West Michigan clobbers Lake County 8-1
EASTLAKE – The Lake County Captains failed to create much offensive output as they fell to the West Michigan Whitecaps 8-1 on Wednesday.
Right-hander Mason Radeke (5-4, 3.88) made his fifth start for the Captains against West Michigan’s Chad Smith (0-0, 0.00), who made his debut for the Whitecaps.
After three scoreless innings, West Michigan finally jumped on the board in the fourth as third baseman Jason King sent his fourth home run of the season over the right field wall to give the Whitecaps the 1-0 advantage.
Smith tossed three scoreless innings for the Whitecaps, allowing just one hit before he was replaced by Slade Smith in the fourth.
West Michigan added another run in the fifth after centerfielder Chad Wright hit a one-out single up the middle and later scored when second baseman Brandon Loy doubled to right.
The seventh inning was the biggest blow to the Captains as the Whitecaps tallied a total of six runs. Francisco Valera replaced Radeke to start the inning, finalizing Radeke’s line at six innings pitched with two runs allowed on six hits to go along with seven strikeouts.
Valera was greeted by a leadoff single from designated hitter Pat Leyland before Wright drew a one-out walk. Loy followed with his second double of the night to score both runners, and Valera’s struggles continued as he plunked both shortstop Eugenio Suarez and right fielder Jeff McVaney. Loy and Suarez then scored as King singled to center, which resulted in the end of Valera’s outing.
Valera was replaced with Kyle Petter, who surrendered a double to left fielder Jason Krizan to score two more runs, bumping the Whitecaps lead to 8-0.
The Captains finally pushed a run across the plate in their half of the seventh as left fielder Bryson Myles drew a one-out walk and scored following triple from third baseman Leonardo Castillo.
That was all the Captains could come up with as they failed to rally in the ninth, despite a lead-off walk by Myles.
Lake County manager David Wallace attributed his team’s offensive struggles to their lack of constructive at-bats.
“I would’ve liked to see a little bit better at-bats throughout the game,” Wallace said. “But give their guys credit, they kept the ball down and played good defense.”
On Thursday, Roberto Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, will start for the Captains against West Michigan lefty Kyle Ryan (5-5, 4.00).
Wallace sees Hernandez’s return as a highlight for both the Captains and the Indians organization.
“It should be excitement across the board, because we’re getting an important piece to our major league team back soon,” he said.
Wallace and Hernandez were battery mates for the Captains during the first half of the 2003 season. Wallace, who was a catcher, was promoted to Kinston after the All-Star break, but he says he’s always felt a connection with Hernandez due to their time as teammates together.
“I tried to get activated for tomorrow, but they weren’t going for it,” Wallace laughed.
Thursday’s start will be Hernandez’s first start of the season as he recently received his visa to return to the United States after an offseason legal scandal that outed him as the 31-year-old Hernandez instead of the 28-year-old Carmona. Hernandez is under a three-week suspension issued by MLB and will be eligible to rejoin the Indians on August 11.
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.