The Captains were behind the eight ball early as they welcomed back the Great Lakes Loons and continued their series at Classic Park on Aug. 5. But two late solo home runs tied it up and sent the game to extra innings for the second straight night.
However, Gabriel Rodriguez made sure that the script was flipped compared to the other extra-inning finish in the series. He hit a sacrifice fly to right field, which allowed Joe Naranjo to tag from third for the winning run in a 6-5 victory.
“I was really trying to elevate it there and do everything that I could to prevent a ground ball into a double play,” said Rodriguez. “I knew that if I elevated it, that would give Joe plenty of time to tag up for a chance at a win.”
— Ben Hercik (@BHercikNH) August 6, 2022
Lake County (53-45) saw another home run by the Loons, this time courtesy of Eddys Leonard in the first. Great Lakes added to its lead in the second with a dropped fielder’s choice, which scored Jose Ramos.
It was a rough start for Doug Nikhazy. Outside of the home run in the first, the lefty struck out the other three batters he faced. But that was the high note for the pitching.
In 4 1/3 innings, Nikhazy managed five strikeouts, gave up four hits and walked six batters, and the Loons made him pay for that.
PHOTOS: Captains vs. Great Lakes, Aug. 5, 2022
With back-to-back walks to open the fourth, Austin Gauthier sent a double to right that allowed Ramos to score from third. Two batters later, the Loons recorded another double this time by Harold Restituyo that drove in Gauthier.
But the Captains didn’t go away quietly. In the bottom of the fourth, the Captains got on the scoreboard thanks to a single by Milan Tolentino, which scored Johnathan Rodriguez. Then with the bases loaded, Korey Holland danced with the idea of a grand slam but had to settle for a two-run double that trimmed the lead to two runs.
Even though Lake County had trimmed into the lead, the Captains felt like they had some questionable calls. Tempers for both Tolentino and Captains manager Greg DiCenzo boiled over in the sixth as both were ejected after the bottom half of the frame.
After their manager and starting third basemen were tossed, the Captains’ bats found their swings. Alexfri Planez sent a solo shot to left-center in the seventh that trimmed the lead to one. After a silent eighth inning, the Captains were down to their final three outs.
Mike Amditis led off the ninth with a shot to straightaway center field that tied the game to send us to extra innings. Even though Great Lakes got runners to second and third, Jordan Jones recorded two straight punch-outs that sent the game to the home half of the inning.
After an intentional walk by Planez and a single by Halpin, Rodriguez came up to the plate.
On Aug. 2, Rodriguez sent a solo home run to left field to clinch the game. Even though his sac fly was to the opposite side of the field, he knew that it was good to win the game.
“He threw me something off speed and I knew that was what I wanted,” said Rodriguez. “To get something over the plate in that type of situation was perfect and I knew I needed to get a hold of it. It’s a great feeling to be able to help the team get a win and against a good team like Great Lakes that makes it even sweeter.”
The series continues on Aug. 6 as the Captains look to right the ship in the series after three straight defeats. Lake County sends Jack Leftwich (2-0, 2.20 ERA) to the mound to go against Ben Casparius (1-1, 6.18) on Cleveland Sports History Night. First pitch is scheduled for 7 pm