Dogs Thump Thunder Bay In Season Finale

(8/9/06) While the Mankato MoonDogs were eliminated from postseason consideration on Tuesday, they still managed to send the final home crowd of the 2006 season home happy with a 6-1 trouncing of the Thunder Bay Border Cats Wednesday night.

Before a crowd of 1,689 at Franklin Rogers Park, the MoonDogs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back. Steve Salas tossed the MoonDogs’ second straight complete game against the Border Cats, and his third of the season, tying him for the league lead with Brainerd’s Brad Hutt.

Salas (4-5) took a two-hit shutout into the ninth inning before allowing a double and a single in the final frame. He struck out nine, giving him 68 on the year, good for fifth in the Northwoods League, and walked just one while retiring 10 in a row at one point.

Salas, so often a hard-luck loser this season, was given an uncharacteristic amount of run support in his final start of the season. Tim Smith singled up the middle to lead off the game, and Ryan Addison and Shane Buschini followed with singles of their own. Nate Hanson’s groundout scored Smith, and Sean Halton lined a single over the glove of shortstop Drew Martin to double the MoonDogs’ lead.

Mankato got on the board again in the thirdwith three consecutive hits. Chris Henault led off with a double, and after an Addison single, Buschini lined a single to right field to put the ‘Dogs on top 3-0.

The MoonDogs added another run in the fourth as James Keithley doubled with one out, and University of Minnesota catcher Jeff DeSmidt, making his MoonDogs debut, singled Keithley home. DeSmidt was one of five MoonDogs to post multi-hit games, joining Smith, Addison, Buschini and Halton.