Wausau, WI— The South Division defeated the North Division 6-2 in the Northwoods League All-Star game on Tuesday night. Collectively, the three Lakeshore Chinooks All-Stars—Nick Gatewood, Matthew Mika, and Jacob Richardson—were 1-5 with a double and a run scored.
Gatewood and Richardson had the honor of starting the game, Richardson at third and Gatewood behind the plate.
For Gatewood, catching was an even bigger honor considering he had the opportunity to work with some of the best arms from around the league. One of those, Madison’s Simon Rosenblum-Larson, (SRL), has thrown 42.1 innings and given up only 27 hits, ten walks and five earned runs this summer, an ERA of 1.06
Plus, SRL’s most recent start came against the Chinooks, where he tossed five scoreless innings while striking out nine. So, after seeing his dominance from the perspective of a hitter, then subsequently a catcher, must’ve been a cool experience.
Funny enough, SRL gave up a run and two hits in tonight’s game.
However, despite the early accolade, Gatewood and Richardson didn't have much success at the plate.
In the bottom of the first, Gatewood grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning, then in his second at-bat in the fourth, struck out swinging.
Richardson put the ball in play both times. In the third, he grounded out to the third baseman, and in the fifth, repeated himself in the scorebook with another tapper to the left side.
Instead, it was the Chinook who entered as a defensive substitute in the sixth inning, Matthew Mika, who had the biggest impact on the game.
It seemed like Mika would get his big chance in the bottom of the seventh. With runners on second and third and Mika on deck, Battle Creek’s Alex Howard was up in the count 3-1 against Eau Claire’s Victor Chavez. But, Chavez blew two straight fastballs past Howard to extinguish the threat.
In possibly a more comfortable position, Mika is the everyday leadoff hitter for the Chinook offense, he up with the bases empty to start off the 8th. After fouling off a 2-1 pitch, Mika worked the count full before lacing a fastball down the right-center field line for extra bases.
Mika plays baseball to have fun, and you could see he was enjoying himself as he sprinted into second and lost his helmet along the way.
One pitch later, Madison’s Cole Daily sent a single to centerfield that brought Mika around to score the go-ahead run and what ended up being the winning run.
The South piled it on the bottom of the eighth, plating four runs in total and making the North’s comeback effort almost unobtainable in the ninth.
Now, the Chinooks will have one more day off before returning to action against the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders at home on Thursday.
With only 25 games left in the season, and an extremely close playoff race—the Chinooks are one game back of the fourth place Madison Mallards who hold onto the last playoff spot—every game is important.
The remaining schedule features six versus the division leading Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, four versus 27-19 Kenosha, three versus 27-20 Battle Creek, two versus 26-21 Madison, four versus 24-22 Rockford, and only six games against teams below .500. Safe to say, it’ll be a challenging second half for a team teetering on the edge of a playoff spot.
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 180 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.