Captains Snap Losing Skid with Comeback Effort
(Eastlake, OH) - After suffering five straight losses, the Lake County Captains (15-13) got back in the win column with a 9-3 win over the Kane County Cougars (17-12) on Saturday night at Classic Park. The Captains fell behind early after the Cougars scored three runs in the first, but Lake County surged ahead with nine unanswered runs to capture the win.
Captains starter Juan Mota earned his first win of the season, but had to battle back from an early deficit. In the top of the first inning, Mota issued a one-out walk to Geraldo Perdomo and allowed a towering, two-run home run to left-center, courtesy of Buddy Kennedy, to give Kane County a 2-0 lead. Following the home run, Alek Thomas doubled and scored on an infield single by Blaze Alexander to push the Cougars' lead to 3-0.
Mota quickly recovered and put the Captains in a position to come back. The right-hander put the first inning behind him and spun four scoreless innings, in which he allowed one hit and faced the minimum.
The Lake County offense rewarded Mota's resilience by chipping away at the Kane County lead. In the bottom of the first, Cougars starter Levi Kelly walked the first two batters and the Captains caught a break when a two-out error by Perdomo at shortstop extended the inning and loaded the bases. Miguel Jerez drew a walk to force home Quentin Holmes from third and put the Captains on the board. Tyler Freeman further cut into the Cougars' lead when he led off the bottom of the third with a rocket shot over the right field wall to make it 3-2.
Kane County maintained its slim lead until the bottom of the fifth, when the Captains climbed ahead. Reliever Eric Baldwin hit Freeman with a pitch to start things off and Will Benson slammed a double to deep left center field, scoring Freeman from first base to tie the game at 3-3. Benson then swiped third base and scored the go-ahead run when Ruben Cardenas grounded out to the shortstop. The two-run inning gave the Captains' their first lead of the game at 4-3.
The Captains tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the sixth. After Berardi hit a leadoff double deep into the left field corner, Connor Smith knocked him in with an RBI single up the middle and Thomas misplayed the ball in center. Smith raced all the way to to third due to the fielding error and later scored on a ground out by Freeman. Holmes helped push the lead to 7-3 when he walked, stole second, moved to third on the Freeman ground out and came home on a wild pitch.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Captains added their final two insurance runs. Freeman began the rally with a one-out double down the left field line and Benson worked a walk. With runners on first and second, Mitch Reeves stepped into the batter's box and delivered with a RBI single to plate Freeman. After a wild pitch moved Benson to third and Reeves to second, Cardenas hit a sacrifice fly to score Benson and extend the Captains' lead to 9-3.
Mota and Thomas Ponticelli propped up the offensive performance with lights-out pitching, as the pair combined to blank Kane County over the final eight innings. After Mota completed his five frames, Ponticelli closed out the win with four scoreless innings of his own to earn his second save of the year. Ponticelli allowed just two hits, struck out one and did not issue a walk.
Mota (1-4) picked his first victory of the season after allowing three runs in five innings of work. The right-hander surrendered four hits, walked one and struck out four.
Baldwin (0-1) suffered the loss. The right-handed reliever gave up five runs, four earned, over three innings. He allowed six hits, walked one, hit a batter and struck out one.
The Captains are back in action Sunday afternoon against the Cougars to wrap up their three-game series. First pitch at Classic Park is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
Individual game tickets for all Captains games are on sale at the Classic Park box office, online at captainsbaseball.com and by phone at 440-954-WINS (9467). Mini ticket plans for the 2019 season are still available for great prices complete with several exclusive benefits. Information can be found at the Captain's website www.captainsbaseball.com.
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