LAKE TOMAHAWK - After dropping its first official game of the season last Monday, the Lake Tomahawk Snowhawks returned to Snowshoe Park for its annual game against the D&R Bombers.
After a subpar hitting performance the previous week, Lake Tomahawk was looking for a reversal of fortunes to pick up its first win of the season.
The Snowhawks indeed hit the ball better this time around, but just not enough to win the game, despite a valiant comeback attempt, as the Bombers won, 15-13.
"We played a very good team tonight," Lake Tomahawk manager Jeff Smith said. "I liked the way we hit. We hit the ball better, we still left a few men on base and had a few innings where we didn't get any runs at all. We have to capitalize on that, but I was pleased overall with how we played defense."
Lake Tomahawk led 2-1 after the first inning thanks to runs by Smith and Derek Young and three hits in the frame.
After keeping the Bombers off the board in the second, it appeared the Snowhawks might blow the game open after registering their first five-run inning of the season.
Nick Mercks, Billy Kuckkahn, Smith and Cole Punches all earned hits to help extend the lead to 7-1.
The Bombers would get right back in the game during the next inning, getting four runs from Mickey Maize, Morgan Maize, Tommy Walsh and Mattie Richard, followed by a five-run inning in the fourth to cut the lead to 11-10.
The next four innings would be all Bombers, however, as the Snowhawks went scoreless in those frames, amassing just six hits during that span.
Meanwhile, the Bombers scored three runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth, capped by a two-run home run by Brandon Maize.
"I sometimes rely on luck rather than skill," Smith said. "The ball's gotta fall and you hit it where they're not, you're gonna get a hit. A lot of times we hit the ball right at guys or they played it perfect. They hit the ball well, we can't take that away from them. Defensively, we played as best as we're gonna play. We had a couple double plays, we had some good stops in the infield, good stops in the outfield to prevent extra bases, but you gotta out-hit this team and if you don't, you're gonna lose."
Ryan Schowalter and Punches both scored in the bottom of the ninth to cut the deficit to two.
Brent Cella and Todd Neimuth both got hits with one out, but back-to-back chances with the winning run at the plate ended in outs.
Brandon Maize and Mike Maize led the Bombers as both went 3 for 4.
Smith went 3 for 5 at the plate with three runs, while Punches also went 3 for 5.
"The talent's getting better," Smith said. "We're not playing teams that have half a team anymore. We're playing teams that have full teams now and we have to get better. Our guys will have to step a little bit and get hits. Overall I was pleased with the crowd. It was a nice crowd."
The Snowhawks (0-2) faced the Chicago All-Stars for their annual game on July 4, after press time.
A full recap will appear in Tuesday's edition of The Lakeland Times.
Nick Sabato may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @NickSabatoLT.