield singles.  The hits came on almost identical groundballs over the mound.  Both Klein and Massaro narrowly beat a throw to first from Ryan Khoury.  On the next pitch, Cristian Guerrero lined a single to center field that scored Klein.

Kyle Lindquist and Marco Gonzalez combined to keep the Wingnuts scoreless over the final two innings to preserve the 7-6 final.

The RailCats scored the first run of the game in the top of the first.  Klein drew a leadoff walk.  After Wingnuts' starter Anthony Capra recorded two outs, Klein stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball.  Reid Fronk drove in Klein when he beat out an infield single to first base.

Wichita tied the game in the bottom of the second.  Clevlen tripled off the top of the center field wall leading off.  Abel Nieves followed with an RBI single to center field.

In the top of the third, the RailCats scratched across two runs to take a 3-1 lead.  With the bases loaded and one out, Fronk and Brian Kolb drew consecutive walks to force in the go-ahead runs.

Wichita responded again in the bottom of the fourth.  A leadoff walk to John Rodriguez and back-to-back singles from C.J. Ziegler and Clevlen loaded the bases with no outs.  Nieves tied the game for a second time with a two-run, line drive single to right-center.  RailCats' starter Billy Spottiswood retired the next three hitters in a row to keep the game tied.

Gary SouthShore took its third lead of the game in the top of the seventh.  Klein doubled down the left field line leading off.  Massaro then reached on a fielder's choice while attempting to sacrifice.  Klein advanced to third on the play.  After Daniel Bennett relieved Capra, Guerrero drove in the lead run with an infield single up the middle.  Babineau lined a single to left that scored Massaro to make it 5-3.  A Fronk sacrifice fly to left drove in the RailCats' sixth run of the game.

The Wingnuts engineered their third game-tying rally in the bottom of the inning.  With two outs and no one on base, Jake Kahaulelio reached on an infield single between third and shortstop.  Rodriguez singled to left while Ziegler walked to load the bases.  Clevlen legged out an infield single on a chopper up the middle that scored Kahaulelio and cut the lead to 6-4.  Nieves delivered his fourth and fifth RBIs of the night with a line drive single down the right field line.

Capra took a no-decision, allowing five earned runs on seven hits in six-plus innings.  Capra walked six and struck out four.

Spottiswood also took a no-decision, allowing three earned runs on six hits in six innings.  Spottiswood walked four and struck out three.

Estevan Uriegas earned the win in relief for the RailCats.

Justin Klipp took the loss for Wichita.  Klipp allowed one earned run in two and two-thirds relief innings.

Game Four of the 2013 American Association Championship Series is Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.  Junior Guerra will pitch on three days of rest.  The RailCats go with right-hander Morgan Coombs.  Individual tickets can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

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Wingnuts Even Championship Series in Extras

Photo Credit: Jonathan Miano/Time NW of Indiana 

GARY, IN- The Wichita Wingnuts beat the Gary SouthShore RailCats 6-4 in 10 innings in Game Two of the American Association Championship Series at U.S. Steel Yard on Wednesday night.

Postgame Comments From Kevin Hooper, Brent Clevlen, and Erik Lambe

The best-of-five series is now tied 1-1 heading back to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

The Wingnuts took their third lead of the night in the top of the 10th inning.  Tied at 4-4, Jake Kahaulelio was hit by a pitch leading off and took second on a sacrifice bunt from John Rodriguez.  After C.J. Ziegler was intentionally walked, Brent Clevlen sliced a double to right-center field that scored Kahaulelio with the go-ahead run.  Abel Nieves was intentionally walked, leading to a Cole Armstrong's sacrifice fly to center field.

Josh Dew struck out Cristian Guerrero leading off the bottom of the 10th.  Andrew Aizenstadt then relieved Dew and struck out Reid Fronk looking.  A Craig Maddox double and back-to-back walks to Brian Kolb and Drew Martinez loaded the bases.  23-year-old true rookie Erik Lambe came in from the bullpen and struck out Zac Mitchell on three consecutive pitches to end the game.

Dew earned the win in relief, while Lambe picked up his first career save.

Kyle Lindquist took the loss for the RailCats.

The RailCats sent the game to extras with two runs in the bottom of the ninth.  Kolb led off with a triple down the right field line and scored on an infield single from Martinez.  Mitchell sacrificed Martinez to second.  Two batters later, Adam Klein singled to left-center to tie the game at 4-4.

The Wingnuts scored first for a fifth straight game this postseason.  With Nieves on first and two outs in the top of the second, Armstrong lifted a double to right-center field that made it 1-0 in favor of Wichita.

Klein tied the game in the bottom of the third with an RBI single down the right field line.

Kolb pulled a single down the left field line in the bottom of the fourth to give the RailCats a 2-1 lead.

Rodriguez, Ziegler, Clevlen, Nieves, and Armstrong strung together five consecutive singles in the top of the sixth to give Wichita a 4-2 lead.  Nieves' single came with the bases loaded and drove in two runs.  Armstrong accounted for the third run in the frame and finished the night with three RBI.

Chris Smith started for Wichita and took a no-decision.  Smith allowed two earned runs on seven hits in seven and one-third innings.  Smith walked one and struck out six.

Stephen Hiscock started for the RailCats and also took a no-decision.  Hiscock allowed four earned runs on eight hits in five and two-thirds.  Hiscock walked one and struck out three.

The teams take Thursday off before the series shifts to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium for Game Three on Friday night at 7:05 p.m.  Anthony Capra faces right-hander Billy Spottiswood.  Individual tickets can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

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RailCats Take Game One From Wingnuts

GARY, IN- The Wichita Wingnuts lost 9-4 to the Gary SouthShore RailCats in Game One of the 2013 American Association Championship Series at U.S. Steel Yard on Tuesday night.

Postgame Comments From Kevin Hooper 

The RailCats rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to erase a 4-3 Wingnuts' lead.  Reid Fronk led off with a line drive single to right and took second on Ryan Babineau's pinch-hit line drive single to center.  After Brian Kolb laid down a sacrifice bunt, Nick Liles drew a pinch-hit walk to load the bases.  Zac Mitchell was then hit by a pitch to force in the tying run.  Danny Pulfer followed with a two-run double that was just fair down the right field line.  Adam Klein made it 7-4 with a sacrifice fly to center field.

RBIs from Kolb and Liles in the bottom of the eighth accounted for the RailCats' final two runs.

Wichita scored first for a fourth straight postseason game in the top of the second.  C.J Ziegler drew a leadoff walk, went to second on a single up the middle from Abel Nieves, and took third on Cole Armstrong's lineout to left-center.  David Amberson hit a two-out, RBI double to left-center that scored Ziegler.

Gary tied the game in the bottom of the fifth when Pulfer and Klein hit back-to-back doubles.

Klein drew a bases loaded, two-out walk in the top of the sixth to force in the go-ahead run.  Mike Massaro followed with an infield single to third base that made it 3-1 in favor of the RailCats.

The Wingnuts re-took the lead in the top of the seventh.  An Amberson infield single and a Ryan Khoury walk set up a three-run home run to left-center from Jake Kahaulelio.

James Giulietti took the loss in relief for the Wingnuts, allowing four earned runs in one-third of an inning.

Will Krout earned the win in relief for Gary SouthShore, retiring two batters over the seventh and eighth.

Junior Guerra took a no-decision in the start, allowing three earned runs on nine hits in five and two-thirds.  Guerra walked two and struck out four.

Alain Quijano started for the RailCats and also took a no-decision.  Quijano allowed four earned runs on seven hits in six and two-thirds.  Quijano walked three and struck out five.

Amberson had four hits for the Wingnuts.

Game Two of the American Association Championship Series is Wednesday night at 7:10 p.m.  Chris Smith faces RailCats' right-hander Stephen Hiscock.  All the action can be heard locally on Oldies 92.7 KWME and worldwide at www.pressboxproductionsradio.com

The Wingnuts host Game Three of the series on Friday, September 13th at 7:05 p.m.  Wichita will also host the "if necessary" Games Four and Five on September 14th and 15th.  Individual tickets can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

-Wingnuts-

Wingnuts and RailCats Play for Championship on Tuesday

WICHITA, KS- The Wichita Wingnuts begin the 2013 American Association Championship Series on Tuesday night against the Gary SouthShore RailCats.

The RailCats host the first two games in the best-of-five series with both contests scheduled for a 7:10 p.m. first pitch.

The teams take Thursday off before the Wingnuts host Game Three on Friday, September 13th at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  The Wingnuts will also host the "if necessary" Games Four and Five on September 14th and 15th.  All Wingnuts' home games in the series begin at 7:05 p.m.

The Wingnuts return to the Championship Series after sweeping the Grand Prairie AirHogs three games to none last week.  Wichita's pitching staff totaled 30 shutout innings in the series and allowed just two runners past second base.

This is the RailCats' first Championship Series since joining the American Association in 2011.  Gary SouthShore beat Fargo-Moorhead three games to one in the Division Series, and clinched with a 3-0 victory on Saturday at U.S. Steel Yard.  The RailCats won Northern League championships in 2005 and 2007.

Junior Guerra (9-4, 3.30) starts Game One for the Wingnuts on Tuesday night.  Guerra pitched six shutout innings and took a no-decision in Game One at Grand Prairie last Wednesday.  The Wingnuts won the contest 2-0 in 12 innings.  Left-hander Alain Quijano (12-7, 4.05) takes the mound for the RailCats.  Quijano took the loss in Game One at Fargo-Moorhead on Wednesday, allowing two earned runs in seven and one-third frames.

2013 American Association Championship Series
Game 1 - Tuesday, September 10th - U.S. Steel Yard, 7:10 p.m.
Game 2 - Wednesday, September 11th - U.S. Steel Yard, 7:10 p.m.
Game 3 - Friday, September 13th - Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, 7:05 p.m.
Game 4* - Saturday, September 14th - Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, 7:05 p.m.
Game 5* - Sunday, September 15th - Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, 7:05 p.m.
*if necessary

Game One can be heard locally on Oldies 92.7 KWME and worldwide at www.pressboxproductionsradio.com

Individual tickets for Games three, four, and five can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

-Wingnuts-

Wingnuts Blank 'Hogs to Return to Championship Series

Photo Credit: Abbygail Wells

WICHITA, KS- The Wichita Wingnuts completed a three-game sweep of the Grand Prairie AirHogs with a 13-0 win in Game Three of the American Association Division Series at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Friday night.

Highlights

Postgame Comments From Kevin Hooper and Wingnuts Players 

Anthony Capra, Andrew Aizenstadt, and Josh Dew combined on Wichita's third straight shutout.  Wingnuts' pitching combined for 30 scoreless innings in the three games.

Wichita scored three times in the bottom of the second and never looked back.  Brent Clevlen led off with a triple off the center field fence and scored on an RBI single to right-center from Abel Nieves.  Nieves took second on a wild pitch and scored on an error by AirHogs' first baseman Andres Rodriguez.  Three batters later, Ryan Khoury poked a double down the right field line to drive in Cole Armstrong with the Wingnuts' third run.

John Rodriguez led off the bottom of the third with a triple down the right field line.  On the next pitch, C.J. Ziegler made it 4-0 with a line drive single to center.

David Amberson and Jard McDonald hit back-to-back singles leading off the bottom of the fourth.  After Khoury laid down a sacrifice bunt, Jake Kahaulelio hit a sacrifice fly to left that scored Amberson.

Khoury hit a one-out, solo home run to left field in the bottom of the sixth to stretch the lead to 6-0.

Wichita broke the game open for good with a four-run bottom of the seventh.  With first and third and one out, Armstrong lifted a sacrifice fly to center that drove in Ziegler from third base.  After Amberson singled through the left side, McDonald tripled to deep left-center to add two more runs.  Khoury capped the inning with an RBI double to right-center.

Clevlen doubled home pinch hitter Madison Beaird with the Wingnuts' 11th run in the bottom of the eighth.  Beaird led off the inning with a line drive single to right-center.  A Nieves groundball to shorstop and an Amberson triple down the left field line provided the game's final margin.

Capra earned the win with seven and one-third scoreless innings.  Capra allowed just three hits, walked one, and struck out nine.

Aizenstadt recorded the final two outs in the eighth, while Dew pitched a perfect top of the ninth to close out the series.

Derek Blacksher took the loss for Grand Prairie, allowing five runs, three earned, on 10 hits in four and one-third innings.  Blacksher walked none and struck out three.

Wichita totaled 19 hits in the win and outscored the AirHogs 21-0 in the series.  Nine different Wingnuts had at least one hit.  Khoury, Ziegler, Clevlen, and Amberson all had three-hit games.  Khoury picked up three RBI.

Game One of the 2013 American Association Championship Series is scheduled for Tuesday, September 10th at either Fargo-Moorhead or Gary SouthShore.  Junior Guerra will start for Wichita.  All the action can be heard locally on Oldies 92.7 KWME and worldwide at www.pressboxproductionsradio.com

The Wingnuts host Game Three on Friday, September 13th at 7:05 p.m.  Wichita will also host the "if necessary" Games Four and Five on September 14th and 15th.  Individual tickets can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

-Wingnuts-

CJ Ziegler Voted Player of the Year

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS- Wichita Wingnuts' first baseman C.J. Ziegler has been voted the American Association's 2013 Player of the Year.

Ziegler had an historic 2013 in which he set an American Association single-season record with 30 home runs.  The 27-year-old slugger hit .318 and also topped the league with 99 RBI.  Ziegler finished tied for fourth in runs scored (81), tied for fourth in doubles (32), tied for fifth in walks (58), tied for ninth in on-base percentage (.408), and second in slugging percentage (.645).

The Tucson, AZ native hit safely in 73 of 100 games and reached base with a hit, walk, or hit by pitch in 88 of them.  Ziegler totaled 39 multi-hit contests while collecting multiple RBIs 25 times.  On August 21st at Gary SouthShore, Ziegler hit for the first cycle in franchise history.  Ziegler had three hitting streaks of seven or more games and was twice named the American Association's Batter of the Week.

The Wingnuts host the Grand Prairie AirHogs in Game Three of the American Association Division Series tonight at 7:05 p.m.  Individual tickets can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

-Wingnuts-

Kevin Hooper Voted Manager of the Year

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop 

WICHITA, KS- Wichita Wingnuts' manager Kevin Hooper has been voted the American Association's 2013 Manager of the Year.

Hooper guided the Wingnuts to a league-best 68-32 regular season record.  The Wingnuts' 68 victories and .680 winning percentage both set American Association records.

The Lawrence, KS native is in his fifth year as Wichita's skipper and has led the Wingnuts to five consecutive winning seasons, four division titles, and a berth in the 2012 American Association Championship Series.  Since taking over the team in 2009, Hooper owns the most wins (290) and the highest winning percentage (.589) of any manager in the league.

Hooper enjoyed a 10-year playing career as a professinal which concluded with an American Association batting title in 2008 as the Wingnuts' shortstop.  Hooper's .373 mark that summer led the league by 40 points, which remains the widest margin of victory in American Association history.

The 36-year-old Hooper was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 8th round in 1999 following a stellar, four-year career at Wichita State Universiy.  Hooper spent six years at the Triple-A level and reached the Major Leagues with the Detroit Tigers in both 2005 and 2006.

Hooper joins Steve Shirley (Sioux Falls, 2008 and 2010) and Tim Johnson (Lincoln, 2006 and El Paso 2012) as the only American Association managers to win the award twice.

The Wingnuts host the Grand Prairie AirHogs in Game Three of the American Association Division Series tonight at 7:05 p.m.  Individual tickets can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

-Wingnuts-

Smith's Gem Gives Wingnuts 2-0 Lead

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

GRAND PRAIRIE, TX- The Wichita Wingnuts beat the Grand Prairie AirHogs 6-0 in Game Two of the American Association Division Series at QuikTrip Park on Thursday night.

Wichita leads the best-of-five series 2-0.

Postgame Comments From Kevin Hooper, Chris Smith, and Jared McDonald

Chris Smith pitched the first nine-inning complete game of his professional career, blanking the AirHogs on three base hits.  Smith walked three, struck out five, and finished the night at 122 pitches.

The Wingnuts took the lead in the top of the third.  Jared McDonald led off with a line drive single to right field.  McDonald stole second base and scored the first run of the night when Ryan Khoury lined a single down the right field line.

Brent Clevlen singled on a line drive to center with one out in the top of the fourth.  Clevlen took second on a hit-and-run groundball from Abel Nieves and scored on a Cole Armstrong line drive single to right.

Wichita added two more runs in the top of the fifth.  McDonald again led off with a single and stole second base.  Khoury singled McDonald to third on a groundball through the right side.  With Khoury in motion, Jake Kahaulelio hit a groudball to shortstop that plated McDonald to make it 3-0.  John Rodriguez then drove in Khoury from second on a groundball single to center.

With two outs and no one on base in the top of the seventh, Khoury singled through the right side.  On the next pitch, Kahaulelio doubled off the left field fence to score Khoury with the Wingnuts' fifth run.

Wichita's final tally came in the top of the ninth.  David Amberson drew a leadoff walk, took second on a passed ball, and advanced to third when McDonald hit a groundball to first base.  Two batters later, Amberson scored on a Kahaulelio sacrifice fly down the right field line.

Smith retired 12 consecutive hitters from the fifth inning through the eighth, and at one point set down 16 of 17.  Smith allowed just one runner past second base the entire night.  Smith had one career shutout entering Thursday, which came in the opener of a double header on June 4th, 2006 while pitching for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox).  It is the first postseason complete game and shutout in team history.

Josh Strawn took the loss for Grand Prairie, allowing five earned runs on 12 hits in six and two-thirds innings.  Strawn walked one and struck out one.

Khoury and McDonald each had three hits while Kahaulelio had three RBI.  Rodriguez had multiple hits for a second straight night in the series.

The series shifts to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Friday night for Game Three.  First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.  Anthony Capra takes on former Wingnuts' righty Derek Blacksher.

Wichita will also host the "if necessary" Games Four and Five on September 7th and 8th.  Individual tickets for all home playoff games can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

-Wingnuts-

Wingnuts Scratch Out Win in Series Opener

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

GRAND PRAIRIE, TX- The Wichita Wingnuts beat the Grand Prairie AirHogs 2-0 in 12 innings in Game One of the American Association Division Series at QuikTrip Park on Wednesday night.

Postgame Comments From Kevin Hooper, Johnny Bowden, and Josh Dew 

With the game scoreless in the top of the 12th, Johnny Bowden overcame an 0-2 count to draw a pinch-hit bases loaded walk that forced in John Rodriguez with the first run of the night.  David Amberson followed with an RBI single through the left side that made it 2-0.  Rodriguez started the rally with a groundball single to right.  Two batters later, Brent Clevlen bounced a single to left.  Abel Nieves followed with a walk that loaded the bases.  Grand Prairie then called on left-hander Brandon Bargas, while the Wingnuts countered with the right-handed Bowden.

Josh Dew closed out the game with a perfect bottom of the ninth to earn the save.  Wichita's bullpen totaled six shutout innings in the win.

The Wingnuts came up with a huge defensive play in the bottom of the 11th.  Rian Kiniry led off with a double to the right field fence.  When Kiniry tried to stretch the hit into a triple, Jake Kahaulelio made a perfect relay throw to Abel Nieves to record the first out of the inning.

Junior Guerra started for the Wingnuts and pitched six shutout frames.  Guerra allowed five hits, walked five, and struck out six in a no-decision.  Guerra was especially tough with runners on base, stranding 11 AirHogs over the first five innings.

Grand Prairie starter Aaron Wilkerson and four relievers kept Wichita off the board for 11 innings.  From the sixth inning through the 11th, AirHogs' pitching retired 17 batters in a row.

Stephen Nikonchik took the loss in relief for Grand Prairie.

Wilkerson took a no-decision with seven scoreless innings.  Wilkerson allowed three hits, four walks, and struck out five.

Daniel Bennett, Nick Walters, Andrew Aizenstadt, and Lincoln Holdzkom helped contribute to the 12-inning shutout.  Holdzkom earned the win with a scoreless bottom of the 11th.

Rodriguez had three hits in the win for Wichita.  Amberson had two base hits.  It is the Wingnuts' first postseason extra inning victory in team history, and their first 12-inning game overall since July 12th, 2012 versus Kansas City.

Game two of the series is Thursday night at 7:05 p.m.  Chris Smith faces right-hander Josh Strawn.  All the action can be heard locally on Oldies 92.7 KWME and worldwide at www.pressboxproductionsradio.com

The Wingnuts host Game Three of the series on Friday, September 6th at 7:05 p.m.  Wichita will also host the "if necessary" Games Four and Five on September 7th and 8th.  Individual tickets for all home playoff games can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

-Wingnuts-

More Milestones for Wingnuts in Regular Season Finale

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS- The Wichita Wingnuts (68-32) beat the Kansas City T-Bones (40-60) 5-4 at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Monday evening.

Highlights and Postgame Comments From Kevin Hooper and Jake Kahaulelio

The win helped the Wingnuts set several more league records.  At 68-32, the Wingnuts' .680 winning percentage eclipses the Lincoln Saltdogs' .677 mark set in 2006.  Wichita also finished the season with a record-setting 3.38 team earned run average.  The 2008 Fort Worth Cats held the previous low at 3.49.

The Wingnuts also wrapped up several team and individual benchmarks for the 2013 season.  Wichita's .297 team batting average ranks first in the American Association.  Third baseman Abel Nieves locked up the batting title with a 2-for-4 performance that raised his average to .357.  It is the Wingnuts' fourth batting title in their first six years.  C.J. Ziegler finishes with a league-best 30 home runs and 99 RBI.  The 30 home runs establish a new league single-season record.

For a third straight game in the series, the Wingnuts overcame an early deficit to pull out the win.  Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the second, Wichita used a double steal of second and home to cut the T-Bones' lead in half.  With two outs, David Amberson went first to third on a bunt single from Jared McDonald.  Amberson hustled home when McDonald broke for second base.

In the bottom of the fourth, Brent Clevlen led off with a line drive single to center.  Clevlen stole second and went to third on a line drive single to right from Abel Nieves.  Cole Armstrong tied the game with a sacrifice fly to left.  After the Wingnuts loaded the bases with two outs, Jake Kahaulelio pulled a single through the left side that scored Nieves and Amberson to make it 4-2.

C.J. Ziegler drove in the Wingnuts' final run with an RBI groundout to shortstop in the bottom of the seventh.

The T-Bones used consecutive RBI groundouts from Felix Molina and Stephen Yoo in the top of the eighth to pull within one run.

Andrew Aizenstadt worked a scoreless top of the ninth to earn his first save of the year.

James Giulietti improved to 4-0 in four starts with the Wingnuts, allowing two earned runs on three hits in five innings.  Giulietti walked three and struck out three.

Josh Hildebrand took the loss in relief for Kansas City, allowing three earned runs in the bottom of the fourth.

Ethan Cole started for the T-Bones and took a no-decision.  Cole allowed one earned run on four hits in three innings.  Cole walked two and struck out none.

Daniel Bennett and Lincoln Holdzkom each worked a scoreless relief inning.  Kahaulelio finished with four hits.

The Wingnuts open the 2013 American Association Division Series on Wednesday night against the Grand Prairie AirHogs.  Junior Guerra starts for Wichita.  All the action can be heard locally on Oldies 92.7 KWME and worldwide at www.pressboxproductionsradio.com

The Wingnuts host Game Three of the series on Friday, September 6th at 7:05 p.m.  Wichita will also host the "if necessary" Games Four and Five on September 7th and 8th.  Individual tickets for all home playoff games can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

-Wingnuts-

Wingnuts Draw Grand Prairie in Playoffs

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop 

WICHITA, KS- The Central Division champion Wichita Wingnuts (68-32) face the Grand Prairie AirHogs in the American Association Division Series beginning Wednesday night at Grand Prairie's QuikTrip Park.

The AirHogs (54-46, South Division champion) host the first two games of the series, while the Wingnuts host Game Three on Friday, September 6th at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Wichita also hosts the "if necessary" Games Four and Five on Saturday and Sunday respectively.  First pitch for all five games is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

The series marks the second postseason meeting between the two clubs.  The AirHogs defeated the Wingnuts in four games in the Division Series in 2011, and went on to win the American Association championship.

Junior Guerra (9-4, 3.30) takes the mound for the Wingnuts in Game One.  Wichita follows with Chris Smith (8-4, 3.55), Anthony Capra (7-2, 3.96), and Justin Klipp (8-3, 3.89).  The Wingnuts' starter for a potential game five is yet to be determined.

The winner advances to the American Association Championship Series against either the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (62-38, North Division champion) or the Gary SouthShore RailCats (58-41, wild card winner).

2013 American Association Division Series - Wichita vs. Grand Prairie
Game 1 - Wednesday, September 4th at QuikTrip Park - 7:05 p.m.
Game 2 - Thursday, September 5th at QuikTrip Park - 7:05 p.m.
Game 3 - Friday, September 6th at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium - 7:05 p.m.
Game 4 - Saturday, September 7th at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium - 7:05 p.m.
Game 5 - Sunday, September 8th at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium - 7:05 p.m.

Individual tickets for all home postseason games can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

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Bowden Hits Clutch Homer in Win

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS- The Wichita Wingnuts (67-32) beat the Kansas City T-Bones (40-59) 4-3 at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Highlights and Postgame Comments From Kevin Hooper and Johnny Bowden

Johnny Bowden hit a two-out, two-run home run to left field in the bottom of the eighth inning to give Wichita a 4-3 lead.  C.J. Ziegler started the rally with a one-out single to right and went to third on Abel Nieves' single to center.

Pitching on a fourth consecutive day, Josh Dew closed out the game in the top of the ninth to earn his 27th save of the year.  Dew stranded the tying run on third base when Justin Bass popped out to Ziegler in foul territory.

Trevor Coleman lined a two-out, RBI single to center in the top of the third to give Kansas City a 1-0 lead.

The Wingnuts responded in the bottom half after there were two outs and no one on base.  John Rodriguez legged out a double on a line drive to right field.  Ziegler reached on an infield single when he beat out a high chopper to the right of the mound and then took second on a wild pitch.  Nieves made it 2-1 Wichita with a ground rule double over the right-center field wall.

Kansas City re-gained the lead in the top of the sixth.  Back-to-back doubles from Petey Paramore and Luis Rivera tied the game at 2-2.  Anthony Davis' groundball single to center scored Rivera with the go-ahead run.

Erik Lambe earned the win in relief for Wichita with two perfect innings.

Kansas City starter Rick Zagone took the loss, allowing four earned runs on 12 hits in seven and two-thirds innings.  Zagone walked three and struck out three.

Anthony Capra started for the Wingnuts and took a no-decision.  Capra allowed three earned runs on nine hits in six innings, walked one, and struck out 10.  Capra struck out eight of the T-Bones' nine starters.

Nieves heads into the final day of the regular season with a league-leading .355 batting average.  Sioux Falls' Nick Van Stratten ranks second at .346, while Winnipeg's Ryan Scoma is third at .343.  Ziegler heads into Monday with an American Association-best 30 home runs and 98 RBI.  Sioux Falls' Tim Pahuta ranks second with 29 home runs.  John Rodriguez is second with 86 RBI.

The regular season concludes with a 5:05 p.m. game Monday evening against the T-Bones.  James Giulietti faces right-hander Ethan Cole.

The 2013 American Association Division Series begins Wednesday, September 4th.  The Wingnuts will face the winner of the South Division.  Wichita hosts Game Three of the series on Friday, September 6th as well as the "if necessary" Games Four and Five on September 7th and 8th.  Individual tickets for all home playoff games can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

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Wingnuts Break League Wins Record

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS- The Wichita Wingnuts (66-32) set an American Association record with their 66th win of the season on Saturday night, beating the Kansas City T-Bones (40-58) 5-3 at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

Highlights and Postgame Comments From Kevin Hooper

Jake Kahaulelio had four RBI in support of Justin Klipp who pitched six strong innings to earn his eighth win of the year.

Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the third, David Amberson singled to left field and moved to second when Jared McDonald beat out a groundball in the hole at shortstop.  After Ryan Khoury walked to load the bases, Kahaulelio pulled a single through the left side to score Amberson and McDonald with the tying runs.

McDonald drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fifth and took second on a single through the left side from Khoury.  With Kahaulelio due up next, Josh Hildebrand relieved T-Bones' starter Keith Picht.  Kahaulelio put Wichita in front with a two-run, hit-and-run double to right-center field.

In the top of the sixth, Felix Molina lined a single to center that scored Kennard Jones to cut Wichita's lead to 4-3.  Klipp escaped further trouble when Luis Rivera grounded into an inning-ending double play at short.

Klipp allowed three earned runs on nine hits, walked one, and struck out three.

Nick Walters worked two shutout innings in relief of Klipp.

Josh Dew struck out two during a scoreless ninth to earn his 26th save of the season.

Picht took the loss, allowing four earned runs on four hits in four-plus innings.  Picht walked three and struck out two.

Kansas City scored twice in the top of the third to take a 2-0 lead.  Justin Bass tripled home Anthony Davis for the game's first run.  Joey Gathright followed with an RBI single to left.

Game two of the series is Sunday afternoon at 3:16 p.m.  Anthony Capra faces left-hander Rick Zagone.

The 2013 American Association Division Series begins Wednesday, September 4th.  The Wingnuts host Game Three of the series on Friday, September 6th as well as the "if necessary" Games Four and Five on September 7th and 8th.  Individual tickets for all home playoff games can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

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Quintet of Wingnuts Voted All-Stars

WICHITA, KS- Five Wichita Wingnuts players were named to the American Association's 2013 Postseason All-Star team on Friday.

First baseman C.J. Ziegler, second baseman Jake Kahaulelio, third baseman Abel Nieves, outfielder Brent Clevlen, and designated hitter John Rodriguez all received honors.

Ziegler has been one of the biggest contributors to Wichita's league-leading offense.  The Tucson, AZ native ranks 13th in the American Association in batting average (.322) and leads the league in both home runs (30) and RBI (98).  The 30 long balls currently stand as an American Association record.  On August 21st at Gary SouthShore, Ziegler hit for the first cycle in team history.  Over the last two seasons, Ziegler has combined for 48 home runs and 159 RBI in 154 games played.  The 27-year-old Ziegler has twice been named the American Association's Batter of the Week this year.

Kahaulelio earns all-star honors for a second straight year and is hitting .317 with 17 home runs and 61 RBI.  The Petaluma, CA native leads the American Association with 90 runs scored and has committed just four errors in 91 games played at second base.  Kahaulelio has been hit by a pitch 22 times which stands as an American Association single-season record.  On July 23rd, Kahaulelio slugged a walk-off grand slam home run versus Amarillo.

Nieves leads the American Association in batting average (.354) and will try to become the fourth Wingnuts player in the team's first six years to win the batting title.  The Maracay, Venezuela native compiled a 19-game hitting streak during the month of June in which he was 38 for 76 (.500).  Nieves has reached base in 85 of 95 games this season with a hit, walk, or hit by pitch and ranks first among American Association third basemen in fielding percentage (.958).

Clevlen has had a major impact on the Wingnuts' since joining the team in mid-June.  The former Major Leaguer is tied for ninth in the league in batting at .333 with 14 home runs and 50 RBI in just 66 games.  The 29-year-old Clevlen also ranks fourth in the league in on-base percentage (.427) and third in slugging percentage (.606).  Clevlen and all-star teammate John Rodriguez are the only two active players in the American Association that rank in the top-10 in batting average while also reaching double digit home runs.

Rodriguez has anchored the Wingnuts' lineup for a second straight season.  The 2006 World Series champion (St. Louis Cardinals) is fourth in the league in batting average (.344), tied for fourth in home runs (19), second behind Ziegler in RBI (85), and second behind Kahaulelio in runs scored (83).  Rodriguez has been especially dangerous in the season's final month.  The 35-year-old Rodriguez is hitting .390 with 24 runs scored, seven homers, and 29 RBI in 25 August contests.  Rodriguez leads the Wingnuts with 43 multi-hit games and notched his 1,500th career base hit on July 8th versus Amarillo.

The Wingnuts play their final regular season road game tonight at 7:05 p.m. against the Lincoln Saltdogs.  Chris Smith faces right-hander Luis Chirinos.  All the action can be heard locally on Oldies 92.7 KWME and worldwide at www.pressboxproductionsradio.com

Wichita returns home Saturday, August 31st for a three-game series against the Kansas City T-Bones.

The 2013 American Association Division Series begins Wednesday, September 4th.  The Wingnuts host Game Three of the series on Friday, September 6th as well as the "if necessary" Games Four and Five on September 7th and 8th.  Individual tickets for all home playoff games can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

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Saltdogs Rally Late in Series Finale

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

LINCOLN, NE- The Wichita Wingnuts (65-32) lost 6-5 to the Lincoln Saltdogs (49-48) at Haymarket Park on Friday night.

Postgame Comments From Kevin Hooper 

Lincoln rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to come away with the win.  Mike Coles led off with a double and went to third on David Espinosa's single to right-center.  After Curt Smith walked, Ian Gac singled home the tying and winning runs on a line drive to left.

Wichita took a 4-0 lead in the top of the first.  With the bases loaded and one out, Brent Clevlen hit a groundball to Espinosa at second.  Espinosa's flip to Yasel Gomez for an attempted force play was dropped and allowed Ryan Khoury to score the game's first run.  Abel Nieves followed with an RBI single through the right side.  Two batters later, David Amberson lined a two-run single to right that made it 4-0.

Lincoln chipped away with three runs in the bottom of the second.  With first and second and one out, Bryan Pounds hit an RBI, infield single that struck the top of the first base bag.  Sean O'Connell's double cut the lead to 4-2 while an RBI single to right from Gomez pulled Lincoln within one run.  Wingnuts' starter Chris Smith came back to retire Coles and Espinosa to end the inning with Wichita still in front.

Brian Joynt hit a two-out, RBI single to left in the bottom of the fifth that tied the game.

Cole Armstrong lined a solo home run to right leading off the top of the sixth to give the Wingnuts their second lead of the night.

Josh Dew took the loss in relief for Wichita while Danny Meszaros earned the win for Lincoln.

Smith took a no-decision, allowing four earned runs on nine hits in six innings.  Smith walked none and struck out three.

Luis Chirinos started for Lincoln and also took a no-decision.  Chirinos allowed five runs, two earned, on eight hits in six innings.  Chirinos walked three and struck out one.

Nieves and Armstrong each had two hits for Wichita.  Daniel Bennett and Andrew Aizenstadt both worked one scoreless inning in relief of Smith.

The Wingnuts begin their final regular season home series on Saturday night when they host the Kansas City T-Bones at 7:05 p.m.  Justin Klipp starts for Wichita.

The 2013 American Association Division Series begins Wednesday, September 4th.  The Wingnuts host Game Three of the series on Friday, September 6th as well as the "if necessary" Games Four and Five on September 7th and 8th.  Individual tickets for all home playoff games can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

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Wingnuts Tie American Association Wins Record

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

LINCOLN, NE- The Wichita Wingnuts (65-31) tied an American Association record with their 65th win of the season, beating the Lincoln Saltdogs (48-48) 5-4 at Haymarket Park on Thursday night.

Postgame Comments From Kevin Hooper 

Tied at 4-4 in the top of the eighth inning, Cole Armstrong singled to deep right-center field.  Madison Beaird pinch ran for Armstrong, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and stole third.  With two outs, Jared McDonald ripped an RBI double down the right field line to score Beaird with the go-ahead run.

Daniel Bennett and Josh Dew combined for two perfect innings to finish out the win.  Dew recorded his 25th save of the year in the bottom of the ninth.

Jake Kahaulelio lifted a sacrifice fly to center field in the top of the third to give Wichita a 1-0 lead.

Lincoln scored three times against Wingnuts' starter Junior Guerra in the bottom of the fifth to take their first lead of the series.  With the bases loaded and one out, David Espinosa drew a walk to force in the tying run.  Curt Smith followed with a sacrifice fly to right field that made it 2-1.  Ian Gac added a two-out, RBI single to left.

Wichita answered right back in the top of the sixth.  C.J. Ziegler walked and took second when Brent Clevlen reached on an error by third baseman Bryan Pounds.  Abel Nieves advanced the runners on a groundball to second base.  Cole Armstrong then tied the game with a double off the right field fence that scored Ziegler and Clevlen.  Two batters later, Armstrong scored from second on an error by shortstop Yasel Gomez that put Wichita in front 4-3.

Smith hit an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game at 4-4.

Lincoln Holdzkom earned the win in relief for Wichita.  P.J. Zocchi took the loss for the Saltdogs.

Guerra took a no-decision, allowing three runs, two earned, on three hits in six innings.  Guerra walked five and struck out three.

Mike Burns started for Lincoln and also took a no-decision.  Burns allowed four runs, two earned, on five hits in seven innings.  Burns walked four and struck out four.

The Wingnuts join the 2006 Lincoln Saltdogs (65-31, .677) and the 2012 Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (65-35, .650) for the most wins in an American Association season.  Wichita has four games remaining on their regular season schedule.

The series concludes Friday night at 7:05 p.m.  Chris Smith faces right-hander Luis Chirinos.  All the action can be heard locally on Oldies 92.7 KWME and worldwide at www.pressboxproductionsradio.com

The Wingnuts play their final three regular season home games beginning this Saturday against the Kansas City T-Bones.

The 2013 American Association Division Series begins Wednesday, September 4th.  The Wingnuts host Game Three of the on Friday, September 6th as well as the "if necessary" Games Four and Five on the 7th and 8th.  Individual tickets for all home playoff games can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

-Wingnuts-

Rodriguez Helps Power Wingnuts

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

LINCOLN, NE- The Wichita Wingnuts (64-31) beat the Lincoln Saltdogs (48-47) 10-2 at Haymarket Park on Wednesday afternoon.

Postgame Comments From Kevin Hooper and Johnny Bowden

John Rodriguez hit a pair of home runs and finished with four RBI to lead the Wingnuts' offense.

With two outs and no one on base in the top of the first, Rodriguez singled up the middle and went to second when C.J. Ziegler walked.  Brent Clevlen followed with a line drive single to left that scored Rodriguez with the game's first run.

Jake Kahaulelio lined a one-out, solo home run to left-center in the top of the third to make it 2-0 in favor of Wichita.

In the top of the sixth, Clevlen singled to right with one out.  Two batters later, Clevlen took second on a wild pitch and scored the Wingnuts' third run on a single to shallow left from Madison Beaird.

Lincoln scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to pull within one.  Matt Forgatch singled to center with the bases loaded and one out to get the Saltdogs on the board.  Clevlen helped stabilize the inning with a running catch on Bryan Pounds' flyball to deep center field that resulted in a sacrifice fly.

With two outs and no one on base in the top of the seventh, Rodriguez hit the first of his two home runs.  The line drive over the right-center field fence extended the lead to 4-2.

Wichita broke the game open with a six-run top of the eighth.  RBI hits from Johnny Bowden, David Amberson, and Kahaulelio made it 7-2.  Rodriguez followed Kahaulelio with a three-run shot that just cleared the left field wall.

Wingnuts' starter James Giulietti earned the win, allowing two earned runs on six hits in five and two-thirds innings.  Giulietti walked four and struck out three.

Nick Walters, Lincoln Holdzkom, Justin Klipp, and Erik Lambe combined for three and one-third shutout relief frames.

Saltdogs' starter Stephen Bougher took the loss, allowing three earned runs on eight hits over six.  Bougher walked one and struck out seven.

Walters' appearance was his 105th in a Wingnuts' uniform over the last two seasons which breaks Jared Simon's (2011-12) franchise record of 104.  Rodriguez, Clevlen, and Amberson each had three hits in the win.

Game three of the four-game series is Thursday night at 7:05 p.m.  Junior Guerra is scheduled to make his final regular season start for the Wingnuts.  Right-haner Mike Burns goes for Lincoln.  All the action can be heard locally on Oldies 92.7 KWME and worldwide at www.pressboxproductionsradio.com

The Wingnuts return home on Saturday, August 31st for their final regular season home series against the Kansas City T-Bones.  Individual tickets can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

-Wingnuts-

Wingnuts to Welcome Miss Kansas Teen USA®

WICHITA, KS- Alyssa Klinzing, Miss Kansas Teen USA® 2013, will make an appearance at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Sunday, September 1st when the Wichita Wingnuts take on the Kansas City T-Bones at 3:16 p.m.

Klinzing is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and will be on hand for photographs.  The Olathe, KS native was crowned Miss Kansas Teen USA® on December 2nd, 2012.

Klinzing is involved with numerous volunteer activities, including Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), CureSearch, Angel Babies, and the Girl Scouts of America.  In 2012, Klinzing earned the Girl Scouts' prestigious Silver Award.

The Wingnuts face the Lincoln Saltdogs at Haymarket Park on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m.  All the action can be heard locally on Oldies 92.7 KWME and worldwide at www.pressboxproductionsradio.com

The Wingnuts return home on Saturday, August 31st when they host the Kansas City T-Bones.

The 2013 American Association Division Series begins September 4th.  Wichita will face the winner of either the North Division or the South Division.  The Wingnuts host Game Three of the series on Friday, September 6th, as well as the "if necessary" Games Four and Five on September 7th and 8th.

Individual tickets for all home playoff games can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

-Wingnuts-

Wingnuts Break League Strikeout Record in Win

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

LINCOLN, NE- The Wichita Wingnuts (63-31) beat the Lincoln Saltdogs (48-46) 8-4 at Haymarket Park on Tuesday night.

Postgame Comments From Kevin Hooper and Anthony Capra

Wingnuts' starter Anthony Capra struck out 11 batters while earning the win.  Wichita has now struck out 741 batters this season, breaking the American Association record set by the Laredo Lemurs in 2012 (738).

Brent Clevlen connected on a mammoth solo home run leading off the top of the third inning to give Wichita a 1-0 lead.  Abel Nieves followed with a single.  After Cole Armstrong was hit by a pitch, David Amberson laid down a sacrifice bunt that put runners on second and third.  Two batters later, Ryan Khoury ripped a line drive single to center to extend the lead to 3-0.

Capra struck out the side in order in both the third and fifth frames.  The record-breaker came against Yasel Gomez for the final out in the bottom of the fifth.  Capra allowed two earned runs on three hits over six innings.  Capra walked just two.

The Wingnuts made it 6-0 with three runs in the top of the fifth.  C.J. Ziegler became the first player in American Association history to reach the 30-home run plateau with a solo shot to left.  Clevlen reached on an error by third baseman Bryan Pounds and went to second when Nieves walked.  Saltdogs' starter Moises Melendez was removed from the game due to injury.  Following a double steal by Clevlen and Nieves, Armstrong singled over a drawn-in infield against reliever Travis Parker to plate two more runs.

Jake Kahaulelio hit a solo home run to left-center with one out in the top of the sixth to make it 7-0.

Lincoln first baseman Ian Gac hit a two-out, two-run homer to left in the bottom of the sixth to get the Saltdogs on the board.

Lincoln loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the seventh, but Junior Guerra and Daniel Bennett limited the Saltdogs to just one run on a Gomez groundball double play.

Gac homered again in the bottom of the eighth to drive in Lincoln's final run.

Andrew Aizenstadt closed out the game with a perfect bottom of the ninth.

Melendez took the loss, allowing six runs, five earned, on eight hits in four and one-third innings.  Melendez walked two and struck out one.

John Rodriguez had three hits for Wichita.  Khoury, Kahaulelio, Clevlen, and Armstrong also had multi-hit nights.  Capra's performance was the seventh double digit strikeout effort by a Wingnuts' starter this year.

The series continues Wednesday morning at 11:05 a.m.  James Giulietti faces right-hander Stephen Bougher.  All the action can be heard locally on Oldies 92.7 KWME and worldwide at www.pressboxproductionsradio.com

The Wingnuts return home on Saturday, August 31st for their final regular season home series against the Kansas City T-Bones.  Individual tickets can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

-Wingnuts-

Historic Week Earns Ziegler League Honors

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop 

WICHITA, KS- Wichita Wingnuts' first baseman C.J. Ziegler has been named the American Association's Batter of the Week for August 19th-25th.

Ziegler had a monster week in which he hit safely in seven of seven games.  The right-handed slugger was 16 for 29 (.552) with eight runs scored, four doubles, one triple, five home runs, and 14 RBI.  On August 21st at Gary SouthShore, Ziegler hit for the first cycle in team history.  Ziegler's home run that night was also his 27th of the year.  At the time, that tied an American Association single-season record set by Brandon Sing (Sioux Falls) in 2010.  The following afternoon, Ziegler drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out, RBI single in the top of the ninth that finished off a stunning comeback over the RailCats.

After Sioux Falls' Tim Pahuta cracked two home runs on August 22nd versus Fargo-Moorhead to surpass both Ziegler and Sing, Ziegler homered in back-to-back games versus Grand Prairie this weekend to establish a new American Association record.

The 27-year-old Ziegler currently ranks 12th in the American Association in batting average (.323), and first in both home runs (29) and RBI (97).  Ziegler is also tied for fourth in runs scored (76), tied for fourth in doubles (31), eighth in walks (51), eighth in on-base percentage (.408), and first in slugging percentage (.660).

It is the second time this season Ziegler has won Batter of the Week and the seventh time a Wingnuts' player has earned league honors.

2013 Wingnuts American Association Honors
OF Jared McDonald - Batter of the Week (May 27th-June 2nd)
OF David Amberson - Batter of the Week (June 10th-16th)
1B C.J. Ziegler - Batter of the Week (June 24th-30th)
RHP Chris Smith - Pitcher of the Week (July 15th-21st)
LHP Ryan Hinson - Pitcher of the Month (June)
DH John Rodriguez - Batter of the Week (August 5th-11th)
1B C.J. Ziegler - Batter of the Week (August 19th-25th)

The Wingnuts open a four-game series at Lincoln on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m.  Anthony Capra faces left-hander Moises Melendez.  All the action can be heard locally on Oldies 92.7 KWME and worldwide at www.pressboxproductionsradio.com

The Wingnuts return home on Saturday, August 31st when they host the Kansas City T-Bones.

The 2013 American Association Division Series begins September 4th.  Wichita will face the winner of either the North Division or the South Division.  The Wingnuts host Game Three of the series on Friday, September 6th, as well as the "if necessary" Games Four and Five on September 7th and 8th.

Individual tickets for all home playoff games can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

-Wingnuts-

Hurry Up and Wait

By Jeremy Deckard, Wingnuts' Media Correspondent

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

I often hear this response from people when you ask them how their doctor or dentist visit was; “I hurried up to wait.”

Well the Wichita Wingnuts have already gotten their lollipop for the regular season and now they have to wait for a shot at the big prize.

The Nuts clinched their third straight central division title with a 5-3 win against the Grand Prairie AirHogs last Friday.  That left them with nine games left in the regular season before the American Association playoffs begin September 4th.

With that many games left to play, the usual concern is 'did the Wingnuts clinch to early?'

"Whether you clinch or not, we still have games left and you have to play them all," Wichita manager Kevin Hooper said.  "We are on a mission right now.  We have just one thing in mind and that’s to win a ring.  I think our guys are going to be focused for it."

Wichita does have a veteran-laden squad that has been through the winning and waiting before.  Those veterans do not believe there will be any kind of let down.  When asked about the number of games left and the possibility of a loss of focus, the scenario was immediately dismissed by veteran pitcher Anthony Capra.

"That only becomes an issue if you let it become an issue.  I don’t think 'Hoop' will let that become an issue and I don’t think the veterans on this team will let it become an issue," Capra said.  "We’re going to keep grinding and stay focused."

There was no let down the night after clinching as the Wingnuts played with an aggressive approach in a 7-1 win over Grand Prairie.

There are only two and a half games separating three teams in the South Division race, and just one and a half between the top two clubs in the wild card standings.  Hooper and the Wingnuts may not know their first round opponent until the final days of the regular season.  Regardless of who the Wingnuts eventually draw in the first round, Hooper and his players believe they will be focused no matter who they face.

"We have a good game plan with whoever we should play.  I think we come up with a good game plan of what we want to do against hitters," Hooper said.

“We’ve played everybody in the league, so we’re familiar with them.  We don’t need to change anything.  We just need to do what we do and play together as a team,” second baseman Jake Kahaulelio said.

Capra felt the team could also use the extra time to make sure that health is not a question entering the playoff rounds.

"The biggest thing is to make sure that everybody is healthy and that we take care of the little nagging injuries," Capra said.  "We have to come out focused for Game One and just be ready to go."

Wichita still has plenty to play for as they are trying to secure home field advantage throughout the postseason, as well as break the American Association record for numbers of wins in one year.  The record is 65 set by the 2006 Lincoln Saltdogs and 2012 Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.

"It’s one of those things that at the start of the year when we saw who all was coming back, we knew that anything was possible,” shortstop Ryan Khoury said.  "We’ve been getting the job done on the field and we did it with some time to spare so that we can enjoy it.  We want to make a run at the wins record.  We've reached one of our goals, but we still have goals left to play for and to stay focused on."

Right after clinching the division, Hooper was making sure his team enjoyed the moment, but to not lose focus on the big picture.

"I mentioned to the guys that--especially in baseball--the best team doesn’t always win.  I’ve felt like we've had the best team the last couple of years and we were unable to win it all," Hooper said.  “It comes down to getting hot at the right time.  Winnipeg did it last year as the wild card.  They swept Fargo who had been playing the best ball and then came up here and swept us.  You've got to hope for the best and try to keep everybody healthy for these final games."

Several players expressed afterwards the thrill of clinching the division title for the third straight season.  Kahaulelio took part in last year’s celebration as well and said this year the best part was watching the rookies on the roster enjoy the moment.

"It was just as good as the first time.  Being able to see the excitement on the faces of the guys who have never experienced that before was a blessing,” Kahaulelio said.

You can bet every member of the Wingnuts' roster wants to celebrate with some of the bubbly at least one more time in mid-September.

The Wingnuts open a four-game series at Lincoln tonight at 7:05 p.m.  Anthony Capra faces left-hander Moises Melendez.  All the action can be heard locally on Oldies 92.7 KWME and worldwide at www.pressboxproductionsradio.com

The Wingnuts play their final three regular season home games beginning this Saturday against the Kansas City T-Bones.

The 2013 American Association Division Series begins Wednesday, September 4th.  The Wingnuts host Game Three of the on Friday, September 6th as well as the "if necessary" Games Four and Five on the 7th and 8th.  Individual tickets for all home playoff games can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

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AirHogs Take Finale From Wingnuts

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS- The Wichita Wingnuts (62-31) lost 8-3 to the Grand Prairie AirHogs (48-45) at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Highlights and Postgame Comments From Kevin Hooper 

Andres Rodriguez hit a one-out, solo home run in the top of the eighth inning to snap a 3-3 tie and give the AirHogs their first lead of the game.  Grand Prairie added two more runs in the eighth on Angel Flores' triple to right-center and Chad Mozingo's double down the right field line.

Palmer Karr Jr. added a two-out, two-run homer in the top of the ninth to extend the lead to 8-3.

Boomer Potts worked one and two-thirds scoreless relief innings to earn the win.  Patrick Mincey pitched a shutout ninth to finish the game.

C.J. Ziegler and Brent Clevlen hit back-to-back two-out, RBI doubles in the bottom of the first inning to give Wichita an early 2-0 lead.

Ziegler blasted his 29th home run of the year in the bottom of the third to account for Wichita's final run.  The home run establishes a new American Association record.  Sioux Falls' Tim Pahuta currently has 28 home runs.  Both Ziegler and Pahuta have eclipsed the previous league mark of 27, set by Brandon Sing of the Sioux Falls Pheasants in 2010.

Flores cut the Wingnuts' lead to 3-2 with a two-run homer to left-center in the top of the fourth.

Chris Smith started for the Wingnuts and took a no-decision, allowing two earned runs on four hits in six innings.  Smith walked one and struck out six.

Josh Strawn took a no-decision for the AirHogs in the start, allowing three earned runs on five hits in six and one-third.  Strawn walked three and struck out three.

Lincoln Holdzkom took the loss for the Wingnuts.

The Wingnuts travel to Lincoln, NE on Tuesday for a four-game series against the Saltdogs.  All the action can be heard locally on Oldies 92.7 KWME and worldwide at www.pressboxproductionsradio.com

The Wingnuts return home on Saturday, August 31st for their final regular season home series against the Kansas City T-Bones.  Individual tickets can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

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Klipp Deals Against AirHogs

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop

WICHITA, KS- The Wichita Wingnuts (62-30) beat the Grand Prairie AirHogs (47-45) 7-1 at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Saturday night.

Highlights and Postgame Comments From Kevin Hooper 

Pitching on three days of rest, Justin Klipp pitched seven strong innings to pick up the win.  Klipp allowed one earned run on three hits over seven innings.  Klipp walked one and struck out six.

Wichita erased an early 1-0 deficit with two runs in the bottom of the first inning.  Ryan Khoury led off with a double down the left field line and took third on Jake Kahaulelio's groudball to second base.  John Rodriguez drove in Khoury with an infield single to second base.  Rodriguez then stole second and scored two batters later on a line drive single to left-center from Brent Clevlen.

Wichita added three more in the bottom of the second.  David Amberson bunted for a single leading off and stole both second and third base before Jared McDonald walked.  Khoury made it 3-1 with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Amberson and advanced McDonald to second.  Kahaulelio followed with a ground rule, RBI double over the left-center field fence.  C.J. Ziegler capped the inning with a two-out, RBI single to right.

Wingnuts' pitching did not allow a hit beyond the third inning.  Junior Guerra made his first relief appearance of the year in the top of the eighth, striking out two in a scoreless frame.  Daniel Bennett finished the win with a scoreless ninth.

Rodriguez, Clevlen, and Amberson each had multi-hit games.

Gabriel Garcia started for the AirHogs and took the loss.  Garcia allowed five earned runs on seven hits in one and two-thirds innings.  Garcia walked one and struck out zero.

Grand Prairie's lone run came on an Andres Rodriguez single to right-center in the top of the first.

The Wingnuts and AirHogs conclude their series on Sunday afternoon at 3:16 p.m.  Chris Smith takes on right-hander Josh Strawn.  Individual tickets can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com

Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.  Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.

For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com

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Wingnuts Are Central Division Champs Again!

Photo Credit: Meryl Loop 

WICHITA, KS- The Wichita Wingnuts (61-30) clinched their