Image: TCP Photography/Courtesy Lake County Captains

Great Lakes Loons 5, Lake County Captains 2

They stayed with the Loons for seven innings, as a Jhonkensy Noel two-run home run kept the score even until the eighth, when the Loons blew the game open with a three-run inning. Lake County was unable to get anything going in the final two innings, which was a pretty good summation of the Captains entire game on offense. Their only runs came on Noel’s home run, and they couldn’t generate any other offense, despite getting at least one runner aboard in every inning after the first.

Eighth-Inning Collapse

Everything was going well for the Captains until the eighth inning. They were locked in a tight battle with the Loons, and had been threatening to score in the previous three innings, most notably loading the bases in the seventh.

Things started to go wrong in the eighth, however, as an error by first baseman Joe Naranjo allowed the leadoff runner to reach base.

The Loons followed that up with five of the next six batters getting on with three straight singles, one of them an infield single, a second error in the inning, this time on shortstop Angel Martinez, and an RBI double that proved to be the knockout punch.

It was a sloppy inning in what proved to be a sloppy game all around for the Captains, as defensive mistakes and the inability to get clutch hits in big situations cost them a great opportunity to break out of their slump.

“I think our effort needs to be better all around,” Manager Greg DiCenzo said. “Defensively, on the basepaths, I think there’s certainly room for improvement. Some nights you fight harder than others, but my expectation is to be at 100% effort level every night”

Noel’s Big Night

After striking out in his first at-bat of the night, Jhonkensy Noel’s next four plate appearances were all important ones for the Captains.

In his second at-bat, he demolished a two-run home run clear over the bleachers in left field to give the Captains a 2-1 lead and their only runs of the night, showing off why the Guardians organization is so excited about him.

His third time up, Noel singled to start off a sixth inning in which the Captains got two runners aboard with just one out but were unable to capitalize.

Noel’s next plate appearance was possibly the biggest of the night for Lake County, as he came up with two outs in the seventh, runners on second and third and a chance to break the tie. Instead, he was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Johnathan Rodriguez was called out on a close checked swing to end the inning.

His final at-bat was also the final at-bat of the game, and he flew out with a runner on first to seal the Captains fate.


Connor Kokx, a 12th-round draft pick by the Guardians in the 2021 draft, was 3 for 3 with a trio of singles and a walk … The Captains will be back in action Thursday at 6:35 against the Loons once again, and Mason Hickman, the Guardians 5th round pick in 2020, will make his second start of the season.

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