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Captains beat the Loons, 5-2

Captains beat the Loons, 5-2
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EASTLAKE – The Lake County Captains picked up a 5-2 victory in the first of a three-game series against the Great Lakes Loons to provide reliever Cody Penny with a win in his Captains debut.

All-Star Cody Anderson (6-7, 5.92) received the start for the Captains against Great Lakes’ right-hander Gustavo Gomez (4-6, 3.29).

The Captains capitalized on their first opportunity in the first inning as second baseman Jose Ramirez led off the game with a double into left and shortstop Francisco Lindor singled into center. Cue right fielder Jordan Smith, who doubled to right to plate both runners to add two more RBIs for 59 on the season to give the Captains the 2-0 advantage.

Third baseman Leonardo Castillo scored in the second after leading off the inning with his 18th double of the season. Castillo advanced to third on a groundout and scored as Ramirez lifted a sacrifice fly to progress the Captains’ lead to 3-0.

Anderson tossed his standard three innings of scoreless ball before giving way to right-hander Cody Penny, who made his pitching debut for the Captains. Anderson’s final line posted at no runs surrendered on one hit with a trio of strikeouts.

The Loons jumped on the board in their half of the fourth on a solo home run by right fielder Nick Akins for his sixth of the year, putting the Loons down 3-1. Penny regained his composure to secure the final two outs and pitched his way through a total of three innings, yielding one run on two hits and two strikeouts.

The Captains took out some insurance runs in the seventh on right-hander Juan Noriega as Lindor reached on an error by Loons’ first baseman O’Koyea Dickson. Lindor advanced to second on a balk before Smith laced a single into right. Lake County’s Smith-Sabourin punch struck once again as first baseman Jerrud Sabourin stepped up and singled to right to plate Lindor. With one out, Smith scored on a groundout by left fielder Bryson Myles to boost the Captains to a 5-1 lead.

Lake County reliever Louis Head hit a minor bump in the ninth inning as he surrendered a lead-off home run to second baseman Pedro Guerrero, but reliever Enosil Tejeda bailed Head out as he tossed the final two outs of the ballgame to lock in the Captains 5-2 victory.

Smith and Sabourin, who bat in the number three and four slots respectively for the Captains, hit for a combined 3-for-8 with three RBIs on the evening. Smith is presently ranked fourth in the Midwest League batting average leaders at .310 while Sabourin hangs close behind in sixth place, hitting .304.

Penny’s season ERA is now 3.05 with a 1-2 record after appearing in 13 games with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.

Captains’  manager David Wallace was pleased with Penny’s debut and looks forward to seeing more of the 16th-round draft pick.

“That was a good first look for us,” Wallace said. “All you really look for in that first outing is you go out and look for him to throw strikes and attack them and he did that. He gave up that home run, but it didn’t rattle him. He got back on the mound and gave us three good innings.”

Wallace also noted Smith and Sabourin have been key anchors to the Captains’ line-up.

“We have a lot of confidence as a staff and a team going into every game,” he noted. “We love those guys at the top of our line-up. They do a great job of getting on base and then Smith and Sabourin put together professional at-bats.”

Wallace believes that his team’s line-up is solid from top to bottom, the top half merely being the highlight.

“I think I’d go beyond those first five [hitters],” he said. “Any time you have Alex Lavisky hitting in the nine-hole, that’s a pretty good line-up. We feel comfortable with those guys anywhere in the line-up. I think that’s a testament to how hard these guys have worked, to how consistent they’ve been, their routines and work ethic. It’s paying off and if they continue to work the way they have, it will continue to pay off the rest of the year.”

Sabourin feels that his approach at the plate has been the key to his successful season.

“I think it’s easier to put the bat on the ball when you work to the opposite field and you give yourself a better chance like that rather than guys who are pull hitters and might come off the ball on off-speed pitches, so that’s why I’ve been able to put the bat on the ball.”

Sabourin also said that he thinks he can still get better, despite his solid stars. “All it means is that I’m having a good season and I’m doing what I want to right now. But at the same time, I always think I can improve. That’s the thing that keeps me going and keeps me working hard. I really honestly believe I can do better than I have been this year.”

Next, the Captains will turn to lefty Shawn Morimando (5-3, 3.52) to counter Great Lakes’ lefty Greg Wilborn (1-1, 4.57) in game two of the series.

Stephanie is a crime and general assignment reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio. She’s an alumna of Cleveland State University with a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication. You can follow her on Twitter @7thInningSteph.

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