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Published On: May 29th, 2015

Mequon, WI – The Lakeshore Chinooks returned to Kapco Park on Thursday for their first home game of the season after sweeping the Battle Creek Bombers in their season-opening, two-game series. In the first game of what has been dubbed Championship Weekend by the team in celebration of their 2014 Northwoods League title, the Chinooks fell to the Kenosha Kingfish by a score of 9-0.

Zac Lowther (Xavier) was the starter for the Chinooks, going three innings while giving up two runs on five hits and three walks, also striking out two. Lowther did manage to keep his team in the game by escaping a couple of jams, stranding the bases loaded in the 2nd inning with a double play ball that got him out of the frame with only one run allowed. He faced another jam in the 3rd after already having given up a run in the inning, as runners sat at first and second with two outs. Lowther once again limited the damage, though, by inducing an inning-ending groundball. Manager Eddy Morgan said of Lowther's start, "He didn't have great feel, but he's got good stuff. You'll see a different pitcher his next outing… he battled and he's going to be a great pitcher for us this summer."

Joe Stoll (Ohio State) relieved Lowther, and he actually looked quite sharp, showcasing good command of a mid-80's fastball and keeping Kingfish hitters off balance with a solid low-70's curveball. He made just two bad pitches throughout his three innings pitched, but the Kingfish were able to make him pay, as Stoll's college teammate, right fielder Nick Sergakis (Ohio State), and catcher Jake Whiting (Montevallo) each smacked solo home runs off of him. 

Mike Letkewicz (Augustana College), on in relief of Stoll, did what he could to keep his team in the game, holding the Kingfish scoreless in his two innings pitched while striking out three. Rustin Sveum (Dixie State) then came on in the ninth for the Chinooks, but he struggled, giving up five runs in his sole inning of work. 

The Chinooks offense had a couple of chances against Kingfish starter Andrew Zapata (UConn), but they could not find a way to capitalize. The team loaded the bases against Zapata in the second, but an inning-ending double play made them leave without a run. They had another chance in the fourth, putting runners on first and second with one out, but once again a double play quelled the rally. Zapata wound up throwing 5.2 scoreless innings, giving up four hits and two walks while striking out seven.

With Kingfish reliever Ryan Orr (Kalamazoo) on the mound in the seventh, the Chinooks had another opportunity to score after singles by right fielder Lucas Raley (Lake Erie College) and first baseman Doug Kraeger (Richmond) put runners on first and second with one out. Once again, however, they came up empty after Orr struck out the final two batters of the inning. Brett Shimanovsky (St. Louis) came on after Orr for the Kingfish, finishing things off with 1.2 scoreless innings. 

The Chinooks actually managed a solid eight hits despite being shut out, including two each by Krager and left fielder Jake Romano (Miami-Ohio), but they simply could never come up with a timely hit. On what the Chinooks need to adjust in order to win their next game, Morgan said, "We just need to string more quality at bats together. It's about making adjustments at the plate."

The team will look for redemption against the Kingfish on Friday as they travel to Kenosha at 7:05 p.m. Then, Championship Weekend will continue for the Chinooks as they return home on Saturday for a two-game series against the Green Bay Bullfrogs.

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