DAYTON, OH - Danny Pinero's dramatic go-ahead two-run double with two outs in the ninth helped the West Michigan Whitecaps pull off an improbable 3-2 victory over the Dayton Dragons in Game 1 of the Midwest League Eastern Division Quarterfinals Wednesday night at Fifth Third Field.
The win gives the Whitecaps a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series over the Dragons with the team heading home to Fifth Third Ballpark for Game 2 Thursday night.
Dayton struck first when Bruce Yari lofted a two-run home run in the fourth before Anthony Pereira's run-scoring single moments later brought the score to 2-1 after five innings. Offense was at an incredible premium in Game 1, with neither team holding multiple baserunners until the ninth inning. The only opportunity came for the Whitecaps after the Dragons brought the team down to their final out while trailing by a run with the bases empty. Daz Cameron singled to keep the 'Caps hopes alive before Cole Bauml drew a walk to put runners at first and second. Danny Pinero blasted a 2-1 pitch just over the glove of Dragons outfielder Jose Siri and off the wall in right-center field to score Cameron and Bauml to the delight of an elated West Michigan dugout, giving the Whitecaps a 3-2 lead, and the deciding moment in Game 1.
Anthony Castro started on the mound for West Michigan, and tossed six innings of two-run baseball - with his only blemish of Yari's two-run homer while striking out four. Trent Szkutnik (1-0) tossed two scoreless frames to earn the victory in relief, while John Schreiber worked a perfect ninth to earn his first save of the postseason. Pinero was the only player on either side with a multi-hit performance, going 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI.
The Whitecaps head home to continue the Eastern Division Quarterfinals against the Dayton Dragons with Game 2 of a best-of-three series beginning Thursday at 7:00p.m. Broadcast coverage with Dan Hasty and Mike Coleman begins on the Whitecaps Baseball Network at 6:45p.m. Tickets can be reserved for any Whitecaps 2017 home contest, or the 2017 Midwest League Playoffs by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or by visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.