Fort Wayne Wizards at Dayton Dragons

April 26th, 2004

Casey Baker 2B 6 1 3 2
Brian Wahlbrink CF 6 0 0 1
Jordan Pickens LF 5 2 3 1
Mark McRoberts RF 5 1 1 3
Fernando Valenzuela 1B 5 2 2 0
Ben Hogan DH 5 1 2 1
Greg Bochy 3B 4 2 2 2
Colt Morton C 4 1 0 0
Skip Adams SS 3 2 1 0
Chris Dickerson CF 3 1 2 2
Luis Bolivar SS 5 1 1 2
Joey Votto 1B 5 0 2 2
Ryan Fry RF 5 0 2 0
Kyle Smith LF 3 0 0 0
Walter Olmstead 3B 4 1 1 0
Habelito Hernandez DH 4 1 1 0
Miguel Perez C 3 0 0 0
Will Hudson 2B 2 2 0 0

Fort Wayne 1 0 1 0 0 3 0 6 0 11 14 0
Dayton 0 0 0 0 1 0 4 0 1 6 9 4

E-Bolivar, Votto, Olmstead 2, LOB FW-11, DAY-7, 2B-Baker 2, Fry, HR-Pickens, McRoberts, Bochy, SACB-Adams, SACF-Dickerson, SB-Dickerson, CS-Dickerson

Name IP H R ER BB SO Decison
Sean Thompson 5 4 1 1 2 8 ND
Chuck Bechtel 1.2 1 2 2 1 5 ND
Jake Upwood 0.1 3 2 2 0 0 W (1-0)
Ryan Klatt 1 0 0 0 0 1 ND
Aaron Coonrod 1 1 1 1 2 1 ND

Name IP H R ER BB SO Decison
Tyler Pelland 4 4 2 2 2 3 ND
Alex Farfan 3 5 6 4 2 5 L (0-2)
Don Gemmell 1 4 3 3 0 1 ND
Carlos Guevara 1 1 0 0 0 2 ND

WP-Upwood 2, Coonrod, Pelland, Farfan, HBP-Pickens (Gemmell), BK-Thompson, SO-Baker, Wahlbrink 2, Pickens 2, McRoberts 3, Valenzuela, Bochy, Morton, Dickerson, Bolivar, Votto, Fry, Smith 2, Olmstead 2, Hernandez 2, Perez 3, Hudson 2, BB-McRoberts, Bochy, Morton, Adams, Dickerson, Smith, Perez, Hudson 2
T-3:20, A-7,593
HP-Robert Price, BS-Dixon Struman

Dayton Daily News
by Marc Katz

Any time the Dayton Dragons start to feel down and out, now would be a good time, they might want to look across the diamond at Fort Wayne pitcher Aaron Coonrod.

Two years out of Fremont Ross High School in northwest Ohio, Coonrod had already been turned down for an Ohio State scholarship for academic reasons, left a junior college for academic reasons and worked a year at five different factories in and around Freemont, where he had been a football and basketball star.

"I kind of messed around in the classroom", Coonrod said.

Monday before he closed out the Dragons in the ninth inning of an 11-6 Fort Wayne victory in Class A Midwest League game played before 7,593 at Fifth Third Field. "I was young and stupid"

The Dragons are young, but they aren't stupid. In losing their third straight game, they feel into a 5-1 hole, tied it with four runs on four hits and a walk in the seventh, then hemorrhages for six Fort Wayne runs in the eighth.

At least two of the Dragons, first baseman Joey Votto and outfielder Kyle Smith visited the batting cage under the stands after the game, working on breaking out of slumps. And Votto had two hits in the game.

The Dragons also should have worked on their fielding. They produced four errors leading to two unearned runs.

Most distressing, they also recorded 15 strikeouts, the 13th time in 1 games this season they have reached double figures in that category. At their present rate, they will break the league season mark by about 400.

"You get three strikes," Dayton manager Alonzo Powell said. "You've got to put the ball in play. Strikeouts in certain situations are okay. But there are other times you have to put the ball in play."

The Dragons did put the ball in play against Coonrod, who struck out one in his one inning, but not enough. Coonrod, who hasn't played in awhile because of a minor injury followed by food poisoning, also walked two and gave up Votto's RBI single.

That Coonrod is pitching at all is probably a surprise to some.

In addition to being recruited by Ohio State to play baseball, he was also recruited as a 6'4", 210 pound quarterback, linebacker or defensive back. He signed early before his 1999 high school graduation, but "that's when they had all that problem (negative publicity with academics) with Andy Katzenmoyer and there were several of us (four football players, two wrestlers and Coonrod) who were going to be borderline, so Ohio State said they couldn't offer us scholarships."

Coonrod went to a junior college in southern Illinois to play baseball and promptly became an academic casualty.

Then he joined the working world. "I even was a waiter at Chilli's", and played beer league baseball at home. Finally, he called his junior college coach and asked if he could return to the team. He was accepted, became a junior college All America and was drafted in the fourth round of the 2002 free agent draft by the Padres.

"It's kind of a different story," Coonrod said. Even now, one of his old high school coaches wonders why he didn't stick with football. Coonrod said because he has always liked baseball best.

Entering Monday's game Coonrod appeared in five games, posting a 2.08 ERA. Although he is 23 and still in Class A ball, Baseball America lists him as San Diego's 22nd best prospect.

His is a story of second chances and redemption. The Dragons should take note.