Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. — Lakeshore (14-17) garnered a 6-2 victory over the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (18-14) Thursday behind admirable pitching, and power from the Northern Colorado catcher, Josh Glenn.
Slight smiles and teammate handshakes became visible at Witter Field as the Chinooks recorded the third and final out of the ninth inning to snap a four-game losing streak.
“It’s July now. We closed the book on June, and [we] are moving forward,” said field manager Travis Akre. “That was the mentality all day today.”
Falling behind early has been a mainstay as of late for Lakeshore and Thursday it was no different. Blake Malatestinic, who started for the Chinooks, cruised through the opening part of the Rapids Rafters lineup on just seven pitches. However, just when it looked as if he would repeat that in the second inning, Jacob Hinderleider homered to left-center field.
But the long ball would not get to the head of Malatestinic, who completed 2 ⅓ innings after the home run, on just one hit resulting in an eventual run and a pair of strikeouts. Despite not earning the win on the evening, the Eastern Illinois product showed poise through what was a challenging first few innings.
“Blake was crisp for the most part,” Akre said. “[He] missed a few sports that got hit well, but other than that, our guys like playing behind him.” And Josh Glenn, his catcher, added, “Blake was electric today. He knows exactly how he wants to attack batters and takes me along with him.”
Amid a scoreless bottom half of third for the Rapids, a two-out, three-run blast to the left-center field from Glenn, lifted the Chinooks to take a 3-1 lead and provided a spark that would in turn lead them to victory innings later. The catcher has been limited to only eight games this summer due to an elbow injury that kept him sidelined for several weeks.
Upon his return though, Glenn has fueled his club with clean games behind the dish and complemented them with at least one hit in 4-of-5 games being back in the batter’s box.
“Ultimately, being aggressive and having the routine has created stability on how I feel and I approach my game,” Glenn said. “It’s always tough to get hurt, but having a consistent routine has helped a lot. The other thing is just not playing afraid.”
Junior Ryan Jungbauer, who collected the dub, came into the game in the fifth inning and threw three innings of shutout baseball, silencing the home crowd.
To the surprise of the Lakeshore faithful, Jungbauer was solid after previously allowing eight earned runs in just two prior appearances. The 6-foot-7 pitcher delivered five strikeouts through 10 batters faced.
“Really big outing for Jungbauer,” Akre said. “He worked a clean three innings. We are going to need him this second half [of the season].”
Play remained competitive up until the eighth inning when Lakeshore broke the seal open and tacked on two more runs to secure the nail in the coffin. A fielder’s choice and wild pitch were responsible for the damage, but nonetheless, Lakeshore was able to add a pair of insurance runs.
Next Tuesday marks the halfway point of the season and Lakeshore currently sits 6.5 games back in the Great Lakes West division. First baseman and two-year Chinook veteran, Griffin Doersching, says that the players just need to continue having fun.
“I think the guys just need to continue to play hard and have fun, this is a kids game and once you stop having fun, that’s when the struggle begins,” Doersching said. “If we continue to do that, we will be good.”
The Chinooks are back at Kapco Park Friday against the Green Bay Booyah for the beginning of a home-and-home series, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:35 p.m.