(Eastlake, OH) - The Lake County Captains (9-10, 38-51) jumped on the West Michigan Whitecaps (9-10, 45-44) early on Monday and never looked back. The Captains scored six runs in the first inning and, thanks in part to six West Michigan errors, stormed to their third straight victory and a series win with a 10-6 triumph over the Whitecaps at Classic Park.
West Michigan took an early lead in the top of the first. Brady Policelli led off with a single and Brock Deatherage singled with one out. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third with one out, but Gregori Vasquez nearly escaped. The Captains' starter struck out Reynaldo Rivera and worked the count to 2-2 on Jordan Pearce. Pearce, however, doubled past the diving glove of first baseman Jonathan Laureano . Policelli and Deatherage scored to give the Whitecaps a 2-0 advantage, but that lead was short-lived.
In the bottom of the first, Todd Isaacs led off with a double and Jesse Berardi worked a walk. Elvis Perez followed with a double that brought home Isaacs and cut the Whitecaps' lead in half. Whitecaps starter Dane Myers still had not recorded an out when a messy play gave the Captains a 3-2 lead. Nolan Jones smoked a line-drive single to right-center, allowing Berardi to score to tie the game. Perez advanced to third and was about to stop there, but Policelli misplayed the ball in right and Perez came home to put the Captains in front. Policelli then directed the throw to third, but his heave was wild and Jones hustled to third base. Pearce played the carom off the dugout and fired to first baseman Rivera who had come over to cover third, but his throw was wide. Jones might have scored on another throwing error if the ball did not hit base umpire Steven Jaschinski.
After Myers struck out Laureano for the first out, Will Benson worked a walk and one big swing gave hung a crooked number on the bottom of the first. Joshua Rolette hammered a three-run homer to right-center, giving the Captains a 6-2 lead. Lefty Felix Viloria relieved Myers with two outs in the inning and mercifully ended the first by picking off Gabriel Mejia .
The Captains added to their lead in the second inning. Isaacs led off with an infield single and Berardi followed with a single to right that moved Isaacs to third. The Whitecaps caught a break when Perez, the next batter, grounded to third and Pearce caught Isaacs in a rundown. The runner was retired between third and home for the first out, but Berardi hustled to third on the play and Perez advanced to second. After Jones walked to load the bases, Laureano reached on an infield single and Berardi came home to extend the Captains' advantage to 7-2.
The Whitecaps used another two-run, two-out hit in the fourth to pull closer. Rivera led off with a walk and Vasquez hit Kody Clemens with one out. Vasquez then retired Dylan Rosa on a fly out to right, but a passed ball moved Rivera to third and Clemens to second. Chris Proctor then came through with a looping base hit down the left field line. The single scored both Rivera and Clemens to trim Lake County's lead to 7-4.
Lake County responded in a hurry. In the bottom of the fourth, Nolan Jones blasted a solo homer to left-center. His 11th home run of the year pushed the Captains' lead to 8-4. The Captains almost scored an insurance run thanks to the Whitecaps' third error, but a great throw ended that threat. Following Jones' homer, Laureano hit a bouncer back to the mound, but Viloria fired the ball wide of first and Laureano made it all the way to third. Benson came up next and flied out to right field. Laureano tried to tag up and score, but Policelli threw a one-hopper on the money to the plate and Proctor tagged out the sliding runner to end the inning.
The Captains scored two runs in the seventh on the strength of two more Whitecaps errors. Miguel Eladio reached on a ball that squeaked through shortstop Anthony Pereira's legs and then moved to second on a wild pitch by right-hander Endrys Briceno. Mejia came up next and slapped a liner down the left field line. Eladio scored from second easily and, when Rosa mishandled the ball in the West Michigan bullpen, Mejia hustled to third. Mejia was credited with an RBI double and advanced to third on the Whitecaps' sixth error of the night. Later in the inning, Briceno hit Berardi with a pitch and Perez walked to load the bases. Jones then hit a sacrifice fly to center to bring home Mejia and push the Captains' lead to 10-4.
West Michigan scored a run each in the eighth and ninth. With Luis Jimenez on the mound in the eighth, Brock Deatherage smacked a triple to the gap in left-center. Rivera then hit a sacrifice fly to center. In the ninth, Riley Echols issued a two-out walk to Proctor and Pereira doubled him home. Echols then struck out Policelli swinging to end the game.
Jones, Rolette and Mejia highlighted a Captains offense that included five multi-hit games. Jones went 3-for-3 with a home run, a game-high-tying three RBI, two runs scored and a walk. Rolette also homered and drove in three runs in a 2-for-4 performance. Mejia reached four out of five times in a 2-for-3 game with a double, an RBI, a run and two walks.
Vasquez (3-4) picked up the win for Lake County. He pitched five innings and held the Whitecaps to four runs - three earned - on five hits. Vasquez struck out six, walked one batter and hit one.
Myers (3-2) took the loss for West Michigan. The right-hander lasted 2/3 of an inning and gave up six runs on five hits. He struck out one and walked a pair.
The Captains won three games in a row for the first time since mid-June and also won their first series of the second half. After a day off on Tuesday, the Captains begin a six-game road trip with three games against the Peoria Chiefs. Game one is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday night at Dozer Park.
Information about Classic Park or the Captains can be found online at www.captainsbaseball.com and by phone at 440-954-WINS (9467). Affordable ticket packages and group party and picnic options are available now.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.