Mequon, WI – While there was a spark of life for the Chinooks offense after a recent rough stretch of play, the Kalamazoo Growlers plated a season high 12 runs, earning the two game sweep over Lakeshore.
The Growlers found immediate success against Chinooks starter Nate Odahl, scoring four runs in the first inning. Three consecutive hits, including a RBI single by Joey Loperfido, gave Kalamazoo the first run of the day. Niko Kavadas added to the early lead, smacking a three run home run to the left-center field gap.
Lakeshore was able to get themselves back in the game in their half of the first, as the first three hitters reached and scored a pair of runs. Connor Kimple lined a two RBI triple to right-center to close the Growlers lead. At the end of one inning, the score was 4-2 Kalamazoo.
But the scoring parade continued for the Growlers, as they added at least one run in each of the next four innings. Odahl was chased in the second inning after allowing another run, and relief pitcher Kyle Schmitt allowed seven runs (five earned) on nine hits over three innings of work.
Cayman Richardson, Loperfido, and Kavadas each had big days for the Growlers, going a combined 10-13. The trio scored eight runs and drove in eight as well. Kavadas was a bane for Lakeshore pitching, going 4-5 with six runs batted in and the home run in the first inning.
The Chinooks entered the bottom of the fifth inning trailing, 12-2 but would score six over the next two innings to close the gap. Jake Thompson tripled with one out and was later driven in on a Dallas Beaver double. Takahiro Yamada walked to put two on with two outs. Growlers reliever Adam Wheaton hung a pitch to Andy Shadid who made him pay with a three run home run to center field. The three RBI scored on the home run were Shadid’s first of the season.
Lakeshore added two more in the sixth inning on two throwing errors by Growlers catcher Brendan Rivoli. After Connor Christman scored on the first error, Jack Dunn attempted to steal third base. Rivoli’s throw was over the head of third baseman Jason Sullivan, allowing Dunn to score. The Growlers lead was looking a little less menacing, as they now only lead 12-8.
Trevor Smisek, was the only Chinooks pitcher to silence the Growlers lineup, giving Lakeshore four and third shutout innings. Kalamazoo was only able to get four hits off of the left-hander, who struck out three Growlers as well.
Lakeshore, threatened to score in the eighth inning but stranding runners on second and third against Growlers reliever Jamison Hill. In the ninth, Mason Shinabery entered for the Growlers. Connor Kimple drew a leadoff walk, but Dallas Beaver grounded into a double play. Takahiro Yamada struck out to end the game, as the Growlers picked up the 12-8 win, extending their winning streak to six games.
The Chinooks will have the day off on Monday before facing Wisconsin Rapids at Kapco Park on Tuesday evening. Kevin Tibor will get the start for the Chinooks, with the first pitch coming at 6:35 PM.