(Eastlake, OH) - There was seemingly nothing the Lake County Captains (9-10, 36-52) could do to stop Kramer Robertson on Wednesday night. Robertson hit his first two professional home runs as part of a four-hit performance and carried the Peoria Chiefs (12-8, 42-47) to a 10-3 victory over the Captains at Dozer Park.
Robertson put the Chiefs on the board first in the third inning. Playing in just his fifth professional game, Robertson socked his first pro home run high over the left field wall. The solo blast gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead.
After helping Peoria out with his bat in the third, Robertson showed off his defense in the fourth, along with first baseman Stefan Trosclair. With Li-Jen Chu on first and nobody out, Conner Capel hit a hot shot grounder to first. Trosclair stepped on first base and threw to second where Robertson tagged out Chu for the double play. The very next batter, Junior Soto, slammed a grounder up the middle. Robertson made a diving stop and threw in the dirt to first, but Trosclair made the pick for the third out.
Robertson again made a sterling defensive play in the fifth. The Captains had Jose Vicente on first base with two outs and the Chiefs still leading, 1-0, when Luke Wakamatsu hit a hard line drive into the left field corner. Vince Jackson picked up the ball and fired to Robertson who then threw out Vicente trying to score all the way from first.
The Captains recovered and took the lead in the sixth inning. Logan Ice led off the sixth with an infield single and Mitch Longo followed by roping a double to the gap in right-centerfield. Ice scored easily all the way from first and the Captains tied the game at 1-1. Chiefs starter Ian Oxnevad then retired the next two batters, but Soto came up next and pounded a two-run homer to left field that gave Lake County the lead at 3-1.
Peoria took over after the sixth. Captains starter Luis Jimenez had blanked the Chiefs in the first five innings, but loaded the bases with nobody out on a hit-batsman, a single and a walk. The Captains called on Luke Eubank to relieve Jimenez and face Brian O'Keefe. The Chiefs' catcher hit a grounder to shortstop and Wakamatsu bobbled the ball, allowing Trosclair to score from third on the error. Juan Yepez then hit an RBI infield single that plated Jackson with the tying run to even the score at 3-3.
Robertson's powerful bat struck again in the seventh to put Peoria ahead. Facing Justin Garza with a man on and nobody out Robertson cranked a two-run homer to left field. His second home run of the game and of his professional career gave the Chiefs a 5-3 lead. Ryan McCarvel hit a solo home run later in the inning to put Peoria up, 6-3.
The eighth inning proved disastrous for Lake County and the Chiefs put the game out of reach. Garza walked a pair and was pulled from the game with two outs in the frame and Ryan Colegate entered. Robertson was the first to face Colegate and he rolled an infield single to load the bases with his fourth hit of the day. Colegate then walked Trosclair, Jackson and McCarvel in order to force home three runs. O'Keefe then hit an RBI infield single that gave the Chiefs a 10-3 advantage.
Despite the loss, the Captains turned in a few brilliant defensive plays, two of which were by Alexis Pantoja. In the first inning, Robertson singled and was on first base when Trosclair hit a foul pop up on the third base side. Pantoja climbed the railing and made the catch, but then saw that Robertson had tagged up and started to lean toward second base. Pantoja fired a strike across the diamond and Robertson stumbled to get back to the bag. Vicente slapped the tag on Robertson for the second out in an unconventional double play.
Pantoja made another slick play in the second to rob Yepez of a hit. Yepez hit a hard grounder down the third base line and Pantoja made a sliding stop. The third baseman whipped a high throw to first, but Vicente jumped up, made the catch and tagged Yepez for the out.
Wakamatsu turned in the Captains' other defensive gem on Wednesday. With the game tied at 3-3 in the sixth, the Chiefs had the bases loaded with one out. Wakamatsu made a diving stop on a sharp grounder up the middle by O'Keefe, used his glove to flip the ball to Miguel Eladio at second and Eladio fired to first to turn an inning-ending double play and keep the game tied.
Chiefs reliever Ronnie Williams took home the victory. Williams (3-4) pitched 1.2 shutout innings out of the bullpen. He allowed one hit, walked one and struck out three.
Lefty Dewin Perez nailed down the final four outs for his second save of the year. The southpaw came in with runners on first and second in the eighth when the Chiefs were only leading by three runs. O'Keefe picked Longo off of second for the final out of the eighth and Perez pitched a relatively clean ninth to end the game. He struck out two, walked one and did not allow a hit.
Garza (2-4) suffered the loss. The right-hander pitched 1.2 innings and allowed five runs on four hits. He struck out two and walked one.
Lake County dropped the first game of its three-game series in Peoria and the opener of a six-game road trip. The Captains take on Peoria again on Thursday night. First pitch at Dozer Park is scheduled for 8:00 PM EST.
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). 12- and 20-game mini ticket plans for the 2017 season are on sale now at 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.