It took the Lakeshore Chinooks extra innings to do it, but they knocked off the Wisconsin Woodchucks, 2-1, Tuesday night at Kapco Park, ending the Woodchucks’ season.
The game provided many tense moments throughout, and the Woodchucks fought until the very last pitch. Unfortunately, Chinooks’ catcher Zach Bowers’ bloop walk-off single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the tenth inning was the game-winner, sending the Chinooks to the Summer Collegiate World Series, where there will face either Mankato or Willmar.
It was a pitcher’s duel throughout, as no team cracked the scoreboard until Chinooks’ left fielder Connor McKay drove home a run with an infield single in the fourth inning, giving Lakeshore a 1-0 lead.
The Woodchucks answered when second baseman Blair Beck roped a two-out RBI single of his own in the seventh inning, knotting the score, 1-1.
For the Woodchucks, lefties Tim MCElroy and Austin Tribby both worked around jams in the eighth and ninth innings, but when the elder Beck was forced into the game to pitch in the bottom of the tenth inning, the Chinooks loaded the bases with two outs, setting up Bowers’ heroics.
It was an excellent season for the Woodchucks, as they finished the regular season twelve games over .500 at 42-30 before dropping the South Division Championship series to Lakeshore.
The season saw Chucks’ infielder Jake Jefferies put his name atop the all-time batting average list in Woodchucks history (.343), third baseman Paul DeJong set the Chucks’ single-season records for both homeruns (20) and RBIs (61), and first baseman Brendon Hayden set the single-season record for hits in a season (89), at-bats in a season (281), and games played in a season (70). Hayden also set career Woodchucks’ records for RBIs (99), hits (163), and doubles (36).
The Wisconsin Woodchucks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwood’s League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwood’s League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 115 Northwood’s League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwood’s League YouTube channel. For more information, visit woodchucks.com.