(Eastlake, OH) - For the 10th time in the 2018 season, the Lake County Captains (24-31, 53-72) captured a walk-off win and for the third time, the walk-off hit came off the bat of Todd Isaacs . Isaacs' game-winning single in the 10th lifted the Captains to a 5-4 victory over the West Michigan Whitecaps (26-29, 62-63) and completed Lake County's comeback from a 4-0 deficit.
The Whitecaps scored all of their runs in the top of the fourth. Captains starter Francisco Perez held West Michigan scoreless and surrendered just one hit over the first three frames, but Wenceel Perez led off the fourth with a double and John Valente hit an infield single to put men on first and second with nobody out. With Brady Policelli at the plate, Perez took off for third base and Josh Rolette fired his throw wide. Third baseman Erlin Cerda dove over the runner and made the catch to save the ball from going into left field, but came down awkwardly and had to leave the game due to injury. Elvis Perez moved over to third base from shortstop and Miguel Eladio entered the game at short, as the inning continued.
Policelli struck out, but Dylan Rosa worked a walk to load the bases for Colby Bortles. The Whitecaps' third baseman roped a line drive up the middle that just got past the diving glove of Captains second baseman Richard Palacios and bounced into centerfield. Two runs scored to give West Michigan the 2-0 lead. Luke Sherley came up next and bunted through a pitch, but Rolette mishandled the ball. Rosa moved to third and Bortles to second on the passed ball. A wild pitch then scored Rosa and advanced Bortles to third. Sherley hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to extend the Whitecaps' lead to 4-0. Four of the three runs were earned against Perez because of the passed ball.
The Captains scored one run in four straight innings to claw back. Palacios gave the Captains their first run with a solo homer in the fifth. Palacios' first Lake County home run and his fifth in his young pro career cut the Whitecaps' lead to 4-1. Will Benson led off the sixth with a walk and scored when Rolette slammed a double off the base of the right-centerfield wall. Benson scored all the way from first, just beating the relay throw from second baseman John Valente to trim the deficit to 4-2.
Lake County looked poised to come all the way back in the seventh. Perez worked a leadoff walk and Whitecaps reliever Endrys Briceno hit Isaacs with a pitch. Isaacs went down and looked like he might come out of the game, but remained in and went to first. Palacios then singled to center to load the bases. Eladio came up next and hit a grounder to second base and the Whitecaps turned a quick 4-6-3 double play. Perez scored to cut the Whitecaps' lead to one run, but Briceno struck out Benson to leave the Captains with just one run to show for their bases-loaded rally.
Jose Vicente ignited a two-out rally in the eighth when it looked like the Captains were cooked. Briceno struck out Oscar Gonzalez and Rolette to start the inning before getting ahead of Vicente with two quick strikes. Vicente then lofted a flare off his hands and down the left field line for a single. Jesse Berardi followed with a single to right to put runners on the corners and Perez slammed a ground ball single up the middle. Vicente trotted home to tie the score at 4-4.
Lake County threatened in the bottom of the ninth, but could not push the winning run across. Palacios led off with a single, his third hit of the game, and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Eladio. The Whitecaps intentionally walked Benson and Gonzalez bounced out to first, moving Benson to second and Palacios to third. West Michigan intentionally walked Rolette to load the bases, but Billy Lescher struck out Vicente looking to end the inning and send the game to extra frames.
Jonathan Teaney escaped trouble in the top of the 10th to keep the game tied. The right-hander entered with Sherley on second base, as the Whitecaps' free runner. Teaney struck out Reynaldo Rivera swinging and got Chris Proctor to bounce to second base, but Sherley moved up to third. Teaney then walked Reece Hampton, but got Perez to bounce out to second for the final out of the inning.
Vicente began the bottom of the 10th inning on second base as the Captains' free runner, but Lescher came out of the gates firing. He struck out Berardi looking and got Perez to sky to right for out number two. That brought Isaacs to the plate with Vicente still on second. Isaacs attacked the first pitch and fouled it back for strike one. Lescher then fired two enticing pitches low and away, but Isaacs let them pass. On the 2-1 pitch, Isaacs roped a line drive down the left field line. Vicente scored easily from second and the Captains won, 5-4.
The win was the Captains' first walk-off victory since June 29. It was Isaacs' third walk-off hit and the fifth time he has contributed either a walk-off hit or walk-off run this year. Isaacs also scored the winning run in the Captains' only other walk-off victory over West Michigan this season. The Captains won that game on a walk-off passed ball on April 23.
Teaney (2-3) earned the win by pitching a scoreless 10th. The right-hander struck out one, walked one and did not surrender a hit.
Lescher (2-1) suffered his first blown save of the year and a loss. He pitched two innings and allowed one unearned run on three hits. Lescher walked two and struck out three.
The Captains have won three in a row and climbed back to within 2.5 games of the Great Lakes Loons for the Wild Card. Lake County has clinched a series win over West Michigan and will go for the sweep on Monday night. First pitch at Classic Park is scheduled for 7:00 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.