Tuesday, September 12, 2017 12:20 am
Notebook: Unusual twin killing boosts TinCaps
CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette
DAYTON, Ohio – There are always turning points in the Midwest League playoffs, even if their importance is not immediately apparent.
Monday night, as the TinCaps prevailed 3-0 in a winner-take-all Game 3 of the Eastern Division Championship Series, that pivotal moment occurred in the bottom of the first inning when Dayton put baserunners at first and third with one out.
Fort Wayne had gone up 1-0 in the top half, and, with Michel Baez pitching, the Dragons knew runs would be at a premium. They decided to be aggressive and try to tie that score right away.
Did that ever backfire.
Taylor Trammell, who had walked, attempted to steal second. Marcus Greene Jr. received Baez's pitch, rose from his crouch behind the plate and unleashed a perfect throw to shortstop Gabriel Arias, who easily tagged Trammell for the second out.
As that unfolded, leadoff man Randy Ventura, who had reached on an Arias error, took off for the plate, thinking he could catch Fort Wayne's defense in a compromised position with the play at second.
Arias wheeled and delivered an on-target relay to Greene, who tagged a sliding Ventura to end the inning as Baez offered a demonstrative fist pump on his way off the mound.
Third baseman Hudson Potts, whose view of the action came from the perfect vantage point, still couldn't believe it after the game.
"That was awesome," Potts said. "Oh, yeah. That was a big play. It shut down the momentum."
Fifth Third Field's announced crowd of 7,148 groaned at the sight.
"You don't really see that too often," Fort Wayne manager Anthony Contreras said. "Great job by Marcus putting the throw on and great job by Arias to see the play and come home with it like that. It's a momentum-shifter, even though it's the first inning. You get a play like that going in our favor, it just builds confidence for the rest of the team.
"Obviously in the playoffs you can see some crazy stuff."
Credit to Baez: Dayton manager Luis Bolivar essentially said Baez was too good a pitcher for his hitters to handle.
"We ran into a tough one," Bolivar said. "When you’re in the playoffs, pitching and defense, that’s the name of the game."
On to Quad Cities: The TinCaps will face Quad Cities, an affiliate of the Houston Astros, in the best-of-five Midwest League Championship Series. Game 1 is Wednesday night at Parkview Field.
The River Bandits are making their 12th all-time appearance in the Midwest League Championship Series.