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Valera Keys Another Captains Comeback

June 18, 2021 - High-A Central League (High-A Central) - Lake County Captains News Release


(Eastlake, OH) - The Lake County Captains (22-18) scored nine unanswered runs to beat the West Michigan Whitecaps (19-20) on Friday night at Classic Park. The 9-4 victory extended the Captains' winning streak to a season-high-tying four games.

Two home runs powered the Whitecaps into the lead early. After Captains starter Tanner Burns walked Wenceel Perez with one out in the second inning, Rey Rivera connected with a two-run shot off the right field batting cage building. Daniel Cabrera hit a solo homer off the center field batter's eye the following inning against reliever Kevin Coulter to push the Whitecaps' lead to 3-0.

George Valera began a three-hit night with a homer in the fourth inning to put the Captains on the board. Whitecaps starter Sandel De La Cruz walked Bryan Lavastida with one out and West Michigan called on Zac Shepherd to come in from the bullpen. Valera was the first to face Shepherd and blasted a two-run home run off the roof of the right field batting cage building to cut West Michigan's lead to 3-2.

The Captains came back to take the lead in the fifth. Lake County put men on second and third with one out, thanks to a Quentin Holmes bunt single and Will Brennan's league-leading 16th double of the season. Brayan Rocchio then slammed a two-run single to right to put the Captains ahead, 4-3.

Lake County tacked on two more runs in the sixth. José Tena led off with a single and Raynel Delgado walked to put men on first and second with nobody out. Joe Naranjo then scorched a two-run double to the right-centerfield wall to give the Captains a 6-3 lead.

A leadoff single by Valera started another rally for the Captains in the seventh. With one out, Delgado singled to put runners on the corners. That brought Naranjo to the plate. Delgado took off on the pitch and Naranjo hit a bouncing ball that deflected off of Delgado racing toward second. Naranjo was safe at first, but Delgado was called out on runner's interference. With two outs, a wild pitch allowed Valera to score and moved Naranjo to second base. Victor Nova followed with a line drive to center field that bounced off of Eric De La Rose and ricocheted into right field. Nova reached second for a double and Naranjo scored to make the score 8-3, Captains.

Lavastida keyed a two-out rally in the eighth when he pulled a double that snuck down the left field line. That brought Valera to the dish and he smoked a ground ball past Rivera at first. The back-to-back doubles scored Lavastida and stretched the Captains' lead to 9-3.

West Michigan did not go quietly in the ninth. With two outs, Corey Joyce hit a pop up to left field that Nova dropped, as he charged toward the infield. Joyce came around to score on a double by Cole McLaren to make the score 9-4, Captains.

Kevin Coulter (3-3) tossed four innings in relief for the Captains to earn the win. He struck out seven and surrendered one run on two hits and one walk.

Zac Shepherd (4-1) took the loss for the Whitecaps. He allowed five runs in 1.2 innings on seven hits.

Alec Wisely (1) earned the save for the Captains with three innings to finish the game. He gave up just one unearned run, thanks to the dropped fly ball in left field with two outs in the ninth.

Eric Mock gets the start for the Captains in game five against the West Michigan Whitecaps. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. at Classic Park.


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