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Chinooks Cruise to 11-7 Victory over Rivets

Rockford, IL. — A first inning home run from Dalton Doyle followed by a Riley Swenson moon shot led the Lakeshore Chinooks (9-7) to fifth straight victory, 11-7 over the Rockford Rivets (8-9). 

Heading into Thursday night, the Chinooks held the longest winning streak in the Northwoods League of four games. An explosive offense and lights out pitching helped carry the team to the impressive streak, 

Looking to extend their streak, Lakeshore drove down to Rockford, Illinois to play the first leg of their two-game series, their first time facing each other this season as well. 

The hot Chinook bats took no time to get going in Rockford, scoring five runs on five hits in the first frame and batting through their lineup.

Leading off the game with a walk, Colton Bauer quickly found himself on second base, following a base hit to left field from Kai Murphy. The Arizona State University product now has a hit in each of his first three games as a Chinook, two of which are multi-hit games. With the two leadoff men on, Brennen Bales saw an early opportunity to drive home runs and took advantage. 

Smashing a ball to left field, Bales found himself aboard with a single and an RBI after Bauer came across the plate. Three batters in, the Chinooks led 1-0. 

After a wild pitch led to Murphy and Bales standing in scoring position with one out, Connor Kimple did his job, bringing Murphy in on a sacrifice fly. 

With two outs in the top frame, Nathan Aide hammered a double into the left field gap, easily scoring Bales. Still with two away, Dalton Doyle stepped into the batter’s box and fired a shot deep to left field for his first home run of the season and scoring the Chinooks fourth and fifth runs of the inning. 

Doyle, who has had a roller coaster of a season at the plate, keeps his approach extremely basic, describing his mindset as, “Have good at bats. Swing at good pitches. I know it can be frustrating at times, but it’s a game of failure so try and make the best of it.”

Following Doyle’s dinger to left field, five runs crossed home plate and all nine batters had a chance to hit. 

 “I thought we had some good AB’s and made them pay for some mistakes.” Field Manager Travis Akre said.”That five really set the tone for the ballgame. Overall, a really good effort especially after an off day.” 

Pitching three scoreless innings before conceding two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning in his second official start since his Tommy John surgery, Lakeshore pitcher Blake Malatestinic failed to find his rhythm early after an error followed by a base hit opened the door for the Rivets to score their run of the gaem, which they did on a sacrifice fly. 

Due to his rehab rules, Malatestinic is very limited in his pitch count, only being allowed to throw 60 pitches per start, the rule loosening after each time he takes the mound.

Though this count is limited, the Eastern Illinois University hurler reached his limit after four innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits, striking out two Rivet hitters as well. Malatestinic felt the biggest mistake he made Thursday night was failing to get the batters into a defensive count early in their at bats. 

More timely at bats and a Rockford error resulted in another multi-run inning for Lakeshore, this time adding three in the top of the fourth inning, giving the team a commanding 9-3 lead. 

After the fifth inning, the Lakeshore offense stalled and the Rivets mounted a small comeback.

The comeback came in the bottom of the sixth inning as pitcher Jascon Decicco struggled to keep men from getting on base, pitching just two innings after allowing 1 earned run, yet three across total in the inning, 

In the top of the eighth inning, Minnesota catcher Riley Swenson sealed the deal on Thursday Night’s win with a solo home run to left center field. The game sealing home run was Swenson’s first as a Chinook. 

The 11-6 run deficit proved to be insurmountable as the Chinooks went on to win the game handedly, winning the game with a final score of 11-7.

Lakeshore returns to Kapco Friday night looking to win their third straight game at home and eighth straight win overall. Friday night is also Trick or Treat Night presented by CoCa LeNa Kids are encouraged to come dressed in their favorite costume and trick or treat around the ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.