Mendoza on a Hot Streak, Mejia is Grand, and More in the Captains’ Log
Bob Toth | On 23, May 2016
A 6-4 loss to the South Bend Cubs on Sunday afternoon sent the Lake County Captains to a fourth straight defeat, a season high. It also dropped them to two games in back in the Midwest League Eastern Division in a rare stretch of the season that has not involved the Captains being in first place. Prior to falling out of first place with a loss on Saturday, Lake County had spent 40 straight days tied for or in sole possession of the top spot in the Eastern Division.
Lake County will look to avoid the four-game sweep on their home field at Classic Park on Monday. They will then hit the road for a brief three-game trip to Dayton to face the Dragons before returning home on Friday for a seven-game homestand with Fort Wayne and Bowling Green.
In other Captains news and notes:
TROUBLE WITH THE LONG BALL
The Captains pitching staff is simply struggling to keep opposing offenses in the yard. A pair of first inning home runs by the Cubs on Sunday extended the Captains’ streak to eleven straight games with a home run allowed. In that span, they have given up 18 homers as a staff.
South Bend was responsible for eight of them already in the first three games of the weekend set in Eastlake.
YOU’RE OUTTA HERE
Lake County manager Tony Mansolino became the first Captains representative to be ejected from a game when he was tossed in the top of the sixth inning on Sunday. He got the hook with pitcher Matt Whitehouse on the mound after a 1-0 pitch was ruled a ball. Home plate umpire Austin Jones granted him the early exit from the ball game.
MENDOZA ON A HOT STREAK
Infielder Yonathan Mendoza has hit well at the plate despite the rough week for the Captains team as a whole. He had hits in all three starts early last week against Dayton and had hits in each of his two games against South Bend over the weekend.
In his five-game hot stretch, Mendoza is hitting .600 (12-for-20) with four multi-hit games. His season batting average has climbed from .213 to .281. He had four hits in six trips to the plate against Dayton on Tuesday and drove in a pair of runs with a game-tying two-run double in the ninth inning.
The 22-year-old Venezuelan has worked almost exclusively this season at third base, appearing 25 times there and once at second base. He spent last season at three positions at three different levels of the Indians farm system.
MEJIA BIG IN GRAND FASHION
Catcher Francisco Mejia waited a while to notch his first home run of the year, but when he hit it, he made it grand.
With the bases loaded, two outs, and down five runs in the eighth inning on Wednesday, Mejia took Dayton lefty Mike Sullivan deep to right-center for an opposite field grand slam to make it a one-run game.
The Captains would eventually win the game, needing the two-run double from Mendoza to tie it in the ninth and a Martin Cervenka walk-off double in the tenth to clinch it. It was just the second walk-off win of the season for the Captains and their first since Opening Day.
Dominic DeMasi was credited with the win and did so on his 23rd birthday to improve to 5-0 on the year. He took his first loss on Sunday.
GIVE ME FIVE
In Wednesday’s comeback win, Connor Marabell was 4-for-5 at the plate with three runs batted in. A walk in the tenth inning put him on base for a fifth time, becoming just the second Captains player this season to reach base safely five times in a game. Tyler Krieger is the other; he has done so twice this season.
ISON RETURNS WITH A SPLASH
Bobby Ison rejoined the Lake County roster on Friday after spending time at the Triple-A level with the Columbus Clippers. He made it a memorable return, as he hit a clutch, one-out, two-run single to center with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game at 5-5.
The heroics were just a temporary fix for the Captains, who would ultimately lose the game in ten innings after South Bend’s Matt Rose hit a two-run, go-ahead home run that would prove to be the decisive runs on the night.
Ison had a team-high three runs batted in for the Captains in the game.
Photo: Tim Phillis/TCP Photography