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Published On: July 19th, 2023

Mequon, WI – After being shut-out and only managing to get one hit the night before, the Lakeshore Chinooks (8-8) did just enough to take down the defending champion Kalamazoo Growlers (11-4) in a 6-5 win Wednesday night at Moonlight Graham Field.

Gradin Taschner (W, 1-1) got the start tonight and had probably one of his better performances all season and the Chinooks needed every bit of it. Taschner pitched 5.2 innings, allowing just one run on three hits and four strikeouts.

“I think if he has the ability to be in the zone of two pitches, he’s going to get a lot of outs at a lot of different levels of the game. That’s what he did tonight and definitely gave the hitters a chance to score runs and give the rest of the team a chance to win,” field manager Trevor Cho said.

The Chinooks scored early and often in this one. Joey Spence hit a bloop single up the middle with two outs to bring in Hojnar, who reached on a fielder’s choice, to give Lakeshore a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.

The Growlers threatened to answer in their next at-bat following a leadoff walk. However, Jack Counsell had other ideas as he made a leaping catch and threw it over to first for a double play and robbed Kalamazoo of a hit.

In the top of the third inning, the Growlers would tie the game due to the long ball. Bank Tolley got a pitch he liked and drilled it out to deep left field to tie the game at 1-1.

Lakeshore rebounded well after Kalamazoo was able to tie the game. Joey Spence led things off with a double on a ball that should’ve been caught by the Growlers. Then, Adam Cootway followed with a double off the left field wall that missed a home run by a couple feet, but it was still good enough to put the Chinooks back out in front 2-1.

The Chinooks tacked on another due to a RBI-fielder’s choice from Trey Becker, and the score was now 3-1.

Drew Townsend got things going again quickly in the bottom of the fifth with a leadoff walk. Sam Hojnar proceeded to hit a double into the left center gap to put two runners on with nobody out. Then, Lakeshore first baseman Matthew Deprey brought in Townsend on an RBI-fielder’s choice, extending the Lakeshore lead to 4-1.

Looked like the Chinooks could be in some trouble holding on to the lead in the sixth inning. Taschner gave up a walk and then allowed the runner to reach second on a wild pitch. With two-outs, an error by Hojnar put runners on the corners and Gradin Taschner’s night was done.

Grant Ross came into the game in arguably the biggest spot of the game. With the tying run at the plate, Ross managed to get out of it unharmed with a fly out to left. 

In the bottom of the frame, Lakeshore added on some insurance that proved to be important later in the game. Jack Counsell hit a single up the middle, and Becker followed with an RBI-double down the left field line to score Counsell and make it 5-1. Sam Mojnar grounded into a fielder’s choice to bring another runner across and open the game up at 6-1.

Kalamazoo made some magic happen in the ninth down five runs. Logan Dobberstein entered the game and quickly allowed the Growlers to load the bases with nobody out. Tyler Deleskiewicz was now tasked with closing this one out in a bases loaded situation.

Following a strikeout from Deleskiewicz, Casen Taggart delivered a bases clearing triple on a misplay by Hansen in left, and all of a sudden it was 6-4 with the tying run coming to the plate.  A wild pitch brought in another run and the lead was cut to one at 6-5.

The inability to close out games have been a common accurence for the Chinooks this season. Not this time though as Deleskiewicz was able to get the final two outs and Lakeshore managed to hold on for a series split.

Cho talked had this to say about bouncing back from last night’s shut-out. “That’s the best part of the Northwoods league is that you’re going to have an opportunity the next day, so that’s what they did and good job to them.”

Lakeshore outhit Kalamazoo 12-7. Joey Spence and Jack Counsell led the way as they both tallied three hits tonight.

The Lakeshore Chinooks travel to Fond Du Lac to take on the Dock Spiders (8-9) tomorrow night to begin a home and home series. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. CST.