Mequon, WI – Chinooks starting pitcher Kevin Tibor retired the first 18 batters he faced and didn’t allow a hit until the 8th inning as Lakeshore’s offense delivered a pair of two-run innings in a 4-1 victory over the Green Bay Bullfrogs (3-6) on Wednesday at Kapco Park.
Tibor, who lost his first start of the season despite not allowing an earned run, was in command on the mound from the game’s first pitch. He earned his first win of the year in an eight-inning, one-run outing.
“He had a good mix today,” manager Trevor Akre said. “He was attacking hitters and able to locate in and out and able to establish the breaking ball for a strike.”
The win was Lakeshore’s (5-4) fourth in a row. Tibor’s outing continues a stretch of strong starting pitching performances for the Chinooks in the season’s first two weeks.
“It’s everything,” Akre said. “You’re as good as your pitching and those guys have been throwing really well lately and it’s given us a shot to win.”
While the starting pitching has been solid all season for Lakeshore, the Chinooks’ bats continue to produce at a more consistent rate. The Chinooks went 4-for-11 with runners in scoring position against Green Bay.
Right fielder Connor Kimple opened the scoring in the third inning with an RBI double to the opposite field. Designated hitter Cole Turney drove in the game’s second run with a sacrifice fly later in the inning.
In the sixth inning, the Chinooks tacked on two more runs courtesy of third baseman Sebastian Holte-Mancera’s RBI single and second baseman Takahiro Yamada’s RBI double. Akre said the transition for many of his players from hitting with metal bats in college to wood bats in the Northwoods League has been a challenge early in the season, but he is pleased with the work they are putting in and the results that showed through on Wednesday.
“They’re all coming from different schools where approach is taught differently,” Akre said. “For us, playing with the wood bat, that’s the equalizer. We’ve got guys that have to make an adjustment with that and it takes time.”
The first four hitters in the Chinooks’ lineup went 6-for-13 and reached base 10 times in 17 plate appearances. Akre has mixed and matched lineups to begin the year, but given the production from the foursome at the top on Wednesday, Akre might have an answer to the early-season lineup shuffle.
After Wednesday’s victory, Holte-Mancera, center fielder D.J. Lee, Yamada, and Kimple boast four of the Chinooks’ five best individual batting averages, but all four also bring speed and athleticism to the field in addition to their offense. Yamada recorded seven assists and a putout in the field, and Lee ranged far into the right-center field gap to make a sensational diving catch to preserve Tibor’s perfect game in the sixth inning.
Relief pitcher Layne Looney, who was drafted in the 19th round of the MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs during the game, relieved Tibor in the ninth inning to record his first save of the season.
“I’ve been doing this game for a long time, and I think that’s the first time I’ve ever been in the dugout when somebody’s gotten [drafted] during the game,” Akre said. “What a roller coaster of emotions for him, but he’s been an outstanding kid since he’s been here. I’m really excited for him, and if that’s the route that he decides to go, I wish him the best of luck.”
The Chinooks continue their two game series against the Bullfrogs on Thursday when they travel to Green Bay for a 6:35 p.m. first pitch.
The Lakeshore Chinooks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Now in its 25th anniversary season, the Northwoods 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 190 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR). 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.