The TinCaps late lead relinquished in loss to Loons


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Fort Wayne TinCaps saw a three-run lead slip away in an 8-6 loss to the Great Lakes Loons (Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate) on a beautiful Saturday night at Parkview Field. A crowd of 6,213 filled the seats for the largest showing of the season at the ballpark.

Great Lakes (29-24) jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first inning against TinCaps knuckleballing starter Matt Waldron. After there were two outs and no one on base, a pair of walks and a passed ball put two runners in scoring position for Loons shortstop Leonel Valera. One night after he hit two home runs, the Dodgers prospect hit an opposite-field single to plate a pair.

Waldron, aside from the two runs in the first (only one earned), was phenomenal. He became the first TinCaps pitcher to go seven innings in a start at home this year. The 24-year-old threw 105 pitches — 67 strikes — the most for any Fort Wayne pitcher in 2021. (Gabe Mosser also threw seven innings at South Bend on June 23.)

In the third, the TinCaps (23-29) equalized, and added a bit more. Second baseman Reinaldo Ilarraza led off the inning with an infield single, stole his 16th base of the year, and was driven in by designated hitter Jonny Homza’s two-run homer to center field. The blast was Homza’s sixth of the season. Later in the frame, an RBI groundout by left fielder Tirso Ornelas and a double by first baseman Seamus Curran plated two to give Fort Wayne a 4-2 advantage.

After the Loons scratched a run across in the top of the fifth, the TinCaps again extended the lead to two runs with an RBI single from Ornelas during the bottom of the inning.

Holding a 6-3 lead going into the eighth, the Loons leveled the game on one swing by designated hitter Brandon Lewis, who, in his first week at High-A, also went deep Friday night.

In the ninth, Great Lakes right fielder James Outman gave the Loons the lead with a two-run shot down the right-field line that just cleared the high wall.

The TinCaps out-hit the Loons, 11-9. Third baseman Kelvin Melean had three of those, including a pair of doubles. He also walked, as he extended the longest on-base streak for a Fort Wayne player this year to 14 games. Meanwhile, Homza finished with two hits and a pair of walks. His .404 on-base percentage for the season ranks fifth in High-A Central.

Next Game: Sunday, July 4 vs. Great Lakes (6:05 p.m.)

– Fort Wayne Probable Starter: RHP Gabe Mosser

– Great Lakes Probable Starter: RHP Logan Boyer

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