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Cook struggles in Captains first loss

Cook struggles in Captains first loss
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The Lake County Captains dropped their second game of the season to the Fort Wayne TinCaps on Friday night in a 9-3 loss.

Starting for Lake County was Elvis Araujo, a 20-year-old left-hander out of Venezuela. Araujo went four innings for the Captains, giving up three hits, two runs (one earned), and one walk while striking out seven TinCaps.

Adys Portillo, also a 20-year-old Venezuelan, toed the rubber for the TinCaps. Portillo is a right-hander originally drafted by the San Diego Padres with a fastball that was once referred to as “the best fastball in the Padres organization” by Baseball America. Portillo relinquished one run on no hits and three walks through four innings.

Lake County jumped to an early lead in the first inning when shortstop Francisco Lindor reached base on a fielding error by TinCaps second baseman Justin Miller. Lindor went on to steal second before catcher Alex Monsalve drew a walk. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch and Lindor scored on a fielder’s choice as right fielder Jordan Smith earned an RBI groundout.

Fort Wayne responded in the third inning when catcher Austin Hedges reached base on an error by Captains third baseman Leonardo Castillo. Hedges advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored when center fielder Alberth Martinez doubled to right. Martinez scored on a single to left hit by Fort Wayne left fielder Donovan Tate after reaching third on a groundout. However, the Captains were able to escape further damage when Tate was caught stealing and the designated hitter Zach Kometani grounded out to the pitcher.

Lake County starter Elvis Araujo was replaced by right-hander Cole Cook in the fifth inning. Cook was a starter for the Captains last year and was shifted to a relieving role this spring. Jace Peterson greeted Cook with a lead-off double to right, which was followed by a walk to Tate. TinCaps third baseman Casey McElroy reached base on a sacrifice bunt when Cook made a throwing error to first. Cook settled in to get Kometani to ground into a double-play that scored Peterson, and right fielder Kyle Gaedele struck out swinging to end the inning.

The biggest rally of the night came during the bottom of the sixth inning when Justin Miller singled on a fly ball to right off of Cook. Austin Hedges followed with a double to left field and Alberth Martinez drew a walk to load the bases. Jace Peterson and Donovan Tate hit back-to-back singles that plated each of the base runners, giving Fort Wayne a 6-2 lead. That ended the night for Cook as right-hander Shawn Armstrong was called from the pen. Armstrong allowed a sacrifice fly off the bat of McElroy before striking out Kometani to end the rally.

The Captains made a try at a response rally in the seventh inning as Francisco Lindor laced a single to third and advanced to second on a throwing error by McElroy at third on a Monsalve ground ball. Lindor scored as Jordan Smith singled on a ground ball up the middle, but pitcher Robert Eisenbach settled in to strike out Leonardo Castillo for the third out.

Xavier De Los Santos replaced Armstrong on the mound for the Captains in the eighth. Jace Peterson continued his hot offensive night with a lead-off single and once again, Donovan Tate followed with a double to right. Peterson would go on to score on a wild pitch and McElroy drew a walk. De Los Santos earned back-to-back strikeouts on Kometani and Gaedele, but walked first baseman Jose Dore and hit Justin Miller with a pitch to plate Donovan Tate. That was all the security Fort Wayne needed as Matthew Sites closed the ninth, tossing a three-up-three-down inning to seal the score at 9-3, giving the TinCaps their first win of the season.

Notable performances for the Captains include Jordan Smith, who went 2-4 with a double and two RBIs, and Shawn Armstrong, who tossed 1.2 scoreless innings, allowing no hits and two walks while striking out two.

The Captains and TinCaps close out their three-game series on Saturday during a 5:05 p.m. start time.

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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