Updated: Sep 20
Eastlake, OH- The Lake County Captains (57-45) looked to keep their winning streak alive and extend it to six against the Fort Wayne TinCaps (44-60). The Captains are 3 games out of first place behind West Michigan and looking to keep winning and grab the second playoff spot this year.
The Captains had "Doug Day" Doug Nikhazy (2-4, 3.73 ERA) getting the start as it was also a special day for another reason as it was Nikhazy's birthday as well. The TinCaps had Ryan Bergert (2-7, 6.24 ERA) take the mound to start.
The Captains struck first in the bottom of the 2nd inning. 3B Gabriel Rodriguez hit a ground rule double to right center. Next up 2B Aaron Bracho singled to right and Rodriguez was trucking around third and through bench coach Yan Rivera's stop sign to score the first run of the game and give the Captains a 1-0 lead.
The TinCaps had an answer in the top of the 3rd in the form of SS Jarryd Dale's opposite field solo home run to right, just as the wind shifted and carried the ball over the wall, tying the game at 1-1.
Captains 1B Joe Naranjo singled to right with two outs in the bottom of three. LF Johnathan Rodriguez doubled to right center scoring Naranjo on a close play at home. Then in what is one of the oddest plays I have ever seen, RF Alexfri Planez struck out to end the inning. TinCaps catcher Adam Kerner thought he caught the ball, but he actually dropped the third strike according to the umpires. Kerner threw the ball to the third baseman, who then threw it into the stands as a souvenir rendering it out of play. Alexfri Planez was able to advance to second base and Johnathan Rodriguez was gifted home. The TinCaps manager Mike Daly came out wanting an explanation as did Captains manager Greg Dicenzo, but in the end the call stood and the Captains ended the inning with a 3-1 lead.
The TinCaps relieved Ryan Bergert in the bottom of the sixth with LHP Gabe Morales (2-1, 4.44 ERA). Bergert pitched 5.0 innings, giving up 3 runs 2 of with were earned on 6 hits, and struck out 9.
Doug Nikhazy was taken out after pitching 6.2 innings and had a fantastic performance on the mound only giving up 1 run, 3 hits, and striking out 10. It was one of Nikhazy's best outings of the season.
With 2 outs in the bottom of the 7th Captains 1B Joe Naranjo walked followed by another single from Johnathan Rodriguez, his 3rd hit of the game. Up walked RF Alexfri Planez who bombed a monster 3-run home run well over the bleachers in left. That was Planez 16th home run of the year and gave the Captains a 6-1 lead.
The Captains headed into the top of the 9th with a 5-run lead. Trey Benton came in to close out the game and did just that, shutting down the TinCaps and giving the Captains their sixth straight win, and improving their record to 58-45 on the year.
After the game I talked with Coach Greg Dicenzo about the recent stretch of games and if they were the best of the season so far.
"We won a few games here and there, we won a few we should have lost, and lost a few that we should have won. We are playing a resilient style of baseball."
The Captains look for seven in a row tomorrow night again against Fort Wayne. The Captains have Jack Leftwich (3-0, 2.39 ERA) who has been on a tear ever since he moved up from Low-A Lynchburg on the mound going against Fort Wayne's Jackson Wolf (6-6, 4.12 ERA) at Classic Park at 7:00 P.M.
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