Dragon’s Ghyzel on adjustment from starting to closing: ‘I love it’

The Cincinnati Reds drafted John Ghyzel out of Division III Rochester last year in the 18th round. Ghyzel, 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, was a starting pitcher in college, but the Reds decided his mid-90s fastball belonged in the bullpen.

“I love it,” Ghyzel said. “It’s a lot of fun the high-pressure situations, gets the blood pumping a little bit. Honestly, it’s just nice to go throw as hard as you can for one inning and not worry about pacing yourself.”

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Ghyzel got his second chance to close a game for the Dayton Dragons on Tuesday night and did so in nine pitches, earning his second save in a 3-2 victory over the South Bend Cubs. It was the Dragons’ first game since Thursday because snow wiped out a weekend series at Great Lakes.

Ghyzel, who has pitched four scoreless innings and allowed only three baserunners, made sure the Dragons (6-3) extended their winning streak and ended a nine-game losing streak to the Cubs.

Ghyzel stopped the Cubs (6-3) with a strikeout, a nice fielding play on a bunt and a flyout. His velocity was off by a couple mph on another cold night, but he said he his location was good.

“I like that he’s aggressive,” Dragons manager Luis Bolivar said. “Seth [Etherton] and the other pitching coaches are preaching that we have to attack, attack every time. He was already with that mentality, so that’s going to help him develop quick and move up.”

Ghyzel said his low draft status and Division III career doesn’t make him feel like he has any more to prove than any other pitcher in the organization.

“Once you get to pro ball it’s a level playing field,” he said. “Everyone starts in the same spot, so I’m just trying to keep improving, keep learning.”

Ghyzel is one of three Dragons to earn a save. Sarkis Ohanian and Ryan Connor each have one.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in them,” Bolivar said. “So that’s why I don’t just give one guy the closing job because I know they’re all capable to do it.”

That Ghyzel had a save opportunity almost came as a surprise. The Dragons were having their typical struggles with the Cubs. The Dragons are 8-30 over the past two years against the Cubs, lost 13 of the previous 14 series to the Cubs and split the other.

The Dragons trailed 2-1 entering the eighth when Montrell Marshall led off with a double and Stuart Fairchild walked. The runs scored on a wild pitch and Leandro Santana’s sacrifice fly, the team’s second of the night.

Dragons tales: Hunter Greene will make his second start for the Dragons tonight. Greene pitched three innings in his first start, allowed two runs and struck out eight. Greene was the Reds' first-round draft pick in 2017.

  • The lost weekend in Midland, Michigan, means the Dragons get more home games. The Dragons will host Great Lakes in at least one doubleheader when the Loons visit Dayton on May 18-20. The Dragons will announce specifics at a later date.
  • Michael Beltre was back in a Dragons uniform Tuesday night and in the lineup after a stay in extended spring training. Beltre spent the entire 2017 season in Dayton, played in 95 games and was a Midwest League All-Star. He batted .238 with three home runs and 36 RBIs.
  • The Dragons' dugout had four organizational visitors Tuesday night: Eric Davis, who serves as a special assistant to Reds general manager Dick Williams; former Dragons manager Delino DeShields, the Reds' minor-league baserunning and bunting coordinator; former Dragons pitching coach Tony Fossas, the Reds' minor-league pitching coordinator; former major-league outfielder Milt Thompson, the Reds' minor-league hitting coordinator.


South Bend at Dayton, 7:05 p.m., 980

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