Chinooks Walk-Off Rafters, 8-7
Mequon, WI—The Lakeshore Chinooks, using a walk-off single by Jack Dunn, rushed past the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters with a 8-7 victory on Wednesday night. The victory vaulted the Chinooks to 20-19 on the season and 2-2 in the second half. As for the Rapids Rafters, they (fell?) to 30-10 on the season and 3-1 in the second half.
It was an offensive game from the start. In the top of the first inning, the Rafters squeaked across a run when a stolen base attempt from Dustin Woodcock, who reached on a single earlier in the inning, forced a throw from Chinook catcher, Tim Dalporto. From there, Bryson Stott, who walked and advanced on the Woodcock single, took off from third and scored on a brilliant base running maneuver.
But, the Chinooks lept right back upstream and into contention in the bottom of the first. Matthew Mika, not to be outdone in the Rafters base running rat race, walked, stole second, advanced to third on a Nick Gatewood groundout, and crossed home after a passed ball got by the Rafter backstop, Jared Nelson.
Lakeshore netted their first lead of the game in the bottom of the second when Caleb Dean, with two outs, launched a doubled to left field and was brought into score just two pitches later on a Jack Dunn RBI single to left field.
The Rafters would get that run back in the top of the third when Bryson Stott led off with a double and was knocked in on a Jason McGowan. The funny thing about that run, it might be the only run scored all summer by the opposing team that brought Lakeshore fans to their feet.
Matthew Mika, who’s made plenty of highlight-reel plays at second base, served up another one after he sprinted far to his right, scooped up the grounder with a slick backhand, and delivered a strong throw across his body to get the sprinting McGowan with a half-step to spare.
The score remained 2-2 up until the bottom of the fifth inning, that’s when the floodgates opened, and the Chinooks produced a steady stream of runs to swiftly dash past a surging Rapids Rafters team.
With one out, Mika got things going with a walk. It would be the first of five walks given up that inning, including a stretch of four in a row to Thomas, Miller, Dalporto, and Dean. There were only two hits and, oddly enough, those were the only two balls put in play all inning. One hit, off the bat of Nick Gatewood, plated two of the four Chinooks runs in the inning.
Then, in the fifth, Gatewood came through again with a powerful homer to left field to give the Chinooks a 7-4 lead.
On the mound, it was a rough day for Rafters starter, Jack Eagan. Who, up to this point, hadn't given up more than two runs in any of his six previous starts. But, the mighty Chinook offense can seemingly fell any insurmountable obstacle.
The Chinooks carried their 7-4 lead all the way to the ninth inning. That’s when the Rafters, inspired by their rat mascot, chewed their way out of a tight jam when Christian Jones mashed a deep, three-run home run that was far from a cheesy wall-scraper.
However, the Chinooks had a trap set in the bottom of the ninth. Jack Dunn, after Caleb Dean walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch, singled to center field and was mobbed by his teammates for the first walk-off winner of the summer.
The Chinooks are back underway tomorrow as the Green Bay Bullfrogs hop into town for the first of a two-game home and home series. Austin Havecost gets the call on the mound for first pitch at 5:05
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.