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Captains' late rally comes up short

September 4, 2021

(South Bend, IN) – The Lake County Captains (57-50) loaded the bases in the ninth inning with nobody out but could only muster one run in a 6-3 loss to the South Bend Cubs (48-58) on Saturday night at Four Winds Field.

(South Bend, IN) – The Lake County Captains (57-50) loaded the bases in the ninth inning with nobody out but could only muster one run in a 6-3 loss to the South Bend Cubs (48-58) on Saturday night at Four Winds Field.

Lake County scored the first run for the fifth time in the series. Christian Cairo led off with a smash to shortstop that was bobbled by Luis Vazquez, causing him to rush his throw to first which was wide allowing Cairo to reach on an error. Joe Naranjo followed with a single off the end of the bat to center field, then both Captains base runners advanced on a wild pitch. Jhonkensy Noel drove in the first run of the game when he grounded out to second base, sending Cairo across home plate for a 1-0 lead.

Bryce Windham led off the third for the Cubs with a walk. Vazquez got hit by a pitch to put two on base. After a strikeout Tyler Durna walked to load the bases for the Cubs. A wild pitch brought home the first run of the game for South Bend to even the score 1-1 but could not take the lead, stranding two in scoring position.

The Cubs took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. Jake Slaughter led off with a soft grounder through the right side and Yonathan Perlaza followed with a dunk single to right-center. After a sacrifice bunt by Pablo Aliendo moved the runners up to second and third, Captains starter Daniel Espino and catcher Joe Donovan got crossed up. Espino fired a pitch that ricocheted off Donovan’s helmet and caromed over the netting behind home. The passed ball scored Slaughter from third to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead. After Espino walked Windham, Espino balked home Perlaza. Luis Vazquez later hit a check-swing single up the middle to score Windham. The three-run frame gave South Bend a 4-1 lead.

M**icah Pries** pulled the Captains one run closer in the sixth. The Cubs made a call to the bullpen and brought in right-hander Tyler Santana to relieve lefty starter DJ Herz. Pries was the first man to face Santana and he took the southpaw out of the yard with a leadoff homer to left-center. The long ball cut the Cubs’ lead to 4-2.

Back to back walks from Slaughter and Perlaza sparked another rally in the eighth for South Bend. Aliendo moved them up with his second sacrifice bunt of the game. With the infield drawn in, Windham hit a slow ground ball to second base, and by the time Peralta fielded the ball it was too late to get Slaughter charging home as he scored for the Cubs. Peralta took the out at first for the second out of the inning. Luis Vazquez came through with Perlaza on third base with a single to right field that extended the Cubs lead to 6-2.

Lake County stormed back in the ninth. Three consecutive walks to Julian Escobedo, pinch hitter José Tena, and Wilfri Peralta loaded the bases. With nobody out a wild pitch brought in Escobedo to make the score 6-3, Cubs. Johnathan Rodriguez stepped to the plate as another Captains pinch hitter and he drew the fourth straight walk to reload the bases. Cairo popped out to right field for the first out and Naranjo went down swinging for the second out and Noel ripped a grounder to shortstop for a fielder’s choice to end the game.

DJ Herz (1-0) earned the win in his High-A debut. He allowed one unearned run over five innings on three hits, two walks with eight strikeouts.

Espino (1-6) took the loss on the mound for the Captains. The Cubs struck for four runs over 3.2 innings on five hits, three walks and five strikeouts.

Bailey Reid (1) earned the save for South Bend. He entered the game with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth and induced the fielder’s choice off of Noel’s bat to hold the Cubs lead.

M**ason Hickman** is on the mound for the series finale on Sunday. First pitch between the Captains and Cubs is set for 7:05 at Four Winds Field.

A**bout the Captains**

The Lake County Captains are the High-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. For more information, visit the Captains’ website at, Facebook page at, Twitter @LCCaptains and Instagram @LCCaptains. Fans can also get the latest Captains news and offers by signing up for the Captains’ newsletter, The Anchor.