Rafters Rush Past Chinooks, 17-5
Grafton, WI – The Lakeshore Chinooks dropped their second straight contest to the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, 17-5.
It was an offensive battle from the start as the Rafters Nick Owens (St. Johns River State) led off the top of the first inning with a powerful line drive single to centerfield and was quickly driven home by a Bryson Stott (UNLV) RBI double into the left-center field gap to make it 1-0 Rafters.
However, on Star Wars day, the Chinooks got their revenge in the bottom of the first. Slugging right fielder Zach Biermann (Polk State) belted his fourth homer in the last four games to make it 1-1 after one full inning.
The tide shifted back to the Rafters in the top of the second. After striking out the leadoff man, Chinooks starter Shane Smith (Miami-Ohio) gave up a single to Jake Guenther (Sacramento City CC), plunked Nick Anderson (Texas A&M CC) and saw a Scott Kapers (Valparaiso) double fly over his head to drive in Guenther.
However, Smith wasn't dismayed. After a wild throw from the outfield, Smith gobbled up the loose ball and uncorked a 60 mph heave to the plate to cut down Anderson as he tried to score. After two full innings, it was 2-1 Rafters.
The scoring picked back up in the bottom of the third. The Chinooks’ Connor Kimple (Oklahoma State) lead off the inning with a line-drive single to center and two more singles by lead-off hitter Kody Matthews (Marshall) and Royce Ando (Michigan State) followed to bring Kimple around to score.
Later in the inning, Jacob Richardson (Southern Arkansas) grounded into an odd fielder’s choice, 5-4-3, in which the second baseman stepped off the bag. That allowed another run to score and kept the inning alive for the DH Justin Bardwell (Fordham) who drove in Ando to make it 4-2 Chinooks after three innings.
The lead wouldn't last long. In the top of the fourth, a leadoff single, RBI double and sac fly resulted in two more runs for the Rafters and knotted the score at 4-4 after four innings.
Both starting pitchers exited the day after four innings. Chinooks starter, Shane Smith, finished the day with, four earned runs, six hits and a no decision.
After a scoreless fifth inning, one of only two innings on the day without runs scored, the Rafters tacked on four more runs in the sixth via a cornucopia of walks, sac flies, singles and doubles to make it 8-4 after six innings.
The Chinooks offense put one more on the board in the seventh courtesy of a Richardson groundout, but on deck was a historic nine-run eighth inning, the first time the Rafters had ever scored that many runs in a single inning, that all but ended this game.
The inning started with a routine groundout by Owens, but the next out wasn't recorded until nine batters later. And, every one of those next eight batters crossed the plate. All in all, Chinooks’ pitching faced 15 batters in the eighth inning.
The Chinooks return to action tomorrow morning, 11:35 am, for a matchup against the Kenosha Kingfish.
Sam Lund (Madison College) will make his second start of the season after going 3 innings and giving up two runs in a 5-3 to the Battle Creek Bombers on May 31st.
“We’ve got to come back ready to play.” said the Chinooks’ Zach Biermann. “Tomorrow is a new day, we just have to take [the loss] in stride.”
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.