(Bowling Green, KY) - The first pitch of Monday night's game proved to be the high point for the Lake County Captanis (7-4) in a 12-5 loss to the Bowling Green Hot Rods (6-6) at Bowling Green Ballpark. Jose Fermin turned around the first pitch of the night from Easton McGee for a leadoff home run, but the Hot Rods quickly responded with six runs in the bottom of the first and cruised to a victory in game one of a three-game series.
The Captains took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the first thanks to Fermin's second home run of the year, but Bowling Green came back with a vengeance against Lake County starter Luis Oviedo . After Oviedo got Michael Smith to fly out to right for the first out, Wander Franco walked, Ford Proctor singled and Connor Hollis laced a double down the left field line. Franco scored to tie the game and Proctor scored to give Bowling Green the lead when Will Benson committed a fielding error trying to corral the ball down the line. Oviedo then walked Grant Witherspoon and Chris Betts followed with a three-run homer to make it 5-1, Hot Rods.
After Osmy Gregorio lined out to second, Oviedo walked Jake Palomaki and was promptly pulled from the game after 2/3 of an inning. Zach Draper came in to relieve Oviedo and Bryce Brown greeted him with an RBI single that plated Palomaki to give Bowling Green a 6-1 lead. The Hot Rods sent 11 men to the plate in the first inning and scored six runs, all earned and all charged to Oviedo, on four hits and four walks.
Bowling Green added an insurance run in the second against Draper. Hollis reached with one out on an infield single and Witherspoon followed with a single of his own. Betts came up next and hit a grounder to second base, but the Captains could not turn an inning-ending double play. Hollis scored on the RBI fielder's choice to give Bowling Green a 7-1 advantage.
Benson pulled the Captains closer with one swing in the third. With Tyler Freeman on first and two outs, Benson drilled a two-run home run off the right-centerfield videoboard. Benson's second long ball of the year cut the Hot Rods' lead to 7-3.
The Hot Rods tacked on three unearned runs in the seventh against lefty Jake Miednik to expand their lead to 10-3. Betts led off with a fly ball just shy of the warning track in left-center and Quentin Holmes dropped the ball, allowing Betts to reach second. Palomaki later walked with one out and Smith ripped a two-run triple to center. Franco followed with an RBI single to left. None of the runs were earned as a result of the Holmes error.
The Captains got two runs back in the top of the eighth against lefty Steffon Moore. The reliever lost the strike zone and walked three of the four batters he faced in the inning. When fellow lefty Nick Sprengel came in to pitch, he got Josh Rolette to hit a grounder to deep shortstop, but Franco misplayed the ball and it scooted into left. Fermin and Benson scored to cut the Hot Rods' advantage to 10-5.
Bowling Green wrapped up the scoring in the bottom of the eighth with a pair of runs off or lefty Eli Lingos . Grant Witherspoon started the inning with a double and Betts followed with a single to right. Ruben Cardenas was getting ready to fire home for a play at the plate, but the ball went under his glove and rolled to the warning track. Witherspoon scored and Betts landed on third. Palomaki knocked him in with a sacrifice fly to center that made it 12-5, Hot Rods.
McGee (1-0) earned the win for Bowling Green after pitching five innings and allowing three runs on four hits. The right-hander struck out five and walked one.
Oviedo (2-1) suffered his first loss of the year for Lake County. The Captains' starter worked 2/3 of an inning and allowed six runs on three hits and three walks. He did not record a strikeout.
The Captains and Hot Rods play game two of their three-game series on Tuesday night. First pitch at Bowling Green Ballpark is scheduled for 7:35 p.m.
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.