In this Great Lakes West divisional matchup, the Lakeshore Chinooks (8-16) had many chances to win but were unable to convert in their 9-5 extra-inning loss to the Wausau Woodchucks (15-10) on a beautiful Thursday night at Moonlight Graham Field.
Wausau made a statement early in this one in the top of the first. A leadoff double on the first pitch from Dalton Pearson and walks from Brennan Holt and Brent Widder loaded the bases. A walk brought in the game’s first run to give the Woodchucks an early 1-0 lead. Michael Maginnis followed with a single up the middle to score one, but not two, as the second runner was thrown out at home due to a great throw from Grimes in center field, leaving it a 2-0 game.
It seemed like the Chinooks were in prime position to counter after Grant Ross hit a leadoff single, and Gabe Roessler smacked a double down the right field line to put two runners on and nobody out. Things went south after that as Hunter Grimes grounded out to third and Ross was thrown out at home for a double play. Joey Spence would proceed to groundout to end the threat.
The Woodchuck lead was cut in half in the bottom of the third inning. Drew Townsend walked and advanced to third on an error by the pitcher. Next, Gabe Roessler reached for the second time on a walk and then stole second. The catcher overthrew the second baseman, allowing Townsend to score and make it 2-1.
In the top of the fourth inning, Drew Stengren drew a walk to get on base and advanced to second on a pass ball. Dalton Pearson then hit his second double of the game, but this time it was an RBI to make it 3-1 Woodchucks.
Lakeshore’s offense came alive again in the fifth with three straight singles. A double play made it seem like the Chinooks might not take advantage. However, Joey Spence delivered a huge two-RBI double off the top of the wall in right field to tie the game at 3 a piece.
The Woodchucks would retake the lead in the top of the seventh. Connor Brueggemann roped an RBI double down the right field line to put Wausau back in front 4-3. However, they were not done as another run crossed the plate on a wild pitch to make it 5-3 in favor of Wausau.
In their half of the seventh, the Chinooks would respond with a run of their own. Gabe Roessler reached base on a two-out walk and Hunter Grimes smacked an RBI triple to make it 5-4 Wausau going into the eighth.
Josh Overbeek sparked the Chinooks offense again in the eighth after he walked and Cootway singled to put the tying run at third. That loomed large as Overbeek would score on a pass ball a couple pitches later to tie the game again at 5-5, eventually forcing extras.
The extra frame felt like it would never end for Lakeshore. Due to extra inning rules, a leadoff single put runners on first and third. A steal and a walk loaded the bases for Dalton Pearson and he would give Wausau the lead again in the tenth on an RBI single, his third hit of the game. Then, a wild pitch plated another run, giving the Woodchucks a 7-5 lead. Wausau would tack on two more to extend their lead to 9-5.
Lakeshore was unable to respond in the bottom of the seventh, losing their fifth straight game.
“A lot of things are starting to trend in the right direction. Obviously (we) don’t want to lose the game, but I think we took a lot of strides forward in the right direction,” said field manager Trevor Cho.
The Chinooks will look to find a way to get back in the win column tomorrow night for game two against the Woodchucks. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. CST.