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Lake County Sentinel
Quake County pounds Loons 9-3 to move into final playoff spot        
​     BY TIM SHIRER
CAPTAINS BEAT WRITER
(EASTLAKE, OH) -  The Quake County Captains and Great Lakes Loons opened a three-game series on Tuesday night at Classic Park. The Loons entered the game in first place with a three and a half game lead in the Midwest League. The Captains entered the game four games back in the division and a half game out of the wild card spot behind the Bowling Green Hot Rods. The Captains did what they had to, and the Loons had to put their Champaign on ice and wait for another day to celebrate as the Captains prevailed 9-3.

The Loons got on the board first in the third inning scoring two runs off Captains starter Juan Mota. In the inning Mota issued three base on balls and two singles before he was lifted from the game in favor of Manuel Alvarez. Alvarez struck out James Outman for the final out of the inning.

The Captains bested the Loons in the bottom of the inning when they scored five runs. The inning began with Henry Pujols drawing a base on balls off Loons starter Jose Chacin. Hosea Nelson then singled, and Jose Fermin then doubled down the left field line driving home Pujols and Nelson to tie the game. Tyler Freeman then singled and moved Fermin to third base. Will Benson then flew out to center field and Fermin trotted home giving the Captains a 3-2 lead. The RBI was Benson’s league leading 52nd of the season. Ruben Cardenas followed by drawing a base on balls and on the play Great Lakes catcher Jair Camargo threw the ball into the outfield and Freeman advanced to third base. Bo Naylor then hit a sacrifice fly to center field and Freeman came home with the Captain’s fourth run of the game. That was the end of the night for Chacin as Loons skipper was playing to win the game and brought in reliver Jasiel Alvino. Alvino gave up a double to the first hitter he faced Mitch Reeves and Cardenas scored the final run of the inning giving the Captains a 5-2 lead. After Alvino issued a base on balls to Quentin Holmes, he retired Pujols on strikes to end the inning.

The Captains added another run in the fourth inning when Nelson drew a base on balls to start the frame. He then moved to second base on an Alvino wild pitch. Alvino then ended his night when he hit Fermin with a pitch to put men on first and second. Guillermo Zuniga relieved Alvino. Zuniga got Freeman to ground into a double play and both runners moved up a base. Then Benson hit his second sacrifice fly of the game to right field and Nelson came home with the Captains sixth run increasing the lead to 6-2.

The Loons cut the lead to three runs with a single run in the top of the fifth inning when Alvarez allowed two singles and a base on balls along with a wild pitch.

The Captains continued to pile on with two more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Cardenas doubled and then scored on a passed ball. Bo Naylor singled and then scored on a single by Quentin Holmes, the inning ended when Holmes tried to stretch the single into a double and was thrown out at second base.

The final run of the game came from the Captains in the eighth inning when Nelson blasted his fourth home run of the season over the right field fence extending the lead to 9-3.

Alvarez picked up the win for Lake County. Alvarez had his worst outing of the year on Saturday night, but recovered nicely pitching two and one third high leverage innings in relief allowing one run, it was earned on three hits. He issued one base on balls while striking out two Loons. With the win Alvarez improves to 4-1 with a 3.07 ERA. He will be one of three Captains representatives in the Midwest League All-Star game next Tuesday in South Bend. Chacin took the loss for the Loons. He started and lasted only two and two thirds innings allowing five runs, all earned on four hits and issued three base on balls. With the loss Chacin falls to 5-4 with a 5.57 ERA.

With the Captains win and a loss by the Bowling Green Hot Rods the Captains leap into second place and the Wild Card position a half game a head of the Hot Rods. The Captains still have an outside shot at the division as they are three games behind the Loons with five games remaining.

The two clubs will play the second game of the series on Wednesday afternoon at 12:00 p.m. The Loons will send lefty John Rooney to the mound. Rooney is 2-1 with a 3.98 ERA. Thomas Ponticelli will take the mound for Lake County. Ponticelli a righthander is 2-1 with a 5.31 ERA.. 
tshirer@lakecountysentinel.com or follow Tim on Twitter @IndiansTim Check out our IndiansNation fan Page
​POSTED 06/11/2019 22:56
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Lake County Captains second baseman Jose Fermin.
Photo by Tim Shirer