Mequon, Wis. — A second consecutive scoreless start from Lakeshore starter Tommy Lamb and a two-run lead didn’t snap Lakeshore’s three-game skid.
Lamb held the Rockford Rivets to four hits while designated hitter Jackson Gray homered to right field, but a Rivets seventh-inning rally changed the complexion of the contest.
Prepared to battle through extra innings, Rockford (12-15) posted three unanswered runs late as Lakeshore (10-18) was unable to contain its opponent and fell to the Rivets, 3-2, Thursday evening at Kapco Park.
“The story of our season is we haven’t been getting beaten, we’ve just been beating ourselves, unfortunately,” Akre said.
Locked in a ninth-inning stalemate, Lakeshore loaded the bases, but shortstop Evan Rice flew out into a double play as second baseman Mack Timbrook was doubled up at second base.
“When you’re around the game this much, unfortunately that’s part of it,” Akre said of the base running mishap. “If there’s one person that feels bad about that situation, it’s definitely him [Timbrook], so I feel for him. He’ll learn from it, we’ll all learn from it, and that’s just unfortunate those lapses happen in this game.”
With new life in the 10th, Rivets first baseman Kevin Bushnell drove home second baseman Jack Bilotta on Rockford’s ninth and final hit that yielded the game-winning run.
Following 12 runs scored in a 10-run loss the night prior, Rockford remained without a run yet began its ninth late-inning comeback win of the year immediately in the seventh.
Back-to-back doubles sliced the Chinooks’ lead in half, 2-1. Rivets right fielder Jack Cavanaugh plated left fielder Conner Goodman with an RBI hit to right field and two at-bats later, third baseman Brandon Bannon followed up with a double, scoring Cavanaugh to level the contest at two runs apiece.
The exact spark was provided for Rockford, forcing Akre signaled for left-hander Cade Berendt after right-handed reliever Arthur Liebau let the middle of Rockford’s lineup capitalize. Berendt struck out three of the next four batters, temporarily settling the plate attack prior to former starter Dorsey Chatham’s relinquished RBI single to Bushnell.
“It would’ve been nice to start building a little momentum, especially after last night,” Akre said. “This one stings a little bit when you’re in control of the ball game for seven innings, and we kind of gave it away.”
The Chinooks were on the verge of regaining a one-run advantage in the seventh. Rice’s one-out double and a wild pitch moved the go-ahead run into third base, though Rivets reliever Ryan Green (1-1) struck out Griffin Doersching to eliminate the scoring threat.
“Today I just tried to see the ball deep,” Rice said. “I felt like I’ve been a little too aggressive coming out here to the Northwoods League and after getting some at bats, I feel more comfortable and I’m seeing the ball a lot better.”
Both teams left nine runners on base, while Rockford struck out nine times over Lakeshore’s eight.
Chatham was tacked with the loss and Green earned his first victory of the season. The Rivets entered Thursday with the third-fewest saves (nine) in the Northwoods League and no save opportunity arose.
“We’re trying to keep these guys focused,” Akre said. “These are the times of the season where it can get real hard because of the grind this is, and showing up at the ballpark every day, and you start to get a lot of things on your plate with returning to school [and] everything else. This is what really separates the guys that can excel in this game in just coming to the ballpark every day and continuing to stay locked in.”
Up next, Lakeshore travels to Rockford on Friday for the second game of a home-and-home series. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m.