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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, September 17, 2017 4:40 am

Notebook: Walks come back to haunt TinCaps

CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette

DAVENPORT, Iowa – After Ronald Bolanos issued a bases-loaded walk to put Quad Cities up 6-0 in Game 3 of the Midwest League Championship Series, pitching coach Burt Hooton visited the mound.

Typically, Hooton keeps his advice simple, telling the TinCaps pitchers to throw strikes and execute the game plan. His chat with Bolanos on Saturday night likely consisted of similar messaging.

In this particular contest, no amount of coaching could buoy a staff that lacked control. By allowing eight free passes, including six in the first two innings, Fort Wayne tossed fuel on the blaze that eventually became the River Bandits' sweep of this best-of-five series.

Four of the six batters who were walked by Bolanos or starter Adrian Morejon came around to score as Quad Cities built a commanding 9-0 advantage after two innings.

In contrast, Quad Cities starter Ronel Blanco did not walk a batter as he threw 6 2/3 shutout innings. 

Of Morejon's 44 pitches, only 23 were strikes, and Bolonos, who entered down 4-0 and left trailing by nine, threw just eight strikes in 21 pitches.

Euphoria: The final out of the series sweep came when Justin Lopez popped up to shortstop Kristian Trompiz, who let the ball settle into his glove and then waved both arms in the air.

The rest of the River Bandits rushed out of the home dugout at Modern Woodmen Park and threw their caps into the air. Infielder Cody Bohanek carried a container of sports drink onto the field and emptied it over the jumping mass of players as fireworks went off beyond center field.

Quad Cities' previous Midwest League championships came in 1968, 1971, 1979, 1990, 2011 and 2013.

Missed opportunity: Before the River Bandits' six-run outburst in the second inning, Fort Wayne's offense had a chance to establish itself early. Jack Suwinski reached on an error leading off the top of the first, but Ronel Blanco retired the next six TinCaps, and by the time they batted again, in the third, they trailed 9-0.