Updated: Sep 20
Eastlake, OH- The Lake County Captains (59-45) have been on a roll and were looking to extend their longest winning streak of the season to eight game in a row against the Fort Wayne TinCaps (44-62). The Captains had RHP Tommy Mace (0-4, 4.97 ERA), the University of Florida product on the mound to start the game, while the TinCaps had RHP Jose Espada (0-1, 3.44 ERA) getting the nod.
The Captains struck first tonight as crowd favorite CF Petey Halpin hit a solo home run to right center field. That was Halpin's 4th home run of the season, and gave the Captains a 1-0 lead. Halpin has really made big strides in his average ever since Coach Dicenzo moved him from lead of to the four and five hole. Halpin was hitting right around a .200 average before the move and is now hitting .262.
Lake County went to work in the bottom of the 3rd. LF Connor Kokx reached first on a error by TinCaps 3B Lucas Dunn. SS Milan Tolentino singled to right to put runners on the corners. Next up 1B Joe Naranjo doubled to right scoring Kokx, however Tolentino was thrown out trying to score from first. The July Player of the Month in the Midwest League came to the plate in form of RF Johnathan Rodriguez and blasted a 2-run homer deep to right center field hitting the advertisement sign. The inning ended with the Captains leading 4-0.
Captains Tommy Mace was having an issue with some sort of injury on his finger that started in the top of the 4th inning. It looked like a blister they couldn't get under control. Mace was replaced by RHP Brian Eichorn (2-1, 2.45 ERA). Mace ended his day going 4.0 innings giving up no runs on 4 hits, no walks, and 1 strike out.
Lake County's P Brian Eichorn started the top of the 5th rough as he gave up a solo home run to the first batter he faced in TinCaps 2B Olivier Basabe. That was the only hit he gave up in the inning, but the TinCaps cut into the lead and trailed 4-1.
Fort Wayne took out starter Jose Espada in the bottom of the 5th in favor of RHP Luke Boyd (0-3, 7.23 ERA). Espada went 4.0 innings, giving up 4 runs on 5 hits, and striking out 5.
The Captains got their run back and then some in the bottom of the 5th. 2B Angel Martinez hit a laser beam homer to right field. Another solo home run and Martinez 9th of the year. With that home run it extended Martinez's on base streak to 23 games. SS Milan Tolentino walked and then stole second base, followed by a strike out by Joe Naranjo. Johnathan Rodriguez again came up big as he singled to right bringing home Tolentino. The inning ended with the Captains extending their lead to 6-1.
In the top of the 9th the Captains had DH and newly activated Christian Cairo double to left. C Mike Amditis walked with 2 outs. LF Connor Kokx hit a shot high and deep into the night as it just cleared the left field wall and gave the Captains a 9-1 lead.
The Captains used a plethora of relief pitchers throughout the game, each one seemed to be on cruise control giving Lake County each a good inning heading into the of the 9th. Zach Hart came in to close out the bottom of the 9th and shut down the TinCaps in order for Lake County's 8th win in a row.
After the game I was able to talk with Coach Greg Dicenzo and RF Johnathan Rodriguez.
I asked Coach Dicenzo about how during the streak it seems like its always something new that the team is doing to keep winning.
"There's an opportunity every night for somebody to do something special and you never know when that opportunity will present itself."
Talking to Johnathan Rodriguez also know as J-Rod in the clubhouse I asked what he is seeing at the plate that is allowing him to do what he is doing at the plate.
"Working really hard in the cage, working really hard on my routine, and getting right for the game, thanking God I'm healthy and that I'm being put into a good spot."
The Captains will look to sweep the series Sunday in the finale as Captains LHP Rodney Boone (2-3, 5.59 ERA) faces off against TinCaps RHP Garrett Hawkins making his High-A debut at Classic Park with a 1:00 P.M. start time.
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