Eastlake, OH- Our Lake County Captains were looking to win the High A Midwest League Championship Tuesday night at Classic Park in Eastlake against the South Bend Cubs. The Captains took the first game of the series in South Bend on Sunday in a best of out three series. Lake County was only one win away from capturing their first Championship since 2010. On the mound for the Captains was RHP Tommy Mace (1-5, 4.55 ERA), while the South Bend Cubs had RHP Luis Devers (4-0, 1.50 ERA) getting the start in this very important game for both teams. The Captains struck the first in the bottom of the first. 1B Joe Naranjo walked to start the half inning. Back to back singles by LF Connor Kokx and CF Petey Halpin loaded the bases. Power hitting RF Alexfri Planez struck out bringing up SS Milan Tolentino who was able to fly a ball deep to left for a sacrifice fly, scoring Naranjo. It was the lone run scored in the inning, but it put Lake County on top 1-0 early in the game. After three stellar innings pitched by Captains Tommy Mace he got into some trouble in the top of the 4th inning. After striking out the first batter of the inning, Mace walked South Bend's 3B Luis Verdugo. 1B BJ Murray singled as Verdugo was stealing 2nd, advancing him to third. With runners on the corners, C Pablo Aliendo singled to right center, scoring Verdugo and tying the game at 1-1. Tommy Mace was pulled with two out and two on in the top of the 4th for RHP Alaska Abney (7-2, 2.54 ERA). Abney was able to strike out Cubs SS Kevin Made for the last of the inning. Mace pitched 3.2 innings, giving up 1 run on 4 hits, and struck out 6. The Captains came right back the bottom of the 4th. 3B Christian Cairo singled to right center. He then stole second base. C Micael Ramirez, with 2 outs singled to right and Cairo scored from second, giving the Captains back the lead 2-1. South Bend's Luis Devers was relieved in the bottom of the 5th in favor of LHP Riley Martin (8-5, 3.38 ERA). Devers pitched 4 innings, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits, striking out 4. Captains took out Abney with 1 out in the top of the 6th for LHP Jaime Arias (1-5, 5.98) ERA. After giving up a single to Cubs LF Yohendrick Pinango, Arias looked as if he was in pain and was taken out after one batter for RHP Davis Sharpe (8-3, 2.02 ERA). Cubs LF Yohendrick Pinando stole second when Captains C Micael Ramirez over threw second allowing Cubs 1B BJ Murray to score from third. The score once again tied 2-2 going into the bottom of the 6th. In the top of the 7th South Bend's RF Owen Caissie doubled down the right field line. Next up 3B Luis Verdugo singled scoring Caissie from second, giving South Bend their first lead of the night, 3-2. The Captains threatened in the bottom of the 7th as they had two on with one out after 1B Joe Naranjo singled and LF Connor Kokx was hit by pitch. Unfortunately CF Petey Halpin flew out to center and RF Alexfri Planez struck out, ending the inning still trailing. South Bend added insult to injury in the top of the 9th inning as South Bend's top prospect CF Pete Crow-Armstrong bombed a solo home run to right center, giving the Cubs a 4-2 lead. The Captains made it close in the bottom of the ninth as they scored a run on a Joe Naranjo sacrifice fly. With two outs and a runner on third, CF Petey Halpin came up and popped out on his first swing to end the game. That was the story of game two for the Captains. Missed opportunities. The Captains put up a good fight and put themselves in positions to score runs, but just could not produce. The series now tied at 1-1 and the final game of the series and the season for both teams to crown the Champions of the Midwest will take place tomorrow again at Classic Park at 7:00 P.M. As of this writing the pitchers are still TBD.
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