Independent Baseball Insider: Vol. 12, No. 27, September 11, 2014
By Bob Wirz
After losing in the championship series the last two seasons, the Wichita (KS) Wingnuts are once again within two victories of claiming the American Association title, and if they are successful one of the primary reason will be getting infielder Abel Nieves back from Grand Prairie, TX.
Nieves was the all-league third baseman last season when he hit .357 for Kevin Hooper’s club. That was only a warm-up, apparently. Nieves hit an acceptable .326 for Grand Prairie, but since returning to Wichita he hit an unreal .558 (24-for-43) with 10 runs batted in over the last 13 regular-season games. Now playing second base, Nieves has gone 10-for-20 in five playoff games including going 2-for-4 Wednesday when Wichita grabbed an 11-7 victory on the road to give the Wingnuts a 1-0 advantage over Lincoln, NE in the best-of-five series. He has hit safely in all 18 games.
While Wichita was eliminating Laredo, TX to reach the championship round, Lincoln came back from a 2-1 deficit to oust Winnipeg, taking the clincher on a complete-game shutout from Joe Bisenius on Monday, which means he will not be available but probably one time in the championship round.
(Fans not yet getting the complete Independent Baseball Insider column, which will be published 36 times in 2014, may do so for as little as $6.95 at www.WirzandAssociates.com. Bob Wirz provides supplemental stories about Independent Baseball on his blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com. The author has 16 years of major league baseball experience with Kansas City and as chief spokesman for two Commissioners, and lives in Stratford, CT.)