MacPhee stays hot, but Captains still lose 5-4
EASTLAKE – The Lake County Captains could not take advantage of 12 total hits or a late inning rally on Wednesday as they fell to the South Bend Silver Hawks 5-4.
Right-hander Felix Sterling (3-5, 5.72) took the bump for the Captains against South Bend righty Tyler Green (1-3, 2.79). Green threw well in his last outing against the Captains while Sterling was coming off a rough appearance against Dayton.
South Bend scored first as right fielder Chris Ellison led the game off with a single to center and advanced to second on a balk. With two out, first baseman Matt Helm rocked a home run deep over the centerfield wall to give the Silver Hawks the 2-0 advantage.
The Silver Hawks struck again in the second with two out as centerfielder Ender Inciarte singled to center and scored on a double by shortstop Raul Navarro, increasing South Bend’s lead to 3-0.
The Captains responded in the third inning as designated hitter Zach MacPhee continued his offensive production with a single to left. Cue centerfielder Luigi Rodriguez, who smacked his third home run of the season for two runs.
South Bend followed with another run in the fourth as designated hitter Fidel Pena walked and moved to second on a single. After stealing third, Pena went on to score on a throwing error by Sterling on a pick-off attempt, making the score 4-2.
The Captains fought back with one out in the fourth as left fielder Todd Hankins was hit by a pitch and stole second. Third baseman Leonardo Castillo tripled and scored Hankins before MacPhee singled to right to plate Castillo, leveling the score at 4-4.
Cole Cook entered the game to pitch for the Captains in the fifth inning, ending Sterling’s day with a line of four innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits, a walk and a pair of strikeouts.
Cook surrendered a run in the fifth as he yielded a single to second baseman Gerson Montilla. Montilla advanced to second on a force attempt and went on to score on a single by Pena, giving South Bend the 5-4 edge.
Cook tossed a scoreless sixth before giving way to Manuel Carmona in the seventh. Jake Barrett made his debut for the Silver Hawks in the eighth and retired the side. Barrett was just drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks organization out of Arizona State University in the third round.
The Captains seemed to spark some life in the bottom of the ninth, but could not capitalize for any runs. Right fielder Jordan Smith started the inning with a walk and first baseman Jerrud Sabourin singled to center. Catcher Alex Monsalve laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners and South Bend pitcher Kable Hogben intentionally walked Hankins. With the bases loaded, third baseman Leonardo Castillo and second baseman Robel Garcia hit two consecutive line-outs to end the game, giving South Bend the 5-4 victory.
MacPhee hit 3-for-4 on the day for the Captains and Rodriguez went 2-for-5, which now puts him in the midst of a nine-game hitting streak.
Despite loading the bases with one out, Lake County manager David Wallace was not concerned by the Captains’ failure to score in the ninth.
“Those are the at-bats and the situations we love to see our guys in,” Wallace said. “Leo [Castillo] was disappointed he didn’t get that hit and so was Robel [Garcia], but they’re going to learn more from those at-bats than a lot of the other ones.
Wallace also said that Sterling’s recent rough outings are just another part of the learning process.
“He’s battling right now, no doubt about it, and he’s working to get through it,” said Wallace. “He’s listening to everything that Jeff Harris is telling him and he’s going out there and fighting as hard as he can, and he’ll be better in the long run for it.”
The Captains and Silver Hawks complete their series on Thursday evening as Lake County sends lefty Elvis Araujo (2-5, 3.88) to the mound against South Bend’s Blake Perry (0-1, 9.31). Cleveland Indians third baseman Jack Hannahan is expected to return to Lake County to continue his rehab assignment.
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.