SOUTH BEND — It took 12 innings and almost four hours before this one was decided.
The Fort Wayne TinCaps beat the South Bend Silver Hawks 3-1 Friday, June 27, in Midwest League baseball at Four Winds Field.
With one out in the top of the 12th, Fort Wayne catcher Ryan Miller launched a solo home run off a full count offering from Shuttlesworth. The ball ricocheted off the roof of the Tiki Hut in left field.
Fort Wayne shortstop River Stevens followed with a single to center and then advanced to second on a wild pitch.
Nick Schulz then entered the game to pitch hit for right fielder Luis Tejada. Schulz dropped a singled under the glove of a diving Esquerra in right. Thinking that Esquerra might have caught the ball, Stevens held at second.
Jose Jose entered to try and end the TinCaps rally. Stevens moved up to third on a fielder’s choice by Charles as Schulz was forced out at second.
Fort Wayne second baseman Josh VanMeter, a Norwell High School product, singled to right to score Stevens and push the TinCaps lead to 3-1.
The Silver Hawks were unable to strike back in the bottom of the 12th against Fort Wayne reliever Tony Rizzotti (W, 3-2).
The game took three hours and 53 minutes to complete.
Fort Wayne improved to 35-42 while South Bend fell to 43-34.
The TinCaps scored their first run in the first inning. Center fielder Ronnie Richardson led off the game with a walk off of Hawks starting pitcher Blake Perry and then advanced to second on a wild pitch.
Designated hitter Franmill Reyes collected the RBI with a single to right to score Richardson from second.
South Bend evened the score in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, right fielder Zach Esquerra connected on an opposite field single as took the ball to right. Left fielder Chuck Taylor followed with a fly ball double that carried over Henry Charles’ head in left.
As the ball rolled to wall, Esquerra rounded third and safely crossed the plate to knot the score at 1-1.