Captains outlast Dragons, 6-5
EASTLAKE, OH- The Lake County Captains (17-17, 48-55) opened a three game series with the Dayton Dragons (13-21, 43-61) on Saturday night. Lake County used an offensive outburst early and avoided a near meltdown to win game one by a final score of 6-5.
Lake County drew first blood with one run in the bottom of the first. Second baseman Jose Ramirez led off with a single and a single by centerfielder Luigi Rodriguez moved Ramirez to second base. On a hit and run, designated hitter Jordan Smith laced a single to left field to score Ramirez from second. The RBI was Smith's team-leading 47th on the season.
“Smith has definitely become a leader on the team," manager Dave Wallace said. "He is a leader by his play and not by his talk,” Wallace said after the game about his designated hitter."
The Captains scored another run in the bottom of the third. Rodriguez walked to begin the frame. With two outs, right fielder Bryson Myles lined a double into the right-center field gap, scoring Rodriguez from first.
The Captains scored four runs in the fourth with only one hit. Second baseman Todd Hankins walked and stole second base. The next batter, left fielder Zach MacPhee walked. Ramirez reached on a fielders’ choice, erasing MacPhee and moving Hankins to third. A passed ball by Dragons’ catcher Nick O’Shea scored Hankins and advanced Ramirez to second. A wild pitch moved Ramirez ninety feet closer. Shortstop Francisco Lindor walked. After a strikeout, Lindor stole second base, his 21st of the year. Smith grounded a ball through the third baseman’s legs, scoring Ramirez and Lindor. The second wild pitch of the inning moved Smith to second. First baseman Jerrud Sabourin plated Smith with a RBI single to center field.
Captains’ starter Cody Anderson pitched three perfect innings and struck out three before giving way to right-handed reliever Nick Pasquale in the fourth inning.
Dragons first baseman Sean Buckley launched his ninth homerun of the year in the fifth inning, making it a 6-1 game at the time.
Reliever Enosil Tejeda (2-1, 3.38) came into the game in the sixth inning. Pasquale threw two innings in his Lake County debut and allowed one run on one hit, struck out one batter and hit a batter. Tejeda pitched two scoreless innings to pick up the win. He had one walk, his only blemish on the night. Francisco Valera replaced him for the eighth inning.
Dayton gave Lake County a scare in the top of the ninth inning. Trailing 6-2, right fielder Yorman Rodriguez beat out a ground ball to the shortstop. Buckley followed with his second home run of the night, a two run shot to right. After a flyout, Waldrop followed with his seventh home run of the year to make it 6-5.
Waldrop’s home run was a questionable call, a fair or foul call down the left field line. Manager Dave Wallace questioned base umpire Carlos Martinez prior to removing Valera. On the way back to the dugout, Valera was ejected by Martinez for arguing. Wallace brought in his closer Jeff Johnson to finish the game. Johnson recorded the final out to pick up his fourteenth save of the year.
Valera allowed four runs on four hits in one and two thirds innings. He walked two and struck out none.
“Valera just lost location, and he couldn’t control any of his pitches. Johnson did a great job saving it tonight," Wallace said after the game about Valera's struggles in the last inning.
Lake County pounded out ten hits on the night after managing one hit on Friday night. Ramirez, Rodriguez and Lavisky each added two hits. The middle of the order, Smith, Sabourin, and Myles had the RBI hits for the Captains. Hankins added three steals to push his total to 30 on the year.
Lake County and Dayton will resume the three game series on Sunday afternoon. LHP Shawn Morimando (4-3, 3.51) will take the mound for the Captains. RHP Stalin Gerson (5-7, 4.27) will counter for the Dragons. First pitch is set for 1:00 PM from Classic Park.
Tyler, a sports management student at Lake Erie College, can be found on Twitter @tstotsky63.