Fort Wayne bats show up better late than never in extra innings win

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. – The TinCaps rallied from three runs down in the ninth, and then won in 11 innings, 4-3, over the West Michigan Whitecaps at Fifth Third Ballpark on Wednesday night.

With two outs and no one on base in the 11th, Fort Wayne catcher Marcus Greene Jr. singled off lefty Trent Szkutnik (L). Center fielder Buddy Reed followed with a single to left-center field as well, and Greene advanced to third base. Right fielder Jack Suwinski then hit a slow grounder to the right side of the infield. On his way to second, Reed paused in front of the ball, momentarily screening Whitecaps second baseman Chad Sedio, who then fielded the bobbled the ball as he tried to field it, allowing Greene to score. Reed was like a hockey player screening a goaltender. Ironically, Reed grew up playing hockey and aspiring to be in the NHL.

West Michigan (21-9, 66-31) went on to load the bases in the bottom of the 11th, but Wilmer Torres (W) worked his way out of the bind to complete 2 2/3 scoreless innings of work.

The TinCaps (21-11, 47-55) now have overcome a pair of four-run deficits, a pair of three-run deficits, and a pair of two-run deficits in victories in the second half of the season.

After four scoreless innings, West Michigan started the scoring in the bottom of the fifth inning. With one out and runners on first and third base, Derek Hill singled to score Dylan Burdeaux for a 1-0 Whitecaps lead. Later in the inning, with two outs and a runner at third, Danny Woodrow singled to score Sam Machonis to extend the West Michigan advantage to 2-0.

That was all the Whitecaps mustered against Pedro Avila, who went six innings and struck out five.

The home team added to its lead in the seventh inning. Cole Bauml singled to score Machonis from third base to make it 3-0. The run was unearned because of an error earlier in the inning.

Fort Wayne’s bats woke up in the ninth. Designated hitter Jorge Oña led off the inning with a double to straightaway center field. The hit extended Oña’s on-base streak to 27 games, which is the longest for a TinCaps player since Jaker Bauers (30 games) in 2014.

With first baseman Brad Zunica batting, a passed ball moved Oña to third base. Zunica followed with a single that scored Oña to cut the West Michigan lead to 3-1. Third baseman Hudson Potts then tripled to right-center field, scoring Tyler Benson, who was pinch running for Zunica, to cut the deficit to 3-2. Greene, who had four hits to set a season high and match a career high, mashed a double to left field to tie the game.

Next Game

Thursday, July 27 at West Michigan (7 p.m.)

– TinCaps Probable Starter: RH Reggie Lawson

  • – Whitecaps Probable Starter: RH Alfred Gutierrez