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Lakeshore’s offense sputters in Fond Du Lac

Fond Du Lac, Wis. — Losers of their third straight, the Chinooks offense continues cold spell, losing 4-2 versus Dock Spiders.

“We are just as good as anybody.” Commented Field Manger Travis Akre after Tuesday night’s loss. “Tomorrow’s the next day. That’s baseball too, you gotta come out and make a little adjustment offensively. Gotta play all three facets and we are close, just can’t get over the hump right now.”

Facing adversity early on in the Lakeshore season, getting over the hump took serious grit and determination. Fighting their way back to .500 baseball was no easy task. 

In a roller coaster of a season, the Lakeshore Chinooks (13-16) have constantly battled, typically using their explosive offense as a way to keep themselves in the win column. 

Similar to their last two losses, Lakeshore’s struggling bats were never found, resulting in their third straight loss and dropping their third straight against the hot Dock Spider (19-11) team. 

Tuesday night’s game moved rather quickly through the first four frames of the ball game with both teams combining for just four hits. It wasn’t until the bottom of the fifth inning where the action commenced. 

Lansing Community College right hander Ben Riffe tossed four scoreless innings before falling apart in the fifth, allowing four spiders to cross the plate. 

“I’ve been working a lot on throwing on throwing breaking balls for stikes.” Riffe said. “Overall, that’s a good lineup and I think it went pretty well.”

The Dock Spiders leadoff hitter started the decisive bottom of the fifth inning off with a base hit to center field, eventually scoring off a fielder’s choice from the bat of Chandler Simpson. 

Taking a 1-0 lead, the Spiders offense continued their momentum as Jay Harry cleared the bases on a three run blast over the right field wall, taking a 4-0 lead over Lakeshore, a lead that proved insurmountable. 

Austin Edwards lifted Riffe following the three run bomb and took care of business on the mound, striking out a batter while allowing no hits in two innings of work. 

The Chinooks offense quickly answered on a passed ball, trailing 4-1 after six innings of play. 

Right handed flame thrower Mitch Mueller followed suit, allowing just one hit in 1 and ⅓ innings of work, while also striking out a pair of Dock Spiders. 

The Chinooks offense quickly answered on a passed ball, trailing 4-1 after six innings of play. 

“The hitting will come around. We probably hit the most barrels right at people in the league.” Riffe said. “We are squaring people up pretty good, but right now they are just going right at people. Pitching will keep throwing strong. Once the balls start falling, we are going to get real hot.”

Riffe’s confidence in his team’s hitting may not have helped him out tonight, ultimately getting tacked with the loss on the game; however, team manager Akre defended his strong performance. 

“I thought Ben pitched pretty well. Just one mistake and that was the difference in the ball game. I thought offensively we didn’t take advantage of opportunities in the first three innings when we had guys on second base when we needed to come with a couple of runs there. That’s the game, we didn’t do enough to do it.”

In the top of the eighth inning, Lakeshore’s offense showed life. Jackson Gray continued his hot streak at the plate, doubling to right field and ultimately scoring the teams second and final run of the ball game. Nathan Aide singled to center, scoring Gray, cutting the Dock Spider lead to 2. 

Lakeshore heads back to Witter Field in Wisconsin Rapids, facing off against the Rafters (17-13) for two straight road games before returning home to Kapco Park Friday night against the Green Bay Booyah. Friday’s home game is Military and Veteran appreciation night presented by Fleet Farm. Active military and Veterans will receive a free game ticket upon entry.