FORT WAYNE, Ind. — It took one swing in the West Michigan Whitecaps’ playoff opener for the Midwest League’s Most Valuable Player to show why he was deserving of the award.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough for a win – and the Whitecaps are now a loss away from getting knocked out of the playoffs.
Wynton Bernard ripped a three-run homer to give West Michigan a 5-2 lead in the fifth inning Wednesday, but the Fort Wayne TinCaps clawed back for a 7-5 win to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
Austin Kubitza wasn’t his usual sharp self on the hill for the Whitecaps, giving up five runs (four earned) on nine hits in 5.2 innings.
A pair of infield hits in the bottom of the eighth sparked the TinCaps, leading to Josh Van Meter’s go-ahead, two-run single off rehabbing Tigers reliever Luke Putkonen.
Fort Wayne can clinch the series Thursday night at Fifth Third Ballpark. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. If West Michigan wins Game 2, a deciding Game 3 will be played on Friday in Comstock Park.