Dragons home opener: Dayton falls to Bowling Green 11-2

Former original Dragon and first alum to make “the show” back with Hot Rods.

A former Dragon who owns a significant milestone in team history, Brian Reith never envisioned being a major reason why Dayton is still looking for its first win three games into the minor-league baseball season.

As the Bowling Green Hot Rods pitching coach, it’s on Reith to develop the parent-club Tampa Bay Rays’ potential aces and stoppers. The Hot Rods have done their part, limiting the Dragons to 10 runs in three games, the latest an 11-2 beating that spoiled the Dragons’ frigid home opener on Saturday night.

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An instant success as an original member of the Dragons pitching staff in the team’s debut 2000 season, it was the first time Reith had returned to Dayton and a grown-up Fifth Third Stadium.

“It’s been really unbelievable,” he said. “It feels like a lifetime ago, but it’s been great. I’ve seen a lot of friendly faces that I recognize from the past. It’s good to walk around the stadium and the city and see how things have changed for the better. I have some fond memories of being here.”

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To date there have been 91 former Dragons players who were promoted to “the show.” Reith was the first.

He had five formidable starts to begin that 2000 season at Dayton, then was quickly promoted. By May in 2001 he was called up to the Cincinnati Reds. He spent three seasons with the Reds, appearing in 73 games with a 4-12 record and 5.92 ERA.

The next four former Dragons to make that major-league jump were Jose Acevedo (June 2001), Adam Dunn (July 2001), Austin Kearns (April 2002) and Wily Mo Pena (September 2002), all with the Reds.

»RELATED: Hunter Greene lands with Dragons

This is Reith’s first season with the Hot Rods. The Fort Wayne, Ind., native was the pitching coach with the Hudson Valley Renegades in the New York-Penn League in 2017.

“It was good,” Reith said of his time with the Dragons. “It was great memories and everybody treated me so kind when I was here. It’s great to come back.”

The Hot Rods scored four runs in the seventh and eighth innings to break open a close game. Tyler Mondile (0-1) was tagged with the loss. He allowed seven hits and two earned runs over 4.2 innings. He struck out five and walked one.

Dragons left fielder Miles Gordon had a triple and double. He also walked, stole a base and scored.

“The last couple days have been tough,” Dragons manager Luis Bolivar said. “We have work to do. When we get that first one (win), many will come.”

Dragons tales: Following Sunday's two-game series finale, Dayton hosts the Lake County Captains (Indians) in a four-game series beginning Monday. No. 1 draft choice (2017) Hunter Greene will make his pitching debut in Monday's game.

• Dragons outfielder Andy Sugilio strained a hamstring at Bowling Green on Friday and was placed on the disabled list. Replacing him on the roster was Montrell Marshall, a 6-foot-5 first baseman and first cousin of former Reds’ fan favorite Brandon Phillips.

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• The Daytona Tortugas, the Reds’ high Class A affiliate in the Florida State League, are loaded with Dragons alums. Of its 25 players on the Opening Day roster, 22 previously played at Dayton.

• If pitching doesn’t work out for Brendan McKay of the Hot Rods there’s always his other job, first base. The Louisville native is being uniquely used in both capacities this season just like last year. He’ll make his pitching debut on Monday at South Bend.

• The announced attendance was 8,155, but more than half of those spectators had fled by the seventh inning. The game-time temperature was 40 degrees and steadily dropped.

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Bowling Green at Dayton, 2 p.m.

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