LAKE TOMAHAWK - As the snowshoe baseball season heads into the final month of the season, the three-game losing streak which plagued the Lake Tomahawk Snowhawks earlier this summer has become a distant memory.
The Snowhawks hosted Henkel's Town Pump Monday night looking to win a third consecutive game. Early in the summer, Lake Tomahawk couldn't seem to find the big hit or make the big out, but not anymore.
For a second straight week, the Snowhawks jumped on their opponent and never looked back en route to an 18-8 win.
"We got hits when we needed them," Lake Tomahawk manager Jeff Smith said. "We started out slow, it seemed like, but some of the guys got some nice hits, knocked a few men in and it was a good game all around. We had a few go through the middle, but otherwise I think we did a pretty good job, kept the ball in front of us most of the time and kept them from getting the extra-base hits."
The Snowhawks got on the board first, scoring four runs in the bottom of the second inning thanks to hits from James Schmidt, Billy Kuckkahn, Nick Merks, Gunner Dunbar, Eric Hilmer and Sean Moran.
Lake Tomahawk tacked on two more in the third on hits from Ryan Schowalter, Donny Moore, Derek Young and Todd Niemuth to take a 6-0 lead.
Town Pump responded in the top of the fourth, scoring its first two runs of the game from Trent Coppenger and Tom Pulek. The Snowhawks had an answer, getting its two runs back on a home run by Dunbar, before Town Pump once again scored twice in the top of the fifth on an RBI hit by Evan Verploegh, who would later score himself.
Any hopes of making it a game were dashed, however, as Lake Tomahawk exploded for five runs in the bottom of the fifth. Cole Punches, Young, Schmidt and Niemuth all reached on singles before scoring, while Brent Cella capped off the inning with a home run to take a 13-4 lead.
Kuckkahn and Merks scored in the sixth, while Moore notched a run in the seventh and Niemuth and Cella scored in the eighth.
Town Pump managed to put three runs across in the top of the eighth thanks to hits by Tim Howel, Todd Christianson, Pulek and Jim Rude, but it would not be enough to overcome the deficit.
"When the balls start going through, it's kind of contagious and everybody starts to hit," Smith said. "That's a good feeling."
The Snowhawks (5-3) now prepare to host the D&R Bombers next and that should be a good test.
The squad features some members of the Chicago All-Stars, who bested Lake Tomahawk back on July 4. With the team finding its groove, it should be interesting to see if the momentum of the last three weeks holds firm.
"They have a good ball club," Smith said. "They always come with a good team. Probably half of them are the Chicago All-Stars and they'll come ready to win. We should have most of our guys back so it'll be a good game."
Nick Sabato may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @SabatoNick.
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