Aiken’s First Win, Capel’s Big Day, and More in the Captains’ Log
Bob Toth | On 20, May 2017
The Lake County Captains put to bed a five-game losing streak during the week by ripping off three straight wins to take their series against the Great Lakes Loons before starting their homestand against West Michigan with a 4-3 win. The Whitecaps evened the series on Friday night, holding the Captains to just two hits in a 4-0 loss.
Despite getting back into the win column in their three-game winning streak, the Captains sit just a half game out of the cellar of the Midwest League’s Eastern Division with a record of 17-23. They will continue their four-game home series with the second place Whitecaps on Saturday and Sunday before hitting the road for eight straight against Lansing and Bowling Green.
In other news and notes in the Captains log:
AIKEN EARNS FIRST WIN OF YEAR
After losing each of his first six starts to the season, left-hander Brady Aiken notched his first win on Tuesday in the Captains victory over Great Lakes.
He worked five innings in his winning outing, allowing two earned runs on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
The 20-year-old was a first round pick by the Indians in the 2015 draft.
TAPIA CLIMBS HOME RUN LEADERBOARD
Emmanuel Tapia climbed closer to the top of the Midwest League’s leaderboard in home runs with his eighth of the season in the win over West Michigan on Thursday.
Entering play on Friday night, the 21-year-old slugger was tied for second in the Midwest League in homers, joined with eight by Great Lakes’ Carlos Rincon. The pair trailed Cedar Rapids’ Jaylin Davis, who has nine this season.
The most recent homer gave him four in May to go with 12 RBI. The production matched his April homer output and exceeded by one his run production, doing so in half as many games.
TWO-HOMER GAME FOR CAPEL
Second-year outfielder Conner Capel had a game to remember on Wednesday when the Captains were concluding their trip to face the Great Lakes Loons.
Hitting sixth and playing center field, he walked came around to score the Captains’ second run in the second inning. In his second trip to the plate in the fourth and hitting with one out, he sent his second homer of the season over the fence in right to give Lake County a 3-0 lead. Catcher Jose Vicente, in his fourth game with the Captains after spending the last few years working with the Dominican Summer League Indians and the Arizona League Indians, followed Capel’s blast with his first homer of the year.
Capel came back to the plate in the sixth in a similar situation with one out in the inning and again homered to right, tying the game at five after Great Lakes rallied for five runs in the bottom of the fifth. He was retired on a groundout in the eighth and flied out to left to start the tenth inning before his Captains teammates scored three times and held on for the extra innings win.
CHU REACHES .300 AND .400 MARKS
Good numbers at the plate for Li-Jen Chu has his batting average sitting at an even .300 through 36 games, entering play on Friday night.
The right-handed hitting catching prospect out of Taiwan has hit safely in eight of his last ten games and reached safely in six straight contests for the Captains. The 23-year-old has also been an on-base machine for Lake County, boosting his OBP to .405. Prior to play on Friday, he was seventh overall in the Midwest League in OBP. He leads the Captains in both hitting statistics.
After going 3-for-11 against Beloit with three singles, he put up an impressive display against Wisconsin. He had seven hits in the series in 13 at bats with two doubles and two runs batted in. He followed it with a 2-for-10 stretch against Great Lakes with a single, a double, and three walks.
HERRERA GETS FIRST PRO WIN
Twenty-four-year-old left-hander Alsis Herrera joined the Captains on May 9 and has been impressive in relief in three outings since.
After throwing two and two-thirds innings of scoreless, hitless relief against Beloit in his season debut on May 10, he worked another two and one-thirds of uneventful relief, giving up only a walk in the appearance. He returned to the mound against Great Lakes on Wednesday and worked three scoreless innings, giving up his first hit of the season while earning the first win of his professional career.
He spent last season working in the Arizona League and in short-season play in the New York-Penn League with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, posting a combined 0-2 record with a 5.68 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP in eight relief appearances.
LOCAL PRODUCT LONGO JOINS LAKE COUNTY ROSTER
Mitch Longo, the 22-year-old outfielder drafted by the Indians in the 14th round of last year’s draft out of Ohio University and a native of Mayfield, Ohio, made his debut for the Captains last Friday during their home series with Wisconsin. After going 0-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored in his first game for the club, he had a pair of singles last Saturday.
He concluded the series against the Loons on Wednesday with a three-hit game, hitting a single, two doubles, a sacrifice fly, and driving in two runs for the Captains. He singled in the series opener against West Michigan on Thursday.
Longo hit .307 in 38 games last season with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in his first professional action.
PANTOJA’S HITTING STREAK ENDS
Alexis Pantoja snapped his eight-game hitting streak with an 0-for-4 against West Michigan on Thursday.
It came on the heels of a season-high three-hit performance the previous day against Great Lakes, when he contributed three singles, a sacrifice, and drove in a pair of runs in the victory. He was 11-for-30 over the course of the hitting streak with all eleven hits falling in for singles. He drove in three in that span and also stole four bases. His batting average climbed from .171 to .218 during the hot stretch at the plate.
BROOKS HITS FIRST PRO HOMER
Trenton Brooks, a 17th round pick in 2016 out of Nevada, hit his first professional home run on Friday during Lake County’s homestand against Wisconsin.
Batting in the top spot for the Captains in the contest, he put Lake County on the board in the bottom of the first inning with his leadoff home run. It started what would be a five-run inning, including a grand slam with one out by Luke Wakamatsu.
Unfortunately for the Captains, it would not be enough as the Timber Rattlers would score three times in the third, once in the fifth, and would take the lead with a three-run ninth to cap an incredible comeback in the 7-5 Lake County loss.
Right-hander Ryan Colegate joined the Captains roster on Friday. He pitched last season with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers after being drafted in the 36th round of the 2015 draft by the Indians.
In a corresponding roster move, the Captains sent Domingo Jimenez to extended spring training in Goodyear, Arizona. The 23-year-old right-hander had worked in nine games for the Captains, posting an 8.18 ERA and a 2.18 WHIP with eight walks and ten runs allowed over eleven innings of work in his fourth year in the organization.