Battle Creek, MI – The Lakeshore Chinooks came into their season-opening two-game series with the Battle Creek Bombers looking to make a quick impression on the Northwoods League, and they managed to do that and then some. After a 4-2 win in the opener on Tuesday, the club finished off the sweep with a 9-1 win on Wednesday.
Unlike in the first game of the series, when the Chinooks did not score until the eighth inning, the club got on the board early in this one. After Lucas Raley (Lake Erie College) singled as the second batter in the first inning, a double from Doug Kraeger (Richmond) drove him in for the first run of the game. The Chinooks went on to score a run in the second and third innings thanks to RBI singles from third baseman Jake Kolasinski (UW-Parkside) and left fielder Jake Romano (Miami-Ohio).
Starter Lake Bachar (UW-Whitewater) looked to be putting together something special in the early going of this game. Through three innings, he allowed just two hits, no walks and no runs while also striking out six. Unfortunately for Bachar, a rain delay that begun in the top of the fourth and lasted almost two hours forced his outing to conclude after those three innings.
Leading 3-0 in the top of the fourth, the Chinooks quickly plated three more runs to start off the inning, in part thanks to an RBI triple from Raley and an RBI double from shortstop Greg Deichmann (Louisiana State). The rain delay interrupted the team's onslaught, but when play resumed with a runner on first and no outs, the Chinooks were not done scoring. Second baseman Rich Rodriguez (Cincinnati) proceeded to single, and a double from Romano scored both Rodriguez and Kraeger to make the score 8-0. The club added another insurance run in the top of the sixth when Rodriguez drove in Kraeger for the ninth run of the game.
With Bachar's start ending early thanks to the rain, the Chinooks needed a reliever to step up and provide some innings. John Schreiber (Kent State) lived up to the challenge, giving his team 4.0 innings out of the 'pen. Utilizing a heavy dosage of curveballs, Schreiber allowed just one run on two hits and a walk while striking out four. Lanky right-hander Shea Murray (Ohio State) locked things down for the final two frames, striking out five without giving up a hit.
Raley and Romano led the way for the offense, each smacking three hits, with Romano also driving in three runs and Raley driving in one and scoring a pair. Rodriguez also had a good day at the plate, reaching base four times via a hit and three walks while adding an RBI and a run scored. This win certainly does not only get credited to these three guys, though, because every hitter in the Chinooks lineup managed at least one hit and six had multi-hit efforts.
The club returns home to Mequon to take on the Kenosha Kingfish on Thursday at 6:35 p.m. in the home opener. After traveling to Kenosha on Friday, the Chinooks come back to Kapco Park for a four-game home stand starting on Saturday.
The Lakeshore Chinooks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 120 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (BOS) and Ben Zobrist (OAK). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.lakeshorechinooks.com.