Mequon, Wis.– An explosive third inning from the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (7-12) hitters sealed the Lakeshore Chinooks (8-12) fate Monday night, resulting in an 8-0 loss.
In a battle between the two teams in the bottom of the Great Lakes West division, the Lakeshore bats ultimately failed to string together enough hits to plate any runs. Rafters starting pitcher Wyatt Thompson struck out six Lakeshore hitters on his way to a five inning shutout performance.
Lakeshore’s right hander, Joe Glassey, made his eighth start this summer, cruising through his first six hitters. The wheels fell off for Glassey in the top of the third inning, facing nine different Rafter hitters. Wisconsin Rapids pieced together five hits and scored five in the inning.
After recording the first out of the inning, five straight Rafters reached base successfully. With two men on, Mckinley Erves delivered on a single to center field, scoring the first two runs of the ball game. The bleeding didn’t stop there as the very next batter, Kyle Teel, sent a ball deep in the left center gap, resulting in a triple and scoring Erves.
Now leading 4-0, a Marco Castillo in field single on a chopper to third scored the fifth and final run of the inning.
Similar to many of Glassey’s outings this season, the University of Illinois redshirt freshman adjusted after his struggles on the mound. In the next two frames, Glassey retired the side scoreless, only allowing one more Rafter to reach base.
For the fourth time this season, the Lakeshore offense has been held scoreless in games that Glassey starts on the mound.
Only amounting to four hits in the ball game, Lakeshore had a man in scoring position just once. Their closest opportunity to score occurred in the bottom of the fifth inning after catcher Josh Glenn drew a two out walk.
“We didn’t put enough pressure on them,” Field manager Travis Akre said simply.
Only amounting five men on bases all game, the offensive struggles for Lakeshore were as obvious as Akre mentioned.
Jackson Gray made up for three of Lakeshore’s four hits Monday night. Gray was one of two Chinook hitters to reach base, the bright spot in the lineup coming out of the two hole. With his 3-4 performance, Gray’s batting average on the summer rose to .301, second highest on the team, only behind Ethan Vecrumba.
With the Chinook bats struggling, the Rafters took advantage in the top of the seventh inning, adding three more runs to their lead. DJ Hess struggled in his debut outing for Lakeshore, giving up five hits and two earned runs in his two innings of work.
After the three run seventh, Hess was lifted for Jim Jerecki, the Chinook veteran from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Jarecki made quick work of his outing in the top of the eighth, striking out a pair of Rafter hitters. Only needing 11 pitches, the 6’8” senior has punched out five hitters in two innings of work over his last two performances.
“These last twenty some games we gotta come out here, let loose and have fun because that’s when we play our best,” Jarecki said post game.
Joe Roundtree lifted Jarecki in the ninth frame of the ball game, only needing five pitches to retire the side in order. Roundtree’s performance Monday night was his second of the season and his first since July 11 against the Kokomo Jackrabbits.
Lakeshore failed to make a comeback late in the ball game, resulting in their second straight loss and falling another game back of the playoff race.
“This is the most challenging part of the season,” Akre said. “Both teams are exhausted. That’s the disappointing thing about tonight, [we] just didn’t do enough..It’s baseball. Gotta come ready tomorrow.”
Lakeshore returns to Kapco Park Tuesday night for the final game of their series with Wisconsin Rapids. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.