While snow pummeled Northern Wisconsin Thursday, the Lakeland baseball team was forced to travel to Mauston’s Woodside Sports Complex to play a doubleheader against Chequamegon.
Lakeland dropped the first game 4-2 before coming out on top of a 13-11 second game that saw the two teams combine for 24 hits.
John Aquirre did what he could to boost the T-Birds, reaching base three times in the first game. He scored one run and had an RBI. He singled in both the third and seventh innings.
It looked like a pitcher’s duel through four complete innings as neither team scored. Chequamegon broke the tie with four runs in the fifth and was able to hold off a seventh-inning challenge that saw the T-Birds score two runs in their last at-bats of the game.
“It looked like we were facing their ace,” head coach Mike Wilhelm said. “He really held us down until the seventh inning.”
For the Thunderbirds, Brett Slavinsky looked sharp on the hill. Chequamegon managed just one against Slavinsky, and he allowed no earned runs, walked seven and struck out three during his four innings of work. Despite the performance he was pegged for the loss.
Wilhelm pulled Slavinsky after four innings in an effort to keep the pitch counts down on his starters.
“Especially this early in the season, I’d like to go easy on their arms,” Wilhelm said. “That’s going to be crucial going down the stretch of conference games.”
Ryan McEnroe came in for Slavinsky and Wilhelm said he had trouble getting his pitches where he wanted them, and Chequamegon was able to capitalize.
“He just wasn’t locating the ball well,” Wilhelm said. “They got a couple hits here and there then strung a few together.”
While the first game didn’t go Lakeland’s way, in the bottom half of the doubleheader, those fans who made the trip were treated to a thrill ride where the two teams battled until the last out.
Chequamegon took an early 1-0 lead in the first, but the T-Birds took the lead and never trailed again after posting six runs in the second inning.
“Our bats came out,” Wilhelm said. “They seemed to run out of pitching and we were able to take advantage of that.”
Still, Chequamegon wouldn’t go down without a fight. They scored three runs in the bottom of the third to cut the lead to 6-5.
Lakeland responded with four runs in the fourth, one in the fifth and two more in the sixth, while getting key outs that kept Chequamegon from getting a rally going.
Anakwad Elm had a perfect game at the plate, going 3-3 against Chequamegon’s pitching with singles in the second, fourth, and sixth innings.
Trevor Roszczewski recorded the win for the T-Birds, allowing five runs over five innings, striking out out five, walking three and surrendering eight hits.
The split puts the T-Birds at 2-2 on the year.
The best part about the doubleheader was it was two more games that the team played outside, although on an artifical turf surface.
The baseball team has three games scheduled for this week. Tuesday they are scheduled to play at Medford and at Rhinelander on Thursday. Friday, if the conditions on the field permit, the T-Birds will have their first home game of the season against Three Lakes.
That is, if the recent snow melts.
“Friday at best is a realistic opportunity, Wilhelm said.
Jamie Taylor may be reached via email at email@example.com.