Eastlake, OH- The Lake County Captains (52-44) looked to avenge the embarrassing loss to the Great Lakes Loons ((59-39) they suffered on Wednesday night. A game in which the Captains gave up five home runs and 14 runs. The Captains remain four games out of the top spot which would send them to the playoffs in the Midwest league. As of now West Michigan is in first place and Great Lakes has already punched their ticket to the playoffs by winning the division in the first half of the season.
The Captains had the man with the lion's mane starting the game in the form of RHP Aaron Davenport (2-5, 5.27 ERA) going against the Loons solid starter RHP Nick Nastrini (4-3, 4.12 ERA). Davenport needed to have one of his best outings of the season to give the Captains a chance to grab the win against a Loons squad that has the best overall record in the Midwest league.
In the top of the first the Loons picked up right where they left off the prior night. RF Damon Keith who was playing in first high A game after being called up from Dodgers low A affiliate Rancho Cucamonga, hit a solo home run to right field on a full count giving the Loons a 1-0 lead and starting off his tenor with Great Lakes with a bang.
Captains 1B Joe Naranjo who has been heating back up as of late, answered right back in the bottom of the 1st as he absolutely skied a 1-1 fastball deep to right center almost hitting the advertisement board for his 14th home run of the year and tying the game 1-1.
After a solid pitching duel, the top of the 4th inning saw Captains 1B Joe Naranjo walk to start the inning. A ground out by Alexfri Planez brought up the scorching hot RF Johnathan Rodriguez who launched a ball deep to left hitting the top of the bleachers for his 17th home run of the season and his sixth in his last eight games, giving the Captains a 3-1 lead.
Aaron Davenport was relieved after 1 out in the top of 6th inning by LHP Raymond Burgos (5-3, 2.42 ERA). Davenport pitched 5.1 innings, giving up 3 hits, 3 walks, striking out 3, and giving up only 1 run.
Loons Nick Nastrini went 6 innings before being pulled in favor of Braydon Fisher (3-3, 2.68 ERA). Nastrini gave up 4 hits, 3 runs, walked 2, and struck out 8.
The Captains had the first three batters of the bottom of the 8th inning walk to load the bases. Power hitters Alexfri Planez and Johnathan Rodriguez both struck out. CF Petey Halpin came to the plate, and Loons pitcher Fisher threw a wild pitch scoring Connor Kokx. Halpin ended the inning by striking out. The Captains extended the lead to 4-1
The Loons would not go down without a fight. With 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, Loons RF Damon Keith singled to right. CF Jose Ramos then homered to right to bring the score to 4-3. Next up 1B Imanol Vargas followed Ramos home run with a solo shot to left of his own, tying the game at 4-4. Ramos and Vargas are the Loons two best power hitters.
Lake County has a chance to win in the bottom of the 9th, but Milan Tolentino grounded out with two on to end the inning and go into extras.
In the top of the 11th Ismael Alcantara started on second base for the Loons. SS Eddys Leonard struck out, however Captains C Micael Ramirez dropped the 3rd strike and threw out Leonard going to first as Alcantara was going to third. After Catching the out from Ramirez 1B Joe Naranjo tried to throw out Alcantara at third, but he threw a wild ball that couldn't be fielded by 3B Gabriel Rodriguez and Alcantara scored giving the Loons a 5-4 lead on a wild play.
Johnathan Rodriguez started at 2nd for the Captains. Petey Halpin struck out to start the bottom of the 11th. The next two batter Gabriel Rodriguez and Aaron Bracho walked. C Zachary Fascia also struck out. Connor Kokx was up with bases loaded and worked the count to full. After a great battle at the plate, Kokx was called out looking at a very questionable strike three.
It was a tough loss for the Captains after leading most of the game. Until the error by Naranjo the Captains played an absolute gem defensively. Great Lakes got hot at the right time to tie up the game in the 9th, scored on a error in the 11th. The Captains will have to pick themselves up and get ready for Friday, when they face Great Lakes again at Classic Park with a 7:00 P.M. start time.
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