Captains Sweep Series While Aeros Return Home Facing Elimination
By Mike Brandyberry
Captains Sweep Series, Advance to Play Fort Wayne Saturday; Captains 5, Hot Rods 4
Same score, same result, much different route to success.
The Captains traveled to Bowling Green, Kentucky, Thursday night and defeated the Hot Rods 5-4 to win the quarterfinal Midwest League series. The score was the same as Wednesday’s game in Lake County, but this time the bullpen could not hold the lead and the Captains would win on a wild pitch in extra innings. The Captains will advance to play Fort Wayne in the best-of-three semifinal series on Saturday.
Lake County took the early lead in the top of the first inning when after an out was recorded, Francisco Lindor tripled past the diving Hot Rods third baseman Tyler Goeddel and all the way to the wall. After Lindor motored into third base he was able to score on Jordan Smith’s ground ball to shortstop and give the Captains the 1-0 lead.
The Captains tallied two more runs in the top of the second inning when Bryson Myles hit a fly ball to centerfield, but Todd Glaesman lost the ball in the lights and turned a routine fly ball into a leadoff double. Tyler Naquin was hit by a pitch to put two runners on. When Alex Lavisky tried to sacrifice bunt the runners to scoring position, his bunt stopped directly on the chalk and everyone was safe with the bases loaded and no one out.
After Leonardo Castillo struck out, Jose Ramirez singled to centerfield, scoring Myles and Naquin to give the Captains a 3-0 lead. Lindor grounded out to move both runners to scoring position, but Smith could not get the big hit to blow the game open.
Meanwhile Captains starter Mason Radeke motored through the first two innings, striking out five hitters. However, after retiring the first two outs in the third inning Radeke allowed a single to Glaesman and a two-run home run to Jeff Malm to cut the lead to 3-2, Captains.
Lake County answered right back with a run in the top half of the fourth inning when Jose Ramirez doubled down the right field line with one out and Smith singled him home with two outs. The RBI-single B. Smith chased Hot Rods’ starter Ryan Carpenter from the game. It was the second straight night a Bowling Green starter did not survive the fourth inning. Carpenter allowed four runs on seven hits, a walk and a hit by pitch while striking out six. He was relieved by Andrew Bellatti who struck out Jerrud Sabourin to end the inning and keep the Captains’ lead at 4-2.
Juniel Querecuto tried to scrape the Hot Rods closer in the fourth inning when he led off the inning with a base hit and Kes Carter bunted for a base hit to put two on and no one out. Jake Hager flew out to centerfield to end Radeke’s night. Louis Head relieved Radeke and got Drew Vettleson to ground to first, but Sabourin threw home to cut down Querecuto for the second out. Head then retired Glaesman to end the inning.
Radeke started strong, but had to elude trouble in every inning except the first. When the book closed he only allowed two runs, but surrendered nine hits. He did not walk a hitter and struck out six.
Head pitched well, taking over in the fourth and pitching the Captains through the seventh inning. He received some bad luck in his final inning. Glaesman led off the seventh inning with a double and Malm walked before Matt Rice moved the runners up a base with a ground out to Head. Then, Head struck out Cameron Seitzer but the throw from Alex Lavisky on the dropped third strike was wide of the bag and loaded the bases.
After striking out Goeddel for the second out, Querecuto hit a ground rule double over the head of Myles in right field to score two runs and tie the game at four apiece. Head retired the next hitter to get out of the inning, but the damage was done with the two unearned runs.
Head left after the seventh inning, working three and two-third innings, allowing only three hits, while walking two and striking out five and allowing two unearned runs. Cody Penny took over in the eighth inning.
Bellati left the game after the seventh inning as well, working three and one-third inning, allowing only two hits and one walk, while not allowing a run and striking out six Captains. The right-handers relief appearance kept the Hot Rods in the game to mount a comeback. Nick Sawyer relieved Bellati in the top of the eighth inning. Sawyer worked two scoreless innings
The deadlock didn’t break until the top of the 10th inning when Austin Hubbard replaced Sawyer on the mound for the Hot Rods. Myles led off the inning with a base hit and stole second base before Naquin bunted him to third base with one out. With the infield drawn in, Hubbard struck out Lavisky but the pitch was wild allowing Myles to score and Lavisky to reach first base, giving the Captains a 5-4 lead. Joseph Wendle hit into a double play to end the inning, but the Captains had their lead.
Enosil Tejeda struck out the side in the bottom of the 10th inning and the Captains had their 2-0 series sweep. Lake County will travel to Fort Wayne for their next best-of-three series beginning on Saturday. Shawn Morimando is expected to make the start for Lake County.
Bowie Grabs Control of Series, Captures Win Over Aeros in Game Two; Baysox 7, Aeros 5
The Bowie Baysox scored a pair of unearned runs in bottom of the eighth inning Thursday night, and held off the Akron Aeros, 7-5, in game two of the EL Western Division series.
The win gives the Baysox a commanding, two games to none lead in the best-of-five series. The venue shifts to Canal Park in Akron on Friday for game three. Games four and five, if necessary, would also be played in Akron, home of the Western Division regular season champion.
The Aeros will now face a must-win situation for three straight games in order to advance to the league finals. A single win by Bowie will send the Baysox to their first-ever EL Finals appearance.
On Thursday, with the score tied at 5-5 in the eighth inning, Bowie catcher Brian Ward reached base on a throwing error on Aeros third baseman Adam Abraham with two outs. The next hitter, Antoan Richardson doubled to left, moving Ward to third. While working to Bowie’s Jonathan Schoop, Akron pitcher Shawn Armstrong threw a wild pitch that allowed Ward to score the go-ahead run. Schoop then dumped a single into right field to score Richardson and make it 7-5, Baysox.
Armstrong had only thrown one wild pitch in 20 1/3 innings of relief with Akron during the regular season. In a similar anomaly, Abraham committed only two errors in 108 games during the regular season.
The Aeros owned a 5-4 lead in the sixth, but righthander Trey Haley plunked Ward with the bases loaded to tie the score, 5-5.
It was only in the top of the sixth when Aeros shortstop Ryan Rohlinger smacked a two-run homer to left-center off starter Mike Wright to give the Aeros a 5-4 lead. Rohlinger’s dinger brought home Matt Lawson, who had tripled.
The Baysox turned things over to the bullpen after Wright surrendered Rohlinger’s homer. Righthander Chris Petrini immediately put a pair of runners on base, but got Jordan Henry to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the rally.
Petrini worked 2 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball, and handed things over to closer Kyler Newby in the ninth. Newby subdued the Aeros on 12 pitches, 11 strikes, in the nith for his second save of the series.
Including the regular season, the Baysox have now won 23 of their last 32 games since August 1st.
The Aeros will seek to keep the season alive when the series shifts to Canal Park Friday evening at 7:05. LHP Jake Petit (11-3, 3.86) will make the start for Bowie, while RHP Toru Murata (3-1, 2.60) will get the ball for the Aeros.