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June 13th, 2003

The 2003 season was the first ever for the Lake County Captains as the Indians moved their A ball team out of Columbus and into northeast Ohio. The Columbus Red Stixx had lost in the championship round of both the 2002 and 2000 South Atlantic League finals and, while their fate would be the same, the Captains got off to a roaring start to the 2003 season.

On June 13th of that season, they had a particularly impressive victory to improve their record to 46-21 on their way to a 97-43 finish. While in general a 12-3 victory from 17 years ago might not be that notable, but this win against the Hagerstown Suns hat some fun little tidbits in it.

First, there was the star of the show, Matt Knox. Now, you will be forgiven if you have never heard of Knox as he was a 13th round pick in 2001 and never made it above advanced A. Interestingly enough, the first baseman became a pitcher in 2004 and went back through the system from the bottom up prior to his 2005 release. On this date, however, he had his moment in the sun. With the game still scoreless in the 4th, Knox hit a grand slam to put the Captains on the board. The fun fact about this salami was that it scored Captains favorite and future Cubs scout Jason Cooper as well as two future Lake County Captains managers, Shaun Larkin and David Cooper.

Knox wasn’t done there as he hit a second grand slam in the sixth giving him eight RBI for the night and 41 for the season. Shortly after, he would be promoted to Kinston and between the two clubs he hit 14 home runs and knocked in 70.

Cooper, who was a huge fan favorite in Lake County and the Indians 3rd round pick in 2002, also went deep in this game for his 11th of the season. He would hit just one more with the Captains before getting the call up to Kinston as well, ultimately hitting 21 home runs and knocking in 72 in 2003. He stuck with the team through 2008, but was ultimately let go after that season.

The most successful player on the 2003 Captains and in his MLB career, however, just happened to start this game as well. Fausto Carmona went five innings and allowed all three runs on his way to the win. He would end up making 24 starts for the Captains in 2003 while posting a 2.06 ERA with a 0.88 WHIP.

In addition to the big win, this was also a record crowd for the organization at the time with 8,236 fans appearing at Eastlake Ballpark.

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