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Lake County Sentinel
Captains late rallies come up short in 4-3 loss to Loons 
         BY TIM SHIRER
(EASTLAKE, OH) – After dropping the first two games of the six-game series with Great Lakes Loons at Classic Park the Lake County captains have rebounded nicely by winning two in a row. On Saturday night in front of a nice crowd the Loons sent them home disappointed as they held off a couple of late Captains rallies to take home the win 4-3.

The Loons jumped on Captains starter Daniel Espino immediately in the first inning. After retiring the first two batters of the game Carson Taylor singled to right field. Espino then walked Andy Pages followed by the big blow in the inning when Brandon Lewis belted his 17th home run of the season over the left field fence at 100 mph to give the Loons a 3-0 lead.

The Captains pulled to within one run in the fourth inning when Aaron Bracho singled to lead off the inning off Loon’s starter Alec Gamboa. Then Jhonkensy Noel blasted a Gamboa pitch over the center field batter’s eye to cut the Loons lead to 3-2.
Both starters were good. Loons’ starter Gamboa only went three and one thirds innings, not because of performance but because he was on a pitch count and had thrown 53 pitches. He is returning from an injury. In his three and a third innings he allowed two runs, both earned on four hits and one base on balls, while striking out one Captains batter. Meanwhile Espino went five innings for the Captains. After giving up two hits a base on balls and three runs in the first inning he only allowed one base runner over the next four innings. He lines for the night was five innings, three runs all earned on three hits, one base on balls and seven strikeouts.

The Loons added an insurance run in the top of the sixth inning when Nick Gallagher who replaced Espino to start the inning struggled. After striking out Eddys Leonard to start the inning he issued two base on balls in a row, got Lewis to fly out to center field. He could not get out of the inning as he hit Jorbit Vivas with a pitch to load the bases. Captains skipper Greg DiCenzo had seen enough as he pulled Gallagher and brought in lefty Andrew Misiaszek. With the bases loaded and 3-2 count the lefty hit Jonny Deluca.

The Captains chipped away at the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning when Julian Escobedo was hit by a pitch by Loon’s reliever Lael Lockhart to lead off the inning. Jose Tena then singled moving Escobedo to center field. Christian Cairo then laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt down the third base line moving Tena to second and Escobedo to third base. Cairo was retired at first base but got the job done. With one out Loon’s manager Austin Chubb chose to intentionally walk Noel to load the bases. The move most likely paid off as Jonathan Rodriguez grounded out, scoring Escobedo with the Captains third run. But that was all they could muster as Chubb then changed pitchers replacing Lockhart with lefty Jeff Belge. Belge came in and struck out Joe Naranjo on four pitches to end the threat and preserve the Loons one run lead.

The Captains looked as though they would threaten in the bottom of the ninth as Micah Pries led off the inning with a four-pitch base on balls. Quentin Holmes replaced Pries as a pinch runner at first base. Raynel Delgado then struck out swinging and on the strikeout, Holmes attempted to steal second base. When Loons catcher Carson Taylor threw down to second Delgado stepped in front of him. Delgado was charged with catcher interference and Holmes was called out for the second out of the play and inning. Gianpaul Gonzalez popped out weakly to Loons first baseman Brandon Lewis to end the game.

Loons’ reliever Andrew Shaps who relieved Gamboa with one out in the third inning, only pitching two thirds of an inning got the win. He struck out one batter. With the win he improves to 1-1 with a 1.20 ERA. Espino picked up the loss for Lake County and falls to 1-5 with a 4.66 ERA. 

The Captains and Loons will finish off the series on Sunday afternoon with a 1:30 p.m. first pitch. Jesus Vargas will be on the hill for the Loons. Vargas is righthander and is 6-5 on the years with a 4.70 ERA. The Captains will counter will Mason Hickman who has become the Captain’s Sunday starter. Hickman, a righthander has made 16 starts this season and all have been on Sunday. Hickman is 7-6 with a 4.97 ERA.
tshirer@lakecountysentinel.com or follow Tim on Twitter @TBBucsTim Check out our IndiansNation fan Page
​POSTED 08/28/2021 23:01
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