Paulino's home run, Morel's pitching leads Captains to 1-0 win
Lake County mars first round pick Shipley's debut
EASTLAKE – The Lake County Captains defeated the South Bend Silver Hawks 1-0 due to several scoreless innings from reliever Luis Morel on Thursday night.
Arizona Diamondbacks' 2013 first-round pick Braden Shipley (0-1, 1.80) made his Low-A debut for the Silver Hawks. Shipley, a right-hander out of the University of Nevada, previously started eight games with the short-season Hillsboro Hops.
Shortstop Dorssys Paulino put the Captains on the board right off the bat as he welcomed Shipley with a solo home run in the first inning. The solo shot was Paulino's fifth of the year.
Captains' starter Ryan Merritt (6-9, 3.50), who has been placed on a three-inning pitch limit for the remainder of the season, was nearly flawless through his trio of innings worked. He surrendered just two hits and struck out a pair before giving way to Morel (5-3, 4.74).
Morel cruised through 5.2 solid innings, yielding just two hits and two walks while striking out six. He was pulled with two out in the ninth inning due to an 85-pitch limit. Morel has been the victim of inconsistency this season, but has shown up in tough situations like Thursday night. Captains' pitching coach Steve Karsay noted Morel's persistent approach to improving on the year. "He's just been always ready to pitch and has done a fabulous job getting better and growing as a pitcher as well," Karsay said.
Reliever Jack Wagoner entered the game for the final out of the ninth. Wagoner had been scoreless through his previous two outings and Thursday was no different as he fanned the final batter of the game to seal the Captains with the 1-0 shutout.
Despite the lack of run support, Shipley said he felt comfortable during his first Midwest League start. "I felt better than I did when I pitched in Hillsboro," Shipley said. "I had my stuff working tonight. My calmness was there and I was having a good time like you should playing baseball."
Shipley noted his team in Hillsboro was plagued by some defensive issues, which placed a smokescreen over his stats. Shipley posted an 0-2 record with 7.58 ERA through 19 innings with the Hops. "My game was where I struggled a little bit but most of the time my stuff was good there," he said.
Now, Shipley is simply focusing on adjusting to the new level of competition. "Obviously the hitters are a lot better here, especially as you move up," he explained. "Every hitter is a college's best hitter so you've just got to pitch accordingly and trust your stuff."
Thursday's win marked the eighth shut-out win of the season for the Captains, and the team is presently 20-18 in one-run games.
Next, the Captains look to righty Dylan Baker (7-6, 3.95) to counter South Bend righty Rob Coe (3-1, 3.25). Baker received the win in his last outing, in which he tossed 5.1 innings and allowed two runs on five hits, three walks and four strikeouts.
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.