(Eastlake, OH) - The Lake County Captains (19-25, 46-67) let a 5-0 lead slip through their fingers and lost to the West Michigan Whitecaps (31-12, 75-34) in 10 innings on Monday night at Classic Park. After the Captains scored the first five runs of the game, West Michigan plated five unanswered runs, tying the game with a sacrifice fly in the ninth. The Whitecaps then scored four more unanswered runs in the 10th to beat Lake County, 9-5.
Lake County started strong and knocked Whitecaps starter Matt Manning out of the ballgame by the second inning. Miguel Eladio drove home the first two runs in the second inning when he hit a liner to right field and Cole Bauml whiffed on a diving attempt. Emmanuel Tapia and Logan Ice scored, while Eladio raced to third with a two-run triple. Later in the inning, Gabriel Mejia walked and Luke Wakamatsu laced a two-run double to right field that extended the Captains' lead to 4-0 and ousted Manning from the game just 1.2 innings into his Midwest League debut.
The Captains added an unearned run in the second against lefty reliever Trent Szkutnik. Ice and Michael Tinsley started a two-out rally with back-to-back singles and Jorma Rodriguez followed with a swinging bunt that dribbled down the third base line. Szkutnik's throw to first skipped off of first baseman Danny Pinero's glove and caromed into right field, allowing Ice to score and give the Captains a 5-0 advantage.
West Michigan slowly chipped away at the Captains' lead. Facing starter Zach Plesac in the fourth, Bauml doubled, Pinero singled and Isaac Paredes walked to load the bases with nobody out. Plesac, also pitching in his Midwest League debut, buckled down and got Anthony Pereira to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play. Bauml scored on the twin-killing, but Plesac then got Chad Sedio to fly out to right field for the final out of the inning. Plesac escaped the jam with just one run allowed and the Captains held on to a 5-1 lead.
The Whitecaps scored two runs in the fifth against right-hander Justin Garza . Drew Longley led off with a double and Zac Shepherd followed with a single. Derek Hill then singled home Longley to cut Lake County's lead to 5-2. Garza then got Danny Woodrow to hit into a 4-6-3 double play, but this double play also force home a run, as Shepherd touched home and the Captains' lead suddenly shrunk to 5-3.
Garza held the Whitecaps scoreless with one-two-three innings in both the sixth and seventh, but West Michigan struck again in the eighth and pulled within one run. Hill led off with a triple and scored two batters later on a ground out by Bauml. Just like that, Lake County's lead was shaved to one run.
Ryder Ryan came in from the Captains' bullpen to try to close the door in the ninth, but West Michigan knotted the score. Paredes led off with a single and Pereira followed with a double to put runners on second and third with nobody out. After Sedio grounded out to third, Longley hit a shallow fly ball near the left field line. Tinsley made the catch and Paredes tagged up from third. The game was on the line as Paredes raced for the plate carrying the tying run with two outs and the runner slid in safely ahead of the throw to even the score at 5-5.
The Captains threatened to walk off with a win in the bottom of the ninth, but came up short. Lefty reliever Evan Hill loaded the bases with two outs on three walks, but Tapia hit a harmless fly ball to left field to end the inning and send the ballgame to extra innings.
West Michigan erupted in the top of the 10th inning. Derek Hill worked a leadoff walk, stole second base and moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Woodrow. The Captains pulled the infield in and Bauml hit a grounder to Tapia. The first baseman fired to the plate, but Hill beat the throw to give West Michigan its first lead at 6-5.
Pinero followed Bauml bounced a grounder to shortstop. Wakamatsu made a sliding stop and attempted a glove-flip to Eladio at second, but the second baseman fumbled the baseball in an attempt to make a barehanded catch. With two men on and one out, Paredes drilled a three-run home run to right field to extend the Whitecaps' lead to 9-5.
Jake Shull shut the door with a perfect bottom of the 10th to seal the win for West Michigan. Evan Hill (1-0) earned the win in relief with 2.1 scoreless and hitless innings. He walked three and struck out four.
Ryan (3-4) suffered a blown save and the loss. The right-hander pitched 1.1 innings and allowed five runs, four of which were earned, on four hits. Ryan walked one and did not record a strikeout.
The Captains play the finale of a five-game series and the last game of a 23-game season-series against West Michigan on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for noon at Classic Park.
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.