DAYTON, Ohio – For the third time in their 25-year history, the Fort Wayne TinCaps are Midwest League Eastern Division Champions. Fort Wayne clinched the title by beating the Dayton Dragons (Cincinnati Reds), 3-0, in Game 3 of the best-of-three Eastern Division Championship Series on Monday night at Fifth Third Field.
The TinCaps will take on the Quad Cities River Bandits (Houston Astros) in the best-of-five Midwest League Championship Series that is set to begin with Game 1 at Parkview Field on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. Fort Wayne will also host Game 2 on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. Tickets for both games are available at TinCapsTickets.com, by calling 260-482-6400, and at the Parkview Field Ticket Office.
Game 3, and if necessary, Games 4 and 5, will be played at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, Iowa.
On Monday, Fort Wayne didn’t waste any time scoring the game’s first run. With two outs in the top of the first inning, third baseman Hudson Potts crushed a ball over the wall in left-center field for a home run to give the TinCaps a 1-0 lead. The homer was the sixth hit by Fort Wayne this postseason.
Dayton threatened to score in the bottom of the first. The Dragons had runners on first and third base thanks to two TinCaps errors and a walk. With one out, and Bruce Yari at the plate, Taylor Trammell tried to steal second base. Fort Wayne catcher Marcus Greene Jr. fired the ball to shortstop Gabriel Arias who tagged out Trammell. On the throw to second, Randy Ventura tried to score from third. Arias sent the ball back to Greene who tagged out Ventura to complete a double play and end the inning.
The TinCaps used the momentum from the inning-ending double play to propel the offense to a pair of runs in the top of the second. With Greene at third base, designated hitter Jorge Oña at first base, and no outs, Arias hit a slow roller to third base. Arias was thrown out at first, but Oña moved to second and Greene scored to put Fort Wayne up 2-0. Center fielder Buddy Reed followed with a single to right field, scoring Oña from second to extend the TinCaps’ advantage to 3-0.
That’s all the run support Fort Wayne starting pitcher Michel Baez needed. The 21-year-old Cuban set the tone with five scoreless innings of work. Baez allowed oonly two hits and one walk while striking out seven batters. The TinCaps’ bullpen sealed the deal. Ronald Bolaños pitched two perfect innings with three strikeouts, Dauris Valdez pitched a scoreless eighth inning with two strikeouts, and Hansel Rodriguez (S) closed the game with a scoreless ninth inning that led to Fort Wayne’s on-field celebration.
The Dragons bullpen was strong with 7 2/3 scoreless innings pitched, but the damage was done against Dayton starting pitcher Andrew Jordan (L). In three previous starts against Fort Wayne, Jordan had allowed at least four runs in each game. The TinCaps continued their dominance against Jordan on Monday with three runs scored in 1 1/3 innings.
Midwest League Championship Series, Game 1
Wednesday, September 13 vs. Quad Cities River Bandits (7:05 p.m.)
Watch: Comcast Network 81
Listen: ESPN Radio 1380 & 100.9 FM / TinCapsRadio.com / TuneIn