Dayton, Ohio—Four Fort Wayne pitchers combined on a three-hit shutout as the TinCaps defeated the Dayton Dragons 3-0 on Monday night in the decisive game of the Midwest League Eastern Division Championship Series. The Fort Wayne win allows them to advance to the MWL Championship series while the Dragons loss brought their season to an end.
The TinCaps scored in the top of the first inning on a two-out solo home run by Hudson Potts, and then added two more runs in the second to take a 3-0 lead. The Dragons could never get the tying run to the plate over the rest of the night. They collected base hits in the third, fourth, and ninth innings, but never had two runners on base in the same inning after Fort Wayne built their three-run lead. Fort Wayne starter Michel Baez went five innings and struck out seven to earn the win. Reliever Hansel Rodriguez pitched the ninth and earned the save.
The Dragons best chance to score came in the first inning when Fort Wayne committed two throwing errors. Randy Ventura reached on a two-base error and went to third on a wild pick-off throw. Taylor Trammell walked with one out, putting runners at first and third. But Trammell was thrown out trying to steal second, and on the same play, Ventura was out trying to score on the back end of an attempted double steal for an inning-ending double play.
Dragons starting pitcher Andrew Jordan was charged with the loss. He lasted just one and one-third innings, allowing three hits and three runs. The Dayton bullpen pitched scoreless baseball the rest of the night, including Joel Kuhnel’s three and two-thirds innings of long relief. Carlos Machorro worked two innings, while Jesse Adams and Dauri Moreta each pitched an inning.
The Dragons won the series opener on Saturday night in Fort Wayne, but they were shutout in back-to-back games in Dayton. The Dragons were shutout at home only one time over 71 games during the regular season. Ironically, in the Dayton-Fort Wayne season series in 2017, the home team won 12 of 14 games during the regular season, but the visiting team won all three meetings in the playoffs.
The Dragons were in position to advance to the league finals with one victory for the first time in franchise history. They also reached the playoff semi-finals in 2000, 2001, and 2008, but never got to the decisive third game in any of those seasons.
A complete detailed and comprehensive review of the Dragons 2017 season will be posted later this week.
The Dragons will open their 19th season in the Midwest League at Fifth Third Field in April of 2018.
The Dragons offer thanks to all their fans for their never-ending support in record-breaking numbers for another season.