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Captains Report: Juan Hillman has best start of the season

Tuesday was a night of career highs for Captains pitcher Juan Hillman as he picked up his second win of the season against Lansing. Meanwhile, Li-Jen Chu came out on top in a game of multi-homeruns by blasting two out of the park in his four times at bat. IBI's Mike Trivisonno discusses their impressive performances in the latest Captains Report.

LANSING LUGNUTS - 4, LAKE COUNTY CAPTAINS - 9 

The Lake County Captains have been in a slump recently. Tuesday night was the first game back from an eight-game road trip. During the road trip, the Captains ended up winning only one of the eight games. The team now sits in last place in their division. Tuesday night was a night where the bats came alive. It was a home run party in Eastlake as the Captains hit a total of four homers Tuesday night. 

It was much needed for a team that hasn’t hit the ball like that since May 17th. The Captains exploded for a six run fifth inning which helped them secure a win that was crucial. The win is a big momentum shifter as the team has been struggling to pull out some wins as of late.

Hillman has a memorable night at the mound  

Hillman: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R/ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 98 pitches, (55 strikes), W/L

3rd inning pitching speeds: 88 86 89 89 90 90

4th inning pitching speeds: 91 91 89 89 88 87 90

Tuesday night was one of the best performances from Juan Hillman. It was the 20-year-old's longest outing of the season for the Captains. He lasted 5 and 2/3 innings in the win. He also gave up a season low in hits, as he only allowed four hits to the Lugnuts. It was a night to remember as he set career highs in innings pitched, strikeouts, hits and runs. He looked dominant on the mound all night as two early runs weren't enough for Hillman to get out of.

“It felt like everything was clicking for me tonight,” Hillman said about his performance Tuesday night. “My routines from start one, I feel like I'm getting at it day-by-day and I'm just trusting the process and that has been big for me. I’ve had a few ups and downs and now I feel like everything is starting to click for me.” 

The team coming up big at the plate, having a combined 12 hits and four of them being home runs, was a big confidence booster for Hillman as it really took some pressure off of him when he was on the mound.

“It was really a big help,” Hillman said. “I’m glad to see the guys swinging it. It was a big help. Our hitters have been trying their hardest to get us some runs, so we just have to go out there and keep competing.”

Chu swinging a hot bat 

It was arguably the best game Li-Jen Chu had all season long Tuesday night against Lansing. He accommodated for two home runs and four RBIs in the Captains 9-4 win. He stepped up to the plate a total of three times and sent two of them over the wall. He was the driving force for an offense that really clicked Tuesday night. The four RBIs were easily the most he has had in a game all year and it was also his first multi-homerun game for the Captains early on.

He’s been swinging the bat at a consistent rate recently. Batting .363 over his past three games, Chu has been a main part of the Captains offense recently. The 23-year-old has a team high batting average while leading the team in hits as well. He's been a very consistent hitter at the plate and he’ll remain a focal point throughout the course of the year for Lake County.

Coming up for Lake County 

The win Tuesday night was game one of a three game homestead against the Lansing Lugnuts. After the next two games, Lake County will host South Bend for another three game homestead before traveling to Fort Wayne for three more games against the TinCaps.


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