Sabourin's heroics lead Captains to walkoff win
EASTLAKE- An ugly baseball game ended beautifully for first baseman Jerrud Sabourin and the Captains on Thursday night. Sabourin’s walk-off, opposite field three run home run that landed in the left field bleachers propelled Lake County (4-3, second half) to a 9-7 win over West Michigan (4-3).
Sabourin stepped to the dish with two on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning against West Michigan closer Jade Todd, who had made 15 consecutive scoreless appearances dating back to May 3. The San Diego, CA. native, described as a professional hitter by manager Dave Wallace, promptly ended that streak. He turned a 1-1 fastball into a mob scene at home plate, where he was greeted by his Lake County teammates.
“I was sitting on a pitch middle,” said Sabourin, who stood in the middle of the locker room after being greeted by a shaving cream pie upon entering the locker room. “He had thrown me two sliders in a row and I didn’t think he would throw a third.”
What Sabourin didn’t know was that his manager joined in on the post-game celebration. With a smile on his face, Wallace admitted to getting Sabourin with some shaving cream while the first baseman looked the other way.
“For him to come through in a clutch situation, it’s fun to watch,” said Wallace. “We are going to celebrate it.”
Wallace had nothing but good things to say about Sabourin after the victory.
The first two innings were nothing to celebrate for either side. With temperatures reaching 100 degrees across Northeast Ohio throughout the day, both the Whitecaps and the Captains entered Classic Park Thursday evening with a case of the sweaty palms.
West Michigan started the rocky two frame stretch off of Lake County starter Elvis Araujo (2-6, 4.84) in the top of the first. Shortstop Brandon Loy reached on a single and manager Ernie Young attempted to sacrifice him to second. However, third baseman Leonardo Castillo committed his first of two errors on the evening, putting runners on first and second. After two RBI singles, two passed balls, a stolen base, and a wild pitch, West Michigan came out of the first inning with a 4-0 lead.
The poor defensive play transferred directly over to the Whitecaps, who allowed Lake County’s leadoff hitter and shortstop Jose Ramirez to reach on an error. After a groundout and a wild pitch, Ramirez came around to score on center fielder Luigi Rodriguez’s RBI single, his 29th of the year. After designated hitter Jordan Smith walked, catcher Alex Monsalve knocked Rodriguez in with a single of his own. The Captains rounded out the scoring on Sabourin’s sacrifice fly, pulling back within 4-3.
Araujo allowed the first two Whitecaps to reach in the top half of the second. After a sacrifice bunt and a run scoring single, Araujo then attempted a pick-off at first base, but threw the ball off the facing of the first base stands, allowing a second run to score. Third baseman Aaron Westlake hit his second RBI single of the night, giving him 43 RBI on the season to put West Michigan back ahead by a count of 7-3.
Lake County finished off the wild two inning ride aided by two West Michigan errors in the bottom of the second inning. The only RBI in the inning came on a Jordan Smith single through the right side, his 31st of the season.
“It was ugly,” said Wallace. “I am really proud of the whole team, especially Elvis. The team rallied around him and he battled, kept us in the game.”
“It was pretty sloppy,” said Sabourin, echoing his manager. “But we played well the last five innings and we always had a feeling that we would come back.”
Araujo turned his fate around, tossing three scoreless frames before being lifted from the game. In five innings, the left-hander gave up seven runs, four earned, on six hits, walking two and striking out six.
However, at least on the pitching side of things, the star of the show was reliever Louis Head (1-0, 0.00), who was called up from Mahoning Valley before the game. Head shut down the Whitecaps in four innings of relief after coming on for Araujo. He blanked West Michigan on just two hits and struck out one batter.
The valiant effort out of the bullpen earned Head, the Indians 18th-round selection in the 2012 MLB Draft out of Texas State, the first professional win of his young career. Lake County players were seen after the contest signing the game ball for Head to commemorate the accomplishment.
Lake County will play the second game of this six game home stand on Friday night. The game is slated to begin at 7 pm with fireworks to follow the contest. Trying to win their second consecutive game, the Captains will send All-Star Joe Colon (6-7, 3.17) to the bump. He will face off against right-hander Tommy Collier (5-5, 2.47) for the Whitecaps.