Wisconsin Rapids, WI – After sweeping the 2015 Northwoods League Champion Kenosha Kingfish in a doubleheader on Monday, the Chinooks traveled to Wisconsin Rapids for game one of a two-game series on Tuesday.
Joey Abraham (Vanderbilt) took the mound for his fourth start of the season for Lakeshore. Coming into the game with a 1-1 record and 3.27 ERA, Abraham hoped to bounce back to winning form after being issued a loss in his previous outing against La Crosse on June 15.
Abraham faced off against Jay Peters (UW-Milwaukee), who was also making his fourth start of the year on Tuesday. Though it was his fourth appearance, Peters had yet to receive a win coming into Tuesday’s game, being issued a no decision in each of his previous starts.
The game did not remain scoreless for long, as the Rafters struck first in the bottom of the second. A lead off single by Patrick Cromwell (Washington) and consecutive walks issued to Dustin Woodcock (SIU-Edwardsville) and Rob Calabrese (Illinois-Chicago) loaded the bases for the Rafters with no outs in the inning. Then Luke Peterson (Minnesota) hit a ground ball fielder’s choice to score Cromwell from third to give the Rafters a 1-0 advantage.
The Chinooks came back to tie it in the fourth. Zac Taylor (Houston) reached by getting hit with a 2-2 delivery by Jay Peters to put the leadoff runner on for the Chinooks. After a walk was issued to James Bleming (Lehigh), Kurtis Brown (Richmond) flied out to center and Taylor advanced to third on the play to put runners on the corners with one out. Then Tim DalPorto (Kent State) stepped up and continued to stay hot, driving an RBI double to score Taylor from third and even the game at 1-1.
The stalemate was broken up in the bottom of the sixth. Abraham issued a leadoff walk to Ben Fischer (Eastern Kentucky), followed by a single off the bat of Joey Morgan (Washington) to put runners on first and second to start the inning. Then, Chinooks’ Manager Eddy Morgan made a call to the bullpen, electing to bring in Brandon Baker (Georgia State) in relief of Abraham. A sacrifice bunt by Patrick Cromwell moved the runners up one base, followed by a walk issued to Dustin Woodcock to load up the bases with one out in the inning. Rob Calabrase then delivered the decisive blow, lifting a sacrifice fly to center to score Fisher from third and give the Rafters a 2-1 lead.
The Rafters would go on to win by the same score, topping the Chinooks 2-1 in a game in which the Lakeshore offense struggled to answer the Wisconsin Rapids’ run in the sixth.
Joey Abraham was issued his second loss of the season after giving up two runs on four hits, striking out four but issuing five walks in his five innings of work. In his sixteen innings pitched this season, Abraham has tallied a team-leading eighteen walks, but also is tied for second on the team in strikeouts with eighteen.
Rafters’ reliever John Jaeger (Sterling College) picked up his second win of the season after taking over in the top of the sixth for Jay Peters, holding the Chinooks to only two hits in his three innings of work. Garrett Schilling (Xavier) earned his fifth save of the year by coming into the game in the top of the ninth and shutting the door for the Rafters.
With the loss the Chinooks drop their record to 9-14 on the year, while the Rafters improve their record to 12-8 on the season.
The Chinooks face off against the Rafters in game two of the series on Wednesday in Wisconsin Rapids at 7:05pm.
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.