Wednesday, June 20, 2018 12:30 am
TinCaps pitchers help Eastern Division win
LANSING, Mich. – None of the TinCaps' pitchers factored in the decision in Tuesday's All-Star Game and none were named MVP, but collectively, the Eastern Division could not have won without them.
The three Fort Wayne left-handers, Aaron Leasher, Nick Margevicius and Travis Radke, combined to pitch 2 1/3 scoreless innings, needing just 25 pitches in all and letting only one hitter reach base.
Leasher was the first of those southpaws to take the mound, as Eastern Division manager Cesar Martin tabbed the 22-year-old to start the game. He gave up a single and a stolen base to 19-year-old Royce Lewis, the Twins' top prospect and the youngest player in the game, but retired the next three hitters to complete his night. Leasher had good stuff, throwing 11 of his 14 pitches for strikes and getting a strikeout on a nice changeup to end the first.
Margevicius was similarly solid, needing just nine pitches to complete a 1-2-3 inning. All three outs he recorded were flyouts and he barely broke a sweat as he kept the East in front 1-0 in the fourth.
Radke became the third TinCap to throw a scoreless outing when he retired the only hitter he faced in the seventh inning, with the East in front 2-1. He threw only two pitches in his appearance, but like his teammates, he did his job and kept his team in front. Both Margevicius and Radke earned holds for their performances and all three TinCaps pitchers competed well in high-leverage situations.
"It was a good performance from the TinCaps pitching staff," Margevicius said. "It was just really fun. It was exciting watching Leasher warm up (to start) and then go pitch in the first inning. I'm proud of all of us and I really had a lot of fun with these guys out here."
The game became even more fun when the Dayton Dragons' Montrell Marshall singled in the game-winning run with two outs in the 10th, one out before the game was scheduled to finish in a tie. Marshall got a Gatorade shower near first base and earned All-Star Game MVP honors for his effort.
"There was a lot of uncertainty in the dugout (at the end)," Margevicius said. "Ninth inning, we weren't sure if we were going to have an extra inning or not and then it was like, we're gonna play one extra inning, but that was it. But we were getting ready for the walk-off and with two strikes we got the walk-off, it was pretty awesome."
The game was well-played on both sides, with neither pitching staff walking a batter and neither team committing an error. Marshall's game-winning single was the eighth hit for the East, while the West finished with seven.
The clean, crisp game matched the stadium it was played in. Cooley Law School Field was in immaculate condition, with a star mown into the center-field grass. There were plenty of attractions for everyone, with a camel outside the front gate and several bounce houses for the kids. After the game, there was a good fireworks display, although it doesn't match the ones at Parkview Field. Regardless, it was a well-organized and well-played game.