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Fort Wayne Sports History: TinCaps win title in new ballpark

Fort Wayne TinCaps catcher Robert Lara, right hugs Adam Zornes after Lara hit the game-winning walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to beat the Great Lakes Loons 4-3 on Monday at Parkview Field. With the win, the TinCaps advance to the Midwest League championship series for a chance to win their first-ever title.

Parkview field and the team draw raves in 2009

Monday, August 19, 2013 - 6:18 pm

Editor's Note: This is the 13th in a series of excepts from the book ``Fort Wayne Sports History.

September 17, 2009

In 2009, the TinCaps win the Midwest League championship.

Playing their first season at Parkview Field, and under a new nickname, the TinCaps started the year with a 10-game winning streak and stayed hot all season. They won the Eastern Division title in both halves of the season and swept the championship series in three games against Burlington. Fort Wayne finished with 101 victories for the year, tying the Midwest League record set by the Appleton Foxes in 1978.

It was a perfect summer as with a total of 378,529 regular-season fans, the team averaged more than 1,000 more per game at Parkview Field than it did the previous season at Memorial Stadium. The highlight was 8,206 fans at opening night who came out to check out the new ballpark.

Despite little time to promote because of an uncertain schedule, the TinCaps still averaged 4,215 fans for six playoff games - 25,289 total, pushing them over 400,000 in total attendance for the year. On Aug. 6, a Fort Wayne pro baseball record 8,752 fans came out to the game at a time when the TinCaps were winning 15 straight home games.

Merchandising was also up by about 40 percent.

After winning 45 games in the first half, the TinCaps went 49-21 in the second half to finish 101-48 for the season. Doug Dacsenzo became the all-time Wizards/TinCaps leading manager with 220 career wins.

Some of the playoff highlights included Robert Lara's 10th-inning home run to beat Great Lakes in the semifinals and send the TinCaps to the Midwest League finals, and Simon Castro threw the first no-hitter by a Wizards or TinCaps pitcher, and Erik Davis set a record with 16 pitching wins, breaking LaTroy Hawkins' mark of 15 set in 1993.

For more information on the book "Fort Wayne Sports History'' written by News-Sentinel sports reporter Blake Sebring visit www.amauth.com or www.blakesebring.com.