Packard’s big night helps bats break out.

West Michigan Whitecaps
FORT WAYNE, IN – The West Michigan Whitecaps enjoyed a five-run seventh inning to break a 1-1 tie and won their first game of the 2021 season in a 6-3 victory over the Fort Wayne TinCaps in front of 1,667 fans on Thursday night at Parkview Field.

The victory was the first Whitecaps win since September 1, 2019 – a full 613 days since they defeated the Dayton Dragons 2-0 on the penultimate game of the last Whitecaps baseball season.

For the majority of Thursday’s game, it looked as if the Whitecaps offense would remain quiet for a third straight day. Starting pitcher Chance Kirby held the TinCaps offense at bay by allowing just one run on one hit in five innings of effective baseball. West Michigan entered the sixth inning trailing 1-0 when Bryant Packard delivered a two-out, game-tying RBI-single to score Dillon Dingler to even the score at one.

In the seventh, the Whitecaps loaded the bases before an out was recorded, and Trei Cruz plated Rey Rivera with a sacrifice fly to take a 2-1 lead. Two batters later, Dingler delivered a two-run triple and scored on a balk before Packard brought home his second run of the night with an RBI-single to take a 6-1 lead and cap a five-run frame.

Meanwhile, Whitecaps relievers Angel Reyes and Jared Tobey worked in and out of trouble in the late innings. Reyes struck out Justin Lopez with the bases loaded to end the sixth before Tobey got the ‘Caps out a troublesome seventh. Reyes (1-0) picked up his first win of the season, while Fort Wayne reliever Sam Keating (0-1) allowed all five Whitecaps seventh inning run in suffering his first loss of 2021. West Michigan reliever Ruben Garcia pitched a perfect ninth inning to collect his first save of the year. At the plate, Packard went 3-for-4 with two RBI in the first three-hit performance for a Whitecaps player this season.


This six-game series against the Fort Wayne TinCaps continues Friday at 7:05 pm, with righty Beau Brieske making his West Michigan debut against Edgar Martinez for the TinCaps. Broadcast coverage with Dan Hasty begins on the Whitecaps Baseball Network at 6:50 pm. A limited number of tickets are available for select Whitecaps 2021 home contests by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or visiting

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