Wausau, Wis. — Four home runs lifted the Lakeshore Chinooks (7-10) to a commanding 15-7 victory of the Wisconsin Woodchucks (9-6).
Sam Beers, Josh Glenn, Griffin Doersching and Ethan Vecrumba each went yard Friday night, helping Lakeshore earn their first win after the All-Star break.
Dorsey Chatham made his eighth appearance of the summer for Lakeshore, starting on the mound in Friday night’s game. Battling tightness in his groin, Chatham pitched two innings, struggling to find the zone and get quick outs.
Chatham threw 52 pitches in just two complete innings of work, allowing four hits and two earned runs, walking four Woodchuck hitters as well. The Xavier University right-hander has been working towards having longer performances on the mound, though Friday night was not one of those nights.
The Lakeshore hitters supported Chatham from the get-go, scoring seven runs in the first two frames of the ball game. In the top of the first, a two out rally drew first blood after a pair of hits from Jackson Gray and newcomer Sam Beers put a runner in scoring position for Justin Olson. The Chinooks first baseman singled to right, scoring Gray and giving the Chinooks an early 1-0 lead.
The Lakeshore lead didn’t last long after Chatham walked Kevin Kilpatrick with two down in the bottom of the frame. Three consecutive hits including a double to right field scored a pair of Woodchucks and the Chinooks faced an early deficit, down 2-1.
The resilient Lakeshore bats piled on six runs in the top of the second inning after four hits and a Woodchuck error gave the team a massive 7-2 lead, a lead in which they never gave up for the rest of the game.
The three Chinook leadoff men all reached base, setting the table for Ethan Vecrumba, who plated the first run of the inning on a fielder’s choice, giving Lakeshore two runners in scoring position for designated hitter Doersching. The Oklahoma State transfer delivered, knocking an infield single, scoring another. Jackson Gray quickly followed suit, piling on another run with a sacrifice fly.
Now with two men on base, Beers approached the plate, having already singled in his Chinook debut. Beers blasted a ball over the left field fence, plating three more runs for the hot Lakeshore bats, his first home run as a Chinook.
Beers, a Janesville, Wisconsin native playing his college ball at Concordia University of Wisconsin, took very little time to adjust to his new team.
“It’s a blessing to be playing back at my home field,” Beers said. “The transition has been pretty simple. The guys and coaches welcomed me in as a part of the team right away. It’s a good group of guys and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
The 6’3” sophomore hit 3-5 Friday night with a walk and three RBI’s, a great spark to the Lakeshore offense in his debut.
Ben Riffe replaced Chatham to start the third inning, throwing 3 and ⅔ innings. Riffe struggled as well, allowing three earned runs on seven hits, three walks and three strikeouts.
Following a flawless third inning, Riffe’s struggles started in the bottom of the fourth inning. Four of the first five batters Riffe faced reached base to start the inning, scoring two Woodchuck runs after a double to right field from Gino Groover III. Kilpatrick knocked in another run on a sacrifice fly, shrinking the Lakeshore lead to just two runs, 7-5.
Once again, the Chinook hitters answered back in the top of the fifth inning, scoring five runs. Catcher Josh Glenn led off the inning with a solo shot to left, which set the stage for a huge Lakeshore inning.
Three singles set the table for Griffin Doersching to do Griffin Doersching things. The Northwoods League Home Run Derby Champion picked up right where he left off during the break, blasting a no-doubter grand slam to left field. Doersching blew the game open with one swing of the bat, increasing the Lakeshore lead to 12-5.
“Griff’s presence in the dugout and in between the lines is huge,” Chinooks Field manager Travis Akre said. “Guys love being around him. He keeps it loose in the dugout and he’s a threat every time he steps to the plate. What’s not to love!”
The Lakeshore bats added another long ball in the top of the ninth inning, this time from the bat of Ethan Vecrumba, who led off the inning with a solo shot of his own.
Bullpen relievers Cade Berendt and Jim Jerecki held their own for Lakeshore, not giving up a single run in the three innings the two split. Neither pitcher conceded a hit and totaled five strikeouts.
Jarecki finished the Woodchucks off, striking out three hitters in the bottom of the ninth inning, helping Lakeshore earn a 15-7 road victory.
Lakeshore heads to Fond Du Lac Saturday night, hoping to keep their momentum alive and start a winning streak. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.