Mequon, WI – Lakeshore bounced back on Monday after being held scoreless in game one of the series against Battle Creek on Sunday. Though pitching was the highlight of the majority of the contest, the Chinooks ultimately emerged victorious after new-comer Tim Dalporto (Kent State) continued to stay hot by driving an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to give Lakeshore a must-needed 2-1 victory.
Cole Gnetz (Miami-Ohio) got the start on the mound for Lakeshore. He was issued a no decision in his previous two starts, allowing a total of five runs on nine hits and striking out five in his 9.2 innings for the Chinooks this season.
Felix Minjarez (Redlands) started on the bump for the Bombers. Coming into the game with an ERA of 6.96 and a 1-0 record, he looked to continue to overpower his opposition by relying on strikeouts and letting his defense play behind him.
It was clear from the start that a pitcher’s duel would be the tone of the game, as neither team could find a hole in the opposing defense through the first three innings. Lakeshore’s Kurtis Brown (Richmond) finally broke the stalemate by delivering the first hit of the game in the bottom of the fourth, roping a single to right-center.
Cole Gnetz mowed through the Bombers’ lineup, tallying seven strikeouts through his first four innings. The Bombers ultimately reached base in the fifth when Gnetz hit Christian Helsel (Penn State) with a 1-2 fastball to put the lead-off batter on for Battle Creek.
Felix Minjarez was pitching a gem together with Gnetz, striking out four and giving up only two hits through his first five innings of work.
Battle Creek was held hitless by Gnetz through five innings, until Jarrod Watkins (Central Michigan) squared up and drove a two-out single to left field in the sixth. Gnetz wasn’t phased though, proceeding to retire Nick Podkul (Notre Dame) on a pop out for the final out of the inning.
The Chinooks struck first in the seventh. A lead off walk issued to Alec Olund (Purdue) started off the inning for the Chinooks. Olund stole second base and then advance to third on an infield single by Royce Ando (Michigan State) to put runners on the corners for the Chinooks with one out.
Minjarez would be relieved by Krystein Johnson-Battilana (Davenport) after holding the Chinooks scoreless through 6.1 innings, only allowing five hits and striking out four.
Following the pitching change, Zac Taylor (Houston) laid down a suicide squeeze to the right side of the infield, taking the Bombers by surprise. Johnson-Battilana made an attempt at the ball but could not control it in time to record the out at home, allowing Taylor to reach at first and bring home Olund to score the first run of the game for the Chinooks.
Left-hander Joe Stoll (Ohio State) made his debut appearance in the eighth for Lakeshore, coming on in relief of Cole Gnetz.
However, the Bombers took advantage of Gnetz’s absence, battling back in the eighth. Stoll started the inning by issuing a lead-off walk to Chad McKinney (Lamar). A sacrifice bunt by pinch hitter Cody Sporrer (UC-Riverside) advanced pinch runner Aaron Singh (Redlands) to second. Then, an RBI single to left off the bat of Eric Gilgenbach (Notre Dame) drove in Singh from second, evening the score at 1-1 going into the bottom of the eighth.
After nearly taking the lead in the bottom of the eighth, the Chinooks came out swinging in the ninth as Bombers’ reliever Edgar Sanchez (Prarie View AM) stayed on to pitch for Battle Creek following his entrance in the game the prior inning.
Kevin Riley (Chaffey Community College) lead off the bottom of the ninth with an infield single. A bunt by Royce Ando advanced Riley to second, followed by an intentional walk to Zac Taylor to put runners on first and second.
With two outs, Tim Dalporto stepped up in the clutch, hitting a perfectly placed fly ball to right field that dropped down to score Riley from second and win the game for the Chinooks by a score of 2-1 on a walk-off single.
While they both dominated the opposing team’s line up, Gnetz and Minjarez would both be issued no decisions in their third start of the year.
But, Gnetz would be named the Northwoods League Pitcher of the Night, a constellation prize for an outstanding performance in which he held the Bombers scoreless, allowing only one hit and striking out nine in his seven innings of work.
Zach Reeg (Augustana) picked up his second win of the year after he came into the game in the top of the ninth and struck out three of the four batters he faced to keep the game tied 1-1 going into the bottom half of the inning. Edgar Sanchez was awarded his first loss of the season after giving up the game-winning single to Dalporto.
With the win, Lakeshore improves their record to 6-8, while the Bombers drop to 8-6 on the season.
The Chinooks travel to La Crosse on Tuesday to face off against the Loggers in the first game of a two-game road trip.
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.