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Chinooks Split Series with Bullfrogs, Drop Game Two 9-6

 

Mequon, WI–The Chinooks dropped their fourth straight home game Saturday night, losing 9-6 to the visiting Green Bay Bullfrogs and falling to 0-4 on the season at Kapco Park. 

The loss came subsequent a night where the Chinooks, following a 5-3 defeat of the Bullfrogs in Green Bay to break a 6 game losing skid, had momentum coming in, but another disappointing effort by the bullpen, a group that’s allowed 33 runs in their past three games, put the team back in the loss column. 

The Chinooks had an early advantage in this one after Justin Bardwell (Fordham), in the bottom of the second inning, hit a hanging off-speed pitch to deep right field for his first home run of the season. 

“It was awesome, it felt really good off the bat,” Bardwell said. “It didn't have that exact feeling it was going out, but as soon as I saw it, I was ecstatic.”

The Chinooks took that 1-0 lead into the top of the third, but the Bullfrogs would answer right back with what will certainly go down as one of the oddest and confusing scoring plays of the summer. 

After an error by Chinook right fielder, Joe Acker (Nebraska), the bases were loaded for the Bullfrog clean-up hitter Kyle Benyo (Youngstown State). Though Benyo would do plenty of cleaning up tonight, he finished with two towering home runs, in this instance he lifted a weak popup to the first baseman Zach Biermann (Polk State). The umpire, correctly, ruled an infield fly, but, due to the violently whipping wind, it never made into Biermann’s glove and the runner from third came across to score. 

It took a call to the Minnesota Twins official scorekeeper, but it was determined that the batter was ruled out and not credited with a RBI. 

That escapade sent the Bullfrogs on a scoring spree. They scored at least one run from the third all the way to the eighth inning, including a four-spot in the seventh.

Two of those came off the power bat of Benyo, who's now tied for fourth in the league with 3 homers on the season, while the other seven were a result of a variety of walks, line-drive singles, and defensive mishaps. 

In total, from the 6th to 9th innings, the Chinook bullpen gave up 6 hits, walked 6 and threw 46 balls. 

Chinook starter Sam Lund (Madison College) chased after 5 innings. It was another solid start for Lund who only gave up 2 earned runs and 7 hits while striking out five and walking one. On the season, Lund lowered his ERA to an impressive 3.85. 

The Chinooks entered the ninth inning down 9-3, but they did make a strong plea for a comeback that sparked intrigue from the Green Bay broadcaster who, at that point, was more interested in documenting the formation of a spider web on the press box window. 

The rally started when Jacob Richardson (Southern Arkansas) roped a liner up the middle that was quickly followed by a 400 foot Biermann blast to deep center field that would've gone out in almost any other Northwoods League park. But, Biermann had to settle for a double instead of his fifth homer of the season.

Biermann, who was spotted passing up the postgame pasta for a nutritious salad, said, in complete contrast, he does want to gain weight this summer. So, Chinook fans might see that double turn into a big fly in a few weeks. 

Eventually, the Chinooks, to the exuberant cheers of those remaining, did bring the tying run to the plate, but Royce Ando (Michigan State) popped up on a first pitch curve that ended things with runners on first and second. 

“The fans were really rowdy, I loved it. Great turnout,” said Chinook centerfield, Drake Lupin (Eastern Michigan), who, in his Kapco debut, reached base five times. “Unfortunately, we didn't get the win, but we played well together. Hopefully, we can build on that.”

The Chinooks are back in action tomorrow night at Kapco facing off against the Fon Du Lac Dock Spiders. The Dock Spiders, who are brand new to the Northwoods league in 2017, are 3-9 to start the season. 

Taking the mound for the Chinooks is Cyrillo Watson (Illinois) who leads all Chinooks starting pitchers with a 1.00 ERA in 9 innings. 

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.