Captains falter late, 9-7
EASTLAKE- The Lake County Captains (30-36) had their hearts broken by the South Bend Silver Hawks (34-33) for the second consecutive night. One game after South Bend officially eliminated Lake County from playoff contention, the Silver Hawks, who are vying for the wild card spot themselves, won in extra innings 9-7.
The damage was done off of Captains’ closer Jeff Johnson (3-3, 5.65) in the top of the thirteenth, his third inning of relief. After pitching two 1-2-3 frames, Johnson gave up a leadoff single to South Bend left fielder Marc Bourgeois. Then, the sloppy play that can sometimes plague young players ensued.
On an attempted sacrifice bunt by South Bend, catcher Alex Monsalve, who came on after Nick Bartolone pinch-ran for Alex Lavisky in the bottom of the 9th, attempted to gun down Bourgeois at second base. However, the runner beat the throw, putting Silver Hawks on first and second with nobody out. Manager Mark Haley decided to go right back to the sacrifice, but once again Monsalve was indecisive behind the dish. After fielding the ball, he pump faked a throw to third base, allowing enough time for right fielder Chris Ellison to beat his throw to first base.
After a pop out, second baseman Gerson Montilla, South Bend’s hottest hitter, stepped to the plate. With the infield drawn in, Montilla smoked a single past the diving glove of his counterpart Robel Garcia to drive home two for what would become the final tally, 9-7.
Montilla is now riding a 12 game hit-streak, going 20 his last 41(.488) with six doubles and six runs-batted-in.
The Captains left runners on first and second in all four extra frames. On the night, Lake County stranded a whopping 21 runners while going just 6-28 with runners in scoring position.
On the evening, both teams notched 15 hits, however, of those 30 hits, only seven went for extra bases, all doubles. The difference in the ballgame was the base-on-balls. Lake County walked a total of 14 times, seven of which were surrendered by South Bend starter Blake Perry in just 3 and two-thirds innings of work.
In a game that saw the Captains’ top four batters in their order step to the plate eight times, shortstop Francisco Lindor managed to post an incredible stat line. The Indians’ number one overall prospect ended the night just 1-2 with a double and an RBI. All six of his other plate appearances resulted in walks, including an intentional pass in the 11th inning. Teammate Todd Hankins, playing left field, was second on the team with three free passes.
Indians’ third baseman Jack Hannahan once again started the night at third base after getting a day off on Wednesday. The St. Paul, Minn. native hit an RBI-single through the right side in the first inning of Thursday night’s affair, his first hit in three minor league appearances. That would be all the noise Hannahan would make on the evening. In his subsequent four at-bats, he struck out swinging three times and grounded out to the pitcher. Hannahan has struggled on the rehab assignment, managing only one hit in 12 at-bats for an average of .083.
The third baseman is currently making progress towards rejoining the Indians after serving a 15-day stint on the disabled list for a strained left calf. Hannahan had also battled back problems that kept him out of a multitude of games before suffering the calf injury that landed him on the DL.
Lake County was down 7-4 entering the ninth inning of play, but mounted a significant rally against South Bend reliever Willy Paredes. Jordan Smith opened the frame with a single and scored on a double to the gap in left center by first baseman Jerrud Sabourin. Bryson Myles, the designated hitter, singled home Sabourin and was subsequently lifted for pinch-runner Zach MacPhee. Alex Monsalve followed with the Captains’ fourth straight hit to put runners on first and second. Second baseman Robel Garica attempted to sacrifice, but the throw by Silver Hawk catcher Roidany Aguila pulled the first baseman off the bag to load the bases.
However, Paredes seemed like he was on his way to escaping the inning with a victory when he got Todd Hankins to ground into a 6-2-3 double play. Lake County leadoff hitter Luigi Rodriguez stepped to the dish with runners on second and third and two outs. Rodriguez was sent down on a strike out, but reached first base safely when the ball skipped away from Aguila, allowing the tying run to score from third. On the evening, Rodriguez finished 0-7 with four strikeouts. Paredes got Lindor to swing and miss at a pitch in the dirt to send the game to extra innings.
Recently, Lake County has gotten most of its offensive production from right fielder Jordan Smith and first baseman Jerrud Sabourin, hitting out of the 4 and 5-hole respectively. Thursday night was no different. Smith finished the evening 4-8 with a double and two runs scored, but could not come up with the clutch hit, grounding out in the 12th and 13th innings. Sabourin was equally as hot, going 3-6 with two doubles, two RBI and a run scored. The two have raised their batting averages with their recent performances to .297 and .290, respectively.
Jeff Johnson suffered his third loss of the season for Lake County, raising his ERA to 5.65. Seth Simmons (3-0, 1.53) earned the win for South Bend, tossing 2.2 innings of scoreless relief. In his first appearance with the club, right hander Kaleb Fleck, a 2011 draftee of the Diamondbacks, notched the save.
Left hander Elvis Araujo started for Lake County and pitched 4 innings of dominant baseball before running into trouble in the fifth inning. He left the contest after pitching 4.1 innings, giving up six runs on seven hits while walking two batters. The lefty’s ERA for the season is now 4.45.
After losing 2 out of 3 games to South Bend, the Captains will commence their final series of the first half against the Dayton Dragons. All-Star right hander Joe Colon (5-6, 2.83) will toe the rubber for Lake County and will be opposed by righty Radhames Quezada (4-6, 3.82) for Dayton. The game is slated to begin at 7:00 pm with fireworks to follow.