TinCaps manager Anthony Contreras looked up from his team's dugout, tossed a souvenir baseball to a fan and then walked up the tunnel toward the Fort Wayne clubhouse.
Contreras and the TinCaps still have six games remaining this season, but Sunday marked the end of the home schedule, the last of 60 games at Parkview Field.
Fort Wayne went out in style, putting on a show for the 3,846 fans who turned out on a beautiful afternoon to watch their team one final time. The TinCaps equaled a season-high 16 hits and pounded three home runs in a 7-1 win over the Lansing Lugnuts, running their final home mark to 28-32.
“As big of a grind as the minor-league baseball season is, you gain energy from the fans and the atmosphere around you,” Contreras said. “There's no better place – I could be a little biased because I'm here – but everybody knows Parkview Field around the baseball world how nice it is. ... (The players and I) get spoiled rotten coming to the field every single day.”
Sunday's victory pushed Fort Wayne (54-60) into a tie for fifth place in the High-A Central East Division with the Lugnuts (54-60). The teams split the six-game series, the fifth home series split in a row for the TinCaps.
Fort Wayne got going at the plate in the second inning, when Luis Almanzar crushed a one-out pitch down the line in left field for a 389-foot two-run homer, his third long ball of the season. He hovered at the plate to see if it would stay fair and then flipped his bat away before jogging to first as the TinCaps went in front 2-0.
Almanzar went 3 for 4 and has a hit in seven of his last eight games.
The lead ballooned to 5-0 in the fourth inning when catcher Victor Duarte hit another two-run blast, his first homer of the year. Duarte also had two hits.
Ornelas hit the TinCaps' third homer of the game in the fifth when he turned on a breaking ball and drove it 379 feet to right field to put his team up 6-1.
“It was lefty to lefty,” Ornelas said of his home run off southpaw Jack Owen, his seventh long ball of the season. “He threw me a first-pitch slider, and I looked a little bad. But in my mind I was thinking, 'He can't throw me that pitch again.' So he threw me another slider, the same pitch and I was able to hit the ball.”
Ornelas went 4 for 5, his first four-hit game since August 2019, and also belted his league-leading 31st double.
He has a hit in 11 straight starts.
The TinCaps have today off before beginning their final road trip of the season Tuesday at Dayton.