Chinooks Struggle in Season Opening Loss to Madison

Madison, Wis. — Troubled pitching and defensive errors proved to be costly for the Lakeshore Chinooks in a 7-2 road loss to the Madison Mallards in the season opener. 

Players and coaches alike knew that the first game was one to work out the kinks and that everything could be improved upon, starting with getting runs. 

“Gotta get the bats going,” third baseman Dalton Doyle said. “Everything we need to do better. It’s a long season, the first game you want to come out with a W and split this series.”

The Chinooks worked the count early and even loaded the bases to start Monday’s outing, but ultimately left the runners stranded, seemingly a pattern all afternoon. Lakeshore’s inability to hit the breaking ball made matters even worse.

Lakeshore stranded 14 runners on base, just several timely hits could have been the difference between a win and a loss. 

“I thought that was the difference in the ball game,” Chinook’s field manager Travis Akre said.  “It was a combination of the number of strikeouts we had offensively and the guys that we left on base. You gotta be able to execute, you gotta be able to drive guys in.”

Nonetheless, Doyle and freshman second baseman Nathan Rose sent RBI singles into the outfield and the Chinooks were able to capitalize putting runs on the board. 

Doyle, the Olathe, Kansas native, noted that he knew he had to do his part and it’s all about building on the positive moments. 

Alongside his offensive successes Monday, Doyle was also dominant on defense. In the first inning, he threw a runner out at the plate, followed by initiating a 5-4-3 double play to keep runners out of scoring position, and finished one of the later innings with a sliding catch. 

Freshman LHP Tommy Lamb started on the bump for Lakeshore and appeared to be rattled, allowing two runs to the Mallards in a matter of minutes. However, the Oklahoma Sooner quickly put his struggles behind him with three hitless innings to follow. 

Akre added that he was impressed with Lamb and Mueller’s performances and their ability to compete as true freshmen. 

“To the credit of both those guys [who] just finished their true freshman year,” Akre said. “Both of them come in, local guys, wanting to compete. It means something for them to play for this team.”

Lamb (0-1) pitched 4.1 innings on five hits, three walks, and four earned runs in the loss. 

Freshman RHP Mitch Mueller came to Lamb’s relief in the middle of the fourth inning. Mueller threw straight fire despite some challenges with his pitch command. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Mueller was electric, striking out the side, utilizing a mix of both fastballs and off-speed pitches. 

Though the Chinook’s settled in and found their rhythm, Madison was just too much. The Mallards consistently brought players across the plate and just when you thought the Chinook’s were going to score, Madison was one step ahead. 

Lakeshore (0-1) will be back inside Warner Park Tuesday for another bout with the Madison Mallards (1-0); the first pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.