The Lakeshore Chinooks (2-3) looked to snap their three-game losing streak in their home opener on Friday night, and they did exactly that, defeating the Madison Mallards (3-2) 7-3 at Moonlight Graham Field.
“Pitching wise, that’s what we needed,” field manager Trevor Cho said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the hitters. We were down with two outs, down to our last strike in the seventh inning, and the guys have really bought into what I’ve been saying as a manager. That allows us to be in spots where we can put in runs in a burst situation.”
Lakeshore grabbed the lead right away in the bottom of the first inning. Taeg Gollert, the leadoff hitter for the Chinooks, doubled down the left field line, marking his first hit as a Chinook. Nate Mieszkowski then singled to left, and Gollert ended up scoring on an error, putting Lakeshore ahead 1-0.
Cody Kelly also got his first hit as a Chinook in this game. He doubled down the right field line to score Mieszkowski, and Lakeshore went into the second inning leading 2-0.
The Mallards responded quickly in the following inning, as Korbyn Dickerson grounded out to score the runner on third. Madison would not score anymore though, as Kelly made a diving play to get out of the jam, making the score 2-1 favoring Lakeshore.
The Chinooks’ defense committed two errors in the top of the third to put runners on first and third for the Mallards. Jackson Chatterton hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Jack Tucker from third, tying the game up 2-2.
Madison broke through in the top of the sixth as Keenan Taylor singled and moved over to second on an error. He would go on to score after Jake Goolsby hit a sacrifice fly deep to left field, putting the Mallards ahead 3-2.
The Chinooks took advantage of the opportunities they were given in the seventh inning. With one out, Jared Everson hit a double to kickstart Lakeshore’s offense. Cameron Clines, Madison’s reliever, then walked Drew Townsend to put runners on first and second for Lakeshore. He then hit two straight batters to bring in the tying run for the Chinooks.
Connor Langrell then came in to pitch for Madison. With the bases still loaded, he walked the first batter he saw, which gave Lakeshore the one run lead at 4-3.
Mieszkowski then hit a single that scored two runs, and an error that came along with it scored another run, making the score 7-3. That would be enough for Lakeshore to win this game and break their three-game losing streak.
Mieszkowski led the way for Lakeshore offensively, as he went 2-for-3 with four RBIs. He has seven hits in his last five games as a Chinook.
“He’s been huge,” Cho said. “That is an elite bat-to-ball skill with a very clearly defined approach. (He) hasn’t been fazed. He’s had the same exact approach every single at bat he’s had so far. He’s going to stick there (at the top of the order) for a long time.”
Gollert, Kelly and Townsend, the three players who made their debut tonight, all got hits for the Chinooks. They all come from Missouri State, which was where Lakeshore head coach Trevor Cho coached as a graduate manager this past spring.
“Taeg Gollert, I put him leadoff for a reason,” Cho said. “I told the hitters in our meeting today that at some point in this guy’s first at-bat, he’s going to take a swing with 100% intent and he did that. Cody Kelly (has) big league pop and Drew Townsend, one of my favorite players I’ve have ever coached, it means a lot to me that Drew and the other two are there. (I’m) just glad to have them.”
Ben Whiteside got the win for Lakeshore tonight, pitching two innings and giving up zero hits and one walk.
The Chinooks will face the Mallards again tomorrow night at Moonlight Graham Field. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. CST.