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Richardson, Mika Lead Chinooks Past Rafters

 

Wisconsin Rapids, WI—The Lakeshore Chinooks defeated the division leading Wisconsin Rapids Rafters 8-7 on Saturday night. The win moved the Chinooks to 31-27 on the season and 13-10 in the second half.

Regarding the divisional race, the Chinooks are three games back of Rockford Rivets in the second half and 9.5 games back of the Rafters in the overall standings.

Since the top four teams make the playoffs, the Chinooks are still well in the hunt for a spot. They’re one game back of the 4th place Kenosha Kingfish for the final playoff spot.

With the last two nights being a battle of prominent pitchers, it was nice to have a change of pace in tonight’s offensive show of force.

The Chinooks offense got things going right away. Matthew Mika led things off with a single and Jacob Richardson, with two outs, came through with a clutch RBI double to bring Mika around to score.

That Richardson and Mika combination kept producing throughout the night. Combined the duo finished 5-11 with 7 RBI and three runs scored.

But, the Rafters are 41-18 for a reason. They struck back in the bottom of the first with two runs of their own.  After Ryan Anderson singled with one out and advanced to second on a wild pitch, Ryan Stekl drove him in with a RBI double, and Stekl came around to score himself on a Jake Guenther RBI single. After one inning, it was 2-1 Rafters.

Lakeshore turned the tides in the top of the second.

Tim DalPorto got things going with a one-out single, and after a single by Drake Lubin and a Connor Kimple walk, loaded the bases for Matthew Mika.

As he’s done so many times this summer, Mika came through. His two-RBI single made it 3-2 Chinooks, but Lakeshore was far from done.

With two outs, Rylan Thomas got plunked and loaded up the bases for Jacob Richardson, and Richardson cleared them with one swing of the bat. He launched a triple into the right-center field gap to make it 6-2 Chinooks. Then, Nick Gatewood followed up with a double of his own and drove in Richardson to make it 7-2 Lakeshore.

After the second, Rafters starter, Quinn DiPasquale met his end. On the season, he'd been a dominant force, sporting an ERA in the two's and striking out 49 in his 52 innings coming in. In fact, he'd only give up more than two runs in one his nine previous starts. 

The Chinooks added one more in the top of the 3rd. Matthew Mika drove in Tim DalPorto with a RBI double to make it 8-2 Chinooks.

In the bottom of the third, the Rafters offense started chipping away. They put one on the board courtesy of a Dustin Woodcock RBI single to make it 8-3 after three innings.

Despite the high-scoring game, Chinooks starter, Cyrillo Watson had an impressive day. The righty threw 4.2 innings, gave up three, walked four a struck out three. 

The scoring settled until the 7th. With the bases loaded, the Rafters Will Davis lifted a fly ball that was misplayed by the Chinooks left fielder Connor Kimple and allowed Stekl to score. Then,

Christian Kuzemka, in a pinch-hit role, grounded out to the Chinooks shortstop, Jack Dunn, to make it 8-5 after the 7th.

The Rafters made it a game late.

The Chinooks closer, Nick Campe, came in to shut the door in the 9th but had some trouble with location. Three walks and a double loaded the bases and allowed two runs to score before setting up the biggest play of the game.

With the bases loaded, two outs, a one-one, and the Rafters down a run, Nick Anderson laced what looked to be a game winning single down the left field line. But, miraculously, Jacob Richardson came up with a diving stab and launched a laser beam throw to get the speedy Anderson for the final out of the game.

Not trying to jinx anything, but it feels like a turning point down the final stretch of the season.

Tomorrow, the Chinooks look for a sweep of the Rafters in Rapids with Austin Havekost on the mound. The game starts at 4:05.

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 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.