At least the Wichita Wingnuts got to savor the taste of victory, as they streamed out of the dugout onto the field to celebrate clinching the championship of the American Association, an independent baseball league, on a ninth-inning groundout. Unfortunately, they didn’t actually win the game.
In fact, they had to play almost another entire game, until they finally lost to the Winnipeg Goldeyes deep in extra innings.
As you can see, Wichita’s catcher is the only one who can see umpire Joe Stegner point to pitcher Ryan Kussmaul to call him for a balk. Wichita had to slump back into the dugout with one more out remaining, which the Goldeyes took advantage of and brought the runner in from third with a two-out double. The game then headed into extra innings, where it became the longest game in league history, not wrapping up until 1 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Winnipeg pitcher Mikey O’Brien pitched from the 10th to the 16th and kept it scoreless, while Wichita likewise stymied Winnipeg. Then in the 17th inning, Winnipeg outfielder David Rohm smacked a double to right field, mercifully ending things.
Everyone involved seemed to understand what a bonkers game they’d all just been through.
“That’s one of the craziest games,” Goldeyes manager Rick Forney said shortly after the win. “I’ve been saying it all year. We play until they tell us we can’t play anymore.”
“I would be throwing up,” he said. “I feel for them. It’s unfortunate. It can be tough.”
The two teams will meet for a decisive Game 5 tonight at Shaw Park in Winnipeg. Hopefully, this one is more straightforward.