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Chinooks Edge Rapids Rafters 3-2

Mequon, Wis. — Behind seven strong innings from Creighton’s Tommy Lamb, the Chinooks held on to beat the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters 3-2 Tuesday night.

From the start, Lamb looked strong after a disastrous outing in Wasau six days ago. For comparison, against the Rafters, the left-hander threw 7.1 innings on three hits, one earned run, three walks and five strikeouts. In Wasau, it was quite the opposite: 0.2 innings on five hits and six runs (two earned runs).

“I worked a lot off-speed today just to give hitters a different look — it really helped…,” said Lamb on what was working well.

Pitching from both sides highlighted the game through the first three frames. As of late, work from the mound has been the Chinooks’ downfall, but the Grafton native held the Rafters hitless over that span.

On Monday night, Lakeshore earned four hits in the 8-0 shutout loss. And three of them came from Western Kentucky’s Jackson Gray. Yet, Tuesday, marked another Gray display. Out of the team’s five hits, the right-fielder was responsible for two of them, including an RBI single that scored Ethan Vecrumba from second.

As mentioned time and time age ain, Gray provided the spark for his team.

“He’s just doing Jackson Gray things,” said field manager Travis Akre with a smile. “He’s just a great ballplayer and he’s just seeing it well. He has really put some great swings on it the last few days and has been rewarded.”

With a smidgen of breathing room in the following inning, Lamb surrendered his only run of the night to the Rapids Rafters. Benjamin Swords was responsible for the RBI base knock that scored Couper Cornblum. In the last three games that these two teams have matched up, Swords has walked away with a hit.

Fortunately for everyone involved, the Chinooks bounced back in the sixth with a pair of runs. This provided necessary breathing room for Lamb and the defense behind him. Lakeshore remained disciplined at the plate too that resulted in the runs recorded.

“I thought pitch recognition was pretty good that inning,” Akre said. “We didn’t give in and we were able to get ahead in some counts and extended some. It’s nice to be on that side of it.”

Kent State freshman Brody Ware relieved Lamb in the eighth but did not stay atop the mound for long. A hit-by-pitch and two consecutive walks forced Akre to call in for backup. McKendree’s Cade Berendt worked out of a bases-loaded jam, relinquishing just one run.

However, the inning concluded on a phenomenal 4-3 double play. Mack Timbrook tagged out the runner headed to second and still made the throw to Justin Olson over at first. Berendt returned again in the ninth and worked through some trouble on his own, but was, fortunately, able to escape unscathed.

“Credit to Cade,” Akre said. “Cade stepped up, had a big double-play ball and got that out in the eighth. He even had some stretch pitches in the ninth and luckily we got out with the win.”

All teams in the Northwoods League are off on Wednesday, July 28.

“Thursday and Friday is our biggest series of the year,” Akre said. “I just told the guys to be ready to play…”

The Chinooks return to play on Thursday in Fond du Lac for two games against the Dock Spiders, before returning to Kapco Park this weekend for the Wisconsin State Fair rebrand.