Written by Matt Ellis
The Lakeshore Chinooks (9-16) took on the (15-11) Wausau Woodchucks tonight in their home ball[park, Moonlight Graham Field. Coming into the matchup, these two teams’ trajectory could not be further apart. Lakeshore is seeking to avoid a six-game losing streak. While the Woodchucks were looking for their fourth consecutive win in a row. Ultimately, The Chinooks righted the ship tonight winning by a score of 10-2.
The Woodchucks put pressure on the Chinooks early in this game with a run that came in the top of the second. Jessie Donohoe cranked a leadoff triple that made its way past center fielder Avery Owusu-Asiedu who made a diving attempt at the ball, but could not complete the catch. Chinooks starter Ryan Mullan worked to strike out the next two batters. Mullan walked the fourth batter of the inning Jake English, and proceeded to give up an RBI single to Jake Baker that scored the first runner of the night, to make the score 1-0 in favor of the visiting Woodchucks.
The Chinooks found themselves in a position to get themselves on board in the bottom of the third. Woodchucks starter Isaac Crabb hit two of the first three batters he saw to start the third and walked the fourth batter of the inning. With one out, Adam Cootway stood at third, Gabe Roessler at second, and Hunter Grimes at first. Unfortunately, Owusu-Asiedu lined out into a double play. This was a crushing play as the Chinooks looked to grab their first lead since June 19th, five games ago against the Green Bay Rockers.
“If we get into the situation next time I want Avery to do the exact same thing,” said Field Manager Trevor Cho. Cho added to that by saying, “we created a ton of pressure, Owusu smokes the ball, that’s baseball, there’s nothing you could do about it.
In back to back innings, down 1-0, the Chinooks found themselves in the exact same position with the bases loaded and one out. However, this time the Chinooks would capitalize on the opportunity. Cootway, who got HBP earlier in the game, hit a sac fly that scored Josh Overbeek to tie the game. Lakeshore was not done yet, as Drew Townsend hit an RBI single scoring Will Johannes allowing Lakeshore to take the lead, 2-1. Perhaps a sense of relief came over the Chinooks as they entered the fifth with a lead.
Entering the night, Chinooks starter Ryan Mullan appeared in two games with 2.2 innings of work. In his first start of the year Mullan went five innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs. Still on the mound in the fifth inning, Mullan dealt with some trouble. Wausau had runners on third and first with only one out and tied things up at two a piece. English, who stood on third, beat out the tag at home securing the 2-2 tie, giving Dalton Pearson an RBI sac fly.
Woodchucks starter Isaac Crabb walked four batters tonight and hit three Chinooks players in his five innings of work, but only gave up two runs.
“I was pleased with the performance off their starter tonight,” said Cho.
Patience at the plate would be the theme tonight for Chinooks batters. In place of Crabb, reliever Christian Clack entered the game in the sixth, beginning his night by walking Johannes, striking out Jared Everson, and walking both Cootway and Drew Townsend. For the third time tonight, the Chinooks found themselves with the bases loaded and one out. Gabe Roessler broke the 2-2 tie with an RBI sac fly, sending Johannes home for a Chinooks 3-2 lead. With two runners still on base, Hunter Grimes delivered in a big way with a home run to right field, increasing the Chinooks lead to make it 6-2. The big swing by Grimes would give him his fourth hit of the season and first home run as well.
“Hunters been great ever since he got here,” said Cho. “That was just one of those fun moments that you gotta watch,” added Cho.
Still in the bottom of the sixth with two outs.Tyler Nichol replaced Clack on the mound and walked the first three Chinook batters he saw to load up the bases. Ten Chinooks batters and four runs later, the inning would end after Johannes struck out.
The Woodchucks continued to struggle with command despite having four different pitchers before the eighth inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Davis Benton would have his crack at the Lakeshore lineup. Benton started off his night walking Everson and Cootway. Nate Mieszkowski replaced Everson as a pinch runner. With zero outs, a wild pitch advanced Mieszkowski to third and Cootway to second. From there, Townsend hit a double to score both runners and made it a 8-2 Chinooks lead. Lakeshore scored one more run and had a 9-2 lead after the seventh inning.
After the seventh inning, The Chinooks cruised to victory and got a much needed win that came against a first place team. The Chinooks displayed patience at the plate tonight and received good pitching from Mullan, Colin Dailey, and DJ Hess.
“Throughout the skid we’ve been on, there’s been good things about it [and] bad things about it… I think overall the process has been good… the wins and losses aren’t the most important thing, it’s about the process,” said Cho.
The Chinooks look to start a win streak after this game and will have a chance to tack on another win, tomorrow June 24th when they play the Fond Du Lac Dock Spiders at Moonlight Graham Field with first pitch set for 6:35 CST.