Hankins delivers walkoff win, 4-3
EASTLAKE- The draw on Monday night at Lake County was Indians catcher Carlos Santana, who was making a rehab start with the Captains. Santana is coming off the new 7-day concussion disabled list.
However, the fans who stuck around after Santana left the game saw a great minor league baseball game.
Lake County (28-29) needed thirteen innings, but won Monday night’s rubber match with Fort Wayne (27-31) in walk off fashion.
The hero for the Captains was left fielder Todd Hankins, who, with two outs in the bottom of the thirteenth, drove a single to the wall just over the outstretched glove of diving right fielder Kyle Gaedele. The single was the third hit of the night for Hankins and notched him 17 RBI on the year.
The inning began with a double to the left center field gap by Alex Monsalve. It was the fourth hit of the evening for the Lake County catcher, who finished the game 4 for 6.
Third baseman Leonardo Castillo sacrificed Monsalve to third and Fort Wayne intentionally walked second baseman Robel Garcia, placing runners on first and third. With the infield drawn in, center fielder Zach MacPhee hit a chopper to second base, but Casey McElroy gunned down Monsalve trying to score. Hankins then delivered the game winning hit, scoring Garcia.
“It couldn’t happen for a better guy,” said manager Dave Wallace of Hankins’ walk off knock. “He does everything we ask of him and more.”
Lake County opened the scoring on Monday evening in the first inning, using a leadoff walk to Todd Hankins as the catalyst. After he advanced to second on a Francisco Lindor groundout, Hankins scored on a single to right field by right fielder Jordan Smith.
Joe Colon (5-5, 2.78) started the contest for Lake County, going seven innings and surrendering three runs on four hits, striking out four and walking two. However, he exited the game with the Captains trailing 3-1.
Colon ran into trouble in the fourth inning, giving up a single and an RBI double to open the frame. A sac-fly put the TinCaps ahead 2-1. The third run Colon surrendered came in his last inning of work. He gave up a leadoff solo home run to second baseman Casey McElroy that just cleared the right field wall. It was the fifth blast of the year for McElroy.
Down 3-1 in the eighth inning, Carlos Santana stepped to the plate with two outs and MacPhee on first after reaching on an error. Santana, wearing his Indians helmet, blasted a two-run homerun to the hill in right field, capping his evening by finishing 1-4 with two RBI.
“He is a special guy with the bat in his hands,” said Wallace, a former catcher himself. “[That was] a clutch situation and he got the job done.”
The first three at-bats for Santana were significantly less eventful. In his first at-bat, he launched a fly ball to the warning track in left field and followed that up with a lazy pop out to center. In his third trip to the dish, the catcher, hitting .245 with the Indians, batted a ball off of Fort Wayne starting pitcher Cody Hebner which ricocheted to McElroy. The second baseman had no problem retiring Santana, who was sauntering down the line and never reached first base. Even after his home run, running the bases seemed to be the most painful aspect of the rehab stint for Santana, who is likely headed to Detroit to rejoin the big league club.
The Lake County bullpen played a large part in the victory, as it has in most of the Captains’ wins this year. Cole Cook worked a scoreless eighth and gave way to closer Jeff Johnson after walking the first batter to open the ninth. Johnson walked the bases loaded before showing why routinely retires the side in the ninth inning for Lake County. He worked out of the jam by doing what he has all year, striking out the next two TinCap hitters before getting catcher Matt Colatonio to fly out to left field to end the inning.
However, the star out of the bullpen for Lake County on Monday night was Mason Radeke (3-1, 3.58), who tossed four innings of scoreless relief to earn his third win. Over the course of those four frames, Radeke struck out a resounding eight Fort Wayne hitters, including the Padres former number one overall prospect Donavan Tate. Tate finished the three game set 0-13 with nine strikeouts.
“That was the most innings [Radeke] has thrown this year,” said Wallace of the former starter for Mahoning Valley. “We really liked how he was throwing and attacking guys.”
Jordan Smith continued his recent surge, finishing the game 3-5 to move his average on the season to .305. Over his last 14 games, Smith has gone 23-50 (.460) with one home run, one triple, five doubles, and seven RBI.
“He’s one of our best hitters,” said Wallace. “He has shown that with his recent streak.”
Before the game, pitchers Cody Anderson and Joe Colon and shortstop Francisco Lindor were announced as Midwest League All-Stars. The game is taking place on June 19 in Geneva, Illinois at the home of the Kane County Cougars, the Class-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
After an off-day on Tuesday, the Captains will travel to Dayton to take on the Dragons in a three-game set beginning Wednesday. Lake County will send All-Star Cody Anderson (4-2, 2.52) to the hill. He will open the set against Tanner Robles (3-3, 4.60), a lefthander, for Dayton.