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‘A little hectic:’ Extra innings, delayed start made for long doubleheader day for Northwoods League

MEQUON -- Mister Cub Ernie Banks is known for saying "let's play two," but he's likely never played in a doubleheader like this one.

"We have over 1,500 kids coming out today, so we love it. It's a beautiful day," said Shawn Kison, Chinooks general manager.

It was a perfect day to play some baseball in the Northwoods League, with the Lakeshore Chinooks battling the Kenosha Kingfish.

"It's a little hectic," said Kison.

It wasn't a typical day in the life of the college players who comprise the two rosters, or Travis Akre, who manages the Chinooks.

"It's just kind of the nature of our schedule and summer baseball," said Akre.

A doubleheader was set, with the first pitch of the first game in Mequon at 11:30 a.m. Game two was under the lights -- a 7 p.m. start in Kenosha.

"It's pretty unusual. We do this twice a year. The league is set up so there are teams that are pretty close to each other," said Kison.

With the morning start, the routines also got going a bit early.

"We fed both teams breakfast. It was bright and early. They were here between 9 and 10 o'clock," said Kison.

Despite the long day ahead, it was an opportunity for everyone.

"They're young guys. They're fired up to be here and they want to take advantage of every playing opportunity that they can, so, a day like this, everybody is going to get a shot to play," said Akre.

The two games brought optimism and confidence for Mike Medaj.

"I look forward to today. I can go to bed tonight getting six hits -- go 6 for 6 or something," said Madej, Kingfish infielder.

Connor Kimple said he sees a bigger picture.

"You know, it's going to be a grind going in, but it's going to be better for you as a baseball player, and instead of three or four at-bats in one day, you have the potential for eight or nine, so there is just a lot of opportunities all crammed into one day," said Kimple.

But baseball being baseball meant nothing was predictable. As it turned out, the first game went to extra innings, and didn't end until after 4 p.m., which left little time to drive down to Kenosha for the start of the nightcap.

"Quick shower, quick turnaround, but welcome to baseball!" said Kimple.

Preparation is key when it comes to being a general manager -- proven by the Chinooks' Shawn Kison.

"We have box lunches ready for them. They will grab those for the bus ride," said Kison.

The "baseball gods" weren't done, however. Heavy rains arrived with them in Kenosha, delaying the start of the second game. Finally, after 9:30 p.m., the game began, but after about an hour-and-a-half, because of a curfew, the game, and the day, came to an end.

"It's a long day, but it's fun," said Kimple.

"It's just baseball. It's not like we have to do it. We get to do it," said Madej.

In the end, the teams played 20 innings, scoring a total of 30 runs. Kenosha won both games -- 11-8 in 14 innings, and 9-2 in six innings.