A Ball Game at Dayton!

By Rodger M. Wood

Although shooting photos on minor league fields all over the country the past 28 seasons, anticipating  old time fun baseball at Fifth Third Stadium the next three games, my blood pressure rose excitedly when I walked through the Dayton Dragons office door to get my photography pass for a three game Peoria/Dayton series.

Dayton’s Fifth Third Field is the most fun field at which I have ever seen a baseball game. Season in and season out, Dragons staff and mascots, Heater and Gem, enthusiastically reve up the fans with their fun festivities before the game and between every inning. Team management makes tickets, and concessions affordable, and have sold out 815 straight games, and with the talent the Cincinnati Reds have put on the field this year, they will maintain their sellout streak the rest of the season.

Besides playing top notch baseball, Dragon players, including top prospects, are accessible to the fans, mingling, talking signing autographs before the game, catching first pitches, cooperating and working with a cheerful  Dragons staff.

Blessed with shutout pitching and a murderers’ row, Dayton is tied for first place in the Midwest League Eastern Division with the rival Lansing Lug Nuts with a second half 23-13 W-L Record.

Veteran major leaguer, and Dragons manager, Delino DeShields is leading his young wards in their professional growth by his sound example.

Every day shortstop Billy Hamilton (258, 10 HR, 39 RBI) is lighting up the stadium with his outstanding plays in the hole, running the bases, and clutch lead off hitting.

CF Juan Duran (253, 10 HR, 48 RBI) is starting to show a young Vladimir Guerrero like potential in the field and at the plate.

2B Ronald Torreyes (390 BA, 2 HR. 22 RBI), 3B David Vidal (296 BA, 14 HR, 63 RBI), 1B Dominic D’Anna (286 BA, 8 HR, 58 RBI), and Donald Lutz (267 BA, 16 HR, 45 RBI) are making opposing pitchers shudder.  Lutz hit for the cycle off Peoria’s RHP Starling Peralta in the second game of the series and was the first professional player I could speak my German with.

Led by RHP Josh Smith (9-6, 3.10), RHP Daniel Corsino (9-5, 3.41) RHP Daniel Renken (6-8, 3.18), RHP Pat Doyle (6-3, 3.90), RHP Daniel Wofford (5-1, 1.46) and RHP Drew Hayes (2-2, 1.77), the Dragons also have a strong pitching rotation and bullpen.

While the Dragons smoked the Chicago Cubs Low A- affiliate Peoria 13-5, 13-0, and 2-0 in the three game series, the Chiefs are a proverbial poor road team this season, who recently lost key performer CF Matthew Szczur to high A- Daytona.

But they have some strong prospects in their lineup. In the third game of the series, RHP Erik Jokisch  (7-3, 3.07) shut Dragons hitters down for seven innings. 1B Richard Jones (307, 18 HR, 71 RBI) is the sixth leading Midwest League BA, and is 2nd in HR and RBI.  1B Greg Rohan is hitting 314, 5 HR, and 52 RBI. While not getting a lot of run support, LHP Austin Kirk is 5-7, 3.36 ERA.

It was good to see Chiefs manager Casey Kopitzke, whose photos I took when he played with Cubs affiliates, Lansing, Daytona, West Tennessee and Iowa

You can look at the highlight photos for each team at this link. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them.


List of Available Players Photos

Dayton Dragons

Billy Hamilton SS

Chris Berset C

Daniel Corsino RHP

Daniel Renken RHP

Daniel Wofford RHP

David Vidal 3B

Delino DeShields Mgr

Dominic D’Anna 1B

Donald Lutz 1B/OF

Drew Hayes RHP

Frank Pfister 2B

Jefry Sierra OF

Juan Duran CF

Pat Doyle RHP

Ronald Torreyes 2B

Theo Bowe OF

Tucker Barnhart C


Peoria Chiefs

Anthony Giansanti OF

Arismendy Alcantara SS/2B

Brandon May 3B

Casey Kopitze Mgr

Daniel Berlind RHP

Dustin Geiger 3B

Eliot Soto SS

Eric Jokisch LHP

Micah Gibbs C

Richard Jones 1B

Rubi Silva OF

Sergio Burruel C

Starling Peralta rhp

Taiwan Easterling CF

2 thoughts on “A Ball Game at Dayton!

  1. Hey Rodger,
    Great story! Didn’t Delino play for the Orioles? SS? I have also seen the Fifth Third field on the Travel Channel (Man VS Food). Adam ate a hugemongous cheeseburger in 2 innings.
    Thanks for the memories of the O’s and 5th 3rd chow down.

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