By Connor Wachtel
Thunder Bay, Ont. – The MoonDogs won their second game in a row north of the border in Thunder Bay today. The final score was 11-8, explosive offense by Mankato proved to be the deciding factor.
BOX SCORE: Mankato 11, Thunder Bay 8
Scoring in the opening frame has been a trend for the MoonDogs in the first week of the season and they did it again today. Sky-Lar Culver (Arkansas State) recorded an RBI with a walk allowing Taylor Jackson (Kirkwood CC) to come in with the bases loaded. Mason Crews (Kansas State) followed it up with a double to plate two runs. Ben Rowdon (Gardner-Webb) brought in the fourth run of the inning with a fielder’s choice RBI.
The Border Cats scored one in the second inning off a fielding error, allowing Jordan Larson () to score the unearned run. The MoonDogs possessed a 4-1 lead as the second frame came to a close.
Thunder Bay scored another run in the third when Karsten Vasquez (Sacramento City) was hit in on a 4-3 putout. Mankato led 4-2 after three.
MoonDogs, Damon Maynard (Olney Central CC), scored the fifth run with a 4-3 putout to score Alex Dorethy (Western Illinois). Jackson hit in another via a fielder’s choice that scored Rowdon. Tyler Casagrande (Arizona) notched the seventh and eighth runs with a single. MoonDogs extended their lead to 8-2 following the top half of the fourth.
The Border Cats cut the Dogs top half offense in half with two runs of their own. A pair of singles scored two to decrease their deficit to 8-4.
The bats cooled off for the next two innings until, in the seventh, Crews tattooed a moonshot for the MoonDogs off Port Arthur Stadium’s scoreboard. It was a two-run shot, scoring James Gargano (Butler) as well, to up the lead to 10-4.
Thunder Bay answered back with two of their own in the bottom of the seventh. This time it was a pair of doubles, each plated a run. The MoonDogs held a 10-6 lead after the seventh.
The Border Cats brought in another pair in the eighth. Vasquez knocked in Thomas Grilli (Panola College) to get it started. Then, it was Nate Soriano (Houston Baptist) scoring on a ground out double play.
The MoonDogs insured their lead through Dorethy in the ninth with his hitting and pitching. An RBI double off the wall to score Culver increased the lead to 11-8. Then in the bottom half, Dorethy came in from the pen to close out the game. He struck out the final two Thunder Bay batters to earn the save.
Crews had a day going 2-5 with a run and four RBI including the game-winning home run.
Earning the win for the MoonDogs was the starter, Jacob Nagel (Bellarmine), who went six innings allowing nine hits and four runs (three earned). He also walked two and struck out four. Jaxon Passino (Kansas State) came in for relief in the seventh and went two innings. He gave up five hits and four runs along with walking two. Dorethy came in for the ninth and struck out two to record his second save of the season.
Starting on the hill for the Border Cats was Austin Breazeale (Gateway CC – Arizona) who was handed the loss after going 3.1 innings. He surrendered two hits and seven earned runs. He walked three and struck out two.
Due up for the Dogs:
The Mankato MoonDogs (2-4) head to Iowa to play the Waterloo Bucks (4-1) tomorrow. Tomorrow’s probable pitcher is Brett Newberg (Austin Peay), it will mark a debut to his fourth season as a MoonDog. The game is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. at Riverfront Stadium in Waterloo, Iowa.
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 25-year old summer collegiate 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, 225 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), World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS) and MLB All-Stars Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (MIA). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the MoonDogs as your favorite team.