Grafton, WI- The Lakeshore Chinooks fell to 3-2 on the season after a 7-2 loss to the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters Saturday night. Chinooks starter Zach Spears (Miami-Ohio) pitched seven strong innings, allowing just one run and striking out nine, while Rafters’ starter J.P. Stevenson allowed two runs on three hits, walking none and striking out two.
This game featured two lefty starters with very different styles. Spears used his low-90s fastball to dominate the bats of the Rafters, while Wisconsin Rapids starter Stevenson topped out in the low-80s, but used his off-speed pitches to keep the damage of Lakeshore to two runs.
The scoring for the Chinooks started right away in the bottom of the first. After a two-out double by Zach Biermann (Polk State), Jacob Richardson (Southern Arkansas) drove him in with a two-run homer to give Lakeshore the early 2-0 advantage.
Both pitchers were dealing early, with Rafters’ starter J.P. Stevenson retiring 12 straight Chinooks before a two-out double by Daniel DeSimone (Oklahoma State) in the bottom of the 5th.
A Dustin Woodcock double in the top of the 6th drove in Nick Owens to give Wisconsin Rapids its first run of the game and cut the Chinooks’ lead to just one.
The top of the 8th certainly was an eventful inning, with the Rafters torching Lakeshore pitching for six runs. Jake Guenther entered the game in the 8th for Tyler Krabbe and wasted no time. Guenther led off the inning with a single and later advanced to third on a wild pitch from Chinooks’ reliever Brendan McGuigan (Richmond). A triple by Shaq Robinson knocked in Guenther and tied the game at two. McGuigan struggled with his command and threw his second wild pitch, which allowed Robinson to score and give the Rafters their first lead of the night. Later in the inning, the Rafters executed the hit-and-run to perfection, as Ryan Stekl singled with Owens on the move, allowing Owens to get all the way home and give the Rafters a 4-2 lead. The dagger was a three-run homer hit by Wisconsin Rapids’ designated hitter Christian Jones, driving in Bryson Stott and Ryan Stekl, giving the Rafters a commanding 7-2 lead.
Jacob Richardson was the offensive star for the Chinooks, going 2-3 with a home run and two RBI, while Lakeshore starter Zach Spears stymied the Rafters, allowing just one run on five hits, walking none and striking out nine.
The Lakeshore Chinooks battle the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters again tomorrow night at Kapco Park, with first pitch coming at 5:05 as the Chinooks look to split the two-game series and improve to 4-2 on the season.
The Lakeshore Chinooks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 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 170 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.lakeshorechinooks.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Chinooks as your favorite team.