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July 21, 2019

Nick Merckx eyes up the ball during the Snowhawks game against the Chicago All Stars Thursday. The Hawks lost 13-8. (Photos by Jacob Friede/Lakeland Times)
Nick Merckx eyes up the ball during the Snowhawks game against the Chicago All Stars Thursday. The Hawks lost 13-8. (Photos by Jacob Friede/Lakeland Times)
The Snowhawks’ Gunner Dunbar dives into first base.
The Snowhawks’ Gunner Dunbar dives into first base.
7/9/2019 7:30:00 AM
Chicago All-Stars beat Snowhawks to take series sweep
By Jacob Friede
of the Lakeland Times

The second game of the two-game snowshoe baseball series between the Lake Tomahawk Snowhawks and the Chicago All Stars was played Thursday, July 4, and it was the All Stars who brought the fireworks, exploding for over 20 hits and 13 runs to beat the Snowhawks 13-8.

The Hawks, however, made a late game rally which brought the game within reach, but in the end they couldn't overcome the already hefty lead built up by Chicago.

The All-Stars got started right away and loaded the bases twice in the first inning. Dave Maize hit a sacrifice fly and Anthony Maize had an RBI single to give the All-Stars an early 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the second though, the Snowhawks came right back and took the lead. Brent Cella, Derrick Young, and Ryan Schowalter loaded the bases with singles. Then Paul Miller hit a fielder's choice to score a run. Jesse Robinson then crushed a ground rule double past the scoreboard in left field to tie the game at two before Todd Neimuth singled in another run to give the Hawks a 3-2 lead.

That wouldn't last long however, as the All-Stars came charging back in the top of the fourth. Anthony O'Fleckenstein doubled into left field and Ryan Maize singled. That was followed by a Pat O'Gara RBI which loaded the bases for Tommy Walsh, who hit a fielder's choice to score another run and the score was 4-2 Chicago. Later in the inning, Mike Maize hit a single to score another run and after three and a half innings played Chicago led 5-3.

They would add another in the top of the fifth, off a Bob Maize sacrifice fly to make it 6-3. Then Chicago started breaking away when Matty Richard hit a two run home run in the top of the sixth to go up 8-3.

Things would continue to get worse for the Hawks in the seventh inning as Chicago strung together six hits and a walk to score five more runs to go up 13-3.

Brandon, Anthony, Ryan, Mike, and Mikey Maize all had singles during the rally.

"We couldn't close it up," Snowhawks head coach Jeff Smith said. "Guys would come in and they'd hit it on the other side. They're just a very, very good hitting team."

In the bottom of the seventh, Lake Tomahawk finally proved they could be as well. Donny Moore stretched a single into a double, Brent Cella walked, and Derek Young, Ryan Schowalter, and Paul Miller singled to help put up a five- run seventh, bringing the Hawks back into the ball game at 13-8.

"That helped," Smith said. "It's too bad they had the five-run inning, but we came back and at least made it a five-run game. If we could've gotten a few more we could've tied this thing and put it into extra inning."

But it was too little too late for the Snowhawks. They were unable to muster another rally and the Chicago All-Stars maintained control of the game and won 13-8.

Defensively, the Snowhawks were solid, making the plays they had to when the ball was hit to them.

"Good defense by everybody," Smith said. "Our outfield was so solid tonight."

The problem for Lake Tomahawk was Chicago consistently found gaps, predominately up the middle, while the Snowhawks' bats could not find the holes.

"Geez, we just cannot place the ball and that was our problem again," Smith said. "We just did not get the ball in gaps. They cover a lot of area these guys."

The Chicago All Stars swept the Snowhawks this year, beating them earlier in the week 8-1, and now Lake Tomahawk will have to wait until next year to avenge the sweep.

"It's going to be a thorn in our side now," Smith said. "We wanted to take at least one of these."

Jacob Friede may be reached at jacob@lakelandtimes.com or outdoors@lakelandtimes.com.





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