Mequon, Wis – The Lakeshore Chinooks once again found themselves trapped in an early deficit at home.
This time, it was against the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders — owners of the best record in the Great Lakes West division.
Unlike other home battles, the offensive fireworks would not come to pass and compensate for a multi-run first inning from the visitors, as Lakeshore fell short in a 9-4 contest concluded early due to blanketing fog.
After a silent first three frames, the Chinooks (12-12) ignited a slight spark in the fourth.
Center fielder Collin Mathews got the Chinooks on the board with a solo home run to left field for his second on the season. Back-to-back walks aided the offensive attack, though second baseman Colton Bauer was caught stealing third base and catcher Riley Swenson struck out swinging to eliminate the scoring opportunity.
Coming off of a two-home run performance in a one-run loss to the Mallards Wednesday, designated hitter Jackson Gray blasted another two-run home run to right-center field.
“Just hit the ball hard, that’s what I’m always looking to do,” Gray said. The Western Kentucky product has remained proficient with 17 hits total on the season.
Despite having kept Fond du Lac (16-9) scoreless in his season debut through 3 2/3 innings, Chinooks right-handed starting pitcher Blake Malatestinic allowed three runs on three hits in the first.
With the scoring threat alive on a walk earned by Dock Spiders shortstop Caleb Durbin, center fielder Tavian Josenberger knocked an RBI double to left field to plate leadoff hitter Chandler Simpson.
Two runners stood in scoring position. An unassisted groundout forced to first baseman Jackson Loftin scored Durbin as Malatestinic and the Chinooks faced a 2-0 deficit.
Right fielder Calvin Harris, 0-for-4 in his Northwoods League season debut, grounded out 4-3 as Josenberger came home. Designated hitter Trey Lafleur struck out looking, despite a two-out single to left field from catcher Josh Spiegel.
Quiet in the bottom of the first were the Chinooks, yet the Dock Spiders had more on the way in the second. Second baseman Jay Harry tapped an RBI single to left field as the Dock Spiders lead inflated to four runs.
Lakeshore lost to Fond du Lac 9-6 for its first defeat at Kapco Park of the year, and the same result appeared on the horizon.
Gray’s two-run home run in the fifth began to turn this one around after Mathews’ 1-1 delivery barely sailed over the left field fence.
Dock Spiders reliever Ryan Ignoffo wasn’t about to let the Chinooks pull any closer, however.
Mathews grounded out to shortstop to retire the side with a wave of fog rolling in from Lake Michigan thereafter. Left-handed reliever Jason DiCicco forced three straight fly outs, as third baseman Dalton Doyle waited 35 minutes for his turn at the plate.
Disputes over whether play would resume simmered, having five and a half innings recorded for the ruling of a complete game.
Left fielder Ethan Vecrumba homered to right field with two outs to set up catcher Riley Swenson, who single to second base in a five-run margin. The sequence ended Ignoffo’s evening after one inning, as Alex Vera lifted the right-hander.
Vera, a reliever of Illinois who had relinquished four runs in the same number of appearances, forced leadoff hitter Kai Murphy into a 4-3 groundout, ending the sixth.
The Spiders came up to bat and marked two outs in the seventh but were unable to complete their half with additional fog gripping the field. Stuck at a 1-2 count, Harry had the remainder of his at-bat sapped on the umpire crew’s decision to call the contest.
Allowing two runs on three hits, Ignoffo garnered his first win of the season. Malatestinic was tacked with the loss, meanwhile.
Both Lakeshore and Fond du Lac will face off once more Thursday at Kapco Park. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.