FORT WAYNE, Ind. — After taking an early lead, the TinCaps fell 7-4 to the Great Lakes Loons, who completed the sweep. Fort Wayne, which had three different players go down in the course of the game, will get a much needed off day Monday.
“Take care of your bodies and try to stay as healthy as much as you can,” said TinCaps’ manager Anthony Contreras on what he told the team after the sweep. “Guys are dropping like flies right now and it’s kind of that part of the season.
“The effort is the biggest thing I look at when we lose these games. You want to stay competitive and have to compete every day. You never know when it’s going to turn around. We just came off of a good road trip and then we play one of the best teams in the league.”
The most serious injury was to left fielder Dwanya Williams-Sutton who injured his wrist diving for a fly ball in the seventh inning. According to Contreras, Williams-Sutton went to the hospital and he had no further information.
Both catcher Juan Fernandez and second baseman Lee Solomon were banged up in separate plays running out grounders at first base, but both stayed in the game.
Fort Wayne jumped out to a 3-0 lead when first baseman Michael Curry’s sacrifice fly scored Solomon with the bases loaded. Fernandez followed with a two-RBI double. The Loons bounced back with four runs in the third to put them out in front.
The TinCaps got a solo home run from third baseman Luis Roman in the seventh inning. A 23rd-round draft pick out of Texas Wesleyan in 2017, Roman just joined the TinCaps this week when Luis Almanzar hit the Injured List. Roman, 24, played two years in the Arizona League posting a slash line of .225/.311/.321 bouncing between the outfield, catcher and second and third base. This year is his first opportunity in full-season ball.
“More than anything, [the injuries] provide opportunity,” said Contreras. “You get a lot of guys that have been locked up in Extended Spring and they get the opportunity to come here and show their skill set.
“It might be for a brief time before the guys come off of the [IL], but it’s an opportunity and that is all you can ask for in professional baseball.”
Great Lakes applied the coup de grace with an eighth inning two-run home run, that was greatly helped by the wind, that spoiled an otherwise great three-inning relief appearance by right-hander Henry Henry.
“It’s the first full season for most of them and these high school kids [Ryan] Weathers, Xavier [Edwards] and the rest dominated their competition for a time and now they are coming into a level of baseball where their physical talents kind of even out,” said Contreras.
“It wakes them up. The good ones take it as a challenge, the others might find it harder to deal with because they have never done it before. Eventually, that group in [Lake] Elsinore now went through the same thing in the first half last year, and they were a younger team than this one.
“It’s just part of the learning curve, at least in the four years that I have been here. The first half is up and down and hopefully, it smooths out in the second half.
TinCaps Notes: When asked for an update on LHP Ryan Weathers and if he can make his next start, Contreras replied that he was fine, and that was the extent of the comments he would have on the subject.