Huskies split doubleheader and celebrate Ila Borders

As Ernie Banks loved to say, “Let’s play two!” 

The Duluth Huskies (11-9) and Thunder Bay Border Cats (8-11) went head-to-head for the seventh and eighth time this season in a doubleheader at Wade Stadium on Wednesday. The Huskies came into the day with a 5-1 record against the Border Cats on the season. The day was filled with excitement around The Wade as the team hosted Ila Borders.

Game 1:

Starter Ryan Cunningham (2-2, 3.11) and reliever Ricky Mitchell (1-0, 5.00) combined to throw nine innings of three-run ball to help the Huskies to a 10-3 win. Cunningham went five innings, allowing two runs on four hits and Mitchell allowed one run on four hits. 

The offense was led by Luke Roskam who exploded at the plate, going 3-5 with a three-run home run and two doubles. The Huskies had a six-run seventh inning where they hit around in the order and collected five extra-base hits. 

The Huskies went on to collect 12 hits in total and eight extra-base hits. Chase Strump also added onto the firepower with a two-run homer of his own, his third of the season. Roskam’s home run was his fifth, tying him for the team lead with Kyle Hubbuch. 

Game 2:

Game two was certainly overshadowed by the special pregame festivities. The Huskies honored Ila Borders, the first woman to record a win in professional baseball. She was a member of the Duluth-Superior Dukes from 1997-1999, winning a Northern League Championship with the team in ’97. 

The Huskies celebrated her, the team’s front office from ’97 and emergency services members from the community. Ila, now a firefighter in Portland, was lowered down from a Duluth Fire Engine and ran out to throw a strike for the ceremonial first pitch. 

The Huskies dropped the game on the field 7-3. The Border Cats led 2-1 heading into the seventh inning before the Huskies would jump over reliever Brady Hill. Isaac Collins hit a ground ball off the pitcher and picked up a RBI infield single. Chase Strumpf followed it up with a sacrifice-fly. 

Tre Brown (1-2, 8.30) entered the eighth with a runner on first and would strike out the side in hopes of recording a six-out save. The Huskies couldn’t add in the bottom half and they went to the ninth leading 3-2. 

Brown allowed a leadoff single to Colton Thomas and then walked Mark Venice. Nick Ely bunted both runners over and then Andy Weber tied the game with a RBI single. The next batter Brendan Dockerty hit a sac-fly to left field and the Border Cats took a 4-3 lead. 

The inning got out of hand from there, as two more singles from Kevin Biondic and Noah Strohl made the score 7-3. 

The Huskies split the doubleheader with the Border Cats and win the season series 6-2. 

Look Ahead:

The Huskies will host the Mankato MoonDogs (11-7) on Thursday and Friday night. Tomorrow is the Ila Borders bobble head giveaway night. Bobble heads will be given out to fans while supplies last. Gates open at 5:35 with first pitch scheduled for 6:35.