- By Mike Hartsock WHIO TV
The Dayton Dragons blew off some steam in the locker room in Ft. Wayne on Friday night after earning a spot in the Midwest League playoffs for the first time since 2011.
The Dragons started the weekend road trip with a magic number of two to lock up second place in the Eastern Division in the first half of the season.
Luis Bolivar’s team cut that down to one with a win over the TinCaps on Friday night, then they had to wait in the locker room before finding out that South Bend had lost their game.
The players were keeping tabs on the South Bend game on their cell phones and the locker room erupted in cheers and high-fives when they got the good news.
With nothing left to accomplish, the Dragons lost the final two games in Fort Wayne. Dayton finished with a 41-29 record in the first half, including a league-best 25 wins at home.
The Dragons will face East Division champion West Michigan in the playoffs in September in a best-of-three series. Dayton will host the first game with games two, and three if needed, on the road.
The Midwest League has an unusual playoff system that matches the top two teams in each division in the playoffs and those teams are not eligible to win the second half race.
This will be the seventh time the Dragons have made the playoffs. They have never advanced past the second round.
The second half of the season opens Thursday night at Fifth Third Field with Lake County in town for a four game series.