The Lakeshore Chinooks (1-2) had a one-run lead heading into the ninth but couldn’t close this one out in a 4-3 loss to the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (1-2) on Thursday night at Moonlight Graham Field.
Matthew Mueller took the hill for Lakeshore. Mueller had trouble finding the strike zone early in this one after hitting two guys and then walking another to load the bases to begin the game. The Rafters took advantage of those free bases and scored the game’s first run on a sacrifice fly from Jack Gurevitch to make it 1-0 Rafters.
Grant Ross led things off with a walk in the bottom of the frame to extend his on base streak to thirteen games. However, the Chinooks were unable to capitalize off the leadoff walk.
“That’s what the leadoff role is there for. (Grant) shows up everyday and gets a lot of work done, so it’s not surprising that his process has led him to get on thirteen straight games,” said field manager Trevor Cho.
The Chinooks threatened to tie the game up in the bottom of the third inning after back-to-back singles from Gabe Roessler and Ross to put two runners on with nobody out. However, Roessler was thrown out at home on a double play, and Hunter Grimes struck out to end the threat.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Lakeshore was finally able to get on the board. Back-to-back walks and a bunt single from Roessler loaded the bases with nobody out. The Chinooks needed a big hit from Hunter Grimes after two fly-outs couldn’t do the job and they got one. Grimes delivered a two-RBI single to left to give the Chinooks their first lead of the day at 2-1.
Mueller’s night was done after new guy Tyler Deleskiewicz came in to relieve Mueller in the top of the sixth. Mueller pitched well as he went five innings, allowing only one run on four hits, but the walks prevented him from pitching longer in this one.
The Chinooks would tack on another in the bottom of the sixth. Lakeshore loaded the bases again with nobody out for the second consecutive inning. Brady Counsell led things off with a single, followed by a walk from Adam Cootway and an infield hit by Johannes. A sacrifice fly from Roessler made it 3-1 in favor of Lakeshore.
The Rafters would get one back in the top of the seventh on a wild pitch from Deleskiewicz, and the Chinook lead was now cut in half to 3-2. Wisconsin Rapids threatened to do more damage after loading the bases off of new relief pitcher Blake Sotir, but third baseman Brady Counsell made a diving play to get the runner at third to limit the damage to just one.
Wisconsin Rapids were down to their final three outs in the top of the ninth but didn’t quit. Ryan Sell hit the first batter in the ninth and then a bunt single put two on quickly with no outs, and Sell’s night was done.
Parker Johnson came into pitch and gave up an RBI double to Chris Conniff to tie the game at 3 a piece. The Rafters regained the lead on a sacrifice fly from Ty Johnson, making the score 4-3 Rafters.
The offense was unable to respond in the bottom of the frame to end a crushing loss.
Field manager Trevor Cho had this to say to the team after the game. “That’s the kind of game that’s a dogfight and they beat us, so it’s up to them how they want to respond tomorrow.”
The Chinooks outhit the Rafters 10-6 and walked eight times. Hunter Grimes led the way going 2-for-5 tonight with two RBI.
The Lakeshore Chinooks will look to end this long home stretch with a bounce back win tomorrow against the Rafters. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. CST.