Mequon, Wis. — The Lakeshore Chinooks couldn’t have predicted a tougher start on their home turf.
Madison posted 12 unanswered runs through the first three innings, as it had appeared the contest had begun to spiral out of control.
Chinooks starting pitcher Cade Berendt earned his first starting nod of the season, which turned sour in immediate fashion after relinquishing six earned runs to seven of Madison’s first nine batters.
Berendt was lifted after 2/3 of an inning for reliever Arthur Liebau, who also struggled to prevent the Mallards from padding their comfortable lead.
Both teams knew there was still a lot of baseball to be played, nonetheless.
Brody Ware tossed five consecutive scoreless innings in relief, but Lakeshore (12-21) was unable to sustain its sixth-inning rally in a 12-5 loss to Madison (21-13) at Kapco Park on Wednesday.
“We’re at this point in the year where everybody’s just trying to get through it and get productive reps,” Chinooks field manager Travis Akre said. “I certainly thought we got that from Brody Ware today, it was encouraging. He was able to go hang five zeros in a row and that’s something he has not been able to do, and it was good to see him make some adjustments in-game and hopefully, that’s a note he can leave on a positive with.”
After remaining hitless through 2 1/3 innings, Lakeshore at last collected a hit. Chinooks right fielder Ty Olejnik singled and leadoff hitter Dylan Johnson hit an RBI single prior to being tagged out at second base, ending the third inning.
Facing a Mallards team with the second-most hits (632) in the Northwoods League, Ware retired nine of 11 batters prior to the Chinooks’ three-run sixth frame.
“It was good to have him have a strong finish like that, because I think he can leave with a message of the adjustments he makes, and I think that’s some confidence he can take moving forward,” Akre said. “[I] had some really good chats with him in the dugout in the end.”
Third baseman Evan Rice converted with a two-run single and shorstop Mack Timbrook knocked in an RBI single, slicing Lakeshore’s deficit to seven runs.
“Evan Rice I thought swung the bat really well tonight and a couple of other guys did some good things,” Akre said. “We’re just trying to finish this thing strong.”
Lakeshore ran out of fruitful scoring opportunities late, as its final scoring threat was eliminated despite Rice being moved to third base on a wild pitch. Madison’s relief pitching retired nine of the Chinooks’ last 11 batters.
Designated hitter Jackson Gray, who entered with a team-high .314 average, finished 1-for-4 with three of Lakeshore’s 11 strikeouts, while continuing a six-game hitting streak.
“He’s going to give you his best effort every day,” Akre said. “I just credit him for sticking with this thing the whole way. He has a vision and a dream to play professional baseball, and he knows he has to work through this schedule to be able to prepare for that level. He comes to the ballpark every day wanting to compete and I admire his competitiveness.”
With left-handed starter Tommy Lamb back on the mound in his final start of the season Thursday, the Chinooks seek to snap a five-game losing streak to the Mallards. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
“We’ve got Tommy Lamb on the mound tomorrow, who’s thrown very well at home,” Akre said. “He’s excited to go out and compete one more time here for the summer … Hopefully, he can give us a shot to win and we’re gonna go score some runs, and we’re gonna go compete tomorrow.”