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Lake County Sentinel
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Captains outslugged by Loons 10-9  
         BY TIM SHIRER
(EASTLAKE, OH) - The Captains and Great Lakes Loons finished up their six-game series on Sunday afternoon. Entering the game, the Loons had won three of the first five games. The Captains fell short of splitting series when the Loon prevailed in a slugfest 10-9 in front of 2,366 fans in attendance at Classic Park.
The Loons once again got on the board first when Eddy Leonard smashed his fifth home run of the season over the left field fence.

The Captains did the Loons one better in bottom of the first inning when Jhonkensy Noel doubled with two outs in the inning. Johnathan Rodriguez then belted his second home run of the season to deep center field to give Lake County a 2-1 lead.

The Loons struck back in the third inning knocking out Captains starter Tommy Mace. Mace, a righthander began the inning by allowing a single to Imanol Vargas. He then hit Jonny DeLuca with a pitch and then the big blow came when Leonard belted his second home run of the day far over the left field fence to give the Loons a 4-2 advantage. The trouble continued when Jorbit Vivas singled. Vivas was retired at second base on a fielder’s choice allowing Leonel Valera to reach first base safely. Valera then stole his eighth base of the season pulling into second. Kekai Rios then singled moving Valera to third base. That was the end of the line for Mace as Captains Manager Greg DiCenzo gave him the hook in favor of Alaska Abney. Abney a righthander came on to face Ismael Alcantara. Abney got Alcantara to fly out to left field, Valera tagged up from third base giving Alcantara a sacrifice fly and the Loons a 5-2 lead.

The Captains came back with a run in the bottom of the third when Jhonkensy “Jacoby” Noel belted his eighth home run of the season to cut the Loons lead to 5-3.

In typical Loon’s fashion they responded with a run in the top of the fourth inning. With one out Vargas doubled to centerfield off Captains reliever Lenny Torres who entered the game to start the inning. Torres then uncorked a wild pitch moving Vargas the third base. Torres’s troubles continued when he issued a walk to DeLuca. Leonard then came to the plate and continued his hot streak as he single to give the Loons a 6-3 lead when Vargas scored on the play.

The Captains came all the way back in the bottom of the inning. The inning began with Loon’s starter Nick Nastrini issuing a base on balls to Micael Ramirez. After striking out Aaron Bracho Gabriel Rodriguez laced a double down the left field line moving Ramirez to third base. That marked the end of the day for Nastrini as Julian Smith replaced him. Korey Holland greeted Smith rudely as he doubled to left field driving home Ramirez and Rodriguez closing the gap to 6-5. Joe Naranjo then tied the game when he singled to center field sending Rodriguez home.

The Captains bullpen could not keep the game tied as the Loons added three runs in the top of the fifth. With one out Alcantara reached base when Captains shortstop Raynel Delgado made an errant throw. Alcantara then moved to third base when Edwin Mateo followed with a single to right field. Alcantara then scored when Captains catcher Micael Ramirez was charged with a passed ball that went all the way to the backstop giving the Loons a 7-6 lead. The damage was not done as Vargas came to the plate and deposited a Torres pitch over the indoor batting cage giving the Loons a 9-6 lead. The home run for Vargas was his first of the season.  

Lake County did close the lead to two runs in the bottom of the fifth when Gabriel Rodriguez homered onto the grass behind the left center field fence.

The Loons extended the lead back to three runs in the top of the seventh inning when Captains reliever Serafino Brito who came on in relief to begin the inning by hitting Mateo on a 2-2 count. After retiring the next batter Vargas singled and moved Mateo to third base. Mateo then scored when DeLuca hit a weak fly ball that dropped in right field and Vargas was retired at second base giving the Loons a 10-7 lead.

The Captains did not go away. In the bottom of the inning Delgado was hit by a pitch by Loon’s reliever Robbie Peto with one out. Peto then got Ramirez to fly out to left field. Bracho came up and drove a double to deep center field scoring Delgado with the Captains eighth run. The Captains were unable to do any further damage and the Loons lead remained at 10-8.

The Captains pulled to within one run in the eighth inning when “Jacoby” Noel smacked his second home run of the contest and ninth of the season over the right field fence. 

Kyle Hurt picked up the win for the Loons. Hurt pitched fifth and sixth innings allowing one run, it was earned on one hit and struck out four. With the win he improves to 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA. Torres suffered the loss for Lake County and falls to 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA. He pitched three innings allowing four runs, only one was earned on four base hits. He also issued three base on balls while striking out three.

The Captains will be off on Monday and then embark on a 12-game road trip to Cedar Rapids and Peoria. First stop Tuesday night at 7:35 pm in Cedar Rapids against the Kernels. Pitchers for both clubs are TBD. 
tshirer@lakecountysentinel.com or follow Tim on Twitter @TBBucsTim Check out our IndiansNation fan Page
​POSTED 05/15/2022 16:36
Lake County Captains 3B Jhonkensy "Jacoby" Noel.                Photo by Tim Shirer