Duluth Bury Border Cats in Game One 13-5
Huskies jump over Eau Claire to take #1 spot in Great Plains East
Duluth, Minn — The Duluth Huskies are fresh off of their three-day All-Star break and began a two-game home set against the Border Cats of Thunder Bay on Thursday night. Last time the two teams squared was last Thursday and Friday, and the Huskies swept Thunder Bay in two games in which Duluth scored at least 10 runs in both games. Colton Williams made his Huskies debut on the mound in tonight’s contest and faced off against Austin Eggleston of the Border Cats. Duluth would look to extend their five-game win streak against the last-place standing Thunder Bay.
This time Thunder Bay found the scoreboard first on a Jordan Larson RBI triple that scored Alexander Hernandez all the way from 1st to make it a 1-0 game. The Border Cats would also scratch across another one to make it a two-run game when Larson came home on a JJ Rollon ground out. Duluth would trail 2-0 as the bottom of the 2nd inning started.
The first extra base hit for the Huskies would come in the 2nd inning when Danny Zimmerman doubled to the right center gap. He actually got caught in a rundown shortly afterward but was able to get back on 2nd base when the Border Cats booted the ball away. Eggleston would issue two straight walks which gave the Huskies their first bases loaded opportunity. Matt Hogan eventually drew a 3-2 walk to bring home Zimmerman for Duluth’s 1st run, and Max Gamm was hit on the 1st pitch of his at-bat to score Hartsell and make it an even ballgame. Then Lance Ford put a jolt into a first-pitch fastball over the head of the right fielder, bringing home Hopkins and Hogan to give Duluth their 4th run of the inning. Ford’s double forced Eggleston to be yanked and relieved by Lucas Reid.
The next batter Kyle Jacobsen nearly hit a 3-run home run to left field but got under it a bit which allowed Ryne Edmondson to make the catch. But nevertheless Gamm tagged up on the fly ball and scored the 5th run. A 6th run was then immediately scored when Ford scampered home on a wild pitch, making it a 6-2 game as the 3rd inning began.
After the Border Cats failed to bring home any runners with the bases loaded, Tyler Hansen took over as the 3rd pitcher of the game for Thunder Bay and set down Duluth’s side in order. After Jordan Larson led off the 4th with a lineout back to Williams on the mound, JJ Rollon hit a carbon copy of Larson’s 1st inning triple into the right-center gap, give Thunder Bay their 3rd consecutive inning with a runner in scoring position. This time the Border Cats would strike when Nate Soriano brought home Rollon with a sac fly, cutting Duluth’s lead back down to 3.
Kyle Jacobsen stayed hot at the plate when he hit a one-out single and then swiped both 2nd and 3rd. Alex Tappen drew a 3-2 walk and eventually stole a bag as well, putting multiple runners in scoring position for Danny Zimmerman with two outs. Zimmerman belted his 2nd double of the night which brought home Tappen and Jacobsen who represented the 7th and 8th runs for Duluth.
Lance Ford resumed the scoring for Duluth in the bottom half of the 5th when he lifted a double down the left field line, scoring Matt Hogan from 2nd which made it a 9-3 game. Hogan got on base when he was hit by a pitch and managed to steal 2nd. An error on a Kyle Jacobsen ground ball allowed Ford to run home from 2nd and score the Huskies’ 10th run.
The Huskies debuts continued in the 6th inning when Michael Kashou stepped onto the rubber in his 1st appearance. Colton Williams had a solid outing across 5 innings of work in which he surrendered 3 runs on 3 hits and walked 2 while striking out 6. The Border Cats would manage to scratch across their 4th run in the top of the 6th when JJ Rollon singled home Alexander Hernandez for his 2nd hit and RBI of the night.
Duluth would get that run back right away though when Max Guzman yanked a high-flying solo shot way over the left field fence for his 3rd bomb of the summer. Darren Jensen then took over the pitching duties for the Huskies as the 7th inning started, replacing Kashou who gave up one run in his one inning of work.
Brendan Cindric came in to pitch for the Border Cats and had extreme trouble throwing strikes from the start as he walked Hopkins to lead off the inning, allowed Hopkins to advance to 2nd on a wild pitch, and walked Hogan and Gamm back to back to load the bases with no outs before he finally got his 1st out on Lance Ford. After a mound visit Cindric proceeded to deal back to back bases loaded walks to Tappen and Jacobsen which gave Duluth a 13-4 lead before being pulled. Aaron Kern would come into a bases load jam with just one out to go off of and induced a Guzman pop up and got Meckler to line out to left field to end the inning.
Duluth’s 4th pitcher of the game, Dennis Boatman, entered in the 8th inning for his 6th appearance. He last pitched on July 11th against Thunder Bay and threw 3 scoreless innings out of the pen.
Thunder Bay scored their 5th run of the night in the top of the 8th when an error allowed Jordan Larson to score his 2nd run and cut the Huskies’ lead to 8. But in the top of the 9th, Mason Bryant came in and struck out the side to end the night. Duluth won by a final of 13-5 and now stands alone in 1st place of the Great Plains East division after Eau Claire lost.
Kyle Jacobsen went 3-3 with 2 RBI’s and a walk in his 3rd game as a Husky and has been a menace in centerfield by covering a ton of ground very quickly. “My approach is extremely simple; see ball, hit ball. I’m not trying to do anything too special, just trying to play my game”, he said about his performance. He has shown steady improvement in each game, totaling either one or two hits in his 1st couple times out while also drawing at least one walk in each game. Look for him to continue to hit well in a run-producing spot in the batting order.
The Huskies go for the sweep tomorrow night at Wade Stadium. First pitch is set for 6:35 pm with live game coverage on 92.1 The Fan and twinportssportshub.com beginning at 6:25 pm. All Duluth Huskies and Northwoods League games are live streamed online at portal.stretchlive.com/nwl to watch.
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The Duluth Huskies are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Now in its 26th anniversary season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 200 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.duluthhuskies.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Huskies as your favorite team.