Mequon, WI – The Lakeshore Chinooks’ struggles at the plate persisted in a 5-1 loss to the Kalamazoo Growlers Saturday at Kapco Park. The loss was Lakeshore’s fifth in its last six games.
The Growlers outhit the Chinooks 10-4. The last time Lakeshore collected more hits than its opponent was June 8 in a 10-0 victory over the Rockford Rivets. Since then, the Chinooks have averaged less than three runs per game and hit just .172 as a team in a 2-6 stretch.
Starting pitcher Jacob Lindemann took his second loss of the season in a four-inning effort, allowing three runs on six hits. The right-hander kept Kalamazoo scoreless through the first three innings, but a home run and three more hits in the fourth inning pushed three runs across the plate for the Growlers.
Kalamazoo extended their lead to 5-0 in the seventh inning off of righties Joe Gahm and Nick Campe, who combined to walk three batters and hit one in a two-run inning. The Chinooks scored their only run of the game in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Catcher Dallas Beaver’s RBI double stood as Lakeshore’s only offense of the evening, and his two-bagger was the Chinooks’ only extra-base-hit. Lakeshore’s only other other real scoring opportunity came in the fourth inning, when two leadoff baserunners were stranded in scoring position when the middle of Lakeshore’s order failed to hit a ball beyond the infield to drive a run home.
The Chinooks’ lineup struck out nine times in total. Left fielder Cole Turney struck out three more times, and his 31 strikeouts this season are the most in the Northwoods League. In 19 games this year, Lakeshore is hitting just .214, the lowest mark in the South Division.
One aspect of the Chinooks’ struggles at the plate that has made their recent stretch of games particularly challenging is the team’s inability to score early in games. Only twice in their recent eight-game stretch have the Chinooks scored in the first four innings.
While Lakeshore’s starting pitching continues to be good enough to keep the Chinooks competitive, the offense’s lack of production early in games means the team often faces a deficit for the majority of the nine innings each night.
Manager Travis Akre continues to shuffle his lineup, looking for a spark or the right combination to get things moving in the right direction. Saturday, he featured seven left-handed hitters in his order, including five in a row in the 2-through-6 spots. Those five went 2-for-16 in the loss.
The Chinooks will look for a split of the two-game series against the Growlers on Sunday at Kapco Park. Nate Odahl will be on the mound making his fourth start of the season for Lakeshore. The team’s wins leader, he’s 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA in his first three outings. First pitch is at 1:35 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.