The Lake County Captains started off the 2014 season against the Lansing Lugnuts, single-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. This four-game series included a doubleheader on Saturday, April 5.
On Opening Day, the Captains sent Dace Kime to the mound to face Lansing. Lansing’s starter was Jairo Labourt. The game was all Lugnuts from the start. The only two Captains runs came on solo home runs by catcher Eric Haase and first baseman Nellie Rodriguez. Captains starter Kime gave up 5 earned runs in 3.1 innings pitched. The final score was 8-2 Lugnuts.
Lake County came out strong the next day after being blown out in the opener. A 3-run home run by Claudio Bautista in game one of the doubleheader powered the Captains past Lansing for a 7-5 victory. Captains pitcher Caleb Hamrick gave up 5 runs in 4 innings, but Kenny Mathews hurled a scoreless 3 innings in relief to get the win. In game two, it was all Captains. Lake County starter Jordan Milbrath tossed a complete game shutout. The Captains won game two 5-0.
The final game of the series came down to the wire. A pitchers duel until the 7th inning when Dawel Lugo of Lansing scored Dickie Thon on an infield single. In the bottom half of the 8th, Nellie Rodriguez scored Eric Haase on a fielder’s choice to tie the game at 1. Later that inning, Jorge Martinez singled in Grant Fink to take the lead. That would be the difference in the game, with the Captains winning 2-1.
The Captains impressed with their opening series, coming out of it with a record of 3-1. Fans have high expectations for this year’s team. Brett G. of Mentor says “I was a little nervous after the first game, but they proved I had nothing to worry about the next day”. David K. of Wickliffe says “I thought the opening series really showed the potential for this team. The players on this team from last season, notably Dorssys Paulino and Jorge Martinez, really stepped up to the plate and played well”.
-Ryan Hite, find me on Twitter @CST_ryanhite