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Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
The TinCaps celebrate with Kyle Gaedele, whose single to right scored Duanel Jones with the winning run Wednesday against Lansing.

2nd-chance hero lifts TinCaps in last at-bat

– Kyle Gaedele came to bat as the potential game-winning run on Sunday against Lake County and grounded into a force play to end the contest.

That at-bat stuck in his mind.

Gaedele got another crack at batting in a crucial spot Wednesday against Lansing.

This time, he delivered.

Gaedele drove in Duanel Jones with a single with two outs in the ninth inning to give the TinCaps a 3-2 victory against the Lugnuts in front of 5,870 fans at Parkview Field.

“The more times I have the opportunity to come through, the more times I think I have the confidence to do so,” Gaedele said.

The TinCaps (4-2, 35-41 overall) were down to their final out but scored twice in the ninth to take two of three from Lansing (3-3, 50-25), the team with the best overall record in the Midwest League.

“I’m about to get a heart attack. They don’t like to make it easy,” TinCaps manager Jose Valentin said of the consecutive late wins. “I’m proud of my guys. They keep battling for all nine innings.

“Late in the game, when it counts, our hitters are a lot better hitters. They are getting good at-bats.”

Austin Hedges tied the game at 2 with a solo home run to left off Lansing closer Ajay Meyer with two outs in the ninth.

“I was just looking for a pitch to drive,” said Hedges, who went 3 for 4. “I wanted to get a pitch up and hopefully drive something to get myself in scoring position at least and get the chance to tie the game up.

“He left a fastball up over the middle of the plate.”

Jones drew a walk and moved to second when Meyer was called for a balk.

Gaedele ended the game with the hit to right-center.

“Going up there, I knew he threw a lot of off-speed. I told myself to stay back, stay through and don’t really try to pull off of anything,” Gaedele said. “The first swing I took, I found myself pulling off. So I got back to my roots, I told myself, ‘Stay through it.’ He threw a fastball up and over the middle of plate.”

The TinCaps came into the game with a 2-30 record when trailing going into the ninth inning.

“We were due,” Hedges said of the late rallies. “It didn’t happen too much in the first half. It’s happened this half so far. It was about time, and it’s good to see for our team.”

The team finished its six-game homestand with a 4-2 record.

“That’s huge,” Hedges said. “Coming off kind of struggling in the first half, to start off the half this well is huge for us, huge for our confidence and especially to beat the team that won the first half so easily. It’s huge for us.”

Note: Brandon Alger, a former Indiana Tech pitcher and Leo product, earned his first professional victory in Eugene’s 6-1 victory over Salem-Keizer on Tuesday. Alger gave up one unearned run on two hits while striking out two in three relief innings for San Diego’s short-season A team.