West Michigan WhiteCaps at Dayton Dragons

April 8th, 2004

Vince Blue CF 5 3 2 0
Eric Rodland 2B 5 1 2 0
Tony Giarratano SS 5 1 3 1
Kelly Hunt 1B 5 2 2 2
Luis Sabino LF 6 0 2 1
Garth McKinney RF 4 2 1 1
Rich Burgos DH 5 2 3 3
Kody Kirkland 3B 2 0 0 0
Nick McIntyre 3B
Alex Trezza C 5 0 1 1
Danilo Sanchez C
Chris Dickerson CF 5 1 1 0
Luis Bolivar SS 5 0 0 0
Joey Votto 1B 5 1 3 1
Kyle Smith LF 5 0 1 0
Ben Himes RF 4 1 1 2
Habelito Hernandez 2B 4 0 2 0
Ryan Fry DH 3 0 0 0
Walter Olmstead 3B 3 0 0 0
Miguel Perez C 3 0 1 0

West Michigan 0 3 0 2 1 0 0 4 1 11 16 1
Dayton 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 3 9 1
E-Giarratano, Perez, LOB WM-13, DAY-10, 2B-Blue, Giarratano, Burgos, Dickerson, Votto, HR-McKinney (Gillman), Burgos (Gillman), Himes (Rodriguez), SB-Blue, Rodland, McKinney
Name IP H R ER BB SO Decison
Andy Baldwin 5 2 0 0 2 9 W (1-0)
Jermy Rodriguez 0.1 3 2 2 0 0 ND
Damien Myers 0.2 0 0 0 0 1 ND
Kenon Ronz 1 2 1 1 0 2 ND
Eulogio DeLaCruz 1 0 0 0 1 1 ND
Chris Homer 1 2 0 0 0 1 ND
Name IP H R ER BB SO Decison
Justin Gillman 3 6 5 4 3 3 L (0-1)
Trey Rice 1 1 0 0 0 2 ND
Calvin Medlock 3 3 1 1 2 5 ND
Brad George 1 5 4 4 0 3 ND
Carlos Guevara 1 1 1 1 2 1 ND
WP-Medlock, George, HBP-Rodland (Medlock), Kirkland (George), BK-Myers, SO-Blue, Rodland, Giarratano, Hunt, Sabino, McKinney 3, Burgos, Kirkland 2, Trezza 3, Dickerson, Bolivar 3, Smith 2, Himes 3, Hernandez, Fry 2, Olmstead, Perez, BB-Blue, Giarratano, Hunt, McKinney 2, Kirkland 2, Fry, Olmstead, Perez
T-3:25, A-9,186
HP-Scott Jarrad, BS-Tyler Funneman

Dayton Daily News
by Marc Katz

Maybe the Class A Midwest League Dayton Dragons are trying to follow in the footsteps of the parent Cincinnati Reds, a disappointing Opening Day followed by two victories. The first of those victories will have to come tonight as the Dragons used two "starting" pitchers and three of four designated relief pitchers Thursday while failing to generate much offense in a 11-3 loss to the Tigers' West Michigan WhiteCaps.

The offense came late in the game with right fielder Ben Himes clanking a two run homer off the right field foul pole in the sixth inning and centerfielder Chris Dickerson, scoring in the seventh after he doubled and Joey Votto knocked him home with his second of three hits.

Other than that, the Dragons struck out 14 times (so did the WhiteCaps) and managed only two singles in the five innings West Michigan starter Andy Baldwin pitched.

"There migh have been some Opening Day jitters," said Himes, who hit seven homers in 62 games at rookie Billings, Montana, last year. "I felt tight up there a couple of times."

Actually, the Dragons might have secured a better fate had not three fine outfield defensive plays kept more Dragons off the bases. With one out in the first, right fielder Garth McKinney made a diving catch of Luis Bolivar's fly toward the baseline. Votto followed by reaching on an error and left fielder, Kyle Smith singled, but the Dragons couldn't score.

In the third, Dickerson led off with a mid range drive to left, and Luis Sabino dived to make another grass top catch. Then in the sixth, with Dragons down 6-0, Votto led off with a double and Sabino raced in to make a shoetop catch of Smith's drive just prior to Himes' homer, which made the score 6-2.

"When I hit it, the stadium erupted," Himes said, "It always feels good to give the fans something when you can't give them a win."

Dragons manager Alonzo Powell considered it just another day in baseball. "I'm expecting extra base hits and home runs everyday." Powell said, "You want to start the season with a win, but we didn't do the things I think we can do. And their pitcher (Baldwin) kept us off balance. You seldom see a sidearm pitcher on Opening Day. You might go the entire spring training and see a sidearmer once."

Powell also said he isn't worried that his pitching staff will soon be in disarray even though the Reds have mandated a four day rotation with an eight man "starting" staff with each of the two starters throwing no more than 75 pitches.

That leaves only three relievers for trouble games plsu a close. Trouble found Dayton starter Justin Gillman early. He had to be taken out in the fourth after allowing five runs (four earned), including back to back homers by McKinney and designated hitter Rich Burgos in the second.

Trey Rice finished that inning, setting up second "starter" Calvin Medlock, who reached his pitch count in three innings.

The Dragons were still in striking distance in the eighth when the first five WhiteCaps singled against Bradley George with four scoring.

It's way too early to compare the 2004 Dragons to the 2000 team of Austin Kearns, Adam Dunn, Casey Bookout and Eric Welsh or the 2001 Dragons of Wily Mo Pena, Stephen Smitherman, Samone Peters, Randy Ruiz and Mike Calitri.

Going on just a couple of days of batting practive, however, these Dragons should be more powerfull than the last two teams Dayton has watched.

"We lost 45 balls (home runs) in batting practice Tuesday." Dragons manager Alonzo Powell said. BP went just as Well Wednesday and Thursday. During late afternoon practice, several more balls were lost, including one hit through the back window of a passing vehicle on First street along the first base line by outfielder Chris Dickerson.

Power of Powell
Speaking of prodigious home runs, Powell, 40 contends "when the conditions are right," he'll match Peters and pump a batting practice pitch over the Dragon heads on the left field scoreboard. "But the conditions have to be just right," Powell said, "The humidity has to be right, and the wind has to be blowing out and the temperature has to be right later in the summer."

Hot Prospects
Five of the Dragons and three of the West Michigan WhiteCaps are listed by Baseball America as among the top 30 prospects of their respective major league parents, the Reds and the Tigers.

The Dragons, with their rankings, are first baseman Joey Votto (5), pitcher Tyler Pelland (8), catcher Miguel Perez (11), second baseman Habelito Hernandez (20), and pitcher Alexander Farfan (23), the WhiteCaps' prized prospects are shortstop Tony Giarratano (5), third baseman Kody Kirkland (6), and pitcher Eulogio DeLaCruz (22).

Flair in the Field
Second baseman Habelito Hernandez quickly made a good impression by started a double play in the second inning, backhanding a ball over second base and flipping it with his gloved hand to shortstop Luis Bolivar, who completed the play with a throw to first. Bolivar, by the way married Dayton native Kelly Collins last month. The two met when Bolivar played here last summer.

Big League Influence
Reds' farm directorTim Naehring and field coordinator ROn Oester both came for batting practice before the game. Former major leaguers, Naehring and Oester could have teamed with Powell, Dragons batting coach Max Venable, roving hitting instructor Chris Sabo and Ted Power, who was doing commentary on television, for a big league old timer's game.

Monster Opening
As usual, Dragons management came up with a new way to open the season, using three monster trucks to deliver mascots Heater and Gem to the field. The trucks escorted by two motorcycle police, drove up First street, across Sears and entered the field through a gate in the center field fence. Then of course, cam the obligatory WPAFB flyover.