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Published On: July 19th, 2021

Mequon, Wis. — Late inning woes proved costly for the Chinooks (6-9) in a 6-3 loss to Madison (8-5) Sunday. 

Up until the eighth inning, it looked promising for Lakeshore. The offense began to churn behind players who have not been catalysts for the team thus far. 

Jackson Gray, Stephen Hrustich, Brennen Bales and Nathan Aide all contributed multi-hit games. Which when comparing to the last few outings for the Chinooks is amazing, based on their recent hit totals.

“I thought we did a better job today of getting guys on,” said field manager Travis Akre. “I thought our approaches were better. We weren’t too big and we had a chance to win, just didn’t do enough to win the back half.”

And Hrustich who has battled a hitting slump for quite some time was electric.

“It doesn’t really help anyone out when you are putting pressure on yourself,” said Hrustich when asked about what went well Sunday. “Just stay where you are and maintain focus. I just try to come out every day and give my best for the team.”

Chinooks’ designated hitter Brennen Bales continued his tear from the plate and is now creeping over the .300 mark. His performance Sunday included three hits that helped him reach that status and helped put his team on the board in the fourth inning. 

In a conversation before Sunday’s game, both Akre and pitching coach Ryan Colegate tossed around the idea of pitching loads of players with the hopes to win matchup battles at the plate. 

“Going into the break I wanted to get everybody some work and I thought if we could keep them off,” Akre said. “We thought maybe we can match this thing up a little bit, and it sounded like a really good idea and it actually wasn’t a bad idea, we just did not do enough to win a ball game.”

Xavier’s Miles Halligan took the bump for Lakeshore and threw just two innings. Over the course of the next seven innings, seven different pitchers toed the rubber for the Chinooks.

In the eighth, one small slip-up ultimately was the difference in the loss. Madison’s Kyle Bork hit a pop-up into shallow center field and a lack of infield communication led to a collision between shortstop Orlando Salinas and second baseman Mack Timbrook. Luckily both players continued playing the game without apparent injury, but the play resulted in the go-ahead run.  

“When you are competing, your juices are flowing,” Akre said. “And when you aren’t playing the best of baseball, guys are trying to do too much and make a big play. “That fly ball in the middle, that’s a tough play for both because the infield sucked in. You know if we are playing a normal depth that is a routine flyball…” 

Monday through Wednesday of this week is the Northwoods League All-Star break with festivities in Mankato, Minnesota. Chinooks veteran Griffin Doersching will partake in both the home run derby Monday and the All-Star game Tuesday. 

“Not just us, but everyone around needs a break right now,” Akre said. “This week was grueling; two doubleheaders this week on top of it. This is good for everyone to get away from the ballpark for a few days and reset. I am excited to see how we respond…”

On Thursday, Lakeshore hits the road to Wausau, Wisconsin, for two games against the Wisconsin Woodchucks with the first pitch at 6:35 p.m.