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Rollercoaster of Emotion Ends on High Note

A baseball season, especially a Northwoods League season, is considered a grind. The key to success is management of the ups and downs in a positive manner. The Lakeshore Chinooks have been able to do that with regularity this season, case in point a 5-1 15 inning loss followed by a 4-3 victory Tuesday evening in Waterloo, Iowa over the home standing Bucks.

The night got underway with the teams completing a suspended game from July 30th at Kapco Park. The game was tied 1-1 heading into the 10th inning before being suspended due to rain. When the game resumed both teams did not put more than one runner on base in any inning until the 15th.  A double, a walk, and a single loaded the bases with one out in the top of the inning for Waterloo. Two more hits made it 3-1 before the Bucks would add two more to seal the victory.

Shortly after the completion of game one came news that both the Eau Claire Express and La Crosse Loggers had been rained out, therefore Lakeshore still retained a 2 ½ game lead on the Express and a 3 game lead on the Loggers despite the loss.

With just six games remaining on the schedule, it was imperative Lakeshore bounce back in a hurry and forget about what happened just a few minutes earlier.

The team had a spring in their step for-game two as Andrew Stevenson (LSU) and Sawyer Polen (Kent State University) singled to begin the ballgame. Mike Papi (Virginia), who hadn’t played since Friday, picked up an RBI single plating Stevenson with one out. Jared Fon (UW-Whitewater) extended the lead with a two-out RBI double scoring Polen to make it 2-0 before Waterloo stepped into the batters box.

Starter Tim Faix (Kent State University) had a bout of early wildness, walking the first two men he faced to begin his outing. One of those walks came across to score on a fielder’s choice ground ball back to Faix who tried to start a double play but Polen’s return throw the first was late.

Waterloo took the lead in the bottom of the second when Marcos Calderon reached base on an error by Sawyer Polen with one out. He and teammate Will Sparks scored on an RBI double by Pat McKenzie giving the Bucks a 3-2 lead.

As is so often the case in baseball, whenever you make a bad play the game finds a way of allowing you to redeem yourself in short order. Polen certainly did that as he led off the very next inning and hit the second pitch he saw out for his second home run in as many days tying the game.

The game would stay tied until the sixth inning when Fon reached base to begin the inning on an error by the shortstop and Stevenson delivered a one-out RBI ground ball to third plating Eli Roundtree to make it 4-3 Chinooks.

Gunnar Eastman (UW-Milwaukee) and Mitchell Sewald (LSU) each threw two scoreless innings to nail down the victory.

The series continues in Waterloo on Wednesday. The team still controls their own destiny in the playoff race. The Eau Claire Express take on the Thunder Bay Border Cats in a double-header on the road north of the border while the La Crosse Loggers take on the Alexandria Blue Anchors in a twin bill up in Minnesota.  Including Wednesday, only five games remain on the regular season schedule.