EASTLAKE, Ohio – Fort Wayne’s Jace Peterson and Kyle Gaedele didn’t communicate on a pop-up to shallow left field in the third inning of Game 3 of the Eastern Division championship series. The ball fell in for a two-run hit, tying the decisive game against Lake County.
It was a potential momentum-shifting play.
But instead of folding, the TinCaps responded like champions.
Fort Wayne scored six runs in the sixth inning to defeat the Captains 13-6 in front of 887 fans Monday at Classic Park.
Fort Wayne captured the Eastern Division title, winning the best-of-three series 2-1.
With the win, Fort Wayne advances to the Midwest League championship series for the second time in franchise history (the team won the championship in 2009).
I’m proud to be part of this, Fort Wayne manager Jose Valentin said. I give all the credit to all my guys.
The TinCaps will face Wisconsin for the title. The best-of-five series begins Wednesday at Wisconsin. Fort Wayne will play the first two games on the road (Wednesday and Thursday). Game 3 will take place at Parkview Field on Saturday. Games 4 and 5, if necessary, will take place Sunday and Monday at Parkview Field.
This feels great. It’s a great honor to be crowned Eastern Division champs. We battled the whole game, said Gaedele, who had three doubles and three RBI.
That just shows our resiliency.
The TinCaps built a 4-0 lead Monday, but Lake County scored four in the bottom of the bottom of the third. Jake Lowery hit the pop-up that landed between Peterson and Gaedele for the two-run double to tie the game at 4.
We had the mishap in the outfield, and that can’t happen. That has to be fixed. It doesn’t happen too often between us. But then we came back, Gaedele said. It was huge for us to score those runs after that inning.
Peterson and Gaedele played a prominent role in the big sixth inning. Gaedele started the rally with a double. Tyler Stubblefield walked.
Travis Jankowski had a bunt hit to load the bases for Peterson, who came through with a two-run double.
I got a fastball and put a good swing on it, Peterson said. It always makes it better when you can contribute on offense.
Yeison Asencio followed with a two-run single to make it 8-4. Fort Wayne tacked on two more to make it 10-4. Twelve batters came to the plate during the inning.
Colin Rea did not give up a run in three relief innings and earned the win.
I just wanted to come in and throw strikes and get ahead of batters, Rea said.
Lee Orr, Travis Whitmore and Asencio hit homers. The TinCaps had 15 hits. Fort Wayne hitters are hot heading into the championship round.
We haven’t done what we came here to do, Gaedele said. We still have a long way to go.