Wong Hits Game Winning Single in Spring Training Return
by Josh Pacheco
It appeared that Kolten Wong’s spring training time with the St. Louis Cardinals had ended Thursday after Wong and six other prospects were sent back to the minor leagues to continue their preparations for the upcoming season.
It was bittersweet, considering the Hilo native drove in his first ever spring training run that day against the Boston Red Sox, hitting a sacrifice fly to notch an RBI in his big league stat line. Regardless, Wong was seeing limited action, and the Cardinals organization felt that it was a better move to send him down at that time.
On Monday, the Cardinals had split their team in two to face the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals in Grapefruit League play, and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny needed to call up a few of the team’s youngsters to help fill out both rosters. Wong was one of the four guys that got the call to join the big club, joining the team to face the Braves.
Wong got into the game in the sixth inning, pinch running for starting second baseman Skip Schumaker. He would be stranded on base after a Jon Jay fly ball out to left field, and then would stay in the game to play second base.
The former Rainbow second baseman got his first plate appearance in the bottom of the eighth inning, after lead off man Ryan Jackson reached on a fielding error. Wong followed with a sacrifice bunt to the right side of the infield, moving Jackson over to second.
Wong would get one more chance in the bottom of the ninth inning. After the Atlanta Braves tied the game at four, the Cardinals managed to get two runners on with two out, allowing Wong the opportunity to win the game. He didn’t wait very long to come through, knocking a single through the middle of the infield into center field to drive in Erik Komatsu from third base, giving St. Louis a 5-4 victory.
Wong is expected to go back to the minor leagues to continue his preparation for the upcoming season, but at least for right now, he can brag about the following stats: a 1.000 batting average (1-for-1), 2 runs batted in, and a game winning hit against the Atlanta Braves.