The Lakeshore Chinooks (4-3) squared off against the Rockford Rivets (5-3) in a doubleheader. After winning the first matchup, Lakeshore looked for a sweep of the two matchups at Moonlight Graham Field this afternoon. The final score of game two ended 3-1, with the Chinooks capturing the win.
Ryan Mullan had a productive outing in game one of the doubleheader. So heading into game two, starter Griffin Smith, who made his first Chinooks start, looked to match Mullan’s productivity. In the bottom of the first, it looked like the Chinooks would provide some early run support for Smith. Both Drew Townsend and Avery Owusu-Asiedu got on base with walks, and with no outs, the Chinooks had some early momentum. Although, the Rivets worked to get three outs and halted the Chinook’s hopes of striking early.
After two and a half innings of play, the Chinooks broke the 0-0 tie. Three runs came off Andrew Neff, who replaced the Rivets starter on the mound. Gabe Roessler started things off with a leadoff single and stole second during the next at-bat. A swing of the bat by Drew Townsend sent Roessler home from second and allowed the Chinooks to take a 1-0 lead. Soon enough, the Chinooks had the bases loaded with Townsend on third, Owusu-Asiedu on second, and Hunter Grimes on first. Joey Spence struck out swinging for the first out. From there, Brady Counsell snuck one past the third basemen, who committed an error on the play, scoring Townsend. After a groundout from Josh Overbeek, Adam Cootway walked to drive in Owusu-Asiedu. Neff got pulled from the game in favor of Ryan Calvert, who finished the inning.
With a 3-0 lead, James Reese took over on the mound for Lakeshore. Reese replaced Griffin Smith, who ended his day with three innings of work, four strikeouts, and zero runs allowed,
When asked if Smith would be used as a starter or out of the bullpen, Field Manager Trevor Cho said, “I haven’t really decided yet. Whatever he’s in, if that’s starter or bullpen, it’s gonna be in leverage spots”. Smith used his changeup effectively today, and that impressed Cho. “With guys on our staff, and against the rest of the league, that’s one of the better changeups” “If a guys got a changeup, that gonna add something different. So, I have a lot of confidence in the guy whether he is starting or coming out,” said Cho
After taking over for Smith, Reese allowed only one run in his 2.2 innings of work. Reese got pulled with two outs in the top of the sixth in favor of Ben Whiteside, who came in to cap off the inning and, ultimately, the game.
Three runs and one hit would be all the Chinooks needed today to grab the win. Lakeshore and Rockford now have 2-2 records against each other, with each team’s two wins coming at home. As it sits, neither team has bragging rights in the border battle and will have to wait for next season until their next matchup.
When asked about the rivalry, Cho said, “I would say the number one thing is making sure we’re handling our business the right way. We for sure did that for fourteen innings today. If there’s any way you can provide some extra juice, then you can lean into that,”
The Madison Mallards had a game canceled today but remain in first place in the Great Lakes West division with a 4-1 record. With the two wins today, the Chinooks improved to 4-3 and remain tied for second place. Coming up, the Chinooks have two games at home against the Kokomo Jackrabbits on Monday and Tuesday.
“We try to put ourselves in position to play clean baseball, dominant at the strike zone, which is gonna lead to wins. We don’t go into the game trying to win it; we go into the game trying to have a better process than the other team. If you’re able execute that more often than not, in baseball, you’re gonna get a win,” said Cho.