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Published On: July 25th, 2022

Mequon, Wis. – The Lakeshore Chinooks snapped their three-game losing streak on Monday as they handed the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters their first loss in two games. 

The Chinooks (9-7) have had a rough start coming back from the All-Star Break but taking the 4-3 win at home against the Rafters (13-5) has put them back on track. 

The Rafters started off hot with a base hit in the first inning, but a 5-4-3 double play eliminated two of their base runners before the second base hit was recorded.

Tyler Gronert (1-0, 1.50 ERA) got the start on the mound for the Chinooks. While earning the win in his Chinook debut, Gronert held the Rafters to one run on four hits and seven strikeouts in six innings. 

“I just kind of go out there and do what I do… I get ahead of the fastball and let my slider do the work and see what kind of stuff they’re doing and what they are hitting,” said Gronert. 

The Chinooks got off to an early 2-0 lead when Stephen Hrustich hit a fly ball into shallow left field scoring Matthew Deprey and then a Rafter’s error scored Aidan Longwell. Deprey reached base on a single to center field and Longwell reached on a first-pitch single to right field. 

“He (Gronert) gave us exactly what we needed, we needed a good outing today, we needed some length and that’s what he gave us,” said Field Manager Travis Akre. “He was very excited to be here, very eager to contribute and threw very well for us today.”

Ben Amon (1-1, 2.25 ERA) got the start on the mound for the Rafters tonight. Amon pitched four innings allowing four runs on five hits and had one strike out. 

The Rafters brought their first run across the plate in the third inning making it a 2-1 game when Brendan Bobo grounded into a 1-6-3 double play, scoring Chris Conniff after he led off the inning with a single to center field. 

Joey Spence took the Chinooks lead further with his second home run of the season to put the Chinooks up 4-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning. Spence alongside himself brought home Nathan Aide after he had a single up the middle. 

In the bottom of the fifth inning the Chinooks faced a new pitcher for the Rafters in Logan Schulfer (4-1, 3.19 ERA) and struggled to find a groove against him at the plate.

Schulfer and the Rafters defense sat the Chinooks three up three down in back-to-back innings. Schulfer pitched four innings for the Rafters holding the Chinooks to no runs on two hits and had three strikeouts.

Tim Baird (1-2, 6.57 ERA) came in for relief for the Chinooks in the top of the seventh inning. Baird pitched 0.2 innings giving up two runs on one hit. 

The Rafters took advantage of the lack of production at the plate for the Chinooks as they made it a one run game in the top of the seventh. Bases were loaded and Bobo hit a ground rule double to right center field scoring two runs making it a 4-3 ball game. The Rafters couldn’t follow the momentum of Bobo as they faced a new pitcher, George Klassen as he struck out the final batter of the inning. 

“Honestly, we did just enough to win, we were able to get those two early and gave us a little bit of cushion but…I would have liked to see us put a little bit more pressure on,” said Akre. “We had a few moments where we left a couple guys on. We had just enough time to hit to get a win.” 

Klassen (0-0, 6.20 ERA) pitched 1.1 innings in his 11 appearance of the season. Klassen was awarded the hold as he allowed no runs on one hit and had three strikeouts. 

In the bottom of the eighth inning the Chinooks tried to give themselves some insurance runs as Longwell tripled to right field and Hrustich reached on a fielder’s choice as the Chinooks potential insurance run was out at the plate. 

Mitch Mueller (3-1, 0.82) came into pitch in what would be the final inning as the tying run reached base on an error, but a 6-3 double play left it all to Bobo, but he was ultimately retired on strikes. 

The Chinooks will take on the Rafters in game two of the series on Tuesday at Moonlight Graham field at Kapco Park at 6:35 p.m.