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Slow Start Hampers Chinooks in 7-5 Loss to Bombers

Mequon, WI – The Lakeshore Chinooks lost their fourth consecutive game Thursday as they fell 7-5 to the Battle Creek Bombers at Kapco Park. Despite the victory, the Bombers were eliminated from the postseason as the Kenosha Kingfish secured the Northwoods League’s second half South Division championship in a win against the Kalamazoo Growlers.

Aidan Wojciehowski made his first start of the season for the Chinooks, and struggled. He got the first two hitters of the game out on groundballs, but walked the next two, allowed a double, and walked two more and the Bombers got out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

Wojciehowski got just one out in the second inning before being removed from the game in favor of relief pitcher Brock Immke. Four more runs crossed the plate that went on Wojciehowski’s final line, as he finished with 1 1/3 innings pitched and six runs allowed on four hits and five walks.

Walks have been Wojciehowski’s undoing this season in a short stint with the Chinooks. In three relief appearances before Thursday’s start, the left-hander had walked seven. He has now walked 12 batters in 10 innings pitched this year.

Immke stopped the bleeding for Lakeshore, holding Battle Creek scoreless for 5 2/3 innings while striking out seven. He retired 17 of the 20 batters he faced. The outing was Immke’s longest of the season and by far his most effective. He lowered his ERA from 6.00 to 4.08 in the impressive outing.

The Chinooks got on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning on Connor Christman’s RBI sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 6-1. On the very next pitch, Ronald Sweeny III roped his first home run of the summer over the right field wall to make it a 6-3 game. Sweeny III added an RBI sacrifice fly in the sixth inning, giving him a single-game season high three RBIs.

Joe Gahm followed Immke out of the bullpen and hurled two innings, allowing an unearned run in the eighth inning on a passed ball. Gahm retired six of the eight batters he faced.

Lakeshore got the tying run on base in the bottom of the eighth inning when they loaded the bases with two outs. Nick Sueppel struck out swinging on three pitches, however, and the Bombers evaded the Chinooks’ biggest threat to their lead of the night. Connor Kimple provided the Chinooks their final run of the evening with a two-out, RBI double in the bottom of the ninth inning to make the score 7-5.

The Chinooks and Bombers play each other for the eighth and final time this season on Friday at 6:35 p.m. Kevin Tibor will make his final start of the season for Lakeshore. Tibor, who has been with the Chinooks all summer, has been Lakeshore’s most reliable starting pitcher this season, and was selected to represent the Chinooks in the Northwoods League All-Star Game last month.

In ten starts this year, Tibor is 4-6 with a 3.00 earned run average. He leads the pitching staff with 63 innings pitched. In his first seven starts of the summer, Tibor went 4-3 with a 1.26 ERA. In his last three starts, Tibor is 0-3 with a 9.69 ERA. Tibor’s success is largely connected to pounding the strike zone and not giving away free passes. In his most recent three losses, he has walked as many batters (5) as in his first seven starts.

The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. 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, 200 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 website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.