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Chinooks Swept by Fond du Lac

Fond du Lac, Wis. — The Great Lakes West Division leaders, the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders, prove time and time again why they are playoff-bound in mid-August.  

Friday’s game at Herr-Baker Field felt like deja vu. Similar to Thursday, Lakeshore jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, but ultimately the Dock Spiders regrouped — their foot never came off of the gas. 

No stranger to RBIs, Fondy (15-7) piled four unanswered runs onto the scoreboard in the middle innings, while the Chinooks (9-14) stranded three of their 14 runners on base during that stretch. Not being able to capitalize with runners in scoring position led to the 6-3 loss. 

“Our offense started late in innings and couldn’t execute,” said field manager Travis Akre. “Its been our Achilles heel, all year…timely hits.”

Ball State’s Tyler Schweitzer earned his first start of the season where he recorded six strikeouts, despite relinquishing three earned runs. The southpaw allowed just one hit through three innings pitched before an unfavorable fourth inning put an end to his night. 

“It was exciting getting my first start because that is what I want to do back at college,” Schweitzer said. “So getting the opportunity to get my feet wet in that role was a great first step.”

Schweitzer worked a 2-2 count on shortstop Jackson Loftin, however, the Oral Roberts product took the next offering to right-field on a leadoff single. Using his speed, he stole second and eventually crossed the plate seconds later when Sam Ireland brought him home. 

Remarkably, 40 stolen bases for Loftin ranks second on the Dock Spiders, behind the Northwoods League’s newest single-season record-holder, Chandler Simpson (51). 

Continuing on in the fourth, a two-strike sac fly for Josh Spiegel and a Ryan Lasko solo home run to left field lifted the Dock Spiders into the driver’s seat. 

Akre looked to left-hander Jason DeCicco in the fifth and sixth. But the Crystal Lake, Illinois native surrendered an identical amount of runs over the next couple of innings. 

Luckily, the second push from the Dock Spiders stung a little less as Lakeshore’s Connor Kimple recorded a pair of RBIs — his first multi-RBI game since June 17. All batters positioned in spots five through nine saw the ball better than ever with two hits each. 

“It always feels good to contribute and have a good day,” Kimple said. “Baseball is kinda like golf, where you never leave the field or the course happy with how you did…especially as a hitter. You know that it’s not gonna go your way and you just have to revel in knowing you’re going to fail.”

Right-hander Jim Jarecki entered in the seventh and stayed on the hill through the eighth, which has not happened in about a month’s time.  Jarecki struck out three batters while allowing a single hit. 

“The two innings felt really good tonight,” Jarecki said. “It was nice to see that I could keep making the adjustments I’ve been working on over multiple innings.”

Even with the extra runs in the late innings, it was not enough as the Chinooks exited the eighth inning with the bases loaded, at last giving Schweitzer his third loss of the summer. 

Fond du Lac’s Tyler Shingledecker garnered his first win of the season on six innings pitched with two earned runs and six punchouts. 

Lakeshore returns home for the weekend for two games against the Wisconsin Woodchucks. During the weekend only, the team will rebrand as the State Fair Cream Puffs. Saturday’s game starts at 6:35 p.m. 

“[We] got another good team coming to town this weekend,” Akre said. “We just need to play quality baseball.”