The Hit Wagon, Festivity Photos, Voyage

“EVERYBODY HOPPED ON THE HIT WAGON”

That stupendous quote comes from TinCaps second baseman Tyler Stubblefield, as he described a seven-run fourth inning that Fort Wayne unloaded on Bowling Green at Parkview Field on Wednesday night.

He had one of the biggest at bats of the game, and it came in that fourth inning. With runners at second and third, the Hot Rods, with lefty Travis Whitmore at the plate, decided to issue an intentional walk to try and face Stubblefield, a right-handed hitter. While some batters might take that as a slight to their abilities, Stubblefield shrugged it off as part of the game and decided he was going to win the at-bat.

“I went up there telling myself that I’ve got to see the ball up, I saw the first curveball in the dirt, chased the second one, and I was at that point down 1-2. At that point I told myself that I would have to battle and do what I could to put the ball in play.  I really didn’t want to strike out there and fortunately (Gomez) made a really good pitch and I was just trying to put the ball in play, I found a hole and it broke the inning open for the rest of the team.”

Stubblefield hit an RBI single that just blooped over the shortstop Jake Hager and in front of left fielder Josh Sale, scoring Yeison Asencio, and giving Fort Wayne a 2-0 lead. It wouldn’t prove to be the turning point of the game as Fort Wayne won by seven, but it did give the big inning the spark it needed to continue.

Asked what the difference has been between the first half and the second half, Stubblefield said it boils down to one word:

“Unity.”

“We’re playing really good as a team and we’re playing really unselfish baseball all around and it’s showing on the field. It’s fun. This is fun. Winning is fun. I think we were having fun because we were playing a game we all love in the first half but it’s really all coming together now. We’re starting to win and we’re seeing results, and everybody is playing for everybody instead of playing for themselves,” Stubblefield said in a jubilant TinCaps locker room after the game.

If the team can take two in a row from Bowling Green with a win on Thursday night, it’ll mark the fifth consecutive series victory for Fort Wayne to open the second half. It’s now been nine straight days that Fort Wayne has been in first place. The Independence Day win also snapped a five-game losing streak against the Hot Rods.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear from Manager Jose Valentin who hopes his team can provide similar run support for Adys Portillo tonight:

FOURTH OF JULY FESTIVITIES

If you weren’t able to make it out to the ballpark on Wednesday, here are a few pictures from the festivities in downtown Fort Wayne. The first picture comes courtesy of TinCaps reliever Johnny Barbato, who will celebrate his 20th birthday on the 11th of this month:

WOOD TAKES A TURN

Santa Claus, Indiana, is about five hours away from Fort Wayne, but it’s the site of an amusement park, Holiday World, which features Voyage, a nearly $10 million roller coaster that is apparently one of the most popular in the country. This article from The New York Times isn’t so much about the coaster, though, as it is about what goes in to making a fun, exhilarating ride.

“The first drop is a doozy. From the summit of the wooden roller coaster called the Voyage, 163 feet above the Holiday World theme park in the rolling woodlands of southern Indiana, the track drops 154 feet at a 66-degree angle. The cars quickly reach a top speed of nearly 70 miles an hour.

Those gasp-inducing numbers help explain why more than a million people a year visit Holiday World, which is a ways off the beaten track, and why the Voyage, one of three large wooden coasters at the park, earns high marks from connoisseurs.

But for Chad Miller, one of the ride’s designers, the most important feature of that first hill is the curve at the top.

“The secret of the first drop is shaping up that parabola and getting it exactly right,” said Mr. Miller, 38, an owner of theGravity Group, one of about a dozen coaster design firms in the world. “It gives you just the right amount of air time, especially in the back seat.”

The piece includes a well-produced video, replete with on-ride camera shots. Who’s up for a road trip?

MUSICAL GUEST

In honor of the heat, Mungo Jerry…take it away!

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

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