TinCaps Opening Night

April 3, 2014 The opening night of the TinCaps baseball team of Fort Wayne, IN

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TinCaps

  • TinCaps’ late-season collapse continues
    The TinCaps lost for the ninth time in the last 13 games, falling 8-7 to the Lake County Captains at Classic Park in Eastlake, Ohio, on Thursday night.
  • Putting it all together
    Jake Bauers lightheartedly taunted Franmil Reyes about Team USA’s win over the Dominican Republic on Wednesday in an exhibition basketball game.“We can’t win at all sports,” replied Reyes, a Dominican native.
  • Swinging, missing in rain
      Tuesday night began with a 53-minute rain delay at Parkview Field and ended with more showers, but it may take more than rain to wash away the memories of the TinCaps' 5-1 loss to Great Lakes.
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TinCaps
vs. Great Lakes
When: 7:05 p.m. today
TV: Xfinity Channel 81
Radio: 1380 AM
Tickets: $12.50, $10, $9, $8, $5 (lawn)
Information: TinCaps.com or 482-6400
Photos by Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Fort Wayne’s Walker Weickel took the loss after giving up five hits and five runs in three innings.
Great Lakes 9, TinCaps 0

TinCaps get season off to sloppy start

Rain, cold, errors make for rough debut for VanMeter, teammates

Great Lakes’ Malcolm Holland steals second as Josh VanMeter can’t handle the bounced throw in the first inning Thursday at Parkview Field.
TinCaps Mallex Smith fouls off a bunt attempt against Great Lakes in the first inning Thursday.

– The season opener didn’t go too well for the TinCaps, falling to the Great Lakes Loons 9-0 in front of 4,447 fans Thursday at Parkview Field.

Josh VanMeter’s debut wasn’t so great either.

The former Norwell standout went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and committed an error that led to a run in his first game for the minor league team he grew up following just 15 miles away in Ossian.

“Just getting your feet wet,” VanMeter said of his TinCaps’ debut. “I am not the only young guy out there. Hopefully we come out and play better. It was a first game, and we got that out of the way.”

In a chilly, rainy opener, the TinCaps were hurt by a sluggish offense and a couple of fielding miscues.

“It wasn’t the start we were looking for,” TinCaps manager Michael Collins said. “I don’t think it is something to dwell on.

“This is a young team, and they understand it’s one game, and it is something to build on and look forward to tomorrow.”

VanMeter led Norwell to a Class 3A state championship last June and hit .278 with 16 games last summer for the Arizona Padres.

“It’s one game, out of 140,” VanMeter said. “There’s no need to look more into it than is necessary.”

As the first local position player to play for the TinCaps, VanMeter had a lot of attention playing in front of family and friends.

VanMeter misplayed a line drive in the second inning that eventually led to a 1-0 Great Lakes lead.

“He was OK,” Collins said of VanMeter. “He might have gotten a little excited at the plate, and he chased a pitch to strikeout in his last at-bat.

“But again it was his first game, and he will be fine.”

After enjoying decent spring weather earlier in the week, the temperature dipped into the 30s for the opener and included a constant mist.

Collins, an Australian native, wasn’t about to make the weather an excuse.

“Both teams were under the same situation today,” said Collins, who replaced Jose Valentin, who is now the first-base coach for the San Diego Padres. “And they swung the bats pretty well. It is just something we are going to have to deal with.”

VanMeter and Franchy Cordero each committed key errors at second base and shortstop.

Cordero also struggled at the plate with four strikeouts.

Great Lakes starter Jonathan Martinez, the winning pitcher, gave up no runs and two hits and struck out 11 in six innings with no walks.

“He had our number tonight,” VanMeter said of Martinez.

The TinCaps struck out 16 times, with every hitter getting at least one strikeout.

“Obviously it wasn’t our night,” VanMeter said. “The great thing about baseball is you get to come back (today) and play them again.”

Great Lakes collected 10 hits – four doubles, a triple and a home run.

Kyle Farmer knocked in three runs, while Joey Curletta and Justin Chigbogu each had two RBI for Great Lakes.

Fort Wayne starter Walker Weickel took the loss after giving up five hits, five runs (four earned) and walking two in three innings.

gjones@jg.net

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