By Connor Wachtel
Mankato, Minn. – The Mankato MoonDogs recorded another comeback win against the Thunder Bay Border Cats in a thriller on Saturday night. The final score was 4-3 as the Dogs took their 4th consecutive game from the Border Cats and swept the two-game series.
BOX SCORE: Mankato 4, Thunder Bay 3
The Border Cats and MoonDogs each plated a run to get the scoring started in the third. First it was Thunder Bay’s Nicholas Fazzari (Parkland College – Illinois) scoring on a wild pitch in the top half. For the Dogs, Dayton Dooney (Arizona) came into score off a single by Alex Dorethy (Western Illinois). The score was tied 1-1 after three in Mankato.
Thunder Bay took the lead in the fifth with an RBI single off the bat of Tyson Fisher (). Border Cats held a one-run lead for the next inning and a half.
They extended their lead to 3-1 in the seventh. However, the MoonDogs wouldn’t go down easy. They put up a fight by scoring their own run when Nick Novak (Angelo State) swiped third base without a throw then used his sheer speed to score a few pitches later on a pass ball. The score stood 3-2 after seven at The Frank.
The MoonDogs evened the score in the eighth when Ben Rowdon (Gardner-Webb) scored off of Dooney’s first hit as a MoonDog. It evened the score and the Border Cats and MoonDogs would need extra innings to decide the winner.
In the top of the tenth the new extra inning rule left a Border Cat player in scoring position for the first at bat with no outs. After a bunt putout to first the runner pushed home attempting to score the go ahead run. Sky-Lar Culver (Arkansas State) had different plans by throwing home to MoonDogs catcher Damon Maynard (Olney Central CC) who was plowed over by the Thunder Bay runner but managed to apply the tag whilst holding onto the baseball to record the 2nd out. MoonDogs reliever Shane Barringer (Bellarmine) got the 3rd out, to get Mankato swinging the bats with a strikeout, ending the top half of the extra frame.
Barringer would be put in scoring position as a runner after being put in relief of Dorethy, who was the last out of the MoonDogs ninth inning. Taylor Jackson (Kirkwood CC) was the leadoff hitter in the tenth for the Dogs and he called game. Roping an easy double down the left field line, Jackson recorded the walk off hit as Barringer came around to score the game-winning run from second base. MoonDogs recorded the win and sweep with a 4-3 final score.
Making his MoonDogs debut Reece Calvert (Western Kentucky) pitched five innings giving up six hits and two runs. He also managed to strike out four and hand out three free passes. Jacob Nagel (Bellarmine) came in for relief work in the sixth and went the full inning allowing a hit. Dorethy transitioned from first baseman to pitcher in the eighth and went two innings. He surrendered a hit, walked two and struck out one. Earning the win was Barringer who oddly enough scored to earn his own win as a runner starting in scoring position in the tenth. On the mound, he was solid in the final frame striking out his third and final batter.
Due up for the Dogs:
Tomorrow the Mankato MoonDogs (6-6) move on to their next opponent of the home stand, The Bismarck Larks (9-3), for a matinee game. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. at Franklin Roger Park in Mankato, Minn. with notable starter Nick Hull (Grand Canyon) slated to make his MoonDogs debut.
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.