COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. – The West Michigan Whitecaps (18-13) defeated the Lake County Captains (9-22) 4-3 in an 18-inning marathon Monday.
The Whitecaps walked off on a bases loaded walk by left fielder Raph Rhymes. The Captains walked a total of 11 batters in the game.
West Michigan jumped to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. First baseman Dominic Ficociello led off the inning with a triple to right field. Designated hitter Harold Castro drove a fly ball to left field, deep enough to plate Ficociello from third. Shortstop Willy Adames was hit by a pitch with two outs by Aviles. A passed ball and a throwing error by catcher Eric Haase moved Adames all the way to third base. Following a walk, third baseman Jose Zambrano singled home Adames to make it a 2-0 lead.
The Captains rallied back to tie the game in the next inning. Right fielder Josh McAdams and designated hitter Brian Ruiz opened the inning with back-to-back singles. Following a pop out, center fielder Clint Frazier singled home McAdams to cut the lead in half. Two batters later, Crawford tried to pick off Frazier at first, but he threw the ball past the first baseman. Ruiz scored to tie the game.
Aviles and Crawford battled each other with zeroes until both of them left the game with no-decisions. Crawford allowed two runs – one earned – on four hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out six. Aviles pitched seven strong innings with two runs – one earned – given up on four hits. Aviles walked three and fanned three.
The bullpens for both teams kept the game scoreless until the 17th inning. First baseman Nellie Rodriguez led off the frame with a single. Following an out, shortstop Paul Hendrix singled to put runners at first and second with one out. Designated hitter Brian Ruiz broke the tie with a RBI single.
Ruiz entered the game to pitch as the Captains ran out of available options. The Whitecaps loaded the bases with two singles and a walk before Ruiz walked in a run.
The game was tied 3-3 going to the 18th.
Ruiz allowed one run on two hits and two walks in one inning of relief.
Left fielder Cody Ferrell took the mound for the Captains in the 18th inning. Ferrell walked the bases loaded with two outs. Ferrell walked Rhymes, scoring the game-winning run from third and that ended the near five hour marathon.
Ferrell took the loss, allowing one run on four walks. Will LaMarche picked up the win for West Michigan with a scoreless 18th inning.
The Captains and the Whitecaps pounded out 12 hits each in the game. McAdams and Rodriguez led the Captains with three hit games. Frazier and Ruiz added two hits each.
Lake County and West Michigan are scheduled to continue the three-game series Tuesday. RHP Dace Kime (0-4, 8.89) is set to start for the Captains and RHP Buck Farmer (3-2, 2.12) will make the start for the Whitecaps. First pitch is set for 6:35 PM.
Notes: Shortstop Dorssys Paulino was assigned to Arizona on Monday. The Captains struck out 18 times in the game, tying a season-high. The 18 inning game tied a franchise record for the Captains. The Captains played in an 18-inning game during the 2010 Midwest League Championship Series in Clinton.