FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- If you go to the ballpark every day for the rest of your life, you may never see an ending like the TinCaps and Whitecaps had on Monday night at Parkview Field. Josh VanMeter scored the game-winning run for Fort Wayne in a 4-3 walk-off victory when Whitecaps catcher Bennett Pickar attempted to pick VanMeter off from first base, but threw the ball into the right-field corner, allowing the Ossian, Ind., native to score – just barely – all the way from first.
VanMeter was mobbed by his TinCaps teammates once he popped upright after his head-first slide into the plate eluded the tag of Pickar once the ball had been relayed back to the plate. The win gave Fort Wayne a series victory over West Michigan, which leads the East Division Wild Card race. The TinCaps have won four consecutive series and nine of their last 12 games. Fort Wayne is 12-2 in its last 14 games at Parkview Field.
While VanMeter's run will be long remembered, it wasn't the only one the TinCaps scored in the bottom of the ninth. Fort Wayne entered the inning trailing 3-2. River Stevens, who just joined the team last Wednesday from extended spring training, hit a one-out triple off Julio Felix over the head of West Michigan center fielder Austin Schotts. Stevens scored to tie the game at 3-3 on a pinch-hit sacrifice to right-center field fly by Fernando Perez.
The TinCaps had the opportunity for their fifth walk-off win of the season -- and second in three days against the Whitecaps -- thanks to the effort of starting pitcher Walker Weickel. For the second outing in a row, Weickel threw with conviction. The 20-year-old right-hander gave up a two-out, first-inning home run to Raph Rhymes, but didn't allow a hit again until the fifth inning. Weickel went six innings with only one run allowed on four hits and two walks with two strikeouts.
On a humid night, Fort Wayne answered West Michigan's first inning run with one of its own against Kevin Ziomek. In familiar fashion, Mallex Smith reached base with a single. Baseball's leader in stolen bases advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a Dustin Peterson RBI-single. The run for Smith was his Midwest League-leading 47th of the season, while the RBI was Peterson's league-best 46th.
Jake Bauers bombed a Ziomek pitch in the bottom of the fourth over the high wall in right field to give the home team a 2-1 edge. It was the 18-year-old’s fourth home run in 33 games this year. The Tincap lead lasted into the seventh inning until Pickar plated Wynton Bernard on a run-scoring single. The Whitecaps, who won 19-1 on Sunday, took the lead in the top of the eighth on an infield RBI-hit by Jeff Holm.Tayron Guerrero earned his team-high fifth win of the season out of the bullpen, as he recorded the final out of the eighth and tossed a 1-2-3 ninth .
Article Courtesy: John Nolan Broadcasting and Media Relations Assistant - TinCaps Baseball