In the last game of this homestand, the Lakeshore Chinooks (6-3) were looking to win four games in a row for the first time in three seasons. They managed to do that Tuesday night, walking off the Kokomo Jackrabbits (2-7) 10-9 at Moonlight Graham Field.
“I’d be lying if I said that through the first eight innings I was happy,” Lakeshore field manager Trevor Cho said. “Those are the moments you live for. Down three there, came back with the four spot. The guys that we have are capable of doing this all the time.”
The Chinooks got on the board in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, Josh Overbeek singled to left center field and stole second base a batter later. Joey Spence then cleared the bases by hitting a two-run home run over the right-field fence, putting Lakeshore ahead 2-0.
In the top of the third inning, Kokomo responded with a run of its own. Tyler Ganus drew a one-out walk and stole second base to get into scoring position. Roman Kuntz cut his team’s deficit to one with a single to center field and advanced to second on a fielding error by Lakeshore center fielder Gabe Roessler. He would then reach third base on a wild pitch.
Camden Hayslip kept the line moving with a double that tied up the game 2-2 heading into the bottom of the inning.
It wasn’t long until Lakeshore retook the lead. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Will Johannes drew a one-out walk and stole second base. Drew Townsend then drew his 32nd walk of the season which put runners on first and second.
Roessler came through with a single to left field that put the Chinooks ahead 3-2. Lakeshore’s offense wasn’t done as Josh Overbeek’s infield single pushed another run across and gave the team a two-run lead heading into the fifth inning.
The Jackrabbits plated two runs in the following inning. After getting a quick out, Lakeshore reliever Larry Gallo gave up back-to-back doubles, cutting Kokomo’s deficit to one run. Nolan Christianson then grounded out and tied up the game once again at 4-4.
In the top of the sixth inning, Kokomo’s offense piled on five runs. Evann Long drew a one-out walk and Elias Fiddler doubled to deep center field to give the Jackrabbits a 5-4 lead. Fiddler then advanced to third base on a wild pitch and Tyler Cate walked, putting runners on first and third with one out.
Lakeshore reliever DJ Kojis then gave up back-to-back singles which extended Kokomo’s lead to two runs. With bases loaded, Kojis threw a wild pitch that brought in another run. The Jackrabbits would score two more runs to cap off the five-run inning.
The Chinooks continued to battle back in the bottom of the seventh. Spence kickstarted the offense by hitting a two-out single to left field. Adam Cootway then cut his team’s deficit to three runs after hitting a two-run home run over the left field fence. This marked his first homer at home and third of the season.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Lakeshore completed the comeback. Back-to-back walks and a hit by pitch loaded the bases with no outs. After getting one out, Cootway hit a RBI single to left field and Jared Everson drew a bases-loaded walk, which put the Chinooks down by one.
A wild pitch allowed the tying run to cross the plate. Johannes then ended the game by hitting a single down the left field line, completing the comeback and extending the Chinooks’ winning streak to four.
“Will’s the man,” Cho said. “He’s (a) nice guy to have around. He’s got one more year of junior college and after that, with how physical he is and how good he is defensively, (he) might be able to name his school. He puts in the work and getting moments like that, it’s good to see.”
Cootway led the way for Lakeshore, going 3-for-5 with one home run and three RBIs. Overbeek also went 2-for-4, scoring two runs and earning one RBI.
Blake Sotir (W, 1-0) struck out two batters and gave up zero hits and zero earned runs in one inning of work.
The Chinooks will start their six-game road trip agains the Madison Mallards (4-3) in a doubleheader tomorrow. First pitches are set for 12:35 p.m CST and 6:35 p.m. CST.
Cho said that trusting in the roster will give them the momentum they need heading into the long road trip.
“Just knowing that we have capable arms all the time and we can put up a four-spot when we need it, that’s all the momentum we need right now,” Cho said.