(Eastlake, OH) - The Lake County Captains (16-23) needed a big hit to complete their biggest comeback of the season and Emmanuel Tapia delivered. The Captains trailed the West Michigan Whitecaps (26-14) 3-0 early, but trimmed the deficit to 3-2. Still down by a run in the eighth, Tapia blasted a two-run home run to centerfield, leading Lake County to a 4-3 win over the Whitecaps at Classic Park.
West Michigan scored early against Captains starter Juan Hillman. In the first inning, Hillman walked Jake Robson with two outs and then surrendered an RBI double to Blaise Salter. The next inning, Anthony Pereira worked a one-out walk and with two outs, Chad Sedio bounced a grounder to first that took a bad hop and skipped over Tapia. Pereira scored and Sedio landed on third with a triple. Danny Woodrow followed with an RBI single to give West Michigan a 3-0 advantage.
Hillman shut down the Whitecaps the rest of the way, holding West Michigan's offense scoreless for three straight innings before Tanner Tully took over in the sixth. Tully also shutout the Whitecaps, allowing the Captains to chip away at the deficit.
The Captains grabbed their first run in the fourth. Mitch Longo singled with two outs and Todd Isaacs blooped a double down the right field line. With Miguel Eladio at the plate, Anthony Castro, the previously stingy Whitecaps starter, uncorked a wild pitch that scored Longo from third.
Lake County rallied again against Castro in the seventh. Isaacs and Eladio hit back-to-back singles with one out. Jorma Rodriguez then hit a high chopper to Sedio and the Whitecaps forced out Isaacs at third base, but the Captains still had first and second with two outs. Trenton Brooks came through, singling to right field to score Eladio and pull the Captains within one run at 3-2. Brooks' single knocked Castro out of the game after 6.2 innings and lefty reliever Locke St. John got the last out of the frame, but the Captains got to St. John in the eighth.
Logan Ice led off the inning with a single through the left side and that brought Tapia to the plate. On the first pitch, Tapia skied a deep drive to centerfield. Danny Woodrow drifted back to the track and suddenly ran out of room. The centerfielder leaped, but the ball snuck over the wall and Tapia's team-leading eighth home run of the year put the Captains on top, 4-3.
Tully (2-2) shut the door in the ninth to seal the come-from-behind win for the Captains who have now won three games in a row. After Tully's one-two-three ninth inning, the left-hander picked up the win. He pitched four shutout innings and gave up just one hit. Tully hit one batter, walked one batter and struck out a pair.
St. John (1-2) suffered both a blown save and a loss. The West Michigan southpaw pitched 1.1 innings and allowed two runs, both on the Tapia homer. St. John gave up two hits, did not walk a batter and struck out two.
The Captains have taken the first game of the series against West Michigan and will take on the Whitecaps again on Friday. The Captains will have another Friday Fireworks Nights presented by Highland Springs after Friday's ballgame. Friday is also themed "Zombie Night." There is limited space available for a Zombie meet-and-greet with characters from AMC's Walking Dead. The meet-and-greet ticket also includes a 90-minute all-you-can-eat buffet from 5:30-7 PM. Pre-sale Zombie autographed photos can be purchased for $10. Friday's gates open at 5:00 PM and first pitch is at 6:30.
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). Full season tickets plans, 12-, 20-, and 35-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.