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Published On: June 6th, 2021

Mequon, Wis. — Bright blue skies and sweltering hot heat painted the scene at Kapco Park Saturday night where the Lakeshore Chinooks (2-4) could not quite complete a comeback losing 9-6 to the Wisconsin Woodchucks (5-1).  

A third consecutive home loss was not the plan, of course, but field manager Travis Akre was optimistic postgame about the future performances for his team. 

“The new week starts tomorrow,” Akre said. “We are just gonna go, get after it tomorrow and get back on the road; maybe that’s just what we need, maybe we just need to get away for a day.”

The latter half of the series began in familiar fashion as Lakeshore plated their first run in the top of the opening inning, following a classic Griffin Doersching solo home run that cleared the left-field wall. 

Nonetheless, it took two more innings for the home team to run up their score and at that point, the Woodchucks had already built an eight-run advantage. It all started in the second inning when Wisconsin batted in six runs, highlighted by a Roman Kuntz two-run RBI double to right-center field. 

Then, to make matters even worse, Kevin Kilpatrick said see you later to another three-run moonshot homer for the Woodchucks in the third, recording his second home run in two days, extending his team’s lead 9-1. 

Problematic starting pitching has been the downfall for the Chinooks thus far and Saturday the pitching woes continued with the 6-foot-7 right-hander Ryan Jungbauer on the rubber. His Lakeshore debut was short, and not sweet. The junior threw 1 ⅓ inning on two hits, six earned runs, two walks and two strikeouts. 

On the contrary, four shutout innings of baseball were delivered by freshman Cade Berendt who retired Jungbauer in the second inning. And Berendt came in with the team-first mentality, just wanting to put his teammates in positions to be successful. 

“I just wanted to keep [the score] as close as I could,” Berendt said. “Give the boys a chance to come back, put some runs on the board and get back into the game. I was really just looking to put the ball in the zone and let them get themselves out.”

Amid the emphatic outing for Berendt, the McKendree University pitcher; the Chinooks slowly but surely mounted a comeback attempt, tallying small groups of runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. But after six, the production concluded and Lakeshore’s comeback hopes were all of a sudden dead. 

WaterStone Bank’s Chinook Player of the Game, Brennen Bales, continued his successful season against the Woodchucks, creating a consistent player at the plate that Lakeshore could look to in times of adversity. 

Bales knocked in one RBI on 2-of-5 hitting with a double. The redshirt sophomore leads the club with a .480 batting average. Akre said that having a guy like Bales around gives the rest of the team someone to look at. 

“The way he plays, he’s a grinder,” Akre noted. “And he’s a baseball rat, he just loves being out here. For him having some early success is good, and he had some success down at Houston Baptist this year, and it’s nice to see him roll it over in to here.”

Playing ‘clean baseball’ has been the message from Akre to his team throughout the first part of this short season and Sunday the Chinooks will have a chance to bounce back with a win and ditch their recent losing efforts. 

Lakeshore hits the road Sunday en route to Green Bay for a 1:05 p.m. start against the Booyah before returning home on Monday for the second game of the home-and-home series.