(Eastlake, OH) - The Lake County Captains (19-24, 46-66) broke their team home run and the West Michigan Whitecaps (30-12, 75-34) tied the Midwest League shutout record, as the two sides split a doubleheader on Sunday night at Classic Park. Lake County hit three homers in game one, en route to a 4-0 victory. West Michigan held Lake County to two hits in game two to defeat the Captains, 9-0.
Conner Capel blasted the 2017 Captains into the record books in the first inning. After Luke Wakamatsu hit a leadoff triple against Whitecaps starter Alfred Gutierrez, Capel drilled a long home run over the right field wall. The long ball was the 120th home run of the season for the Captains, breaking the record set by the 2014 club for the most home runs by a Captains team in a single season. Capel's home run gave Lake County a 2-0 lead, but the left fielder was not finished.
Gutierrez settled in after Capel's blast and Lake County's bats fell silent until the fifth inning. With two outs and nobody on in the fifth, Capel drilled a solo homer to give Lake County a 3-0 advantage. The blast gave Capel his second multi-homer game of the year and 18 home runs in 2017. Capel ranks second on the Captains in home runs to Emmanuel Tapia , who got in on the home run action, as well
Tapia capped the scoring with a line drive home run in the sixth. With one out and nobody aboard, Tapia slammed a screaming liner over the right field wall to give the Captains a 4-0 lead. Tapia's home run was his league-leading 25th of the year. He needs just three more home runs to tie the Captains' single-season record of 28, set in 2004 by Ryan Goleski.
Captains starter Sean Brady and reliever Henry Martinez shut the Whitecaps down to notch Lake County's fourth shutout of the year. Brady (1-0) earned the win with five shutout innings and only three hits allowed. The southpaw struck out four and did not walk a batter. Martinez picked up his third save with two scoreless frames, allowing one hit with two strikeouts and no walks.
Gutierrez (8-6) pitched all six frames and took the loss. The right-hander allowed four runs on seven hits, including three Captains homers. He did not walk a batter and struck out one.
West Michigan tied a Midwest League record by notching its 23rd shutout of the season. Locke St. John and Brandyn Sittinger combined to blank the Captains in a 9-0 victory to earn the doubleheader split.
St. John pitched four shutout innings before rain washed out the rest of his night. He held Lake County to two hits, both of which were singles and both in the first inning. St. John struck out three and walked one, but did not factor in the decision.
Sittinger (1-1) finished the game for the Whitecaps and maintained St. John's streak of hitless innings. The right-hander pitched three perfect innings and fanned six Captains batters out of the nine he faced to pick up the win in his second appearance with West Michigan.
West Michigan's offense started slow, but came on strong down the stretch. After a two-out RBI double in the first inning by Danny Pinero, West Michigan did not score again until the fifth. Anthony Pereira led off the inning with a solo homer and Captains starter Micah Miniard walked a pair with one out before Chad Sedio hit a two-out, three-run homer to push West Michigan's lead to 5-0.
After Sedio's homer, the rain fall at Classic Park that began at the start of the inning became too vicious for play to continue. A rain delay of one hour and 18 minutes ensued and the game finally resumed at 9:42 PM.
Cesar Ventura took the mound when the game continued and recorded the final out of the fifth. In the sixth, however, Ventura walked a pair and then gave up a one-out single to Dylan Burdeaux. Left fielder Michael Tinsley fumbled the ball, allowing Pinero to score to give the Whitecaps a 6-0 lead.
Pinero inflicted further damage on the Captains in the seventh. Ryan Colegate pitched the seventh for the Captains and gave up singles to Danny Woodrow and Cole Bauml before Pinero slammed a three-run homer to right-centerfield to give West Michigan a 9-0 advantage.
Miniard (4-10) took the loss. He allowed five runs on five hits over 4.2 innings of work. The right-hander struck out two, hit one batter and walked a pair.
West Michigan shut the Captains out for the second time in three games to tie the Midwest League single-season shutout record, set in 1974 by Quad Cities.
The Captains face the Whitecaps in the fourth game of their five-game series on Monday night. First pitch at Classic Park is scheduled for 7:00 PM.
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 2017 season are still available for great prices complete with several exclusive benefits. Information can be found at the Captains website www.captainsbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.