Eastlake, OH - The Lake County Captains were back at it tonight at Classic Park trying to pick up a win against the 17-12 Great Lakes Loons. The Captains Mason Hickman (0-2 with a 5.23 ERA) took the mound and was the star the game, while the Loons had Gavin Stone (1-1 with a 1.35 ERA), who is one of the top prospects in the Dodgers farm system started for Great Lakes.
In the bottom on the 2nd DH Micael Ramirez hit a 1 out single to get on base. Catcher Mike Amditis who is hitting .033 on the season, hit a 2 out double to left center to score Ramirez and give the Captains a 1-0 lead.
3B Leonel Valera who walked his first at bat in the top of the first, lead off the top of the 4th with a single that was slapped into right field. Mason Hickman who up until this point had pitched a stellar game then struck out Loons RF Aldrich De Jongh. CF Ismael Alcantara grounded to Captains SS Angel Martinez who made a great play on the ball and one hopped it to an outstretched Jhonkensy Noel who was playing 1st base for the second out. Then on the first pitch of the very next at bat against C Ryan January got him to pop out ending the inning.
Hickman was relieved in the top of the 5th by Matt Turner (0-0 with a 2.09 ERA). Hickman ended his night pitching 4 innings only giving up 3 hits, striking out 6 and walking 2 batters. By far one his best outings of the season.
The number 8 prospect in the Dodgers organization Eddys Leonard hit a double in the top of the 6th which was followed with a single by Valera, advancing Leonard to third and giving the Loons runners at the corners with no outs. Turner struck out De Jongh. Then on a wild play CF Alcantara tried to bunt in the run from third, but the ball popped straight down and landing right in front of home plate where Captains catcher Amditis caught Leonard in a run down eventually tagging him out. Turner then struck out C Ryan January to get out of what could have been a big inning for Great Lakes.
Gavin Stone ended his night being relieved by Braydon Fisher (0-0 with a 1.80 ERA). Stone had a solid outing for the Loons only giving up one run.
Braydon Fisher flew through Lake County in the bottom of the 6th and then struck out the side of Raynel Delgado, Micael Ramirez, and Aaron Bracho of the Captains in the 7th.
Eddys Leonard hitting .248 bombed a solo home run to left over the bleachers off of Matt Turner in the top of the 8th tying the game at 1-1. That was Leonard's 3rd home run of the season. Turner was pulled after walking Great Lakes 3B Lionel Valera. He was replaced by Alaska Abney (0-1 with a 6.97 ERA) mid inning with 1 out. A steal by Valera put him in scoring position. Abney then struck out RF pinch hitter Joe Vranesh. Hit CF Alcantara and got C Ryan January to ground out, getting out of the inning with the Captains only giving up one run and keeping the game tied at 1-1.
The bottom of the 8th saw Jake Cantleberry for the Loons take over. Amditis walked to start the inning. He was taken out for a pinch runner in OF Connon Kokx, who was able to advance to second base on a dropped ball by the Loons catcher. SS Angel Martinez came up to the plate and drilled a double that bounced off the wall in right field. Martinez while rounding first base collided with Loons 1st baseman Imanol Vargas and was awarded 2nd base anyway.
That lead was all Alaska Abney needed to finish off the Loons as he went one, two, three, in the top of the 9th to secure the victory for the Captains 2-1. This was the Captains first win of the series and helped them improve to 13-16 on the season.
After the game I caught up with both Coach Greg Dicenzo and starting pitcher Mason Hickman. They talked about a team meeting that was held the prior night.
"I want us to fight and play with a little more tenacity than we have" said coach Dicenzo on what was a message to the team after the prior nights loss in a meeting, "Win or lose if you put forth the effort, I'm okay going to bed at night".
Starting pitcher Mason Hickman echoed the same sentiments.
"It was just obvious, for everyone across the board. There was no fingers pointed, no specific guys, just kind of overall the team personality we have over the last couple of games didn't really show who we are from a talent perspective or from a personality perspective. It was very much kind of negative all around, and its kind of contagious you know? A couple of guys show some frustration and it kind of leaks into the dugout. You didn't see that today at all. Everyone understood another opportunity was coming down the line".
Captains next game is Friday night which will be followed by fireworks at Classic park. Cole Percival (1-0 with a 2.18) will start for the Great Lakes Loons, while star prospect Gavin Williams (2-1 with a 1.46 ERA) will be on the mound for the Captains.
W- Abney 1-1, 6.97 ERA
L- Cantleberry 1-1, 4.09 ERA
Players of the game:
P Mason Hickman 4.0 IP 3 H 0 R 2 BB 6 K
C Mike Amditis 1-2 1 H 1 RBI 1 BB
Eddys Leonard 2-4 2 H 1 R 1 RBI