(EASTLAKE, OH) – The Lake County Captains and South Bend Cubs played a combined 272 games in 2022, with one final game, last night’s winner-take-all contest, deciding the champion in the Midwest League. After two hours and 30 minutes, it was the Cubs celebrating on Classic Park diamond after a 7-4 victory.
September 21st, 2022 was the furthest in a calendar year the Captains have ever played baseball. Lake County fell one game short of their second Midwest League championship in franchise history.
Aaron Davenport earned the start in game three after previously being the starter the day the Captains’ clinched a postseason berth, and in game three of the Midwest League Eastern Division Series. The right-hander worked two scoreless innings stranding three South Bend runners. The third inning was a different story.
The Cubs totaled five runs, off four hits in the top of the third. A single and walk put on two runners for Owen Caissie. He launched a missile homer to deep right field, a three-run blast. After a single with two outs, Raymond Burgos entered in relief. He permitted a two-run blast to deep left-center field off the bat of Pablo Aliendo.
The Captains, like they’ve all season long, would respond. The bottom of the third began with three straight hits, a double from Mike Amditis, an RBI single from Joe Naranjo, and a double from Connor Kokx. Naranjo would score from third on a wild pitch, and Kokx was plated by a Milan Tolentino line drive single up the middle to make it 5-3.
South Bend starter Porter Hodge would get a flyout to close the third inning and would work two more scoreless completing five and earning the win.
After a scoreless fourth from Burgos, the Cubs tacked on two in the fifth, a two-run shot by Luis Verdugo, after Owen Caissie walked to begin the frame. Jordan Jones completed the fifth collecting three flyouts after just six pitches, and would permit just one baserunner over three scoreless from the fifth to the seventh inning.
The Captains offense in the sixth and seventh went six up and six down against Joe Nahas. Connor Kokx would break through with a triple to begin the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Alexfri Planez lined a ball down the right field line, deep enough to score Kokx on a sacrifice fly. A flyout to left ended the eighth, with Lake County down 7-4.
Zach Hart took both the eighth and ninth, striking out two and giving the Captains a…