Mistakes prove costly for Captains in 5-4 loss
EASTLAKE – A pair of base running blunders proved to be costly for the Lake County Captains as they fell to the Fort Wayne TinCaps 5-4 on Monday.
Right-hander Mason Radeke (5-1, 2.96) took the bump for the Captains for the first time against Fort Wayne’s Cody Hebner (6-3, 4.13). Radeke was formerly a starter in the Lake County bullpen this season, though he started last season for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, where he went 2-0 in nine games.
The Captains jumped on the board first as shortstop Francisco Lindor drew a one-out walk and scored as designated hitter Alex Monsalve doubled to give Lake County the 1-0 lead.
Fort Wayne responded right away as right fielder Yeison Asencio led off with a single and scored as third baseman Duanel Jones smacked his third homerun of the season deep over the centerfield wall. The TinCaps weren’t finished as second baseman Tyler Stubblefield singled and stole second before scoring on a line-drive double by centerfielder Travis Jankowski, giving Fort Wayne the 3-1 lead.
The Captains clawed back in their half of the second and third innings to even the score at 3-3. Right fielder Bryson Myles started things off with a double into right and advanced to third as catcher Alex Lavisky singled to center. Cue third baseman Leonardo Castillo, who hit into a double play that scored Myles. In the third inning, the Captains picked up their third run as second baseman Jose Ramirez doubled and scored on a single by centerfielder Luigi Rodriguez.
The Captains managed to chase Hebner away after three innings as Hebner’s pitch count started to soar. Hebner’s final line posted at three runs allowed on five hits and a walk. Hebner was replaced with Dennis O’Grady in the fourth.
The TinCaps came right back in the fourth as Jones picked up an infield single on a bunt and moved to third as Stubblefield reached base on a fielding error by Lindor. With one out, Jones went on to score on a groundout off the bat of left fielder Kyle Gaedele, bumping Fort Wayne back in the lead at 4-3.
Meanwhile, Radeke made it through five innings as he surrendered seven hits and four runs while striking out four.
Radeke was replaced with Felix Sterling in the sixth. Sterling was recently converted into a reliever and tossed two innings of scoreless ball.
The TinCaps added one more in the eighth, which turned out to be exactly what they needed. Francisco Valera replaced Sterling, and shortstop Jace Peterson greeted Valera with a line drive single to center. With one out, Peterson went on to score on a single up the middle by centerfielder Travis Whitmore, moving Fort Wayne to 5-3.
The Captains fought through the eighth as well as they also put a run on the board as Rodriguez and Monsalve laced a pair of back-to-back hits. After stealing third, Rodriguez scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of first baseman Jerrud Sabourin, putting the Captains within one.
That was enough for Fort Wayne as righty Matthew Stites closed out the ninth inning, shutting down all three Captains faced to seal the TinCaps with the 5-4 win.
Captains’ manager David Wallace was pleased with the offensive effort his team crafted.
“I thought we had great at-bats the whole game,” Wallace said. “Jose [Ramirez] and Francisco [Lindor] leading off the game those first two at-bats – those were ten-pitch at-bats – we made their pitchers work all game long.”
Wallace also noted that the team’s base running blunders, when Myles was thrown out trying to advance from first to second and when Ramirez was caught stealing third with two out, were not completely in vain.
“We were aggressive there,” Wallace said. “We just need to be smart and aggressive. Those weren’t necessarily perfect times to be that aggressive. Those things, they hurt and you can certainly point to that as one of the reasons we lost today, but at the same time, it’s good that it happened now, because they’re teachable moments.”
The Captains and TinCaps cap off their series on Tuesday evening as lefty Elvis Araujo (2-6, 4.84) takes the bump for Lake County against Fort Wayne’s Ruben Mejia (1-2, 3.89).
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.