- Bryant Billing Contributing Writer
Jose Siri said he’s been a leader on every team he’s been on and doesn’t have any nerves in tight situations. He put those qualities on display again on Sunday against the Fort Wayne TinCaps.
With two runners in scoring position and Dayton trailing by a run in the sixth inning, Siri hit a single to right field that gave Dayton the lead for good in a 5-4 win. It’s the third victory in the four-game series for the Dragons (46-35), which concludes on Monday night at Fifth Third Field.
Though Siri struggled at the plate early in the season, he’s hit consistently (.260) with runners on base and is fourth on the team with 39 RBIs.
“I always have my mindset to be a leader,” Siri said before Sunday’s game with manager Luis Bolivar serving as an interpreter. “I know I have to play well for the team.”
Game changer: Fort Wayne had two consecutive home runs (the second of which an inside-the-park homer) in the sixth to take a 4-3 lead, but the Dragons took control in the bottom half.
Cassidy Brown reached first base on an error, and Kevin Franklin was hit by a pitch to put two men on. After Hector Vargas and Malik Collymore hit into routine outs, Siri hit a fly ball to right field that allowed the two runners to score.
Dragons tales: Siri’s crucial late game at-bat was the latest in a hot stretch. He has hit .352 with 10 home runs in his last 33 games, which has excited his family in the Dominican Republic.
“They’re happy for me,” Siri said. “They’re always watching every game on the internet with an MiLB account.”
Siri started with the Dragons in 2016 but had a .145 batting average after the first month and was demoted to Billings. He started slow again this year with a .218 average through 27 games.
Since then, he’s raised his season average to .280 and has collected three or more hits in five games.
“I haven’t made many changes, just being more patient and keep swinging the bat,” Siri said.
Though Siri’s surname isn’t unique in the minor leagues (there are two other players with the name, including Lake County’s Dalbert Siri), he has heard plenty of jokes about the iPhone application of the same name.
“Every time I go up to bat in South Bend, they put the sound of the voice on the (public address),” Siri said.
Siri, who had two home runs in Saturday’s game, is second in the Midwest League with 23 stolen bases and leads the team with 47 runs scored.
• Kevin Franklin went 2-for-3 on Sunday, including a two-run home run that bounced off the center field wall in the fourth inning. He joined the Dragons on June 22 from extended spring training and had three hits in his first 18 at-bats with the team.
On deck: Dayton and Fort Wayne will finish the four-game series on Monday night. Ty Boyles (4-2, 4.08 ERA) will start for the Dragons against Ronald Bolaños (2-1, 4.11).