COMSTOCK PARK, MI – Tom de Blok provided the pitching and the West Michigan Whitecaps awoke late as part of a 4-1 victory over the Fort Wayne TinCaps in the final game of the regular season Monday afternoon at Fifth Third Ballpark.
De Blok kept Fort Wayne off-balance all afternoon, giving away only two singles through the first five innings. The TinCaps put together a seventh inning rally by way of a ‘Caps throwing error and consecutive singles to load the bases, but de Blok induced two force outs-including one at home plate to extinguish the threat. The Whitecaps broke the scoreless tie in their sixth inning and took a 1-0 lead after as Dylan Burdeaux doubled and raced home on a Danny Woodrow RBI-single. Five different TinCaps relievers worked the game after starter Reggie Lawson departed after two innings, with the Whitecaps eventually tacking on three more runs in the eighth inning. Four hits, highlighted by an Austin Athmann single and a run-producing base hit off the bat of Zac Shepherd pushed the margin to 4-0. A late TinCaps run off left handed reliever Evan Hill spoiled the potential shutout but West Michigan took the victory and finished the season with wins in eight of their last ten games.
Both teams collected eight hits on the afternoon. With seven different Whitecaps recording base hits, including two from Dylan Burdeaux. The win for de Blok (4-2) mimicked his last start on August 28 with seven innings of work and no runs allowed while scattering five hits. Jim McDade (3-4) suffered the loss, giving up two hits and one earned run in one inning of relief for Fort Wayne. West Michigan finished 2017 with 91 wins – the second most in Whitecaps franchise history. Fort Wayne closed out the season at 68-72 as both teams qualified for postseason play.
The Whitecaps are heading to the Midwest League Playoffs for the fourth consecutive season with the Eastern Division Quarterfinals against the Dayton Dragons with Game 1 of a best-of-three series beginning Wednesday at 7:00p.m.