Eastlake, OH- The Lake County Captains (25-23) looked to extend their winning ways against the West Michigan Whitecaps (22-27), the Detroit Tigers high A affiliate, and improve their record to 26-23.
Doug Nikhazy (0-2, 4.15 ERA) started for the Captains while Keider Montero (2-1, 4.60 ERA) was on the mound for the Whitecaps.
In the bottom of the 1st, RF Jhonkensy Noel absolutely destroyed a 1-1 fastball deep to left center and over the playground behind the bleachers. One of the longest homeruns this season at Classic Park. That was Noels 13th home run this season, and gave the Captains a 1-0 lead.
Video credit: Tom Nichols
The first batter in the top of the 3rd RF Ulrich Bojarski took Nikhazy to dead center and just over the center field wall for his first home run of the year, tying the game at 1-1. Nikhazy then loaded the bases and Whitecaps 2B Wenceel Perez grounded into a inning ending double play, getting out of what could been a big inning for West Michigan.
In the top of the 4th Doug Nikhazy walked Whitecaps 1B Chris Meyers and 3B Trei Cruz who then pulled off a double steal of second and third. RF Ulrich Bojarski then hit a sacrifice fly to left scoring Meyers giving the Whitecaps a 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the 4th inning.
Doug Nikhazy was relieved in the top of the 6th inning by RHP Nathan Ocker. Nikhazy had a solid outing pitching 5.0 innings giving up 3 hits and 2 runs, walking 6, with 2 strike outs.
Whitecaps Keider Montero was replaced by RHP Jack Anderson (1-3, 9.00 ERA) with one on and two out in the bottom of the 6th inning. Anderson was able to get the strikeout against Captains CF Petey Halpin to end the inning.
West Michigan relieved Jack Anderson with a runner on 1st and 2 out with LHP Andrew Magno (1-0, 0.47 ERA) in the bottom of the 7th, and again, the Captains couldn't capitalize with a runner on as 2B Aaron Bracho struck out to end the inning with Lake County still trailing 2-1.
Again the Whitecaps brought in a reliever in RHP Elvis Alvarado (1-1, 3.09 ERA) in the bottom of the 8th with 2 outs and no one on to face Captains power hitter Jhonkensy Noel who already had a home run in the game. Noel hit a single on the second pitch, bringing up DH Alexfri Planez. Planez had a battle at the plate, fouling off ball after ball, but eventually struck out ending the inning, and yet again the Captains still trailing 2-1 heading in the 9th inning.
Cade Smith (1-0, 3.08 ERA) came into the game in the top of the ninth for the Captains and he did not disappoint striking out the side to get the Captains to the bottom of the 9th needing only a run to tie up the game and 2 runs to win.
CF Petey Halpin started off the bottom of the 9th looking at a called strike three, pinch hitter Raynel Delgado hit a fly out to left field, then 3B Gabriel Rodriguez walked, bringing up C Mike Amditis. Amditis fell behind into a 0-2 count before singling to left. Next up 2B Aaron Bracho. With the crowd cheering on he put a jolt into a fastball into center field but it just didn't have the distance and Whitecaps CF Ben Malgeri caught it deep in center ending the game 2-1 and dropping the Captains to 25-24 on the season.
The series finale is Sunday at 1:00 PM with Lenny Torres (1-3, 8.10 ERA) taking the mound for the Captains and Jordan Marks (0-3, 6.03 ERA) is starting for West Michigan.
Players of the Games:
RF Jhonkensy Noel 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 Run
RF Ulrich Bojarski 1-2, 2 RBI, 1 Run