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Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
TinCaps pitcher Joe Ross gave up six earned runs on seven hits in 1 1/3 innings Saturday against Lake County at Parkview Field.
Lake County 9, TinCaps 1

TinCaps hit hard in loss to Captains

– It was a perfectly executed rundown play.

A duck made its way from the infield grass to near first base in the ninth inning Saturday at Parkview Field.

TinCaps first baseman Jose Dore took a few steps toward the duck and successfully shooed it away.

Little else went right for Fort Wayne in a 9-1 loss to Lake County in front of 4,184 fans.

The Captains roughed up Joe Ross.

The right-handed pitcher, selected No. 25 overall in last year’s draft, didn’t get out of the second inning, giving up six earned runs on seven hits in 1 1/3 innings. Ross struck out one and walked three.

“It was a rough start for Joe Ross. I have a lot of confidence in that kid. He’s better than he showed today. It happens to anybody,” TinCaps manager Jose Valentin said.

“Good pitchers battle through hard times. It was one of those days. His fastball was good, it was one of those days where everything they would swing at, they made contact with.”

Ross is rated the No. 9 prospect in San Diego’s system, according to Baseball America. He displayed a sharp breaking ball on a couple of occasions but had trouble finishing batters off.

“Obviously I didn’t have my best stuff. I was leaving the ball up a little bit,” Ross said. “I didn’t really get hit that hard, they just found some holes. I had a few walks. I’m just looking forward to the next time.

“I was kind of pressing a little bit. The 3-2 counts, I tried to do a little extra and that’s when I left the ball up for a ball. I just have to relax a little more next time.”

The Captains (2-1) scored four times in the first inning. Alex Lavisky knocked in two runs with a two-out, broken-bat single to left field.

“We had some unlucky bounces in the first inning,” catcher Matt Colantonio said. “It was hard to bounce back from there.”

Lake County added three more runs in the second to extend the lead to 7-1. The Captains finished with 13 hits.

As the game got out of hand, the fans’ attention turned to the duck. For a couple of innings it rested near the TinCaps’ bullpen along the first-base line. During a break in play, it was chased away by Saturday’s entertainment act, Jake the Diamond Dog.

“I didn’t know whether that was part of the dog show,” Colantonio said, jokingly.

The duck returned in the ninth inning, settling in the infield.

“It was pretty funny at first and then he started getting into my view of the game, right in front of the hitters,” said Dore, who had three of the team’s six hits but had to leave after suffering a left shoulder injury while sliding in the bottom of the ninth.

“I had to chase him away after I got that one ball.”

Fort Wayne (1-2) has an off day today and then begins a seven-game road trip Monday at South Bend.

“It’s early in the year, we’re going to get better,” Valentin said. “The more games they play, they’re going to get better and better.”