Mequon, WI – In another thrilling back-and-forth game, the Chinooks earned a hard-fought victory. The Chinooks were looking to sweep the Wausau Woodchucks in the final game before the all-star break. After the crazy game on Saturday night, the two teams continued to trade blows. Calvin Bickerstaff got the start for the Chinooks. Heading into the game with a 2.53 ERA, Bickerstaff had two scoreless frames to lower his ERA.
The bottom of the 2nd gave the Chinooks their first run in a unique way. With runners on the corner bases, Wausau starting pitcher Andrew Armstrong threw over to 1st on a pickoff attempt. The Woodchucks were able to get an out there on the rundown, but a heads-up play by Garrett Martin sneaked him home. The Chinooks got an early 1-0 lead. Jacob Dillon, the Kansas Jayhawks pitcher had his season debut on the mound in the third inning. He pitched a scoreless inning with two electric strikeouts. No action happened in the 4th inning, but the Chinooks offense came up big in the bottom of the 5th.
Stephen Hrustich led off the inning with a single. Two quick outs got Bryce Stober up and he was able to draw a walk. Michael Seegers went 3 for 4 in the game, but he produced his most important hit with a 2-run single to make it a Chinooks 3-0 lead. Seegers was the only Chinook with an extra-base hit and at least 2 RBIs. Mitch Alba pitched an excellent two innings in the 5th and 6th as the Woodchucks were shut out until the 7th inning. Alba got the first two outs in the 7th, but he struggled with his command. Sloppy defense didn’t help him either as the bases were loaded when Alba left.
Luke Schafer came in for relief, but couldn’t escape the jam. Brock Watkins hit a 2-RBI ground-rule double to cut the Chinooks lead down to one. Zach Levenson followed that up with another 2-RBI hit. The Woodchucks got their first lead quickly and the Chinooks trailed 4-3. That didn’t last long as the Chinooks played some small ball in the bottom of the 7th. Tony Livermore walked, Bryce Stober used his speed to get a bunt single, and Matthias Haas hit a game-tying RBI groundout.
The Woodchucks offense came up small the next two innings with hitting into one double play each inning. Mike Schicker was the last hope on the mound for the Woodchucks to advance to extra innings. He didn’t have anything going right away. Stober got another walk. Seegers hit a grounder to the third baseman in what looked like an easy double play. The only problem was no Woodchucks player covered 2nd base and Seegers hustled to beat out the throw at first base. Matthias Haas got on base too with another walk.
With bases loaded and nobody out, the Chinooks had the guy they wanted up. Their all-star catcher Matt Deprey came up and it looked like Schicker just wanted to end the game early without trying. Deprey got drilled on his side and had the RBI hit by pitch. The Chinooks had a walk-off and an important comeback win. A 5-4 ballgame to split the series was what the Chinooks needed heading into the all-star break.
Chinooks manager Travis Akre talked about what the Chinooks need to do after the all-star break, “We are really gonna have to play all three facets with pitching, timely hitting, and playing good defense. We will come back with a refreshed mindset and come ready to compete.”
The Chinooks have an 8-4 record in the second half. They still trail Wisconsin Rapids in the division standings, but Sunday’s win helped them tie for second place with the Woodchucks. The Northwoods League All-Star Game will be at Wisconsin Rapids on Tuesday night at 7:00 pm. The Chinooks will be represented by Matt Deprey, Garrett Martin, Eric Chalus, and Mitch Mueller. The team’s next game will be Thursday night in Traverse City. First pitch is at 6:05 pm.