COMSTOCK PARK – Jake Stewart had a pretty good debut in professional baseball Thursday night.
The ninth-round pick of the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 draft was 3-for-3 with two RBIs, including the game-winning single in the bottom of the 10th inning to lead the West Michigan Whitecaps to a 7-6 win over the Dayton Dragons in the Midwest League season opener.
It was the first win for manager Larry Parrish as head honcho of the Whitecaps.
“Offensively I thought we swung the bat well, we battled well, and I was very pleased with that,” Parrish said.
The game was forced into extra innings when the Dragons scored three times in the eighth inning, including two runs on a throwing error.
“Errors like that, they’re going to happen,” Parrish said. “They’re human. Asx long as they’re in the right spot and trying to do the right thing, those kind of things just happen.”
After the score was tied, the Whitecaps had a chance to break the tie in bottom of the eighth, having runners at second and third. But Mario Martinez struck out to end the threat.
It wasn’t until the 10th when Adolpho Reina and Lance Durham had back-to-back singles that Stewart got his game-winner.
“I was just looking for something up in the zone to drive, get something through the middle of the infield to score the run” Stewart said. “It was a good feeling.”
West Michigan scored three times in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Austin Schotts, a triple from Devon Travis and a single from Danry Vasquez.
Dayton got those two back when pitchers Endrys Briceno and Jose Felix walked back-to-back batters with the bases loaded.
“We pitched great when we threw strikes,” Parrish said. “Unfortunately we gave up too many walks. Each time they (Dayton) scored, it started with a walk.”
Josh Turley, the fifth pitcher used by Parrish, got the win with two scoreless innings of relief. Stewart gave credit to Turley for holding the Whitecaps in the game.
“He (Turley) pitched the last couple of innings, kept us in the game and kept battling,” Stewart said. “He really shut them down in the end.”
Sean Lucas took the loss for Dayton.
Travis and Durham had two hits each for West Michigan, while Robert Ramirez was the only Dragon with two hits.
Using so many pitchers will make it hard on both teams going into today’s 11 a.m. game, noted Parrish.
“We used a lot of guys,” Parrish said.
Today’s game will be the second of a four-game series against the Dragons that goes through Sunday.