Chinooks’ Bats and Bullpen Best Dock Spiders
Mequon, WI – A four-run third inning and six scoreless innings of relief proved to be the difference for the Lakeshore Chinooks in a come-from-behind, 8-3 victory against the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders on Sunday at Kapco Park.
After falling behind 3-0 in the top of the third inning, the Chinooks took advantage of two critical Fond du Lac errors in the bottom of the inning to score four runs and capture the lead for good. Lakeshore tacked on four more runs from the fourth inning on to build a comfortable lead for the bullpen.
Relief pitchers Trevor Smisek, Luis Ferrer, and Brandon Komar combined to shut out the Dock Spiders after starting pitcher Jacob Lindemann’s three-inning performance. Manager Travis Akre said the plan entering the game was for both Lindemann and Smisek to throw around 50 pitches.
Lindemann was making his first start of the year whereas Smisek made just his third appearance in relief. Lindemann allowed three runs in three innings and avoided solid contact for most of his outing. In the third inning, three singles that trickled through the infield proved to be costly as they keyed the Dock Spiders’ three-run rally in his final inning of work.
“He was getting ahead and had a good little mix going too,” Akre said. “If you’re a pitcher, you’ve got to love throwing to wood bats. As long as you command your fastball and pitch off of that, you have an opportunity to have a lot of success.”
Smisek earned the win in relief with three scoreless innings on the mound. He failed to record a clean 1-2-3 inning, but notched two strikeouts and induced four ground ball outs, one being a double play in the sixth.
Ferrer and Komar didn’t allow a hit in the final three innings of the game, retiring 9 of the 10 Dock Spiders they faced. Akre said having a variety of fresh arms to choose from was key to the bullpen’s success.
“A lot of guys are itching to get innings right now,” Akre said. “They’re coming in ready to go, and we’ve been really trying to space it out with those guys. Our starters have been giving us good innings, and that allows us to minimize our bullpen and get guys good rest.”
All nine batters in Lakeshore’s lineup reached base, and eight of them recorded a hit in a balanced offensive attack. The Chinooks had as many hits (9) as Fond du Lac, but left only six runners on base to the Dock Spiders’ 11.
“Guys were being able to work and be on base,” Akre said. “That was fun to see, and when you get everybody on base that’s going to allow us to create runs, and it did tonight.”
First baseman Ronnie Sweeney III and shortstop Jack Dunn made their respective season debuts in the lineup, and each reached base in three of their four plate appearances. Sweeney collected an RBI and scored two runs, and Dunn hit a go-ahead RBI double in the third inning.
Dunn returns to the Chinooks after spending last summer with Lakeshore. Akre said he brings energy and excitement to the field, as well as smooth defense at shortstop and a quality bat in the middle of the lineup.
“He’s a high-energy guy,” Akre said. “He’s fired up to be here, and seeing him today, it’s fun to watch him. He put some good swings together and played with some fire. Our guys enjoy seeing that.”
First baseman Web Charles smacked his first home run of the year, a solo shot in the eighth inning. Although it was only the Chinooks’ fifth long ball of the season, Akre said the team has the ability to hit for more power.
“There’s some potential in this group,” Akre said. “Guys are still getting ready, but it shows at times. We’re starting to spray a few more doubles and guys are starting to work a little bit, so all in all, there’s certainly some juice here.”
The Chinooks travel to Fond du Lac Monday to complete their two-game series against the Dock Spiders. Nate Odahl looks to win his third game of the season in as many starts for Lakeshore. First pitch is at 6:35 p.m.
“Every day we’re learning more about this club,” Akre said. “That’s what’s exciting about coming to the ballpark every day. The guys are really starting to get comfortable being around each other and they’re excited to be here now, and they’re starting to gel a little bit.”
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.