Photo credit: Tim Phillis/TCP Photography/Courtesy Lake County Captains

Lake County Captains 5, Beloit Sky Carp 3

The Captains snapped their three-game skid with a 5-3 win Saturday over the Beloit Sky Carp to make sure they stayed above .500 on the year and strengthen their hold on third place in the division.

For the second night in a row, Beloit took the lead early, scoring on a hit-by-pitch in the second inning, and for the second night in a row, Alexfri Planez led off the bottom of the second with a solo home run to tie the game. The Captains added one more in the second when Petey Halpin scampered home on a groundout. There was very little action after that until the sixth inning, when a two-run home run gave the Sky Carp a 3-2 lead, but the Captains once again responded quickly, with Jhonkensy Noel’s league-leading 18th home run of the season tying the game in the bottom of the inning. The score held at 3-3 until the eighth, when the first two batters reached for the Captains and Joe Naranjo was able to score from first on a fielder’s choice. Halpin was then involved again with an RBI single that gave Lake County some insurance, but it was not needed, as Beloit was unable to get anything going in the ninth.

Noel Continues to Mash

Noel has spent the last few weeks showing off the power that has made him one of Cleveland’s top prospects, and Saturday was no different. He now has eight home runs in his last 14 games, and is slugging .679 in the month of June. Noel leads the Midwest League in home runs, four ahead of second-place, and also sits sixth in slugging percentage.

Saturday night, however, Noel contributed more than just his power. In one of the most important at-bats of the game for the Captains, with runners on the corners and nobody out in the eighth and the score tied at three, Noel may not have delivered a big base hit, but he did put the ball in play, and that led to good things. Angel Martinez got caught in a rundown, but after he was tagged out, the ball was thrown into left field and Naranjo sprinted home for what turned out to be the winning run.

“I didn’t want to do too much with men in scoring position,” Noel said. “I just want to put the ball on the ground or in the air.”

Relief Ace

After Lake County’s bullpen struggled last night, it needed a good game from the pitching staff, and that was exactly what it got, especially from Davis Sharpe, who picked up the win. Sharpe pitched the final three innings in just his third appearance for Lake County, allowing no runs on two hits with no walks and five strikeouts.

Beloit had absolutely no answer for Sharpe, especially in the ninth, where he recorded three of his five strikeouts to seal the win. He was consistently able to make hitters miss with both fastballs and breaking balls, and delivered a much needed boost for the Captains after their bullpen allowed six runs on eight hits Friday.

Alexfri Planez homered for the second night in a row, giving him six homers for the season, five of them coming in the month of June … The Captains will be back in action Sunday at 1:00 against the Sky Carp once again, and Tommy Mace, a 2021 competitive balance pick by the Guardians, will be on the mound, facing off against 2019 13th round pick Zach King.

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