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Captains rally late for season opening win

Captains rally late for season opening win
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Fort Wayne, IN - The Lake County Captains kicked off the 2012 season with a 4-3 win on the road against the Fort Wayne Tincaps on Thursday night.

Taking the bump for Fort Wayne was Frank Garces. Garces went 6 strong innings, giving up 2 hits and no runs while striking out 9 Captains hitters.

The Captains drew first blood as left fielder LeVon Washington led off with a walk. Shortstop Francisco Lindor reached base on a fielder’s choice before stealing second and reaching third on a passed ball. Lindor went on to score on another passed ball on Fort Wayne catcher Austin Hedges.

Starting for Lake County was Felix Sterling, an 18-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic.  Fort Wayne scored in the third when Hedges walked and Alberth Martinez was hit by a pitch. Shortstop Jace Peterson doubled to left to score both runners, giving Fort Wayne a 2-1 lead.  Sterling left after five innings and finished the game allowing two hits and two runs while walking two and striking out four in his five full innings of work.

In the sixth inning Sterling was replaced by right-hander Francisco Valera. The TinCaps scored in the seventh inning when Travis Whitmore laced a triple to center, which was followed by a single to left to plate the Whitmore.

The Captains’ rebuttal immediately came in the top of the eighth as center fielder Luigi Rodriguez and Washington had back-to-back bunt singles. Rodriguez scored and Washington reached third on the second bunt due to a throwing error by TinCaps’ catcher Hedges. After Francisco Lindor struck out swinging and Alex Monsalve grounded out to the pitcher, Jordan Smith singled to left to plate Washington and tie the score at 3-3. Robert Eisenbach was replaced by Colin Rea, who struck out third baseman Leonardo Castillo to end the inning.

Right-hander Mason Radeke replaced Valera for a quick inning of work in the eighth. Radeke struck out Casey McElroy and Jose Dore while getting Zach Kometani to pop out.

The Captains added the winning run in the ninth inning when first baseman Jerrud Sabourin reached base on a throwing error by shortstop Jace Peterson. Sabourin was replaced with pinch runner Todd Hankins, who then scored on a Rodriguez triple.

In the home half of the ninth, the TinCaps failed to rally as Radeke earned the win by getting Travis Whitmore, Austin Hedges and Alberth Martinez to fly out, securing the Captains with a 4-3 victory.

This was Fort Wayne’s first home opener loss in seven years. Notable performances for the Captains include Washington who went 2-4 and scored a run and drew a walk, and Rodriguez who was also 2-4 with a triple and an RBI.

On Friday the two teams square off again at 7:05 p.m at Parkview Field.

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.

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