Mequon, WI- The Lakeshore Chinooks (15-15) defeated the Kalamazoo Growlers, 5-3, in the first of two games at home against the Growlers.
Neither team had success at the plate early in the game, as the Chinooks were the first team to break the scoreless tie in the bottom of the 3rd inning. Connor Kimple (Oklahoma State) led off the inning with a single rocketed to left-center, and Matthew Mika (Central Florida) followed with a walk.
Rylan Thomas then doubled to deep right-center, plating Kimple and Mika, giving the Chinooks the 2-0 lead. Later in the inning, Daniel DeSimone (Oklahoma State) blooped a ball to shallow left field, but was placed in between three Growlers, and none of them seemed to want to make the catch. As a result, Thomas was able to make it all the way home, pushing the Lakeshore lead to 3.
Kalamazoo was able to get on the board in the top half of the 4th, starting with a play similar to the one in the bottom of the 3rd. Mitch Bigras led off the inning with a ball blooped to shallow left field, but neither Matt Burch (Arkansas) nor TJ Raguse (Baylor) called each other off, and Bigras was able to cruise into 2nd with a double. After Bigras was able to advance to 3rd, Matt Koehler grounded out, which plated Bigras and cut the Chinooks’ lead to 2.
In the bottom of the 5th inning, Nick Gatewood (Georgia State) helped extend the Chinooks’ lead, as he singled up the middle to bring home Joe Duncan (Eastern Illinois) from 3rd after Duncan singled earlier in the inning. The RBI single gave Lakeshore a 4-1 advantage.
The bottom of the 6th featured Matt Burch reaching base for the second time via an error by Growlers’ shortstop, Michael Diffley, and wound up at 2nd base after a poor throw to 1st. Connor Kimple later singled home Burch, giving Lakeshore a 5-1 lead.
Michael Diffley led off the top of the 7th with a walk, and ended up jogging home on a 2-run homer coming off the bat of Charlie Carpenter. The 2-run shot was Carpenter’s first home run of the summer, and cut the Chinooks’ lead to just 2.
Joe Heineman (Baylor) was impressive in his 2 innings of relief, allowing just one hit and no runs, walking one and striking out four. Heineman picked up the 2-inning save, securing the Chinooks’ 5-3 victory.
Chinooks’ starter, Sam Lund (Madison College), making his final start of the summer for the Chinooks, stymied the Growlers over 6 dominant innings. Lund allowed just one run on five hits, walking one and striking out four.
“I felt good, my pitches were working for the most part, I was hitting my spots,” said Lund. “When I got guys on base, I was working the 2-seam, getting ground balls, and the defense was making some good plays for me out there.”
When asked about his experience with the Chinooks, Lund said, “it was nice. The people here are nice, the field is nice, and it was good for me to see some good competition.”
The Lakeshore Chinooks (15-15) stay in Mequon for another game against the Growlers Friday night, as the Chinooks look to complete the 2-game sweep of Kalamazoo.
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.