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Chinooks fall to Dock Spiders at home

Mequon, Wis. – The Lakeshore Chinooks climbed out of an early four-run hole, briefly keeping their hopes of a three-game win streak alive.

But despite pushing across four combined runs in the fourth and fifth innings, the Chinooks were unable to convert another comeback into a third straight victory.

Committing seven errors and allowing 14 total walks, Lakeshore’s middle-inning rally was not enough to prevent the winning run from scoring on a bases-loaded walk, falling to the Dock Spiders, 10-6, at Kapco Park on Sunday.

“We just struggled on the mound, that’s very apparent,” Chinooks field manager Travis Akre said. “I think we [allowed] 15 walks and that’s just a recipe for disaster. You’re never going to win ball games with that, and that was the difference today. I mean, you look at the scoreboard and we out-hit them significantly, and came out with an L.”

Following an empty first three frames, the Chinooks (8-11) counted on center fielder Nathan Aide to ignite a spark.

Registering Lakeshore’s second hit of the evening, Aide belted a one-out RBI single down the right field line and advanced to third on a fielding error — Fond du Lac’s only error committed. Aide was brought home on a fielder’s choice for Lakeshore’s first run.

Leading off the fifth with a solo home run to right field, shortstop Orlando Salinas collected his first of the season, cutting the deficit in half, 4-2. Left fielder Ethan Vecrumba placed two runners in scoring position with a double to right field and third baseman Sam Beers capped off the scoring action with a one-run single.

“Those guys have provided a little bit of a spark for us,” Akre said. “It’s been a different guy every night, and we’ve swung the bats pretty well in the last four games coming back from the All-Star break. But you know, the unfortunate part is we’re 2-2 after those and should be 3-1 or 4-0 and we’re not, so it’s just been the tail of the season. We haven’t been getting beat, we’ve just been beating ourselves.”

Batting cleanup in a 3-for-4 home debut, Beers guided the Chinooks in their rally. The Dock Spiders (11-6), meanwhile, relied on only two hits to post six unanswered runs in the late innings, instead capitalizing on Lakeshore’s defensive mistakes.

Though reliever Mitch Mueller eliminated a bases-loaded scoring threat in the sixth, Fond du Lac blew the contest open in the seventh, taking advantage of three errors and a one-out single for an 8-4 advantage. Dock Spiders third baseman Connor Manthey was hit by a pitch in the eighth and then scored in front of right fielder Ryan Lasko on second baseman Colton Bauer’s fielding error.

“He got out of a couple [jams], just not enough,” Akre said. “He was pretty crisp for the first five or six hitters and then after that ran into a buzz saw, couldn’t command the zone anymore and it had just led to another long inning.”

Fond du Lac’s late-inning surge wasn’t the first deficit Lakeshore faced, nonetheless.

Allowing back-to-back walks to start the contest, Chinooks right-handed starter Ryan Jungbauer saw the game’s first two runners plated on a stolen base and a sacrifice fly. The Northwestern Ohio product walked five of the first six batters and exited after the conclusion of the opening inning due to experienced discomfort in his throwing arm.

“We’ll just wait and see you know, it’s something in the forearm and elbow area,” Akre said. “We’ll just have to evaluate him tomorrow and see what the prognosis is.”

Lifting Jungbauer, right-hander Miles Halligan tossed the next three innings and kept the Dock Spiders to one run while striking out a team-most four batters. Jason DeCicco of Eastern Illinois and Arthur Liebau worked to finish the final 2 2/3 innings, while Lakeshore had an ounce of momentum left in its lineup.

With one out in bottom of the ninth, third baseman Sam Beers added to a 2-for-3 performance, drilling a solo home run to left field for his first of 2021 and Lakeshore’s 40th. The Chinooks trailed, 10-5, but right fielder Connor Kimple hit a one-out single to left field and designated hitter Jackson Gray reduced the deficit back to four runs, scoring on a wild pitch.

Mueller was tacked with the loss, moving to 3-2, and Dock Spiders starter Porter Hardcastle secured his second win to remain undefeated.

Up next, the Chinooks once again host the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters for a two-game series beginning on Monday. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m.