Written by Matt Ellis
The Lakeshore Chinooks snap a five game losing streak and right the ship with a win against the Madison Mallards by a score of 2-1. The Chinooks got a much needed win coming off two series where they were swept; one by the Wisconsin Rapid Rafters and their opponent tonight, the Mallards. The Chinooks have been searching for a win and tonight they got one.
“Anytime you can get out of a skid it’s good, doesn’t matter what the score is. We just needed to find anyway to get out of there,” Said Manager, Trevor Cho referring to the losing skid
The Chinooks got it going early when the second batter of the night for the Chinooks, Joey Spence smacked a ball deep to right center for a homerun that would make it 1-0. The homerun by Spence would be his first one of the year and the Chinooks first long ball at home. It’s worth noting, the long ball would be Spence’s first hit of the year in eight total at bats.
“My approach going into this guy today (Lancour), was [to] hunt the fastball early and it’s funny because the first [pitch], I didn’t do that. I took the first-pitch fastball right down the middle…Then I saw the chageup pop and the rest is it,” said Spence, who played catcher today.
Spence went on to say this about the win, “ I think definitely it’s a big win before going on the road. Getting one at home is always nice…the energy tonight was just off the charts, from the start of the game, pregame, everyone in the locker room was ready to go. That’s why I love this team”
Cho has worked with Spence in the past. In fact, their history dates back to 2019 in Cho’s first day of coaching. It’s no surprise that he speaks highly of him. “As long as I’ve been coaching, I’ve known Joey Spence. I’ve seen that kid at the highs of high, I saw him get drafted… saw him do everything at the highschool level, “ said Cho.
The Mallards would respond in the top half of the third. Jack Tucker hit a single to get on base and a double by Jake Holcroft would send him to third. With no outs Isaiah Jackson sent Tucker home with an RBI groundout to make it a tie ballgame 1-1. With Holcroft on third, starting pitcher Jason Schaaf and the Chinooks would get out of the inning with no more damage done.
Schaaf went four innings pitched allowing four hits, one earned run, and four strikeouts in 59 total pitches. Cho said after the game that it was a “pitch limit” as the reason Schaaf was pulled, “we wanted to hard cap him at 60,” said Cho.
Connor Krauseneck replaced Schaaf before the top of the fifth. Krauseneck was the pitcher on the mound June 10th when the Mallards walked off the Chinooks in a 5-4 win against the Chinooks. Despite that, Krauseneck held his own tonight. In the relievers two innings of work, he finished with an impressive five punchouts, all in a row too, putting the Mallards offense on hold.
“It was awesome, I think it’s awesome that he gets to come out here on his home college field and get to do it,” Said Cho.
Kade Lancour, the starting pitcher for the Mallards, retired 11 consecutive Chinook batters entering the bottom of the fifth inning. However, DH Jared Everson broke that streak with a single but, shortly after, Nate Mieszkowski grounded into a 6-3 double play. At the end of the fifth, the game was still tied 1-1. On the day, Lancour went six innings pitched allowing two hits, one earned run, and four strikeouts.
Lakeshore faced some pressure in the top of the seventh. Now with Liam Stumpf on the mound for the Chinooks, Mallard’s shortstop Cal Fisher singled to right to start the inning. Keenan Taylor hit a ball that took an awkward bounce allowing himself to get on base and advance Fisher to third. With one out, Stumpf struckout Tucker and with a full count Holfcroft grounded out to end the inning with no harm done.
The last time either team scored was in the top of the third inning. This would change though as the Chinooks put themselves on top, taking control of the game in the top of the eighth. Gabe Roessler cracked a double after a Drew Townsend strikeout. Spence stepped up to plate hitting a single that scored Roessler for Spence’s second RBI of the game. More importantly, the Chinooks had the lead entering the ninth inning.
The Mallards would have one more chance to either take the lead, or at very least tie the game.
To start off the ninth inning, James Reese got the call for the Chinooks. Leading off, David Melfi singled to first and was replaced by a speedy baserunner, Mike Gupton. Fisher in the box for the Mallards with no outs elected not to bunt, eventually grounding out. However, Gupton stole second and Goolsby would be rewarded with first base after a catcher interference. Being a hefty distance off the bag at second, Gupton would be chased down by Josh Overbeek for the second out. The importance of that out cannot be overstated because Keenan Taylor hit a ball that could have sent Gupton home had he not been tagged out. To end the game, Tucker would strikeout swinging and atlast, the Chinooks get back in the win column.
“After the last loss we had (against Wisconsin Rapids), I said hey you can look at the Northwoods one of two ways, it’s a grind or it’s a privilege,” said Cho.
Lakeshore looks to start a win streak and will have to do so on the road as the Chinooks have four upcoming road games. The Chinooks next game is another matchup against the Mallards in Madison with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 pm CST.