The Lakeshore Chinooks of the Northwoods League are back for a second season at Kapco Park. Pregame festivities featured the commissioner of Major League Baseball Bud Selig throwing the first pitch to part owner of the Chinooks and former Brewers great Robin Yount.
The Chinooks wasted no time scoring when Mikole Pierce(UW-Whitewater) and Sawyer Polen(Kent State) started off the bottom of the 1st inning hitting back-to-back home runs and batting around, leading to a comforting 6 to 1 lead and knocking the opposing pitcher out of the game after 1 inning of play. The players began to settle in until the Rafters exploded for a four run 4th inning resulting in Joe Greenfield’s (Eastern Illinois) night to end after a strong 3 2/3 inning outing. First basemen Ryan Krill(Michigan State) broke up the 6-6 tie with a line drive two-run homerun over the right field wall in the bottom of the 5th giving yet another lead to the Chinooks. But the Rafters fought back once, and they fought back once again with a two run 7th inning leading to an 8-8 tie. As the weather began to change filled with chills and gusty winds the runs began to slow down and pitching began to dominate. After a short delay due to heavy rain thunder and lighting, gameplay continued into the 9th inning still knotted up 8-8. A scary top of the 9th led to a pitching change with runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Dan Sayles (Sacramento City) came into the game and did his job, getting out of the jam despite a small scare keeping the game tied at the magic number 8 heading into the bottom of the 9th. The Chinooks could not spare a run forcing extra innings. The Rafters wanted to take control of the 10th, in no time there was a man on 3rd with one out. Sayles was in familiar territory, but did not panic getting back to back strikeouts to end the inning. Brant Valach (Eastern Illinois) came up to the plate with a runner on second and blasted a two run walk-off home run into the night sky to put an end to an exciting 10-8 home opening win.
The Chinooks continue their season at Kapco Park Friday May 31st, against the Green Bay Bullfrogs with first pitch being thrown at 7:05. Fans in attendance will receive a magnet schedule.