Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. — Five runs allotted in the second inning to the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (12-10) seemed to be the difference in the 6-3 loss for the Chinooks (11-11) Tuesday.
A day that ended poorly began on the bright side. In the top of the first, the Chinooks struck first after a passed ball behind the dish scored Collin Mathews, struggles quickly followed.
Coming off a strong pitching performance just one night prior, Lakeshore undertook a knockout punch from the Rapids Rafters early on. Xavier University rookie Miles Halligan was given the nod and dug himself in a hole giving the Chinooks a tall order for the next seven innings.
Halligan was limited to two innings pitched on four hits, five earned runs and four walks.
However, Halligan, who saw just two innings pitched in Cincinnati, Ohio last spring has high hopes for his game progression and so does Chinooks’ field manager Travis Akre.
“Miles is going to be just fine,” Akre said. “He’s got really good stuff. He’s building up his pitch and we feel like he’s going to help us this summer.” And for the right-hander, it’s about focusing on each individual batter and getting back into the rhythm of throwing solid innings.
“It’s been a couple of years since I’ve pitched in a game as competitive as the ones we play,” Halligan said. “The main three things I’m trying to improve is my mentality, my aggressiveness each at-bat and overall just getting nack into the groove of being a dominant pitcher.”
In need of relief, Kent State’s Brody Ware entered in the third and delivered. Four innings pitched on zero hits and four strikeouts put Lakeshore in a position for success that they were, unfortunately, able to completely capitalize on.
“I commanded the zone very well today with all [my] pitches,” Ware said. “I got ahead early and made big pitches when I needed to. My slider was sharp, getting a lot of swings and misses and I put my fastball in the zone where I wanted it. Each game I use as an opportunity to grow.”
Lakeshore acquired just one fewer hit in the loss compared to the previous night, although more players added to the offensive production. The Chinooks amounted to some success but were never able to make the most out of their opportunities, stranding seven base runners. Griffin Doersching who had seen better days came to play in Monday’s victory and contributed a hit once again Tuesday to extend a three-game hitting streak.
Middle infielders Paul Toetz and Brendan Sher added their offerings as Toetz recorded an RBI single and Sher was responsible for a multi-hit appearance after failing to put balls in contact throughout the last few games.
“My approach was to slow down and see the ball well,” Sher said. “Nice easy swing ad try to always be on the barrel. My goal this summer is to absolutely do my part at the plate as well as be the best defender for our guys on the mound. I think every game personally is heading in a positive direction.”
Feeding off the momentum that Toetz and Sher provided earlier in the ball game, Minnesota catcher Riley Swenson also recorded an RBI for Lakeshore. Swenson says getting ahead in the count and finding a good pitch to hit has kept him reaching base.
After moving up the standings and taking possession of first place in the division, the Chinooks are back to .500 and look to execute in batter’s counts going forward.
“We’ll be ready to go tomorrow,” Akre said.
Lakeshore returns home Wednesday for doubleheader action against the Madison Mallards (9-13). The first game is scheduled to begin at 11:35 a.m., with the first pitch of game two penciled in for 6:35 p.m.