The Chinooks celebrated Independence Day at Carson Park in Eau Claire with a 12-4 victory over the Express to conclude the first half of the Northwoods League season.
A Fourth of July festival followed the game at Carson Park, but during the game, the Chinooks provided the fireworks.
One day after being held to a season low three hits against the Eau Claire Express, the Lakeshore Chinooks responded with a season high nineteen hits the following night to split the two-game series with the Express.
The Chinooks finished the first half of their inaugural season with a 17-18 record and in a tie for 3rd place in the South Division with the Wisconsin Woodchucks. The last place Express dropped to 11-23.
Looking to rebound from a disappointing four error outing in the first game of the series, the ‘Nooks put together a more complete game offensively and defensively.
After a scoreless 1st inning, the Chinooks drew first blood in the top of the 2nd. Express starting pitcher Devin Moore walked three of his four batters faced. With the bases loaded, Moore walked Forrest Chadwick, who picked up an RBI BB as German Reyes walked home from third base.
The Express responded in the bottom of the second. With runners on first and second with nobody out, DH Alex Real hit an RBI single off Chinooks starting pitcher Andrew Waszak to tie the score. Two outs later, Eau Claire’s leadoff hitter Tim Zeer knocked in a 2RBI single that scored Real and catcher Will Fadness. After two complete, the Express led 3-1.
The Chinooks fell further behind in the 3rd inning when Express right fielder Josh Scheffert hit home first baseman Casey Gillaspie with an RBI double.
Trailing 4-1 in the 4th inning, shortstop Scott Wilcox got on base with a two-out single. On the ensuing at-bat, center fielder Forrest Chadwick picked up his second RBI of the game with a double that scored Wilcox from first. Chadwick’s teammate in the outfield, Charlie Markson, followed suit with a second consecutive RBI double bring the Chinooks within one run.
The Chnooks took the lead in the 5th inning and never looked back. Right fielder Eric Aguilera and first baseman German Reyes opened the offensive with back-to-back singles. Catcher Conor Lynch proceeded to load the bases with a one-out single. Scott Wilcox picked up the fourth single of the inning for the Chinooks on a hit that scored Aguilera.
With the batting order turned over, Chinooks lead-off man Forrest Chadwick picked up where he left off an inning ago as he socked his second double of the game and added two more RBI as Reyes and Lynch both touched home. Not to be outdone, Charlie Markson matched Chadwick with 2RBI single that Wilcox from third base and Chadwick from second. When the 5th inning finally came to a close, the Chinooks had tallied five runs on seven hits and eleven plate appearances (Eric Aguilera and German Reyes each batted twice in the inning) and held a commanding 8-4 lead.
The Chinooks would go on to score in each of the final three frames to polish off the Express. Charlie Markson picked up his second home run of the season at Carson Park in as many games, rocketing a solo shot over the left field fence for the second consecutive night. German Reyes tallied his second home run of the season as well one inning later in the 8th with another solo blast over the same wall in left.
The dynamic duo of Forrest Chadwick and Charlie Markson scored again in the 9th for the final two runs of the game. After reaching base for his fourth time of the game, Chadwick scored from third base on a wild pitch by Express reliever Frank Salas. Markson also reached the base pads on a single, but scored from third on a sacrifice fly from second baseman Ty Young. With twelve runs on the board, Eau Claire native Tyler Sparger retired three straight Express batters in the ninth to put the game in the Chinooks win column.
Chinooks starting pitcher Andrew Waszak picked up the win to advance to 2-0 on the season. He faced 29 batters through seven complete innings while allowing seven hits and four runs (two earned) with a 3.58 ERA. Waszak also walked one batter and struck out four more.
Devin Moore received the loss for the Express to fall to 1-3. Moore faced 27 batters through four and one-third innings. He surrendered 11 hits and seven runs (all earned) while giving up five walks and recording two strikeouts. His ERA for the night was 7.65.
The Chinooks start the second half of the season with a three-game home series against the LaCrosse Loggers, winners of the South Division through 35 games. First pitch of the series from Kapco Park is Thursday, July 5th at 6:35 p.m. Chris Cotton (2-0, 0.90 ERA)will take the hill for the Chinooks against the Loggers’ Scott Schultz (1-1, 2.00 ERA).
Bré Kimbell extended his hitting streak to 22 consecutive games with a single in the 3rd inning. Kimbell leads the Northwoods League with a .408 batting average.
· Eric Aguilera extended his road hitting streak to 15 consecutive games with a single in the 5th inning. Aguilera is 4th in the league with a .392 batting average.
· Forrest Chadwick and Charlie Markson were a dynamic duo in the first two spots in the Chinooks batting order. They combined for eight hits, eight RBI and five runs scored.
· The game time temperature was a blistering 98 degrees.