Shard Munroe, who inherited left field for the Dragons this season, had to overcome his greatest baseball fear to keep that coveted job.
A speedy and aggressive flyer from the Bahamas, he lost a couple of showdowns with outfield walls last season. That was a game-changer.
“I ran into the wall a few times, but it was nothing too serious,” he admitted following Friday night’s 10-3 defeat of the visiting Lake County Captains at Fifth Third Field. “I was lucky and afraid of it. This year, I’m like, whatever.”
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Munroe is 22 years old and has been with the Cincinnati Reds organization since signing as an international free agent in 2015. He made two superb catches against the Captains, a Cleveland Indians Class A affiliate. He snared a bomb at point-wall range and raced toward the infield to snag another. And he matched those defensive gems in hitting, too.
Munroe and designated hitter Jay Schuyler both had three hits and combined for five RBIs and three runs scored. That added up to the first time the Dragons had scored in double digits. Even better, it snapped a five-game losing skid and improved Dayton to 3-6 on the young season.
“It feels great,” said Munroe, who extended his hitting streak to five games and raised his batting average to .364. “I hated losing. They were good games, we were just on the bad side of luck.”
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It was the first of a three-game series with the Captains (6-3) and six straight home games.
Alexis Diaz (2-0) earned the win in relief of Dragons starter James Marinan, who went five innings and allowed two earned runs. Diaz struck out three in two innings and allowed one earned run.
Jesse Stallings, activated from the injured list earlier Friday, pitched two final scoreless innings and struck out three in his first season appearance.
Tied at 2-all, the Dragons bunched five runs in the sixth inning to break it open. Munroe and Schuyler each had run-scoring singles and Miguel Hernandez produced a two-run single.
It was only the third home game for the Dragons.
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“It’s always nice to come back home,” Dragons manager Luis Bolivar said. “We had some tough ones on the road but we were pretty close. They constantly keep fighting back. (Friday), I’m glad we could win well for our fans.”
Dragons’ tales: Stallings, a right-hander, hit 96 mph on his first pitch and didn’t dip below 94 on any fastball. He and Diaz provided welcome relief that had been missing. Dragons relievers had been roughed up for 36 runs in 23 innings during the losing streak and had a 12.91 ERA in that span.
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• Pitcher Jerry D’Andrea also was promoted to Dayton from extended spring training on Friday. Pitcher Andy Cox (0-0, 34.71 ERA) and infielder Dylan Harris (0 for 7 batting) were placed on the injured list.
• Center fielder Michael Siani leads the Midwest League with seven stolen bases. He had two on Friday and has five in the last two games.
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