Tucupita Marcano lined a base hit to left field and the first half of the TinCaps’ 2019 season came to a close.
Marcano’s bases-loaded single in the ninth inning against Lake County drove in Luis Roman with the game-winning run and sent the TinCaps to a 4-3 victory in the first-half season finale Sunday, kicking off a celebration between first and second base in front of an announced crowd of 4,526 at Parkview Field.
The win was the 227th in the four-year tenure of TinCaps manager Anthony Contreras, tying him for the all-time Fort Wayne record with Doug Dascenzo, who managed the Wizards and TinCaps from 2007 to 2009 and won Fort Wayne’s only Midwest League championship in ’09.
Contreras played for Dascenzo with the Wizards in 2008, hitting a career-high .304.
“I really don’t like talking about that kind of stuff, it just means I’ve been here long enough to accumulate that many wins,” Contreras said. “To tie one of my old managers, Doug Dascenzo, it’s pretty cool to put myself in a category with him.
“Overall, it reminds me of all the opportunities and all the players I’ve come in contact with and have somewhat of a small connection to get them to the big leagues.”
Marcano’s hit was his second game-winner of the year. It was one of his two hits in the game and came after Xavier Edwards and Luis Almanzar had drawn two-out walks to load the bases in a game that was knotted at 3.
Marcano took a ball and a strike and then went with a fastball on the outside corner, flipping it into left for the win.
“I noticed the pitcher (Skylar Arias) was getting behind in the count a lot,” Marcano said through a translator. “So it was just about getting a good ball to hit and I got it. ... It’s a beautiful moment after the winning hit, the team being together, it’s a good moment right there.”
Marcano rounded first and turned back to see his teammates sprinting at him in celebration.
He tossed his helmet in the air and, with a big smile on his face, accepted a Gatorade shower from teammate Lee Solomon.
The TinCaps (33-35) jumped in front 3-0 in the first inning when Agustin Ruiz launched a three-run homer 402 feet to right field. It was Ruiz’s third home run, all of which have come since June 8.
Fort Wayne held that three-run lead behind four shutout innings from starter Gabe Mosser, who struck out six, walked one and gave up three hits.
Relievers Cody Tyler, Carlos Belen, Henry Henry and Jose Quezada each pitched a scoreless inning to set up Austin Smith for a save opportunity in the ninth.
In that ninth, however, the Captains (40-29) plated three runs to tie the game. Henry Pujols had an RBI triple and Almanzar made a costly throwing error at third that put the tying run on third before Daniel Schneeman evened the score with a sacrifice fly, setting up Marcano’s heroics.
The end of the game signaled the start of the All-Star Break and the TinCaps will be off until Thursday, when their second-half playoff push will begin.
“Hopefully they use these three days wisely,” Contreras said. “I told them to get their minds away from baseball for a second. It can be a grind out here, be monotonous every single day.
“These guys need to clear their minds, go enjoy themselves.”