Stellar Defense and Pitching Not Enough in Finale
The Mankato MoonDogs played their season finale on Sunday night against the Blue Thunder of Brainerd. Even though the MoonDogs pitching and stellar defense held the Blue Thunder to just three hits in the contest, it was the Blue Thunder who came out on top, 2-0, to split the final series of the season. The MoonDogs just could not find their grove against Brainerd’s Luke Baughman as he tossed a complete game shut out while striking out seven MoonDogs to push his Blue Thunder over the ‘Dogs.
In a game that saw no extra base hits, the MoonDogs were unable to get the clutch hit as they stranded seven base runners in the game. The contest remained scoreless for four innings until the Blue Thunder scored two runs off of no hits, giving them a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Just one hour and forty-eight minutes after the start of the game, the MoonDogs found themselves in the top of the ninth inning with two outs and a runner on first. Alberto Cruz was unable to keep the game going as he grounded out to end the game and the MoonDogs season.
MoonDogs starter Cameron Young came out dealing as he allowed just two hits through four innings while striking out three batters. The bullpen by committee took over in the fifth as Matt Lawhorn allowed two earned runs on no hits, taking his first loss on the season. Mike Miller, Brad Depoy, and Brandon Crawford hurled the last three innings allowing no runs and just one hit.
Crawford not only led the MoonDogs in hitting going 2-3 with one walk, and his 17th stolen base on the season, but also performed gracefully in the field making great plays all night long at shortstop. L.J. Mims also helped the MoonDogs cause going 2-3 at the plate.
The MoonDogs finished up the NWL 2005 season 34-34 and in third place in the North Division in the second half. As the MoonDogs season comes to an end, the NWL playoffs continue with the Thunder Bay Border Cats taking on the St. Cloud River Bats and last years champion Madison Mallards battling the Rochester Honkers. The Divisional Series will be played over the next three days with a champion being named after the NWL Championship Series on August 18th through the 20th.
The MoonDogs would like to thank their sponsors and the fans for all their support during the 2005 campaign! The 2005 season was yet another success and it would not be possible without all of you! This is your team!