Mequon, Wis. — A three run seventh inning including two home runs from the Lakeshore Chinooks offense (10-7) unscrews the Rockford Rivets (8-10) in 4-3 victory at Kapco Park.
Getting his second start of the season, The Ohio State University right hander Nate Haberthier came out firing, striking out the first two batters he faced. His fiery start slowly burnt out, allowing three base hits and a walk consecutively, as the Rivets took an early 2-0 lead.
Like many outings for Chinook starting pitchers this season, Haberthier was able to find his rhythm after a rough start, allowing only two more hits and one more earned run in his outing. Exiting the game with 4 and ⅓ innings pitched, the freshman from Cincinnati, Ohio struck out two batters as well.
The Rivets led Friday night’s ball game for the first six frames as the Lakeshore offense wasn;t able to string together their hits.
Their sputtering offense showed some life in the bottom of the third inning after a Kai Murphy leadoff single, which acted as a catalyst for the offense who only had one hit in their first two half innings. The Arizona State outfielder continued his hitting streak to four games, the same amount of games he has played with the team.
First baseman Griffin Doersching ended up scoring on the inning after a fielder’s choice landed him on first, thanks to a massive double to left field from third baseman Brennen Bales, who previously launched a ball to the warning track in the first inning, only for that ball to be caught. This time, the ball was hit too hard for the Rivet outfielders to make a play, advancing Doersching to third.
With runners on second and third, right handed center fielder Collin Matthews batted a ball to the opposite side of the infield, allowing the hustling Doersching to score from third as the Chinooks cut the lead in half, down 1-2. Bales was left on base in the inning, one of the eight runners left on for the Chinooks as they struggled to piece together productive enough at bats to bring their runners home.
From the bottom of the third inning on, the Lakeshore offense sputtered, going scoreless until the seventh inning, where the team came alive, combining for three runs on just two hits, both of which were home runs.
Playing in just his second game as a Chinook, Mike Sears sent an opposite field shot over the right field fence with a man on, tying the game for Lakeshore. Sears first home run of his summer ball season with Lakeshore came in the perfect time, lighting the team on fire and helping build momentum.
The momentum carried onto the bat of Brennan Bales, who had previously sent two balls to the warning track on the night.
“One thing I have been working on is staying through the ball.” Bales said. “Getting that backspin will help you generate more line drives and extra base hits.”
Bales made sure the ball wasn’t coming back, belting the ball to deep left field, landing in the Villani’s Backyard Patio. Bales’ second home run of the season took the lead for the Chinooks who never looked back, leading 4-3.
Almost as soon as Bales got back into the dugout, he jogged to the bullpen, where he warmed up to potentially save the ball game in the final frame.
After completing 3 and ⅓ shutout innings of work, Tyler Schweitzer was lifted by Jim Jerecki. The 6’8 senior retired the side in the bottom of the eighth inning.
After a quiet bottom half of the eighth, Bales made his strut to the mound, looking to earn his first save of the season, just minutes after his clutch home run. Speaking on his ability to hit at such a high level and also pitch, Bales said, “I’m a gamer, so I just go out there and try to get the job done.”
Getting the job done, Bales sent the Rivet’s packing as the Chinooks completed their sweep and earned their sixth straight victory. Friday night’s win improves the Chinooks record to 10-7 on the season, moving the team up to a share of first place in the Great Lakes West division.
Lakeshore looks to defend Kapco in a double header Saturday evening on Harrison Bader Bobblehead night, presented by Gordon Food Service. The first 1,000 fans will receive a bobblehead of the Chinook alum who plays centerfield for the St. Louis Cardinals.