Dragons rally to win, sweep 4-game series
DAYTON —It was a ninth inning of highs and lows for Dayton’s Jeter Downs, but the final result was a game-winning hit and a Dragons series sweep.
With the Dragons leading 9-7 with two outs in the top of the ninth inning, Downs, the Dayton shortstop, dropped an infield popup allowing two runs to score as Lake County tied the game, 9-9. But moments later, Downs was the hero.
With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Dayton’s Hendrik Clementina singled to right field for his fourth hit of the game. He was replaced at first base by pinch runner Hector Vargas. Narciso Crook then fouled off several two-strike pitches to draw a walk and move Vargas to second. Downs got the chance to come to the plate with the winning run in scoring position, and he lined a hit to right-center field. Lake County’s Austen Wade charged the ball and threw home, but Vargas scored to end the game as Downs was mobbed by his teammates and the Dragons had a 10-9 win. It was their fifth straight victory.
The Dragons trailed 5-1 in the third inning when Stuart Fairchild blasted a two-run home run, his second homer of the year, to make it 5-3. Then in the fourth, the Dragons erupted for four runs to take their first lead of the night. Mark Kolozsvary opened the inning with a double off the glove of the left fielder, and Leandro Santana walked. Clementina then doubled to deep left-center field to drive in both runners and tie the game. Crook followed with a two-run home run to straight away center to make it 7-5 Dragons.
After Lake County tied the game with two runs in the top of the fifth, the Dragons regained the lead with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Fairchild lined a single to left to start the inning and John Sansone followed with a double to the right-center field fence to bring him to make it 8-7. Sansone eventually scored on a bloop single to right from Clementina to give the Dragons a 9-7 lead.
There was no more scoring until the ninth. Dragons reliever Sarkis Ohanian issued back-to-back one out walks before Sansone, the Dayton second baseman, made an excellent running catch on a shallow fly to short right. Downs’ error allowed two runs to score and sent the game to the bottom of the ninth.
Dragons starting pitcher Tyler Mondile worked the first four and one-third innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Ohanian (1-0) was credited with the win, working one inning and allowing unearned runs.
The Dragons collected a season-high 17 hits. Clementina and Downs each had four, while Fairchild had three. Downs, Fairchild, and Crook each had home runs.
Notes: Clementina is 8 for 16 (.500) on the year with two home runs and three doubles…Fairchild finished the game a triple short of the cycle…The Dragons scored 19 runs over the last two games after scoring 21 over their first six games.
Up Next: The Dragons (5-3) travel to Midland, Michigan to open a three-game series on Friday night against the Great Lakes Loons (2-6) at 6:05 p.m. Wendolyn Bautista will start for Dayton against Great Lakes’ Melvin Jimenez. The next Dragons home game is Tuesday, April 17 against the South Bend Cubs.