Captains stop Whitecaps 5-4 on Valera walk off home run
BY TIM SHIRER
CAPTAINS BEAT WRITER
(EASTLAKE, OH) –The Lake County Captains broke their four-game losing streak on Thursday night with a 5-3 win over the visiting West Michigan Whitecaps. The Captains and Whitecaps were schedule to play a doubleheader on Friday night. The Captains took game one 5-4 on a walk off blast by George Valera. The second game was postponed due to weather and the two clubs will try again to play two on Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m.
The Whitecaps got on the board right away in the first inning. The single run came off the bat of Andrew Navigato who belted his third home run of the season over the right center field fence. The home run was his third of the season and gave the Whitecaps a 1-0 lead.
West Michigan continued to have their offensive shoes on against Captains starter Xzavion Curry. Gage Workman who has been on fire in the first two games of the series doubled to leadoff the inning. After Curry got Rey Rivera to lineout Ulrich Bojarski singled to right field and Workman scored.
The Captains came right back in the bottom of the second. With one out in the inning Whitecaps starter Austin Bergner, a righthander issued a base on balls to Raynel Delgado. Delgado moved to second when Gianpaul Gonzalez singled to right field. After Bergner got Wilfri Peralta on strikes Quentin Holmes hit a laser to left field for a single and Delgado came home with the Captains first run cutting the lead to one run at 2-1.
The Whitecaps came right back with a run in the top of the third inning. Jose King doubled to lead off the inning. Curry then retired the next two hitters and King moved to third base. Daniel Cabrera then blasted a shot down the right field line that looked like an apparent home run but was inches foul. Two pitches later Cabrera belted a single to right field sending King home with the Whitecaps third run.
West Michigan added on in the fifth inning. Nick Gallagher replaced Curry to start the inning. Gallagher retired the first hitter on a line drive to left field. King and Parker Meadows followed with back-to-back singles putting runners on the corners. Navigato then hit a shallow sacrifice fly and King came home increasing the Whitecaps lead to 4-1.
The Captains offense had seen enough and struck back with a familiar sight. After Julian Escobedo doubled to leadoff the inning Valera smacked his 14th home run of the season onto the right field grass 410 feet from home plate. The ball traveled out of the park at 102 mph. Valera’s home run did not go unnoticed by his teammate and buddy Jose Tena put the next pitch 409 feet away hitting a laser shot at 107 mph to tie the game 4-4. The home run by Tena was his 13th of the season. All four runs came off Bergner who exited the game after the Tena blast. He was replaced by Jared Tobey who issued a base on balls to Delgado but was able to get out of the inning with no further damage.
The Captains have had a history of playing extra inning games in doubleheaders. Valera had other ideas as he 1-1 slider 417 feet over the right field fence at 101 mph to give the Captains the 5-4 win in game one.
Kevin Kelly picked up the win for the Captains. Kelly went one inning allowed two base on balls and struck out one Whitecaps hitter. With the win he improves to 2-4 with a 5.10 ERA. Zack Hess took the loss for West Michigan. Hess entered the game to start the seventh inning and pitched to one hitter Valera. With the loss Hess falls to 0-5 with a 3.93 ERA.
The Captains and Whitecaps will play a DH on Saturday night at 4:00 p.m. The Whitecaps will send Zac Shepherd to the mound in game one. Shepherd is a righthander and is 5-2 with a 4.94 ERA. Reese Olson will take the hill in game two for WM. Olson a righthander is 5-4 with a 3.96 ERA. The Captains will counter with Daniel Espino, Espino, a righthander and is 0-3 on the season with a 6.50 ERA. Hunter Gaddis will take the hill for game two. Gaddis, also a righthander is 3-7 with a 4.57 ERA.
POSTED 08/13/2021 19:56