WICHITA, Kan. (Sep. 3, 2018) – In the final game at historic Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, the Wichita Wingnuts wrapped up the 2018 season with a 4-1 win over the Sioux City Explorers on Monday afternoon.
The game marked the end of 85 years of baseball at one of the oldest ballparks in the country, one that has hosted all 11 seasons of the Wingnuts franchise. It was the site of the club’s only American Association Championship in 2014, and witnessed more than 350 Wingnuts home victories.
The Wingnuts offense ensured the day started with a flourish, smacking hits on the first two pitches from Sioux City starter Dominic Topoozian (1-1). Logan Watkins led off the bottom of the first with a double to right-center, giving him 141 hits on the season. That established a new single-season hits record, breaking the previous mark of 140 set by Greg Porter in 2009 and Juan Richardson in 2011. Zach Nehrir followed with an RBI single to give Wichita (61-39) a 1-0 lead.
Sioux City (71-29) answered back with a run of their own in the second, courtesy of a two-out, run-scoring single from Dylan Kelly. From the third inning on, however, Wingnuts starter Tyler Kane (7-3) was excellent, allowing just five hits and one walk to secure his 21st career Wingnuts win.
Wichita’s offense came to life in the third. Nick Rotola cranked his first professional home run to lead off the frame, pushing the Wingnuts back in front. Watkins then tripled down the right field line and came in to score on a Nehrir sacrifice fly for a 3-1 advantage. The Watkins triple was his 11th of the season, setting a Wingnuts single-season record.
Chase Simpson provided the game’s final run in the bottom of the eighth, singling through the right side to drive home Abel Nieves.
Rookie Steve Pastora fired a scoreless eighth, and Casey Harman came out of the Wingnuts bullpen in the ninth to record his first save of the season by setting the Explorers down in order.
The Wingnuts end the year with 61 regular season victories for the third consecutive campaign, but fall short of the playoffs for the first time since the 2010 season. Sioux City will take on the Kansas City T-Bones in the first round of the American Association Postseason, beginning on Tuesday night.