By Connor Wachtel
Mankato, Minn. – The Mankato MoonDogs mounted a couple late rallies but couldn’t come through with a win against the Thunder Bay Border Cats Tuesday night. The final score was 6-5 at The Frank.
BOX SCORE: Thunder Bay 6, Mankato 5
The Border Cats got on the board first. The game’s first run came off an RBI double by Noah Reed (Lincoln Trail College).
The Dogs waited until the bottom of the third to respond. They evened the score at 1-1 when an error by Thunder Bay’s first baseman allowed Jake Moberg (UCLA) to score an unearned tally.
The score remained 1-1 until the top of the fifth when the Border Cats took the lead back. Anthony Galati (Radford University – Virginia) slapped a double to score the go ahead run. The score was 2-1 through five in Manakto.
With guys on the corners, Thunder Bay executed a double steal with perfection. JJ Rolon (Pima CC – Arizona) scored on the play and gave the Border Cats the 3-1 advantage. However, in the bottom half of the seventh, Tyler Casagrande (Arizona) put a ball in play with Josh Elvir (Angelo State) on third base to cut the deficit in half. The score was 3-2 in favor of the Border Cats as the seventh came to a close.
The gap entirely closed in the eighth when a pass pall allowed Cuba Bess (Grand Canyon) to score with ease.
Thunder Bay then had other plans for Mankato as they added another trio of runs in the ninth. An RBI single from Jakob Newton (Florida Tech), a hit by pitch and a walk each added to the Border Cats reclaimed lead.
However, the Dogs refused to go down without a fight in the ninth. Bess roped a sacrifice fly and Nick Novak (Angelo State) singled to score Mikey Perez (UCLA). Unfortunately, the rally was stymied by Thunder Bay and Mankato dropped game one 6-5 on Tuesday.
The Player of the Night for the MoonDogs was Perez after he went 3-5 with an RBI.
Alex Dafoe (Friends University – Kansas) served as the Border Cat’s starter on Tuesday. He went seven frames and surrendered a pair of runs (one earned). He also gave up three hits, walks and a struck out a pair in the no decision. The win went to the reliever Jordan Jackson (Nevada – Reno) after his return to The Frank post-dawning Dogs colors in 2018. Jackson was hit off four times for three runs (two earned). He handed out one free pass and struck out three.
Brett Newberg (Austin Peay) served as the southpaw starter for the Dogs. He went 5.2 innings and gave up a pair of runs on five knocks. Newberg also walked a pair and struck out five along the way. Jesse Parker (Lewis-Clark College) made his MoonDogs debut with some relief work in the sixth and threw into the eighth. He allowed three hits and a run, walked one and struck out two others. Jack Pilcher (butler) was handed the loss. He worked the final four outs, was hit off twice, surrendered three runs, walked two and struck out three.
Due up for the Dogs:
Tomorrow the Mankato MoonDogs (28-33) and the Thunder Bay Border Cats (20-39) go at it again. Jaxon Passino (Kansas State) will take the ball as the starter for the Dogs. He will deliver the first pitch at 6:35 p.m. tomorrow at Franklin Rogers Park in Mankato, Minn.
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.