COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. – The TinCaps had the bases full with two outs in the top of the ninth inning on Sunday night at Fifth Third Ballpark, but couldn’t score and fell to the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers), 2-1. The setback sets up a winner-take-all game on Monday afternoon against the Whitecaps with the victor clinching the Midwest League Eastern Division’s second half wild card spot.
Fort Wayne (32-26, 64-73) and West Michigan (32-36, 68-70) are tied in the Midwest League Eastern Division second half wild card race. Click here for the latest MWL Standings.
If the TinCaps win Monday, they’ll secure a playoff spot for the ninth time in 10 seasons and host the Great Lakes Loons (second half top seed) on Wednesday at Parkview Field at 7:05 p.m. Tickets for the potential playoff game are already on sale at TinCapsTickets.com.
If the Whitecaps prevail, they’ll advance to the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year.
Early on, Fort Wayne had a lead. The TinCaps put a run on the board in the top of the third inning. After a throwing error put runners at first and third with one out, left fielder Jack Suwinski reached base on a fielder’s choice to score second baseman Kelvin Melean, who earlier was hit by a pitch, from third and put the TinCaps ahead, 1-0.
West Michigan responded in the bottom of the frame. John Valente singled on a ground ball to center field to score Eric De La Rosa from second and even the game at 1-1.
The Whitecaps pulled in front in the bottom of the fifth. With two runners in scoring position, Brady Policelli hit an infield single to score Reynaldo Rivera from third and give West Michigan a 2-1 advantage.
The TinCaps had a chance late, but with the bases full and two outs in the ninth, Whitecaps closer Billy Lescher struck out Melean to secure the West Michigan victory.
In the setback, 2018 first round selection Ryan Weathers tossed three innings, allowed three hits, no walks, and only one run. Reliever Gabe Mosser came in to throw five innings, allowing three hits, one walk, and one unearned run, while striking out five.
At the plate, center fielder Jeisson Rosario recorded a multi-hit night going 2-for-4 with a double.
The last time Fort Wayne entered Labor Day in need of a win to make the playoffs was 2014. That year the TinCaps pulled out a 4-0 win at Bowling Green, led by Northeast Indiana native Josh VanMeter, who drove in all four runs, including a three-run homer in the seventh.