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Lake County Sentinel
Captains win 9-7 in nine error game
(COMSTOCK PARK, MI) - The Lake County Captains and West Michigan Whitecaps combined for nine errors in a sloppy game on Tuesday night at Fifth Third Ballpark. Amidst the defensive miscues, however, the Captains emerged with a 9-7 victory to win their second straight game and pick up their first series win of the season.

The defensive woes started early for West Michigan and Lake County took advantage with four runs in the first inning. Nathan Lukes scored the first run of the game on a wild pitch. Later in the inning, with runners on second and third, Yonathan Mendoza hit a slow roller to third base. Steven Fuentes fielded the grounder, but threw wildly to first, allowing Willi Castro and Tyler Krieger to score. Connor Marabell then slammed a double that scored Mendoza to give Lake County a 4-0 lead in the first. The Captains have now scored 12 first-inning runs through six games.

West Michigan got a run back in the bottom of the inning thanks to aggressive baserunning. The Whitecaps had runners on the corners with two outs and David Gonzalez, the trail runner, took off for second. Gonzalez swiped the base cleanly and Derek Hill scored from third when Captains catcher Martin Cervenka tried to throw out Gonzalez. The run cut the Captains’ lead to 4-1.

The Captains took advantage of another West Michigan error in the second to extend their lead to 6-1. Cervenka knocked in the first run of the inning with an RBI single to center and then Krieger came around to score when second baseman Will Maddox misplayed a ground ball hit by Mendoza.

The Whitecaps climbed back in the third inning when Lake County started to kick the ball around. With two outs and the bases loaded, Maddox hit a chopper to first base that bounced off the glove of Captains first baseman Anthony Miller. Two runs scored on the Captains’ first error of the ballgame. Shortly thereafter, Lake County starting pitcher Tom Pannone attempted a pickoff throw at first, but sailed his throw high. As the ball skipped away from Miller, Will Allen scored to trim the Captains’ lead to 6-4.

Yet another West Michigan error helped Lake County get a couple of runs back in the fourth. After Krieger worked a one-out walk, Cervenka hit a hard ground ball to third. Fuentes made a diving stop, but threw high over the head of the first baseman, Allen. Krieger raced around and scored all the way from first on the error, while Cervenka advanced to third base. The next batter, Mendoza, hit a sacrifice fly to score Cervenka and increase Lake County’s lead to 8-4.

The Whitecaps chipped away at Lake County’s lead the rest of the game and nearly came back. West Michigan scored a run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Fuentes, but the Captains got that run back in the eighth when Bobby Ison doubled and Willi Castro tripled him home. West Michigan answered in the bottom of the eighth when an error by reliever Kieran Lovegrove opened the door for an RBI single by Arvicent Perez. The Perez single reduced the Captains’ lead to 9-6 and West Michigan nearly came back in the ninth.

The Whitecaps rallied in the bottom of the ninth against Lovegrove at one point had the tying run on base, but the right-hander danced out of trouble to seal the win. Hill led off the inning with a single and stole second base without a throw. The next batter, Gonzalez, hit a ground ball to shortstop that Castro fielded cleanly, but threw wildly to first base. The error put two men on with nobody out and Brett Pirtle promptly lined a single to centerfield that scored Hill. Gonzalez stood on second and Pirtle represented the tying run on first, but Lovegrove answered by inducing Allen to hit into a ground ball double play. Lovegrove then got Maddox to line out to left to end the ballgame and seal a 9-7 Captains win.

Lake County reliever Cortland Cox earned the victory after allowing one run over four innings. Cox (1-0) surrendered one hit, walked three and struck out five. West Michigan starter Eudis Idrogo took the loss in his first start of the year. Idrogo (0-1) pitched 3.2 innings and allowed eight runs, five earned, on eight hits. He struck out two and walked two.

The Captains ended the game with five errors, compared to four for West Michigan, but Lake County emerged with the win nonetheless. Lake County will go for the series sweep on Wednesday when the Captains face off against West Michigan in a noon matinee at Fifth Third Ballpark. RHP Casey Shane is scheduled to pitch against RHP Sandy Baez.. 
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​POSTED 04/13/2016 00:47

Rick Bunn
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