Fond du Lac, WI—The Lakeshore Chinooks used seven unanswered runs to come back from a 5-0 deficit to defeat the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders 7-6 on Tuesday night. The win moved the Chinooks to 32-29 on the season and 14-12 in the second half.
The hero of the night was Nick Pierce who delivered a two-RBI single in the top of the 8th inning to give the Chinooks a lead and set up Joe Heineman for his second save of the summer.
Early on, it looked like the Chinooks would never get to a point where a comeback would be plausible, but an excellent performance from the bullpen paired with some clutch at-bats in the middle innings proved to be the decisive factor.
In the bottom of the first inning, Chinooks starter, Cole Gnetz, who threw 6.1 innings of two-run baseball his last time facing the Dock Spiders, started out rough and never recovered.
After walking the first two batters on nine pitches, RBI singles from Andrew Bullock and Caleb Summerhayes, plus a passed ball, made it 4-0 Spiders.
In the bottom of the second, Fond du Lac added one more after Gnetz plunked Summerhayes with the bases loaded.
Gnetz did strike out Eric Gilgenbach to minimize the damage, but his day was over after just two innings. Final line: four hits, five runs, four walks and five strikeouts.
The Chinooks finally got on the board in the top of the fourth when Daniel DeSimone smoked a ball up the middle that took a tough hop, bounced off the glove of the Spiders second baseman, and allowed Drake Lubin to score.
The Chinooks added three more in the fifth after Connor Kimple got things started with a two-out single. Then, a single by Drake Lubin and walk by Tim DalPorto loaded things up for Joe Duncan.
Last night with the bases loaded, Duncan hit a line-drive that was snagged by Spiders third baseman Colln Ridout to prevent the tying run from scoring, but tonight, Duncan’s luck turned around.
Duncan hit a hot shot down the third base line that ate up the third baseman and allowed Connor Kimple to score.
Rylan Thomas added two more when he knocked a RBI single into left field to bring home Lubin and DalPorto.
In the top of the fifth, the Chinooks tied things up at five when the Spiders catcher threw it into the outfield while trying to catch Jack Dunn at third base. Dunn easily trotted home as the left fielder gave chase.
Things got interesting in the seventh. After four shutout innings of long relief, Marshall Oetting exited, and Luke Sommerfeld emerged from the pen to bridge the gap to Heineman.
At the start, Sommerfeld struggled, he walked Summerhayes and plunked Gilgenbach, but a big double play and a weak fly ball ended the Spider rally and gave the Chinooks momentum heading into the 8th.
In the 8th, a DeSimone single and Dunn double set the stage for Pierce who delivered the biggest at-bat of the game.
The Spiders got one back in the bottom of the 8th after a Nick Fortes sac fly, but with two one and two outs, Heineman subbed in for Sommerfeld, got Summerhayes to ground out to Tim DalPorto and end the threat.
In the ninth, some more defense out of DalPorto—on popped up bunt attempt he leapt forward to snag the first out of the inning—helped Heineman close the door and nail down the Chinooks win. Even more impressive, DalPorto hadn’t played a position outside of catcher this summer.
Regarding the playoff race, the Chinooks are 3.5 games back of the Battle Creek Bombers and Rockford Rivets who are tied at the top of the second half standings with records of 17-8.
In the overall standings, the Chinooks are one game back of the 33-28 Kenosha Kingfish for the fourth and final at-large playoff bid.
The Chinooks have a day off tomorrow before they get back underway on Thursday at home against Kenosha. Alec Marsh is the probable starter.
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.