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T-Bones Lose Early Lead; Succumb to Walk-off Run by Wichita

(Credit Jamie Dierking KC T-Bones)
06/10/2018 4:03 PM -

WICHITA, Kan. – On a sunny Sunday afternoon at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, the Kansas City T-Bones managed a strong lead early, but fell victim to a three-run home run in the fifth and a walk-off run that gave the Wichita Wingnuts a 7-6 victory over KC.

The T-Bones, 12-8 on the season going into Sunday’s matchup, were looking for a sweep of the three-game series after winning Friday 11-3 and Saturday 11-2.

Kansas City started off early in the top of the first with back-to-back doubles by Todd Cunningham and Nick Torres to roughly the same spot just inside the right field fence. That put the T-Bones up 1-0.

But the Wingnuts answered back quickly with a triple to right by lead-off hitter Logan Watkins in the bottom of the first. The next batter, Zach Nehrir, hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring Watkins and tying up the game 1-1.

The T-Bones, however, wouldn’t allow Wichita to keep the game tied for long. In the top of the second, Kansas City re-gained the lead when Dexter Kjerstad singled, was advanced to third by an Angel Rosa single, and scored on a sac fly to center by Keith Curcio.

In the top of the third, KC continued to boost their lead. Cunningham reached base on a double to left field that bounced off the left field fence. A Zach Walters single to center field advanced Cunningham to third; and with two outs, Kjerstad hit an RBI single to right that brought home Cunningham and made the score 3-1 KC.

In the fourth inning, Angel Rosa stole his second base of the game and scored on a single to right field off the bat of Dylan Tice, the league’s leading hitter with an average of .427 going into today’s game. The score at the end of four was 4-1 Kansas City.

Cal Towey led off the fifth inning with a triple to the T-Bones’ sweet spot in right field just inside the line. The next batter, Dexter Kjerstad, smashed a home run to left, adding yet two more runs to the T-Bones lead and making the score 6-1.

But the Wingnuts came back fighting against Kansas City starting pitcher Lucas Irvine in the bottom of the fifth. Logan Watkins singled and eventually came home off an RBI single to center by Fernando Perez, making the score 6-2. Then, with Abel Nieves and Perez on base, Wichita left fielder Tony Thomas hit a game-changing home run that brought the game to within one, at 6-5 Kansas City.

Wichita’s Ryne Willard started off the bottom of the sixth with a home run off relief pitcher Hunter Adkins that sailed over the center field fence and tied up the score 6-6.

The game would remain tied going into the bottom of the ninth, when Logan Watkins hit an infield shot and advanced to second on an error by the shortstop. Then some high drama as relief pitcher Carlos Diaz for Kansas City apparently pitched the ball before Wichita’s Abel Nieves was ready. Nieves hit the ball anyway, which went over the pitcher’s head and was bobbled by the second baseman, sending Watkins home from third. The run would have been the game winner, but because the home plate umpire had never called the game into play when the ball was pitched, the runner was sent back to third. KC followed up with an intentional walk to Nieves, putting runners on the corners.

Fernando Perez, the next batter up, was called out when a foul ball was caught by the catcher, and the T-Bones were within one out of moving into extra innings.

Then, a shot by Tony Thomas, whose three-run home run in the fifth had changed the trajectory of the game, blasted the ball into the center field gap, which allowed Watkins to score from third resulting in the T-Bones losing 7-6. With the walk-off win, the Wingnuts broke a five-game home losing streak and evened out their season record at 11-11.

Angel Rosa, who went four for four Friday, also went four for four at the plate Sunday with two stolen bases. Kansas City’s starting RHP Lucas Irvine worked five innings, giving up eight hits and five runs. He was relieved by Hunter Adkins, Joe Filomeno, Sam Street and Carlos Diaz.

The T-Bones return to Kansas City Monday to start a four-game series against the Sioux City Explorers (19-4), the first-place team in the American Association South Division. KC will be on the hunt to break the Explorers’ 10-game winning streak, with RHP Barrett Astin (3-0, 3.00) set to take the mound. The game begins at 7:05 pm at T-Bones Stadium.

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