Wausau, Wis. — Eight days ago it was a different story as the Chinooks capitalized in a 10-5 win, but Monday night in Wausau it was back-to-back Lakeshore losses, controlled by dominant Woodchuck pitching.
In by far his finest game of the summer, freshman pitcher Thomas Kane delivered with nine strikeouts in five innings, three of which came in the first inning. Mike Sears, Collin Mathews and Jackson Gray were all sat down on strikes, a theme all game.
But for Miles Halligan, it was quite the opposite. A second-inning blow ultimately plagued the Chinooks, as shortstop Bash Randle commenced a four-run display.
Sparked by a double to center, scoring two, Tyler Kehoe and Kevin Kilpatrick continued the momentum clubbing singles of their own, which brought around an additional pair of runs to the plate.
Needing some sort of offensive push from the lineup, Lakeshore looked to the bottom of the order in Dalton Doyle and Colton Bauer. Thanks in part to an error from the Woodchucks third-baseman, Doyle reached first and Bauer took advantage.
The Grove City, Ohio native launched a double down the left-field line resulting in runners in scoring positions with zero outs; the perfect formula for an attempt to earn back runs early in the contest.
However, no runs were secured. Kane retired Sears and Mathews once again via the strikeout and forced Gray into a mindless groundout.
“We, unfortunately, left guys on in scoring position early…,” said field manager Travis Akre. “Really had the chance to set the tone for the day and couldn’t get the big hit.”
While McKendree’s Cade Berendt was on the hill though, the Woodchucks lineup was nearly silent. Three innings pitched was highlighted by a pair of consecutive punchouts that concluded the sixth inning.
In the seventh and final inning for the Chinooks as Monday’s action was limited to shortened games, it was a quick frame. Four batters took to the plate and Riley Swenson was the only successful one. The Minnesota catcher doubled to center field, but it was far from enough as the Chinooks dropped Game 1 to the Wisconsin Woodchucks 4-0.
Following their shutout loss to start Monday’s doubleheader, Lakeshore turned to right handed pitcher Brody Ware to right the ship.
The Chinook bats quickly gave Ware a lead to work with, plating two early runs in the top of the second inning, thanks to a Brennen Bales double to center field, scoring Mike Sears and Ethan Vecrumba.
Unfortunately for Lakeshore, the lead did not last long. A two-out double to center field from Kevin Kilpatrick in the bottom of the third frame plated two Woodchuck runners.
Kilpatrick is enjoying a monster summer at the plate, batting .340, good enough for 11th best in the Northwoods League.
Ware was lifted for Tyler Kean in the bottom of the fourth inning, finishing his night throwing 3 ⅔ innings, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks.
Kean, making his second appearance as a Chinook, struck out five Woodchuck hitters on his way to a 2 ⅓ inning no-hit effort, which kept Lakeshore in the ball game. Ultimately, Kean earned the loss after walking the Woodchuck leadoff man, Bash Randle, to start the bottom of the fifth, which ended up being the third and final Wisconsin run.
“The slider was working pretty well for me tonight,” Kean said. “[I] felt comfortable throwing it in any count. I think the thing that helped me stay efficient was staying within myself and not trying to be perfect out there. Just to have a mentality to execute each pitch.”
Akre applauded Kean after the 3-2 loss saying, “Kean was great once again.”Kean has now pitched five innings for the Chinooks without allowing an earned run.
In their eight games played since the start of the second half, Lakeshore has yet to score more than four runs in a game. After Monday’s losses, the Chinooks dropped to a team batting average of .235, the fifth-lowest in the Northwoods League.
Lakeshore (2-6) looks to bounce back Tuesday night, facing off against the Woodchucks (4-3) in their series finale. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.