Captains' offense comes alive in 10-5 victory
Sever paces offense as Lake County beats Lansing
EASTLAKE – The Lake County Captains’ offense exploded for a season-high 21 hits during a 10-5 victory over the Lansing Lugnuts on Wednesday night.
Right-hander Jake Sisco (4-6, 3.55) manned the mound for the Captains to counter Lansing righty Roberto Osuna (3-4, 4.20). Osuna was ranked the Toronto Blue Jays’ sixth top prospect by Baseball America for 2013.
The Lugnuts struck first as right fielder Dalton Pompey led off with a single and advanced to second as Captains’ catcher Eric Haase’s throw sailed into center during the steal attempt. With one out, center fielder Dwight Smith singled to score Pompey, giving the Lugnuts the early lead.
Not to be outdone, the Captains plated four of their own in the inning. Third baseman Todd Hankins doubled to left and advanced to third on a groundout before center fielder Logan Vick singled up the middle to score Hankins. After Vick swiped second, first baseman Joe Sever tripled to right and scored on a single by shortstop Erik Gonzalez. With two out, right fielder Anthony Santander doubled to score Gonzalez, boosting Lake County to the 4-1 lead.
The Lochnessy Monster surfaced for the Lugnuts in the second inning as center fielder Santiago Nessy homered to right for his first long shot of the season to cut the Captains’ lead in half.
The Captains scored another trio in the second as second baseman Yhoxian Medina hit a two-out triple to left and scored on another single from Vick. After Vick stole second, the Sever show returned as the second baseman hit a shot over the left field wall for his third of the year. One more single from Gonzalez ended the outing for Osuna, sealing his fate at 1.2 innings, allowing seven runs on 10 hits and three strikeouts before reliever Ian Kadish entered to convert the final out of the inning.
The Lugnuts scratched back in the third as Pompey and shortstop Jose Flores laced a pair of back-to-back singles and center fielder Dwight Smith tapped into a force play to score Pompey.
Haase joined the home run crew in the fourth with two out and one man on to propel the Captains to the 9-3 lead. Meanwhile, Sisco lasted into the fifth as he was replaced with Felix Sterling, finalizing Sisco’s line at 4.2 innings, yielding three runs on five hits, two walks and three punch outs.
Reliever Justin Jackson replaced Kadish to start the fifth. With two out, Medina drew a walk before Vick racked his fourth hit of the evening. Cue Sever, who singled to left to score Medina for the Captains’ 10th run of the evening.
The Lugnuts struck again in the eighth off of reliever Cody Penny. With two out, Jason Leblebijian who entered the game as a pinch runner in the sixth, tapped an infield single to third. A wild pitch pushed Leblebijian to second before Nessy emerged with a single up the middle to plate Leblejijian, cutting the Captains’ lead to 10-4.
The Lugnuts made things interesting in the ninth as designated hitter Carlos Ramirez drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a groundout and to third on a wild pitch. Pompey followed with a single to score Ramirez. That ended the evening for Penny as he was replaced with reliever Josh Martin. Flores greeted Martin with a single, but Martin settled in to convert the final out and preserve the Captains with the 10-5 win.
Captains’ manager Scooter Tucker couldn’t pinpoint the source of his team’s success at the plate, but noted the All-Star break was much needed. “Maybe we were tired,” Tucker said. “Maybe we needed a little break from BP and the daily grind.”
Sever hit 4-for-5 on the night and was just a double short of the cycle. The first baseman embraced the ideology that hitting was contagious, noting that the contagion can be a double-edged sword. “We feed off each other for hits,” he explained. “It’s an advantage and disadvantage, because when we’re not doing well, it’s that much harder to get a hit but when we are, it’s just kind of rolling.”
The entire Captains lineup contributed at least one hit on the evening while Logan Vick and Anthony Santander hit 4-for-5 in addition to Sever.
Next, the Captains hit the road for two more against the Lugnuts in Lansing. Lefty Ryan Merritt (4-8, 4.03) will take the bump first for the Captains to counter Lansing righty Javier Avendano (5-5, 3.99).
Stephanie is a crime and general assignment reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio. She’s an alumna of Cleveland State University with a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication. You can follow her on Twitter @7thInningSteph.