Rain started to drizzle down inside Kapco Park while the Lakeshore Chinooks were hoping to secure at least one win against the Kalamazoo Growlers in their series.
The inclement weather didn’t help Lakeshore’s offense flourish when needed, in addition to containing the Kalamazoo lineup after its quiet start.
The Growlers (8-12) used a five-run fifth inning surge to their advantage, claiming a weekend series sweep through 5 ½ innings over the Chinooks (10-10) at Kapco Park Sunday afternoon.
Sudden downpour cleared the turf amid the sixth frame, after Lakeshore reliever Austin Edwards surrendered five runs to nine total Growlers batters.
The Chinooks struck first in the third with a contribution from first baseman Griffin Doersching — an RBI knock that gave the highly touted hitter his first hit in four games.
Shortstop Brendan Sher stood on second base after hitting a leadoff double, as Doersching parked the one-run single to shallow left field off Growlers starting pitcher Tanner Knapp.
But the first run scored would not represent the game’s last. A flurry of runs was on the way, and not in favor of Lakeshore.
Just two innings later, the Growlers laid down the start of their attack. Leadoff hitter Don Goodes and shortstop Satchell Wilson worked back-to-back walks, and center fielder Blake Dunn grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Goodes after both runners stole second and third base.
It was the fourth inning in which Chinooks starting pitcher Tommy Lamb worked out of a bases-loaded jam to hold Kalamazoo scoreless, though the Growlers would not come up empty the next time up.
“My mental approach was simply to not do too much,” Lamb said of his ability to eliminate the Growlers’ scoring threat with three consecutive outs. “When guys try to make better pitches or pitch to work out of an inning, things tend to go wrong. My main takeaway from today’s game was making pitches in key situations. Working out of that fourth-inning jam was big.”
With Lamb lifted after having faced 18 batters, which collectively managed four hits off the southpaw of Oklahoma, Kalamazoo’s order thrived off the right-hander Edwards.
Batting .273 on the season with eight walks, Growlers first baseman Anthony Calarco earned his ninth having battled back from an 0-2 count. Shortstop Satchell Wilson gave Kalamazoo its first lead, 2-1, having scored on an RBI sacrifice fly of third baseman Luke Storm’s. A .281 hitter through 20 games after not competing for the Duke Blue Devils, Storm also lined a single up the middle in the fourth.
Also hitting .281, designated hitter Stephen Cullen knocked a single in route toward a 2-for-3 performance, plating Blake Dunn for a 3-1 Growlers lead.
Though he had tossed three innings of scoreless ball at Wisconsin Rapids the previous Sunday, Edwards would not be able to avoid further damage, as Kalamazoo had more to unload.
Unloading an extra RBI base hit in the bottom third of the order was left fielder Damon Lux who, despite finishing 0-for-2 in Saturday’s makeup contest, blasted a two-out double to left field. Calarco and Cullen scored, as the Chinooks found themselves trailing, 5-1.
The loss revealed an answer-less offensive showing that marked the Chinooks’ third straight defeat, with the first two remaining one-run deficits to the Growlers in a doubleheader Saturday. Lakeshore left four runners aboard, yet only registered one RBI on four hits.
Edwards was tacked with the loss, having relinquished the lead with five earned runs.
Preventing the Chinooks from scoring any additional runs after the third, Knapp garnered the win for his third of the season after pitching five innings.
Lakeshore travels to Wisconsin Rapids Monday for the start of a two-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.