BY TIMOTHY W. SHIRER SPORTS EDITOR (EASTLAKE, OH)- The Lake County Captains started the season 4-13 and had a miserable 0-7 start at home, the worst in franchise history. That was back in the middle of April, what a difference a few weeks make. The Great Lakes Loons came to town on Saturday afternoon holding down the wild card spot in the Midwest League's Eastern Division with a 20-15 record, they are now 20-16 as the Captains shot them down 6-4 in front of 2,808 at Classic Park. With the win the Captains improved to 16-19 overall and 6-10 at home.
After Captains starting pitcher Felix Sterling set the Loons down 1-2-3 in the top half of the first the Captains got things going right away in the bottom of the inning when Luigi Rodriguez reached first base safely on an error by Great Lakes shortstop Pedro Guererro. Robel Garcia followed Rodriguez and lined a double into left field and Rodriguez raced home with the game's first run giving the Captains the 1-0 lead.
The Captains added to their lead in the second inning when Jerrud Sabourin led the inning off by drawing a walk. Lake County then got three straight singles by Todd Hankins, Leonardo Castillo and Zach MacPhee. The single by MacPhee drove in two runs and gave Lake County a 3-0 lead. The two RBI by MacPhee were the first of his brief career. The inning ended with no further damage by the Captains.
The Captains took their largest lead of the game at 4-0 in the bottom of the third inning when Bryson Myles led off the inning by reaching first base on a throwing error by the shortstop. He then stole second, moved to third and came home on a wild pitch, putting the Captains ahead 4-0.
The Loons got on the board in the top of the fourth inning on a solo home run by O'Koyea Dickson. The homer was Dickson's second of the season and pulled the Loons to within three runs at 4-1. The Loon then added another run in the top of the seventh inning to make the score 4-2.
The Captains got a run back in the bottom of the seventh when Monsalve blasted his fourth home run of the season, putting the Captains ahead 5-2.
The Loons threatened in the top of the eighth inning scoring two more runs to pull to within one run at 5-4. Captains reliever Mason Radeke was able to close out the inning and keep the Captains in front by one run.
The captains added the final run of the game in the bottom of the inning when with one out Hankins reaches on an infield single. Hankins then moved to second base on a wild pitch by Loons reliever Matt Shelton. Hankins was on the move once again to third base when Castillo reached on an error by the third baseman Jesse Bosnik. After MacPhee popped out, Rodriguez came to the plate and reached base on another fielding error by Bosnik, and Hankins finally crossed the plate with the final run of the game, giving Lake County the 6-4 lead.
Radke pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close out the game. Sterling picked up the win for Lake County. With the win Sterling improves to 2-1 with a 2.81 ERA. Sterling pitched six innings, giving up only one run on three hits. He issued two base on balls and struck out four batters. Radeke pitched the final three innings and picked up his first save of the season. Jarret Martin took the loss for Great Lakes and falls to 2-2 on the year with a 3.07 ERA.
The Captains and Loons will play the second game of the four game series on Sunday at Classic Park at 1:00 p.m. Elivs Araujo will be on the mound for Lake County. Araujo is 0-4 with a 2.57 ERA. Jose Dominguez will be on the mound for the Loons. Dominguez is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA. email@example.com or follow Tim on Twitter @TimothyShirer POSTED 05/12/2012 21:21