Kokomo, Ind.– After jumping out to an early lead, the Lakeshore Chinooks (11-19) offense failed to hold off the resilient Kokomo Jackrabbit (20-9) bats, who made a late comeback, ultimately winning Saturday night’s ball game 6-4.
Coming off of Friday night’s extra inning victory, Lakeshore looked to continue their momentum into Saturday night and give the Jackrabbits a tough time on their home turf.
The Chinook bats came in hot right out of the gate, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning. Dylan Johnson stood 90 feet away from scoring after leading off the game with a walk. Griffin Doersching and Jackson Gray singled, setting the table for. setting the table for Evan Rice. After Rice flew out, catcher Josh Glenn stepped to the plate and delivered.
Sending a ball into the right field corner, Glenn found himself standing at third base with a bases clearing triple. With one swing of the bat, the last place Chinooks found themselves in the driver’s seat against the first place Jackrabbits.
The early run support helped Lakeshore starting pitcher Tyler Schweitzer find his groove early. The left handed pitcher allowed just two hits through his first five innings pitched.
“The early run support was huge for Tyler,” Glenn said. “It could have gone either way if he relaxed and took his foot off the gas, but he stayed locked in and kept hitters off balance with a great tempo out there.”
After completing five and a half innings, Lakeshore was still riding the 3-0 lead, Schweitzer was still rolling and the Lakeshore bats were keeping the pressure.
For Schweitzer and the Chinooks, the wheels fell off in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The Jackrabbits batted all nine of their hitters in the frame, amounting to four runs on four hits, stranding a pair of runners as well. Similar to Glenn’s triple in the top of the first, Kokomo’s Jakob Marsee cleared the bases on a bases loaded triple. On the very next pitch, Marsee would score on a base hit, making the Chinook lead disappear altogether.
Now trailing 4-3, Schweitzer was brought back in for the bottom of the seventh inning. His night ended shortly after starting the inning, where he gave up a leadoff base hit. Right hander Brody Ware lifted Schweitzer, who ended up earning the loss on the night.
“Tyler threw really well,” Field manager Travis Akre said. “For the first five innings, that’s maybe the best he’d looked all year. He missed a few pitches that extended that inning and they took advantage of it.”
Ware provided the Chinooks with consistent pitching out of the bullpen. The Kent State University freshman finished the ball game throwing two complete innings, allowing one run on three hits and striking out a pair of Jackrabbit hitters.
Down 6-3 entering the top of the eighth inning, Lakeshore showed some resiliency themselves, scoring a run and proving they weren’t rolling over. Justin Olson blated a ball to center field, picking up a triple with only one out in the inning. Moments later, Ty Olejnik scored Olson on an infield single.
The comeback attempt wasn’t enough as Kokomo’s Reece Rodabaugh struck out the heart of the Chinook order to close out the ball game and garner the save.
Lakeshore finished Saturday night with ten hits, nine strikeouts and nine runners left on base. Only a couple innings made the difference in tonight’s ball game, a slim margin for error, especially for a team that needs to start winning close games.
“That’s a good team,” Akre said. “That three spot gave us a lead but Kokomo really grinded out some at bats in that sixth inning.”
Lakeshore takes on Kokomo for the final game between the two sides this summer at 1:35 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Sunday’s ball game starts the final week of the season for the Chinooks. Lakeshore has run out of time in the summer and will not be making the playoffs, currently sitting nine and ½ games back of the division lead.