Mequon, WI – Sometimes, it takes a few breaks to go a team’s way to put an end to a frustrating losing streak. That’s exactly what happened for the Lakeshore Chinooks, who snapped their four-game skid with a 3-2 victory over the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders Friday at Kapco Park.
The Chinooks scored their three runs without a hitter recording an RBI, and went o-for-8 at the plate with runners in scoring position. They scored two runs on an error in the fifth inning and another run in the sixth on a double play with the bases loaded.
“We put pressure on them,” manager Travis Akre said. “That’s what we talked about in the pregame; putting pressure on teams and making them make plays, and that’s what we did.”
Fond du Lac outhit the Chinooks 12-6, but Lakeshore turned three double plays on defense with multiple runners on base to escape jams in the fourth, seventh, and eighth innings.
In the top of the first inning, the Dock Spiders threatened to take an early lead with three consecutive singles, but right fielder Connor Kimple’s strong throw from right field cut down a runner at the plate and kept Fond du Lac off the board.
Starting pitcher Konnor Ash allowed one unearned run in five solid innings. The effort was enough for his first win of the season as he struck out six, a season-high. Though the run Ash surrendered didn’t affect his earned run average, the damage was self-inflicted due to an errant pickoff attempt at first base.
Righties Kyle Schmitt and Brandon Komar each hurled two innings in relief. Komar held the Dock Spiders scoreless through the final two frames to ensure the victory. A night after the bullpen couldn’t preserve a 1-0 lead, it delivered four innings to hold on and hand the Chinooks the much-needed victory.
“With where we’re at, guys are piecing it together,” Akre said. “We knew going in we would need to lean on our bullpen. Those guys did a really nice job.”
Komar worked around a lead off single in the ninth inning to lock down his second save of the year. His final pitch of the night froze Fond du Lac’s Mitch Boe for strike three, stranding the tying run in scoring position.
“He’s got a good, heavy fastball and a really good breaking ball,” Akre said. “That’s his out pitch, and that gives him a really good shot to be successful at the back end of a ballgame.”
Trevor Buis made his first start of the year in Lakeshore’s lineup as the designated hitter, and reached base three times in four plate appearances, ripping his first hit as a Chinook with a double in the fourth inning.
“We’re excited to get him playing and see what he could do for us,” Akre said. “He generated some good plate appearances and worked his way on base a few times. He’s certainly got middle-of-the-lineup potential.”
The Chinooks continue their homestand tomorrow night with the first game in a two-game set against the Kalamazoo Growlers. Lakeshore split its season-opening series on the road against the Growlers last month.
Right-hander Jacob Lindemann gets the nod for the Chinooks against Kalamazoo. The start will be his second of the season and fifth overall appearance on the mound. First pitch is at 6:35 p.m.
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.