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The Bats Come Alive To Propel Lakeshore To 6-3 Victory

Mequon, WI – Following a loss on a walk-off wild pitch to the Rivets in the thirteenth inning on Monday night, the Chinooks returned to Kapco Park Tuesday morning to face off against the Rivets once again. This time, the Lakeshore offense came out swinging early, holding the lead for the entirety of the game as the Chinooks topped the Rivets 6-3.

Cole Gnetz (Miami-Ohio) got the start for the Chinooks on Education Day for his second appearance of the year. With over 1,700 in attendance, he looked to pick up his first win of the season after his first start in Waterloo on June 2nd resulted in a no decision.

The Chinooks didn’t hesitate to attack Rivets starter Zach Aring (St. Josephs College) early in the bottom of the first. After Zac Taylor (Houston) was hit with a pitch with two outs in the inning, Kurtis Brown (Richmond) slapped a single into left field that moved Taylor into scoring position at second. New-comer Darius Sewell (Georgia State) roped a single past Rivets third baseman Neal Tyrell (Lewis) to score Taylor on the play and advance Brown to third on the throw. Short stop Owen Miller (Illinois State) then ripped a line-drive single into center field to score Kurtis Brown from third to give the Chinooks a 2-0 lead going into the top of the second.

Due to a new pitch count rule in the Northwoods League this year, Zach Aring was forced to leave the game after throwing just thirty-six pitches in the first inning. According to the rule, a pitcher that throws thirty-five pitches in an inning is allowed to finish the inning he is pitching, but he cannot return to pitch in the next inning or the remainder of the game. The initiative was undertaken in the interest of the player’s health, directly resulting from a Tommy John epidemic that continues to pose problems for young pitchers and their coaches throughout collegiate and professional baseball.

Nick McKinney (South Suburban CC) entered the game in the bottom of the second in relief of Zach Aring, holding the Chinooks at bay until Lakeshore struck again in the bottom of the third. Matt Johnson (South Dakota State) reached on a lead off walk, but was thrown out attempting to advance to second on a fielder’s choice by Zac Taylor. After Taylor swiped second to put himself in scoring position, Kurtis Brown smashed a single to left field to score Taylor on the play, increasing Lakeshore’s lead to 3-0.

Rockford creeped back into the game in the top of the fourth. A ground-rule double off the bat of Ricardo Ramirez (UIC) lead off the inning for the Rivets. Ramirez proceeded to advance to third on a ground ball by Neal Tyrell, later coming around to score the first run of the game for the Rivets on a passed ball to make the score 3-1

The Rivets battled back once again in the fifth. A lead off walk to Marijn Van Berkel (Amsterdam, Netherlands) and a hit-by-pitch issued to Joshua Hauser (Tennesee-Martin) put runners in scoring position. David Cronin (UIC) lined a 1-0 delivery from Gnetz into right field, moving Hauser to second but holding Van Berkel at third after a quick throw to the infield from right fielder Alex Woinski (Lafayette) halted Van Berkel’s opportunity to score. Then, with the bases loaded, Ricardo Ramirez contributed once again by drawing a base-on-balls from Gnetz to score Van Berkel from third and bring the Rivets within one.  

Luke Sommerfeld (Saint Louis) came on in relief of Cole Gnetz with the bases loaded and one out in the inning. Gnetz finished the day with two runs credited to his name, one of which was earned, on four hits and two strikeouts in a solid appearance on the bump for Lakeshore. Sommerfeld appeared to be fully seasoned in his fourth appearance on the year, ultimately getting out of the bases loaded jam in the fifth to silence the Rivets offense for the time being.

Unfazed by Rockford’s resurgence in the fifth, the Chinooks countered the Rivets’ onslaught with a massive inning of their own in the bottom of the sixth. A single by lead-off hitter Darius Sewell got the inning started for Lakeshore, followed by another single by Owen Miller that advanced Sewell to third to give the Chinooks runners on the corners with no outs. Alex Woinski then stepped into the box and dealt the fatal blow by roping a double to left field, scoring Sewell and Miller to increase the lead to 5-2. Woinski would strategically move to third on the play, seizing the opportunity to advance on a throw directed to home from left fielder Cade Bunnell (Kansas State). On the following at-bat, Woinski would come around to score on a single to center field by Royce Ando to give the Chinooks a 6-2 advantage.

The Rivets never backed down though, persistent in their mission to recover more runs in the eighth inning. Luke Sommerfeld hit Joe Kubera with a pitch to put a runner on for Rockford. Kubera would be thrown out at second on a ground ball fielders choice by Montgomery, but Montgomery would come around to score from first base on the follwoing at-bat on a double in the right field gap tacked on one run for the Rivets, making it a 6-3 ball game.

Zach Reeg (Augusta) was summoned to shut the door in the ninth inning for Lakeshore. And he did just that, enforcing two ground outs and a fly out to secure the win for the Chinooks and earn his first save of the year.

Luke Sommerfeld would be awarded the win for his relief efforts and his first win of the season. In his three and one-third innings of work, Sommerfeld used his dominant fastball to his advantage, striking out three Rivets batters and giving up only one run in his impressive third appearance of the year.

There is no place like home for the Chinooks, as the win against Rockford on Tuesday increases their record at home to 2-0 and brings their overall record to 4-4 on the year.

The Chinooks will host the Madison Mallards in the next matchup on Wednesday at 6:35pm at Kapco Park.

Opening week in Wisconsin in the Northwoods League is presented by Edvest. Edvest is Wisconsin’s 529 College Savings Plan designed to help families save for higher education expenses. It takes just $25 to start an Edvest college savings plan, and account owners can choose from more than 22 investment portfolios while enjoying one of the lowest cost 529 plans in the U.S. along with in-state tax advantages for Wisconsin residents. SavingforCollege.com recently ranked Edvest as of the Top 15 in 529 Performance, the ninth Lowest Cost 529 plans, as well as awarded the program a 5-Cap Rating, which indicates that a 529 plan offers outstanding flexibility, attractive investments and additional economic benefits. Find out more at www.edvest.com.

The Lakeshore Chinooks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 23rd 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 150 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 (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit http://northwoodsleague.com/lakeshore-chinooks.