Ty Boyles was one of the most sought-after players in his native Palmdale, California, youth leagues, for football. Always big for his age, Boyles was too much over the limit for his age group and too young to bump up to the next level.
“So nobody wanted to put me on their team,” he recalled, shrugging. “By the time they wanted me for how big I was I was already too into baseball. Baseball has always been my thing.”
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At 6-feet-3 and 261 pounds, Boyles still has abundant girth. But it’s matched with an unlimited left-handed pitcher’s upside. He was large and in charge once again Monday night, finishing off visiting Fort Wayne as the winning pitcher in a series-closing 4-2 win at Fifth Third Field.
What Boyles (5-2; 3.78 ERA) didn’t have was his good stuff. Still, he lasted six innings, scattering eight hits, striking out four and walking two. He allowed just one home run to TinCaps third baseman Hudson Potts.
A cut fastball isn’t in Boyles’ lefty repertoire, but that’s what was working. That’s also the kind of quick-fix, can-do performance that most impresses a coaching staff.
“They tell us that all the time,” Boyles said. “When you’re going good, everything’s easy. They want to see how we react when not everything is necessarily going our way and go out there and compete with what we do have. Just go up there and let your team work behind you.”
The TinCaps (7-5, 33-48 overall) never did figure out Dragons sizzling second baseman Jose Siri. Taking over at leadoff following the promotion of T.J. Friedl, Siri had two more hits and a stolen base, his 24th. He has raised his batting average from .218 to .282 over the last 35 games and his 11-game hitting streak is the longest of the season for the team.
Dragons first baseman Bruce Yari (.277) also had two hits and John Sansone launched a solo homer in the fourth inning to push Dayton’s lead to 3-1. That was Sansone’s eighth overall and fourth in his last 14 games.
Relievers Lucas Benenati, Alfredo Mena and Aaron Fossas (S, 3) all pitched one inning apiece. Dayton (6-6, 47-35) swept the four-game series.
Boyles was coming off a complete-game shutout in his previous start. Dragons pitching coach Derrin Ebert delivered a message to the team’s would-be gridder.
“He doesn’t throw a cutter,” assured Ebert. “The first couple of innings he was like, I don’t know what’s going on. I can’t stop this. When I went out there to talk to him I said just use this to your advantage. When you’re in the moment and in the middle of a game, you’ve got to have those quick-fixes to get through that inning and outing, then get back to the bullpen and figure it out.”
Dragons tales: Dayton’s infield of shortstop Hector Vargas, second baseman Gabriel Ovalle, third baseman Sansone and Yari combined for three double plays. Ovalle, assigned to the Dragons on June 22, fouled off a marathon nine pitches in the fifth inning before striking out.
• Taylor Trammell extended his hitting streak to six games, although he was picked off first base after doing so.
• Wennington Romero (3-5; 4.15 ERA) gets the start in Tuesday’s three-game series opener at Bowling Green.
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Dayton at Bowling Green, 7:35 p.m.