EASTLAKE, OHIO – The Lake County Captains allowed a 5-run ninth-inning rally and fell to the Dayton Dragons 6-4 Tuesday night to kickoff a homestand at Classic Park.
Lefty Tom Pannone got the start for Lake County and had a no-hitter through three innings. The Dragons first hit of the game gave them the lead in the top of the fourth when James Vasquez launched a 1-2 pitch into the right field lawn to put Dayton up 1-0.
Pannone struggled with his command at points but limited the Dragons to one run, the Vasquez homerun, on three hits. He struck out six and walked three in five innings. Captains Manager Tony Mansolino said he liked what he saw out of the lefty.
“He probably didn’t have the command that he would’ve liked tonight, but that could be attributed to getting pushed back because of off days and double headers and things like that,” Mansolino said. “He kind of got stronger as his outing went on…He threw strikes as it went on, got some outs. He did a good job.”
Southpaw Jacob Constante kept the Captains in check for the first five innings, but Lake County finally broke through in the sixth. Willi Castro hustled from first to third on a Tyler Krieger single, with help from a Zack Shields error in left field. Francisco Mejia then singled home Castro to tie the game up at 1.
Manuel Aybar relieved Constante in the sixth with the bases loaded, and hit Sam Haggerty on his first pitch of the night to give the Captains a 2-1 lead. Later on in the eighth, a passed ball and a Yonathan Mendoza RBI single gave the Captains two insurance runs, and Lake County headed into the ninth with a 4-1 lead.
The Dragons batted around in the ninth and mounted a five-run comeback. Shane Mardirosian fouled off a flurry of pitches from Kieran Lovegrove and finally slapped a single into right field to score Ed Charlton, who had walked. After pinch hitter Shed Long walked, Zack Shields singled home Mardirosian to close the gap to 4-3 and Mansolino turned to righty Dominic Demasi.
Demasi came in and allowed an RBI single to Brantley Bell, tying the ballgame at 4. A throwing error from third baseman Sam Haggerty trying to put out Zack Shields at home put Dayton up 5-4. On the next play, shortstop Willi Castro’s throw home on a James Vasquez grounder was a second too late, giving the Dragons an insurance run that put them up 6-4.
Francisco Mejia singled and Nathan Lukes walked with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but Connor Marabell grounded out to end the game.
Mansolina said the 9th-inning miscues were frustrating but present a teaching opportunity for his young team.
“Ultimately this is a learning environment so I think our approach toward it is you make that mistake once and it’s perfectly fine. That’s expected in A ball,” Mansolina said. “It’s part of dealing with young players and they will learn from it and we’ll be better off for it come august and September hopefully.”
The Captains and Dragons square off again Wednesday morning at 11 AM. Casey Shane will get the nod for the Captains and Jose Lopez will start for the Dragons.