September 5, 2019 Lake County Captains

September 5th has been a fantastic one in recent seasons, going back to at least 2016 when the Indians had an organizational sweep, winning by a cumulative 43-12 across five games. In 2017, the Scrappers won the only Indians affiliated game of the day, then in 2018 the Hillcats and Rubberducks won their play-off games, although the Scrappers lost. Finally, in 2019, both the Clippers and Captains won their play-off games in 2019 and, as the most convincing and important win of all those listed, we’ll focus singularly on the Captains victory over the Great Lakes Loons to tie the series at a game apiece.

Ethan Hankins had made his professional debut in 2018 with the AZL Indians, then had a long road before him in 2019 when he started in Arizona in extended spring, moved to Mahoning Valley to start the season in June, then Lake County in August. He had made five starts for the Captains prior to this game including a four inning, one hit, one run effort against the Loons in his single A debut.

Hankins makes a start for the Indians during 2019 extended spring training in Goodyear, AZ. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

He was tabbed to start this game, allowed a single to the very first hitter, then struck out three in a row to end the first. He allowed a walk and a hit in the second, then recorded two more K’s to get out of it. In the third, he skipped the baserunners and just added two more strike outs. In the fourth, he loaded the bases on a single and two walks before striking out a batter and being pulled for relief. Kyle Marman came in and managed to strike out the next batter, allowing him safe escape from the bases loaded situation as a fly out ended the inning.

Marman would strike out two more in the fifth and one more in the sixth, never allowing a baserunner. The game was still scoreless going into the seventh when the best opportunity arrived since the bases had been loaded with no outs in the fourth. Jake Miednik entered the game for Lake County and struck out one, then allowed a single. After one more out, James Outman doubled to right and the runner, Gersel Pitre, attempted to score from first. Clark Scolamiero made a good throw in to Jose Fermin at second and Fermin completed the relay to the plate to catch Pitre for the final out.

Miednik stayed in for the eighth and had a less eventful inning with another strike out and walk, but no hits. Heading into the ninth, the Captains had three hits and six walks, but never had a real chance to score. Loons reliever Jeff Belge would change that to begin the inning as he walked Bryan Lavastida, Scolamiero and Quentin Holmes. This forced his exit from the game, but the Captains finally eked out some runs against his replacement, Yeison Cespedes. Daniel Schneeman (pictured at top) knocked in the first two runs of the game with a single, then Jon Engelmann knocked in the second on a ground out to third. After George Valera was intentionally walked, Jose Fermin tested the third baseman again and this time he was safe on an error. With two outs, this allowed Schneeman to score the fourth run of the inning and final run of the game. Miednik finished out the ninth for the win with two K’s in a perfect inning.

Scolamiero puts the ball in play for the AZL Indians during a 2019 rehab assignment in Goodyear, AZ. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

Captains pitching essentially ended up breaking the game up in thirds and recorded 16 strike outs with Hankins’ eight leading the way. Schneeman ended up to be the only hitter on the Captains with two hits and he also had two RBI on his ninth inning single. Scolamiero, who could also be considered a hero in this game, did not make the start, but joined the game in the seventh as a defensive replacement for first baseman Miguel Jerez, moving Engelmann to first and George Valera to left.

As well as the Captains played in this game, they lost the first game in the three game series 6-4, then were shut out in game three 5-0 as the Loons advanced to the semi-finals against the South Bend Cubs. There, they were swept in two games to the ultimate Midwest League champions.

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