Captains rally late to earn series split with Dragons
BY TIM SHIRER
CAPTAINS BEAT WRITER
(EASTLAKE, OH) - The Lake County Captains and Dayton Dragons finished their six-game series on Sunday night at Classic Park. The Captains rallied late to earn the series split with a 7-5 win sending the 3,690 fans in attendance at Classic Park home happy.
The two clubs starting pitchers once again pitched well. The first run of the game came in the top of fourth inning when Matt McLain led off with a single. He then stole second base, his eighth steal of the season. Ivan Johnson then flew out, McLain held at second base. He then stole third for his ninth theft of the season. After Captains starter struck out James Frees Juan Martinez singled to center field driving McLain home giving the Dragons a 1-0 lead.
Hickman ran into more trouble in the top of the fifth inning when loading the bases with two out but was able to escape without any damage when he got Johnson to fly out to the warning track just in front of the center field fence to end the inning when Julian Escobedo secured the ball in his glove.
Captains third baseman Raynel Delgado had to leave the game in the top of the fifth inning when a ground ball took a bad hop off of his face. Christian Cairo moved from shortstop to third base and Jose Tena who had the night off entered the game and took over at shortstop.
James Proctor made the start for Dayton and pitched well. He pitched four shut out innings allowing only one hit. He did issue for base on balls but struck out six Captains. He was replaced by Sam Hellinger to start the fifth inning.
The bottom of the fifth inning the Captains got on the board tying the game 1-1. Things did not get off to a good start for Hellinger as he issue a base on balls to Escobedo to lead off the inning and then hit Cairo with a pitch putting men on first and second base. After Hellinger got Joe Naranjo on strikes Micah Pries singled to center field driving home Escobedo. That was all the damage the Captains could muster as Jonathan Rodriguez grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Hickman’s night ended in the sixth inning. After retiring the first two batter he gave up a single to Victor Ruiz and then back-to-back base on balls to Jacob Hurtubise and Mariel Bautista to load the bases. At that point Lake County skipper Greg DiCenzo went to his bullpen and Nathan Ocker who entered the game as one of the team’s most reliable arms in high leverage situations. Tonight, one pitch got him when Dayton’s Jonathan Willems blasted a grand slam over the left field wall to give the Dragons a 5-1 lead.
The Captains rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning off Dayton relievers Andy Fisher, John Ghyzel and Pedro Garcia. The inning began when Fisher hit Cairo. Naranjo then singled moving Cairo to second base. After Fisher retired Pries on strikes Dayton Manager Jose Moreno removed Fisher in favor of Ghyzel. The first batter Ghyzel face Rodriguez he hit with a pitch loading the bases. He then issued a base on balls to Mike Amditis forcing in Cairo with Lake County’s second run and cutting the deficit to 5-2. Tena then came to the plate and things looked promising for the Captains. But Ghyzel won the battle and struck out Tena for the second out of the inning. Ghyzel was unable to finish the job as he issued a base on balls to Aaron Bracho to force in the Captains third run and trim the deficit to two runs. That was enough for Moreno as he removed Ghyzel and replaced him with Garcia. Garcia came in with no easy task as the first batter he faced was Jhonkensy Noel. With a 2-0 count on Noel Garcia uncorked a wild pitched and Rodriguez slid across home plate with the Captains fourth run. The deficit was now one run. The big blow of the inning came next when Escobedo grounded to the Dayton second baseman Johnson and first baseman Martinez whiffed missing the throw and Amditis and Bracho scored giving the Captains their first lead of the game 6-5. Things continued to unravel for Dayton with Cairo at the plate Garcia uncorked his second wild pitch of the inning and Noel scored extending Lake county’s lead to 7-5. Garcia was able to retire Cairo on a long fly ball to center field to end the inning.
Ocker picked up the win and improves to 6-0 with a 3.06 ERA. Zach Draper picked up the save pitching the final two innings. The save is Draper’s second of the campaign. Ghyzel took the loss for the Dragons falling to 2-3 with a 6.41 ERA.
The Captains will have the day off on Monday and start their final series of the regular season on Tuesday night. Game one of six against the Beloit Snapper has a first pitch time of 7 p.m.-
POSTED 09/12/2021 22:09