The Lakeshore Chinooks came into the final week of the season with the fewest errors in the Northwoods league by a wide margin. Sooner or later things were going to even out. Unfortunately the tipping point has come in the last week of the season that has seen the Chinooks commit 10 errors this week alone, dropping their division lead down to the slimmest of margins
Defense played a critical role in a 3-0 loss in the series finale with the Waterloo Bucks in Iowa.
A throwing error by centerfielder Andrew Stevenson (LSU) in the first inning produced the first run of the ballgame and the Bucks added another in the inning. That tuned out to be more than enough as Waterloo pitching held the offense to just five hits.
Two of those hits came with two out in the first inning. Aaron Machbitz (South Dakota State) singled to load the bases but Jared Fon (UW-Whitewater) grounded to shortstop to end the inning. After that point the offense could only muster single hits in the third, fifth, and ninth innings off starting pitcher Landon Simpson who went six innings before giving way to a trio of relievers.
Chinooks starter Joe Greenfield (Eastern Illinois University) was fantastic in his own right throwing six innings and allowing one earned run on six hits. He kept his team in the ballgame all night long including getting a big double play with the bases loaded in the sixth inning.
The loss comes at a tough time for the Chinooks because the Eau Claire Express pounded the Thunder Bay Boarder Cats 10-1 and 12-3 in a pair of seven inning games to make up for a rain out last night. The Lakeshore Chinooks now find themselves just one game in front of the Express in the race for the second and final playoff spot with just four games remaining.
Lakeshore heads to Rochester, Minnesota for a pair of winnable games against the Honkers before finishing up against the Madison Mallards who have lost seven of their last nine ballgames.