THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO, CANADA – After falling behind 5-0 after just three frames, the La Crosse Loggers came storming back to take a 6-5 lead going to the bottom of the ninth only to end up falling to the Thunder Bay Border Cats 7-6 in eleven innings on Thursday night in front of 1,049 fans at Port Arthur Stadium.
Thunder Bay jumped on Loggers starter Cody Ebert (Columbia) right away in the first, plating three runs thanks to a pair of home runs and then added two more in the third to take what looked like a commanding 5-0 lead.
But La Crosse would respond in a big way in the fourth when David Villar (South Florida) drove one over the 400 foot centerfield wall for a three-run shot and then the Lumbermen tacked on another later that inning to trim the lead to 5-4.
La Crosse would knot things up in the ninth thanks to a bases loaded walk and then Villar struck again in the ninth with a two-out RBI single to the give the Loggers a 6-5 advantage going to the bottom of the ninth.
The Cats would open the ninth with back-to-back hits off of reliever Johnny Croley (Reinhardt) to put runners at the corners. Charlie Fletcher (William & Mary) would then enter the game and issue a walk to load the bases before inducing a 5-2-3 double play to record the first two outs, leaving runners still at second and third. That's when Kevin Biondic stroked a single to plate the tying run before Ryan Mantle (Creighton) threw out the potential winning run at the plate to send the game into extra innings.
After neither team scored in tenth and the Loggers were shutout in the eleventh, the hosts Cats pushed a run across in the eleventh to pick up the 7-6 victory.
The Lumbermen did pound out nine hits on the night, lead by David Villar's 3-for-5 night with a home run and four RBI's, an effort that was good enough to earn him NWL Player of the Night honors.
The same two teams will conclude this current two-game set on Friday night in Thunder Bay with a 6:05 p.m. (Central) first pitch on tap. Air time on the Logger Nation Station, 102.7 FM, is set for 5:30 p.m.