Dragons win final game, but lose playoff spot

Eastlake, Ohio (WDTN) —The Dayton Dragons belted a season-high four home runs on the way to a 13-4 victory over the Lake County Captains on Monday afternoon, but saw their playoff hopes come to an end on the final day of the 2014 season.

The Dragons raced out to a commanding early lead over the Captains, only to see Fort Wayne score late and defeat Bowling Green to clinch the second half wildcard spot in the Midwest League’s East Division. Fort Wayne swept their three-game series against Bowling Green to edge Dayton and Great Lakes for the final playoff position.

On Monday afternoon, the Dragons trailed Lake County 1-0 when Jamodrick McGruder blasted a three-run home run to left field in the third inning to give the Dragons the lead. Jon Matthews followed McGruder’s home run with a tape-measure blast to left for his second homer of the year. The Dragons added two more runs in the same inning to build a 6-1 lead.

Dayton added two more runs in the fourth before Alex Blandino connected on a three-run home run in the sixth to build the lead to 11-1. It was Blandino’s fourth homer of the year. In the eighth, Phillip Ervin added a solo home run, his seventh of the season.

The Dragons finished with 15 hits. Ronald Bueno had three to lead the attack. Bueno enjoyed a baseball rarity in the third inning when he collected two hits in the same inning, one batting left-handed and the other batting right-handed. Blandino had two hits and four runs batted in. Matthews, Ervin, and Robert Ramirez also had two hits for the Dragons.

Dragons starting pitcher Nick Howard (2-1) earned the win. He worked five strong innings, allowing a home run to the first batter he faced, then giving up only one more hit over the rest of his day. He walked one and struck out three, allowing just one run.

Monday’s game completed an unusual three-game series between the Dragons and the Captains. Dayton won the first game on Saturday 11-1, collecting 16 hits; lost Sunday 12-0 as they picked up just three hits; and won 13-4 on Monday.

The Dragons closed out the season with an overall record of 68-70. They went 36-32 in the first half and 32-38 in the second half.

Notes: Dragons starting pitcher Nick Travieso finished as the league leader in victories with 14. Sal Romano led the league in innings pitched with 148.2. Alejandro Chacin finished second in saves with 20. Amir Garrett led the league in shutouts with two. The Dragons finished with a team batting average of .244 and a team earned run average of 3.63.

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