Captains halt losing skid with much needed 8-5 win
EASTLAKE – The Lake County Captains halted a three-game skid as they defeated the Dayton Dragons 8-5 on Friday night.
Right-hander D.J. Brown (2-4, 2.88) made his first professional start for the Captains in opposition of Dayton righty Sal Romano (7-9, 4.66). Brown, who is typically a reliever, was deserving of the win on Friday, but the Lake County bullpen struggled to maintain a consistent lead.
The Captains struck first as they scored one in the first inning. Centerfielder LeVon Washington sent a triple just fair down the right field line and scored on a one-out groundout by catcher Eric Haase for the 1-0 advantage.
Three more touched the dish for Lake County in the third. Left fielder Nick Hamilton drew a lead-off walk and Washington laced his second hit of the evening with a double. Paulino followed with a single to score Hamilton before Haase tapped a weak ground ball to the third baseman, who couldn’t pick the ball up to make the play and allowed Washington to score. One more run scored as designated hitter Richard Stock singled to right to plate Paulino, boosting the Captains to the 4-0 lead.
The Dragons followed the Captains’ pattern as they scored one run in the fifth, followed by three in the sixth. Shortstop Zach Vincej tripled to deep center and scored on a single by second baseman Sammy Diaz to put the Dragons on the board.
Reliever Anderson Polanco replaced Brown to start the sixth, ending Brown’s line at five innings pitched, surrendering one run on five hits, two walks and four strikeouts. Polanco failed to preserve the lead for Brown as he allowed the Dragons to tie the game. The rally commenced with a walk by first baseman Seth Mejias-Brean and a single by left fielder Daniel Pigott. Both runners scored on a triple by centerfielder Beau Amaral, who trotted home on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Tanner Rahier to level the score at 4-4.
The Captains refused to sink as they charged ahead again in their share of the sixth. Third baseman Joe Sever and Stock lined a pair of back-to-back singles and advanced as right fielder Cody Ferrell laid down a sacrifice bunt. A walk to second baseman Zack MacPhee loaded the bases and ended the evening for Romano as he was replaced with reliever Joel Bender. First baseman Leo Castillo greeted Bender with a single that scored Sever before Stock was struck down at the dish. Hamilton came through with a single to center to plate MacPhee, putting the Captains ahead 6-4.
Dayton came within one as designated hitter Brent Peterson doubled and scored on a single by right fielder Jon Matthews. The Captains refused to back down though, and two more touched home in the eighth on Dayton reliever Abel De Los Santos. Stock was plunked by a pitch and took second on a wild pitch before Ferrell drew a walk. MacPhee laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners, setting the table for Castillo again. Castillo sent a sacrifice fly to center to score Stock, but Ferrell came home too on a throwing error, giving the Captains the 8-5 advantage. That was all Grant Sides needed as he tossed a zero on the board for the ninth, preserving the Captains with the win to snap the three-game losing streak.
Captains’ manager Scooter Tucker was pleased with Brown’s outing, despite some calls not taking his favor.
“His slider was better than his breaking ball,” Tucker said. “There were a lot of close pitches that could have made it an even better outing. Sometimes those didn’t go his way and he got a little frustrated, but I liked the way he competed.”
Next, the Captains hit the road for a four-game series with the West Michigan Whitecaps. Right-hander Jake Sisco (4-10, 4.67) is scheduled to start for the Captains against Whitecaps’ righty Edgar De La Rosa (7-6, 5.87).
Stephanie is a crime and general assignment reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio. She’s an alumna of Cleveland State University with a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication. You can follow her on Twitter @7thInningSteph.