If anyone thinks the TinCaps, an exceptionally young team that even has a couple of 17-year-olds on the roster, will be rattled now that they’re one loss away from the end of the season – welp, think again.
After the 2-1 loss tonight to the Dayton Dragons, who will play host to the TinCaps in both Game 2 on Sunday and, if necessary, Monday’s Game 3 of the Eastern Division Championship Series, the TinCaps still seemed awfully confident.
“We’ve been through a lot of adversity this year,” said Nate Easley, who was 3 for 4 tonight. “We know what we can do as a team now, late in the season. We’ve played together for a long time now. We’ve seen a lot of failures and success coming off failures. It’s not a problem; we’re all focused and ready to go.”
In what was a game sorely in need of highlights – although it had solid pitching – the TinCaps know they were one good bounce away from a different outcome.
“That’s baseball,” Easley said. “You’re always one hit away, one play away, from winning the game. Especially in playoff baseball, where it’s always tight. They pulled out the win, but we stayed in the game, had good at-bats and played well on defense. Just a few little things went there way that didn’t go our way.”
The biggest play was the throwing error in the eighth inning by Fort Wayne’s Gabriel Arias that would have completed a double play but instead brought in the winning run. After that, Marcus Greene Jr. put a flyball a couple of feet short of tying or winning it for Fort Wayne in the eighth.
TinCaps manager Anthony Contreras thinks his team is both capable of winning the series and gaining valuable experience for the future.
“They have to play these games and everything like that,” he said. “As dramatic and magnified as everything is because it’s the playoffs, when it’s all said and done, that feeling and that experience, you can’t replicate that. These guys need to feel that, regardless of the result that’s going on, because next year they probably won’t even remember this game and what happened. It’s just the way minor leagues go. We’re still in a good spot. We battled today and we’ve just got to keep our heads up.”