Lake County Captains fall to Kane County Cougars, 9-8
GENEVA, Ill. – The Lake County Captains fell to the Kane County Cougars, 9-8, in a tight matchup Saturday.
The Cougars leapt on Plutko early, plating a pair of runs in the first inning. A throwing error by Captains’ shortstop Dorssys Paulinoallowed shortstop Carlos Penalver to reach base. Penalver swiped second and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcherRichard Stock, and a double by designated hitter Ben Carhart put the Cougars on the board 1-0. Right fielder Yasiel Balaguertfollowed with a single to push Carhart to third, before a one-out single by second baseman David Bote scored Carhart.
Lake County responded in its half of the third inning as second baseman Claudio Bautista doubled and advanced to third on a groundout. With designated hitter Nellie Rodriguez at bat, Bautista scored on a wild pitch to cut the Cougars’ lead in half.
Paniagua remained in the game through four innings in which he permitted two hits, one run, four walks and struck out six.
The Cougar bats crafted three more runs in the fifth to chase Plutko from the game. With one out, catcher Will Remillard was plunked by a pitch and advanced to second on a Penalver single. With two outs, Balaguert singled and scored both runners as Penalver advanced home on a throw from left fielder Brian Ruiz. That ended the outing for Plutko, whose final line sealed at 4.2 innings pitched, yielding five runs (four earned), on five hits while he struck out six. Plutko was replaced by lefty Kenny Mathews, who served up a single to first baseman Jacob Rogers, giving the Cougars a 5-1 lead.
A wild inning offered the Captains a chance to catch up as they leveled the score in the seventh against reliever Scott Frazier. Centerfielder Cody Ferrell drew a lead-off walk and swiped second before Paulino reached on a walk. Two straight wild pitches pushed both runners into scoring position and a walk drawn by Bautista loaded the bases to end the evening for Frazier, who was replaced by reliever Josh Davis.
The Cougars pulled away again in their share of the seventh as Mathews issued a pair of walks. With one out, Mathews was replaced with reliever Trevor Frank. A passed ball set both runners up in scoring position before back-to-back home runs from Rogers and Bote forced Kane County ahead, 9-5.
Lake County didn’t stop in the ninth, though their comeback attempt fell just short. Fink drew a leadoff walk from reliever Tyler Bremer and Stock doubled to score the runner. Cue Hendrix, who put a little wing beneath Bremer’s offering for his first home run of the year, putting the Captains down 9-8. That was all their rally could conceive, as Bremer settled in to strike the remaining two batters, sealing the win for the Cougars.
The Captains and Cougars are scheduled to square off again at 2 p.m. Sunday. Righty Mitch Brown (0-0, 1.93 ERA) is set to receive the start for the Captains while the Cougars’ starting pitcher has yet to be announced.
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.