Thursday, July 18, 2019

Redbird alum Skender scores winning run in comeback TinCaps victory over Peoria

Ethan Skender at the plate back in 2014 for the Metamora Redbirds. Skender had 2 hits and was the winning run in a comeback win for the Fort Wayne TinCaps over the Peoria Chiefs on Thursday. FILE PHOTO / MIKE ROEDELL

Germantown Hills, Ill. - Buckle up for this one. It was a wild night in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

See, the Peoria Chiefs have been struggling in the second half of the Midwest League season, entering Thursday's contest with the Fort Wayne TinCaps at a (4-21) clip, last place in the Western division, and 13.0 games behind first place Clinton.

The Peoria - Fort Wayne series marks the first time the local club will go up against Metamora Redbird alum Ethan Skender. Skender has been performing well over his first few games with the San Diego Padres' Class A affiliate, hitting .364 and collecting 4 hits over 11 at-bats, while also drawing a walk. He'd have a pretty good stat line too come the end of Thursday's game, but let's see how it got there first, shall we?

Boy, the Chiefs came to play, and they put a dent in the scoreboard early, pouring it on for two runs in the first and three in the second to take an early 5-0 lead.

That lead got even bigger with a 3-run fourth to make it 8-0. But alas, the host TinCaps would be able to push across a run. After Skender tripled to start the frame, TinCaps right fielder Agustin Ruiz hit a grounder that became a Chiefs error and Skender crossed home to make it 8-1.

Now, another run did cross the plate for Fort Wayne that inning, but the Chiefs essentially negated it with another 3-run inning in the top of the fifth to increase their lead to 11-2.

When one door closes, another opens. Yes, the saying's been around for quite awhile, but one would imagine it hasn't applied to something on this scale all that often.

That 11th run for Peoria would be their last of the game. It was up to Fort Wayne. Skender single, followed by an RBI double, followed by a 2-run home run, and just like that, it's 11-6.

Going ahead a bit further to the bottom of the eighth, the TinCaps needed four runs to go for the win in the top of the ninth, otherwise it would take a walkoff.

Consecutive walks forced Chiefs reliever Freddy Pacheco out of the game. He then walked the first batter he faced to load the bases for Jawuan Harris. Harris did have a home run earlier, hitting a solo shot in the bottom of the fifth. If he did that here, it'd be a much bigger home run. Well, that's exactly what he did. Harris swung and launched one well over the left field fence at Fort Wayne's Parkview Field, and just like that, it was 11-11.

The bottom of the eighth alone had plenty of fireworks (plus the fans were waiting for actual fireworks post-game). That's where Ethan Skender comes back into play. He already had a single and triple to his name in this one, but what he did in the eighth was key. When Fort Wayne's Ruiz went to steal second base, the Chiefs obliged and threw to second base, with Skender at third. Skender promptly saw the throw and took off for home. He made it in safely, and that would set the final score, 12-11, and complete a large comeback for the host TinCaps.

Look for more content on Ethan's time in the Midwest League soon, but for now, you can tune into tomorrow's Chiefs-TinCaps game as well!

Peoria Chiefs (34-61) @ Fort Wayne TinCaps (42-52)
6:05 pm CST First Pitch
Parkview Field - Fort Wayne, Indiana (8,100 capacity)
Chiefs vs. TinCaps Box Score from tonight. SCREENSHOT / ALEX STAAB

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