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Lake County Sentinel
Captains bats outpower Loons 7-5  
          BY TIM SHIRER
(EASTLAKE, OH) – The Lake County Captains returned to Classic Park on Tuesday night after completing a 12-game road trip which was successful compiling a record of 7-5. The Great Lakes Loons were the visitors to open a six-game series and homestand. The Captains held off a late rally by the Loons to secure the win 7-5.

The Captains got on the board early in the first inning with three runs off Loon’s starter Jesus Vargas. Vargas a righthander got off to a tough start by giving up a double to Captain’s leadoff hitter Will Brennan. He looked like he might be able to avoid trouble when he struck out Brayan Rocchio on a called third strike and then Bryan Lavastida swinging for the second out. George Valera then ended any doubt that Vargas would get out of the inning unscathed when he tripled to down the right field line and Brennan trotted home with the first run of the game. Valera rode home one hitter later when Jose Tena blasted his sixth home run of the season over the right field fence giving the Captains a 3-0 lead.

The Loons came right back in the top of the second inning with a single run on a one out solo home run by Brandon Lewis off Captains starter Kevin Coulter. The home run cut the lead to two runs at 3-1 and was Lewis’s ninth home run of the season.

Lake County got the run right back in the bottom of the inning when Raynel Delgado smashed his third home run of the season at 97 miles per hour off the bat over the left center field wall giving the Captains a 4-1 advantage.

The Loons struck back with a single run in the top of the fourth when Ryan Ward hit his 11th home run of the season cutting the lead to two runs at 4-2. Ward was not done.

The Captains offense continued to put runs on the board in the fifth inning when Brennan singled to right field with two out. The Brennan hit marked the end of the night for Vargas. Great Lakes manager Austin Chubb went with Jack Little in relief of Vargas. The decision did not work out well as Rocchio belted his eighth home run of the season extending the Captains lead to 6-2.

Valera continued his hot night in the sixth inning when he smacked his seventh home run of the season deep over the indoor batting cage in right field. The long ball was the second that Little allowed in the first three batters he faced.

The Loons would not go away. In the top of the seventh they cut the lead to 7-4 when Jared Janczak was working in his third inning in relief of Coulter. Janczak issued a leadoff walk to Deacon Liput. After a visit from Captains pitching coach Kevin Erminio Janczak struck out Zac Ching. But things did not go as well with James Outman as he belted his eighth home run of the season deep over the center field wall.

The Loons inched a little closer in the top of the eighth when Ward blasted his second home run of the night and twelfth of the season to make it a two-run game at 7-5. The home run came off Captain’s reliever Nick Gallagher who entered the game in relief of Janczak in the seventh inning. Gallagher’s night was about over. He was able to retire the next two Loons hitter, but then gave up a single to Joe Vranesh which was the last batter of his night. Captain’s manager Greg DiCenzo replaced Gallagher with Kevin Kelly.

Janczak picked up the win for Lake County, but his line was not pretty. He pitched two and two third’s innings allowing two runs, both earned on two hits while walking five Loons hitters. He also struck out four Loons. With the win the righty improves 4-0 with a 4.98 ERA. Kelly picked up the save going one and a third clean innings striking out two to earn his seventh save of the season and lowering his ERA to 3.41. Vargas took the loss for the Loons. He logged four and two third’s innings allowing five runs all earned on six hits. He also struck out five Captains hitters. With the loss Vargas falls to 5-3 with a 3.32 ERA.

The Captains and Loons will play game two of the six game series at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Lefty Alec Gamboa will be on the mound for the Loons. Gamboa is 2-3 with a 4.31 ERA. Xzavion Curry will tow the rubber for the Captains. Curry is 3-0 with a 2.76 ERA.
tshirer@lakecountysentinel.com or follow Tim on Twitter @TBBucsTim Check out our IndiansNation fan Page
​POSTED 07/20/2021 22:39
Lake County Captains outfielder George Valera.   Photo by Tim Shirer