Eastlake, OH: It was too little, too late for the South Bend Cubs on Thursday night from Classic Park in Eastlake, Ohio. The final score of 12-6 was not evident of just how dominant the Lake County Captains were in the first portion of game one.
Will Benson, the Cleveland Indians 2016 first round pick, had his best Midwest League game and hit four home runs to give the Captains a breakout lead of 11-1 through four innings. Benson led the Midwest League in home runs last year with 22, but he only hit .180.
He's back in 2019 with a vengeance and does not turn 21 until June 16. He's already up to six home runs on the year in 12 games along with a .341 average. Benson's home runs were against three separate South Bend pitchers. The starter Eury Ramos allowed two, in the 1st and the 3rd inning. That was followed by one belted off of Zach Mort in the 4th, and then Jeffrey Passantino in the 6th inning.
The only out Benson recorded was a strikeout swinging against Dalton Geekie. Despite the Cubs trailing at one point by a score of 12-1, they did not give up. They rallied with five runs in the final two innings to make it interesting at a 12-6 score.
Jonathan Sierra continued his red hot stretch and increased his hitting streak to 12 games with a double in the top of the 8th inning. Christopher Morel belted his first Midwest League home run. For Morel, who swings as hard as anyone on the team, it was just a matter of time for his first round tripper.
Overall, the 19-year-old Morel went 2/4 with a couple of RBI along with two runs scored. The Cubs will hope to build on the late rally as they go into game two against Lake County tomorrow night.
First pitch from Classic Park is set for 6:30 PM. Right hander Riley Thompson will take the baseball for the Cubs.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.