Dragons drop 2nd to Hawks
By Marc Katz
Dayton Daily News
DAYTON | Tall was the order of the day at Fifth Third Field Friday night.
Tall was on the mound in the form of 7-foot-1 South Bend pitcher Ryan Doherty, who played three years of baseball at Notre Dame and is believed to be the tallest ever Division I NCAA or pro pitcher.
Even taller was the ball hit by Dayton Dragons outfielder B.J. Szymanski, who reached the parking lot behind right field with a blast off a changeup that approached 400 feet.
And still the Dragons came out on the short end of a 9-8 score, losing for the second time in two Class A Midwest League games to open the season.
"It would have been nice to do that (homer) in my last at bat (in the ninth)," Szymanski said.
Dayton starting pitcher Carlos Fisher pitched well into the sixth, when his mechanics began to fail as temperatures plunged and intermittent rain fell.
"There were some really good things that went on," Fisher said. "I've got to eliminate the bad things."
Two of South Bend's three runs in the sixth were charged to Fisher, who had allowed three runs in the first five innings. He remained the pitcher of winning record until the Silver Hawks pushed two runs across in the eighth.
What else happened?
• An overnight rain and early morning downpour left the field too squishy to take batting practice and there was a scare a full-fledged storm would halt play.
It didn't, but only about half a stadium full of fans showed up.
• Second baseman and leadoff batter Mike Griffin smacked his third triple in two games. He went undrafted until he finished four years at Baylor, even though he also spent a season playing summer ball for Team USA.
Last year, he was taken in the 14th round of the draft by the Reds, and had a good start at rookie Billings before subjecting his right elbow to Tommy John surgery.
"I've had 7 1/2 months off," Griffin said. "I probably hurt the arm a long time ago and should have had it fixed, but I didn't."
Griffin played well in spring training and made the Dragons.
He also gives the Dragons three Tommy John surgeries up the middle, including shortstop Paul Janish and catcher Craig Tatum.
• Among Dayton's six hits and five runs in the third inning was a J.D. Reininger homer that banged into the concession stand beyond left field. Reininger is the Dragons' third baseman.
First baseman Bobby Mosby also nearly cracked a homer, but a strong wind blowing in from left held up the ball and it was caught at the wall.
• Catcher Chris Denove's word of the day was "paradigm — a model of something or a very clear & typical example of something."
At least that's what he wrote on the clubhouse notes board. Outfielder Josh Holden added his usual play of the day, too, this one "Rt. twins 18 speed."
• Game three of the series features lefty Philippe Valiquette for the Dragons and righty Ramon Sanchez for the Silver Hawks.
Contact Marc Katz at 937-225-2157.