Mequon, WI – On a day where scoring was scarce, the Chinooks relied on a terrific start by Austin Jones to propel them to a 4-3 win over the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. Lakeshore remained undefeated in the second half of the season with the win, advancing to 5-0.
Jones kept the Rafters offense in check throughout the evening, only allowing four hits and three walks over seven innings of work. Seven Rafters hitters were set down via the strikeout and only two managed to reach scoring position against Jones, who picked up his second win of the season. He got some help from his defense as well, including a strong throw by right fielder Andy Shadid to gun out Ethan Stringer trying to stretch a single to a double.
It was the best start of the summer for Jones, who prior to today had only pitched through six innings one time. Jones’ season had been defined by stretches of dominance mixed in with complete breakdowns, often times within the same start. But he seems to be finding his groove, as the Chinooks have won his last three starts with Jones getting the win in two of those.
“He found a way to command his stuff,” Chinooks manager Travis Akre said of Jones. “He got some outs in some big moments.”
The Chinooks relied on Jones’ arm for the first four innings, before finally breaking open the scoreless game in the bottom of the fifth. A two-out double by Jack Dunn that dropped in between Rafters second baseman Jordan Wiley and right fielder Stringer scored the first two runs of the game.
Lakeshore added two more in the bottom of the seventh inning to extend their lead to 4-0. Christian Boulware lined a base hit to center field, scoring Takahiro Yamada and Dunn. Dallas Beaver followed with a walk, putting two runners on with only one out. Rafters reliever Josh Aguilar was able to escape the jam, forcing Dey to bounce into a fielder’s choice, and Jim Govern popped up to right field.
The Rafters rallied in the ninth inning, scoring three times against Chinooks reliever Brandon Komar. But with the tying run on first base and two outs, Jim Govern made a diving stop on a ground ball from Jake Dunham to secure the win for the Chinooks.
“We got some good chemistry in the dugout right now,” Akre said of the Chinooks recent stretch of good play. “Guys are excited to be at the ballpark every day. We’ve made some strides offensively and have gotten some timely hits. It’s fun to show up every day.”
The Chinooks will be at Kapco Park again tomorrow night, as they face the Rafters for the final time at home in the 2018 season. Kevin Tibor will get the start for Lakeshore, with the first pitch coming at 6:35 PM. Tibor is having a fantastic summer and will enter tomorrow with a record of 3-3 and an ERA of 1.53, and will be tasked with continuing the Chinooks perfect start to the second of the season.
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.