Big Fifth Inning The Difference In Canaries Loss To Wichita

Posted: 6/20/2018

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Photo courtesy Wichita Wingnuts

A three-run fifth from the Wichita Wingnuts was enough for the win on Wednesday night, as Wichita beat the Sioux Falls Canaries 6-3 at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

Five total runs scored in the fifth, with the Canaries scoring two and the Wingnuts three. Wichita led 4-3 after the end of the inning.

The Birds opened the scoring in the first with three straight singles off Wichita starter Jordan Cooper. That included an RBI knock by Chris Grayson to make it 1-0.

Wichita responded in the second, when shortstop Leo Garza drove in Tony Thomas with a single of his own, tying the game at 1.

The teams were scoreless until the fifth, when Aaron Gretz started a Sioux Falls rally with a one-out double. A single from Patrick Fiala put runners on first and third.

Jordan Smith then hit a ground ball to second. The Wingnuts got the first out of a would-be double play, but an errant throw from Garza allowed Smith to reach, and Gretz to score. The play, scored as an RBI fielder's choice for Smith, made it 2-1 Birds.

After a Blake Schmit single made it first-and-third again, Chris Grayson hit an RBI single to extend the Birds' lead to 3-1. But Grayson made too wide a turn at first and was caught in a rundown. When Schmit broke for the plate, the rundown shifted his way. Schmit was tagged out heading back to third to end the inning.

The Wingnuts responded with three runs in the bottom half of the frame on a two-run triple from Logan Watkins and a sacrifice fly from Zach Nehrir. They led 4-3 after three.

Canaries starter Joe Bircher left the game after six innings of work, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits, walking one and striking out three.

The Wingnuts added two more runs in the seventh. Nehrir drove Watkins in with an RBI double off of Ryan Fritze, and Fernando Perez had an RBI single off of Bo Hellquist. It was Hellquist's season debut after being activated just before the game began. That made the score 6-3, the eventual final score of the contest.

The Canaries and Wingnuts meet for the last game of their three-game series Thursday night at 7 p.m. Birds fans can listen to the game on 98.1 FM and AM 1230 KWSN or tune in online at kwsn.com.