Mequon, Wisconsin – The Chinooks hot start to the second half of the season took a tough blow on Sunday night against the Madison Mallards. In what looked like a very winnable game, the Chinooks started off well. The Mallards had an early 1-0 lead in the top of the 2nd after an RBI triple from Payton Smith. In the bottom half of the inning, the Chinooks flipped the script. Kyle Walter was the Madison starting pitcher and his season-long struggles continued. He managed to get a scoreless inning in the first, but couldn’t do anything right in his second frame.
Two hit-by-pitches and a walk managed to give the Chinooks bases loaded with nobody out. Bad defense also helped the Chinooks out as their first two runs scored on an error and a wild pitch got them out to a key 3-1 lead. Tony Livermore walked after those miscues, but the putrid Mallards defense continued as another error led to the Chinooks fourth run. Stephen Hrustich drove in one more run with an RBI walk to make it a 5-1 ball game after two innings. The Chinooks managed to somehow score five runs without a base hit. Walter threw five walks in addition to the five earned runs he gave up. He could only last 1.1 innings on the mound.
The Mallards were able to stay in the game with three runs right away in the top of the 3rd. Jan Rollon singled and J.J. Wetherholt hit a monster 2-run homer to cut the Chinooks lead down to 5-3. Payton Smith hit his second RBI later in the inning on a groundout. With a 5-4 score, the Chinooks were close to losing the grasp of their big lead. The Chinooks were still hitless after the 3rd, and the Mallards tied it up in the top of the 4th. J.J Wetherholt produced his third RBI of the game on a sac fly.
Caleb Bartolero singled in the 4th to give the Chinooks their first official hit and they’d take a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the 5th. The Mallards third error led to Marcus Cline scoring. This back and forth game would keep on rolling in the 6th as the Mallards had their biggest inning. The offense would score three runs with J.J. Wetherholt driving in his fourth RBI on a walk to tie it 6-6. Josh Caron who has thrived against the Chinooks this season, joined the hit parade with an RBI single. A fielder’s choice got another run in as the Mallards had their biggest lead of the game at 8-6.
Bartolero smoked an RBI triple to drive in Garrett Martin in the bottom of the 6th. Michael Seegers produced a clutch hit to tie it up for the Chinooks 8-8 in the bottom of the 7th. The 8th inning didn’t have much action as it was only the second inning in the game without any runs. Heading into the 9th of this long battle, the Mallards made sure there would be no free baseball. Their offense produced the game-winning run from Scott Shaw’s RBI double that proved to be the difference.
Bryce Woody, the Mallards All-Star reliever closed the game with 2 shutout innings. Woody continued his dominant season as his season ERA dropped to a prestigious 0.84 ERA. The Chinooks will have to recover quickly from this hard loss as they face the Mallards again in game two of the series. First pitch is set for 6:35pm Monday night at Moonlight Graham Field at Kapco Park.