Green Bay, Wis. — After over four hours of play, the Lakeshore Chinooks (4-6) defeated the Green Bay Booyah (3-7) 8-5 behind Brennen Bales’ heroics throughout the 13 inning marathon.
Driving in half of the team’s runs, Bales finished Thursday night with three hits in seven plate appearances, knocking in a total of four RBIs. Primarily serving the team as a utility infielder, Bales was called on to pitch in the bottom of the 12th and 13th innings too, closing the door on the Booyah.
The soft-spoken redshirt sophomore also performed in the clutch during the top of the ninth inning, where he drove in the tying run on a booming double to deep center field.
Lakeshore’s Ben Riffe started his second game for the team, facing off against Vanderbilt freshman Ryan Stefiuk.
The Lakeshore pitching held strong for most of the ball game, however, their defense let them down throughout the night. Totaling seven errors in the game, the Chinook’s defense proved to be the biggest concern in Thursday night’s win, extending the game in extras and allowing the Booyah to stay close.
The first of these blunders came in the second inning following a leadoff walk and an error from the Chinook’s center fielder, Connor Kimple. With two men on, Booyah catcher Kaden Hollow sent a three-run homer to center field.
Stranding four runners and failing to score in the first four innings, the Chinooks finally got runners across the plate in the fifth inning. A bases-loaded double to deep left-center field from Bales scored two runs, cutting their deficit in half.
Now trailing 4-2, the Chinooks received some high-quality relief pitching from Mitch Mueller and Cade Berendt. The two combined for four innings, striking out five hitters on two hits, doing their part to keep the Chinooks in the game.
After holding each other scoreless for the next few frames, the Chinooks found themselves down to their final three outs. Lakeshore desperately needed to score two runs and they did just that. A leadoff walk and stolen base later, Collin Mathews saw himself in scoring position with the tying run at the plate. Mathews managed to score after a defensive mishap from Green Bay’s Hollow.
Moments later, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin native Kimple drew a walk, later using his speed to score all the way from first on Bales’ second double of the game.
Lakeshore field manager Travis Akre turned to the sidearm thrower Jacob Henderson, to shut down the Booyah attack. Throwing three innings, two of which were in extras, Henderson kept the Booyah hitters in check, allowing one hit on two strikeouts and two walks, though the defense struggled and a run came across during his three innings of work.
“I was just trying to get back in the dugout and give my team a chance to win,” Henderson said. “It was a great win after getting shut out on Monday night against these guys and to come on their home turf and win feels good.”
Each team was able to plate a run during the eleventh inning after shaky defense and clever base running, but this tie did not hold for much longer as Ohio State’s Colton Bauer broke the tie in the top of the thirteenth inning.
After bringing across two more runs, Bales shut the door on the top of the Booyah lineup, earning the win in the Chinook’s second straight victory.
“I live for those moments,” Bales said. “Those are the best moments when your team is relying on you and they count on you to get the job done so that’s what you go out and try to do every time.”
Following their three-game road trip, Lakeshore returns to Kapco Park Friday night to take on the Booyah in the second leg of the two-game series. The first 500 fans ages 21 and older will receive a Lakeshore Chinooks pint glass, presented by Broken Bat Brewing Company. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.