The first inning did not start off well for the TinCaps as the LumberKings hit only one ball out of the infield but still managed to score a pair of runs on a bunt, sacrifice bunt, walk, hit batter and a pair of wild pitches by TinCaps starter Simon Castro.
“A year ago that game would have gotten away from him,” said Gary Jones, the TinCaps interim manager.
“It’s a testament to him on how far he has come. If he can improve the same amount that he has from last year, he is on his way. He has a really big ceiling and a chance to be special.”
In the fourth inning Fort Wayne were able to cut the lead in half when right fielder Dan Robertson grounded to second to bring home second baseman Cole Figueroa.
After a shaky first inning Castro settled down, throwing 80 pitches, 52 for strikes over five innings. Two of the three hits he allowed were bunts. What kept him from a dominating night were a few command problems in the first inning.
“The changeup was working very good for me and helped me out against the lefties,” said Castro on what was working for him.
“I know who I am and what I need to do to improve. For me its about how to get better in the first inning and just do what I am supposed to do.”
In the fifth inning the TinCaps staged a two out rally that was led off by shortstop Drew Cumberland’s double off of the right field wall. Left fielder Jaff Decker then nearly hit a home run over the center field wall to score Cumberland for a double. First baseman Allan Dykstra’s hard single to right field scored a motoring Decker from second to put the home team ahead.
Erik Davis relieved Castro in the sixth inning and had the bases loaded with one out on a walk, error by Cumberland and a bloop single. He was able to get out of the inning on a spectacular play by Cumberland who dug a hard hit ball out of the hole to start an inning ending double play.
“Its a sign of his maturity. Last year he might have let that error bother him and not make the next play,” said Jones.
“As soon as he made the error he pointed to the pitcher and let him know that it was his fault and he was going to get the next one; and he did.”
In the seventh inning center fielder Blake Tekotte led off with a walk and was advanced to third on Cumberland’s ground out second. Decker, who had his second three-hit night in a row, then brought him home with a single to right for his second run batted in of the evening.
In the eighth inning the TinCaps broke the game open with four runs, highlighted by catcher Griffin Benedict’s hard single to left to bring home two. An error by the LumberKings second baseman on Tekotte’s chopper brought home the third and a wild pitch brought home the fourth and final run of the inning.
Benedict, a 16th-round pick out of Georgia Southern this year, was called up from Eugene for the injured Adam Zornes, and has shown he can play coming through with a pair of RBIs to break the game open.
“The key is just trying to relax and not do to much in those situations,” said Benedict.
The win gives the TinCaps a 16 and 4 record for the second half and eleven and one within the division; and this is after losing James Darnell, Matt Clark, Sawyer Carroll, Nick Schmidt and now Anthony Bass to promotions.