TinCaps Back to Hitting… and Gatorade Cooler Dumping

Editor’s Note: Contrary to reports, Mike Couzens has not been transferred from Fort Wayne to the AZL Padres. Rather, he is away this weekend to broadcast the U.S. Open Ultimate. Yes, that is a thing. So John Nolan is in off the bench. 

Bud Light brands itself as the “sure sign of a good time.” But for the TinCaps this season, the sure sign of a good time is when either Mike Couzens or I have to look out for shaving-cream pies or Gatorade coolers.

Spoiler alert: I got wet two nights in a row. Translation: The TinCaps have found out how to hit and win again.

Let’s look back to Friday night’s win first. Postgame vide, featuring a bath for Rodney Daal, below.

The TinCaps entered on a five-game losing streak. But it was even worse than that. Fort Wayne had been one-hit twice and shut out three times. So what happens with South Bend’s All-Star starter Jesse Darrah on the mound for the Silver Hawks against Matthew Shepherd, making his first start of the season for Fort Wayne after 25 appearances as a reliever?  Of course a TinCaps win.  Only, not just a TinCaps win, but one of the wildest regular season games ever at Parkview Field.

The TinCaps busted out of their hitting woes with a 16-10 win. Fort Wayne racked up 20 hits. Both the 16 runs and 20 hits were the second most for the club this season, behind a 17-run, 21-hit day against Lansing on April 20.

Let’s put this outburst — which would count as a sensational offensive game no matter the circumstances — into some context:

* In their first 12 games against South Bend this season, the TinCaps totaled 18 runs. Again, the TinCaps scored 16 in  eight innings Friday.

* During their five-game losing streak, Fort Wayne scored six runs on 28 hits and had only one extra base hit. Friday night Fort Wayne nearly tripled its run production and ended up with seven extra base hits, including two home runs by Rodney Daal and two triples by Corey Adamson.

While this was a game you’ll remember for its offense, don’t forget to tip your cap to Shepherd. Although he fell one out shy of receiving credit for the win, he gave Fort Wayne a lift with 4.2 innings of one-run ball. Not bad for a guy who hadn’t thrown more than four innings in two-plus years.

As they say in the infomercials, “But wait! There’s more!” Offense that is (and me trying to dodge Gatorade cooler showers)…

Seven more runs on 13 hits Saturday against first-place (in the second half) Great Lakes. Tyler Stubblefield came up with what were arguably the two biggest hits of them all for the TinCaps. First in the fourth inning he hit a home run that almost reached The Harrison. Then with two outs and the game tied, 4-4, in the seventh he singled to drive in the go-ahead run.

If you’re into the human interest of baseball, then seeing Stubblefield success has to make you feel good. The 25-year old infielder was released by San Diego at the end of spring training this year. As we’ve told you about previously here, “Stubby” contemplated retiring from baseball but didn’t think it was his time yet. So he signed on with the Southern Illinois Miners of the independent Frontier League. And three weeks ago, that’s where he was — physically. Mentally, he was dreaming of the chance to make it back to affiliated ball. Sure enough, the Padres called him up to gauge his interest in returning to the organization, and Stubby had no hard feelings about his release, he just wanted another shot. Now with a second chance, it was inspiring to see him have a moment in front of 6,500-plus (including his mother who made the trip from Georgia).

RECOMMENDED READING

Saturday’s Washington Post had a nice profile on one of my friends, and mentors, Jason Benetti. He’s the voice of the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs, in addition to calling college basketball for ESPN and local sports in Syracuse, NY. In his “spare time,” Jason’s also an adjunct professor of sports broadcasting and marketing. I met Jason my junior year of college and interned under him last summer with the Chiefs. I’d like to consider myself part of the “Benetti Broadcasting Tree.” (Mike is a branch on there, too.) He’s been a tremendous teacher for me not only in terms of broadcasting, but just being a better all-around person. You can probably blame him for putting me in position to get to work for the TinCaps.

The Washington Post‘s story focuses on how Jason is on the fast-track in life and broadcasting, despite having cerebral palsy. I hope you take the time to read, but if not, at least pay attention to this:

“Benetti tells his students that first impressions matter, even as he spends a lot of energy on- and off-camera focusing on second impressions. In stores, employees treat him like he’s lost or hard of hearing. In airports they thrust canes and wheelchairs on him.

It used to get me mad,” he said. “But now, I understand, I need them to go home and think about the next time they see someone who looks different, just talk normal, have a regular conversation, don’t make assumptions.

MUSICAL GUEST

It’s Sunday, so U2, take it away…

Thanks for visiting. Remember you can be in touch on Twitter @John_G_Nolan or by email: nolan@tincaps.com.

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