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Lake County Sentinel
Captains smoked by Lugnuts 12-4    
          BY TIM SHIRER
(EASTLAKE, OH) – The Lake County Captains losers of two straight and down 3-2 in their six game series with the Lansing Lugnuts finished the series on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately for the 1,569 fans in attendance at Classic Park things did not go well as the Lugnuts bludgeoned the Captains 12-4.

Once again which continued a theme in the series the Lugnuts got on the board first with two runs in the first inning off Captains starter Mason Hickman. After Cobie Vance singled to lead off the game Hickman retired the next batter on strikes, but Vance stole second base. The theft was Vance’s sixth of the season. William Simoneit then singled driving home Vance with the first run of the contest. Simoneit then stoles second base with Jared McDonald at the plate. McDonald then singled moving Simoneit to third base. With runners at the corners Jordan Diaz lifted a sacrifice fly to rightfield and Simonet trotted home with the Lugnuts second run.

The Lugnuts extended the lead to 3-0 in the second inning when Cooper Uhl drew a walk to lead off the inning and moved to second on a Hickman wild pitch. After D.J. Lee grounded out moving Uhl to third base Hickman retired Brito on strikes. With Vance at the plate Hickman uncorked his second wild pitch of the inning and Uhl scored.

The Lugnuts added another run in the top of the third on a solo home run by Lester Madden. The home run was Madden’s second of the season. The four run lead was short lived.

Maybe the sun was in the right spot in the sky, maybe the temperature hit the perfect spot, but the Captains offense came alive with four runs in the bottom of the third inning. All four runs were scored before an out was recorded by Lansing’s righthanded starter Jack Cushing. Julian Escobedo led off the inning with a triple. Jose Tena followed with an RBI double driving home Escobedo with the Captains. The big blow in the inning came next when George Valera smashed his twelfth home run of the season deep over the right centerfield fence to pull the Captains to within one run at 4-3. The lead was then gone and the game was tied when Micah Pries belted his third home run of the season 389 feet over the right field fence.

The Lugnuts were not going away as they regained the lead 5-4 when Lee drew a base on balls to leadoff the inning. Lee then stole second base. It was his second steal of the season. Brito followed by grounding out to first base moving Lee to third. Vance then hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield and Lee crossed home plate with the go ahead run.

Lansing added a sixth run in the top of the seventh inning when Simoneit smacked a two out Nathan Ocker pitch deep into the grass behind the rightfield fence extending the Lugnuts lead to 6-4. Ocker relieved Hickman to start the sixth inning.

Lansing piled on in the ninth inning with four more runs, this time off Captains reliever Jerson Ramirez who started the inning but did not make it out of the inning. Ramirez allowed all four runs on three hits and a base on balls. The only out he recorded was a strikeout. Zach Draper, who is usually a starter came in to relieve Ramirez and finish the game.

Cushing picked up the win for the Lugnuts. The righthander went five innings allowing four runs, all earned on eight hits. He also issued two base on balls while striking out five Captains hitters. With the win Cushing improves to 6-0 with a 2.48 ERA. Hickman took the loss for the Captains. Hickman also went five innings. He allowed five runs, all earned on five hits and issued three base on balls. The big righthander also struck out seven Lugnuts. With the loss Hickman falls to 6-6 with a 5.07 ERA.

Even with the loss the Captains did not lose any ground in the playoff race and remain one game in back of the Great Lakes Loons and the Cedar Rapids Kernels for the second and final playoff spot.
The Lugnuts relentless offense continued their assault on the Lake county pitchers in the eighth inning with two more runs off Jared Janczak. Janczak relieved Ocker to start the inning.

The Captains will be off on Monday and then continue the 12 game homestand on Tuesday against the West Michigan Whitecaps at 7:00 p.m.

This date in Captains history: on August 8, 2016 the Captains shutout Dragons 2-0
tshirer@lakecountysentinel.com or follow Tim on Twitter @TBBucsTim Check out our IndiansNation fan Page
​POSTED 08/07/2021 17:36
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Lake County captains outfielder Micah Pries      . Photo by Tim Shirer