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Published On: May 27th, 2014
Adam Collins (#13) is welcomed at home plate after hitting a home run last August against the Alexandria Blue Anchors.  Collins is one of five returning players to the Border Cats 2014 roster.   
The Thunder Bay Border Cats kick off their 12th season in the Northwoods League tonight when they open a two-game series at Tbaytel Park against the St. Cloud Rox. The first pitch is scheduled 7:05pm.  Righthander Tyler Lequire from Kentucky's Pfeiffer University is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Cats.  The first 500 fans through the gates receive a 2014 Border cats magnetic schedule courtesy of Boston Pizza.  It's also the first "TV Tuesday" of the season as one lucky fan will win a 43-inch Samsung television from the Power Centre.  It's just the second time in franchise history the Cats have opened the season at home.
The Cats are looking to rebound after recording just 21 wins last year and turn to a new manager this season in Johnny Hernandez.  The 33-year old Hernandez, who coaches in New York at Long Island University-Brooklyn, is a former 15th round draft pick of St. Louis and played professionally as an outfielder in the Cardinals organization.
The 2014 roster consists of five returning players, including outfielder Cory Kay, who is back for his third season in Thunder Bay.  The native of Arlington Heights, IL., has played 106 games in a Border Cats uniform, batting .237 overall with six home runs and 42 runs batted in.  Cory's younger brother, Gunner Kay, a freshman pitcher from Dallas Baptist University, joins the Cats this season, becoming the third Kay brother to play in Thunder Bay.  Brett Kay, who now plays shortstop in the San Francisco Giants organization, suited up for the Cats in 2011-12. Other returning players this year include all star pitcher Zach Thiac, who posted a 2-1 record with 2.85 earned run average in 23 games last season.  Outfielder Alex Bautista will look to improve his 2013 numbers when he hit four home runs in 52 games with 18 runs batted in.  Infielder Adam Collins exploded onto the scene when he joined the Cats in late July last season.  The infielder from Central Michigan University played in 11 games and batted .381 with three home runs, five doubles and 11 runs batted in.  Thunder Bay's Carter McEachern, coming off an outstanding college season at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX., returns for his second year with the Cats. The outfielder hit .333 in 10 games in 2013.

The Cats have added a pair of Canadian players from Toronto to their opening season roster with the signings of pitcher Yuji Suzuki (Concordia University-St. Paul) and catcher-first baseman Nick Studer (Doane College).  Suzuki, a 5'10", 185 pound righthander, is scheduled to start game two of the series against St. Cloud on Wednesday.  The Cats have also signed catcher Tyler Patterson (St. Cloud State University), infielder Gabriel Hernandez (Boston College), infielder Brandon Arnold(Sam Houston State University), and first baseman Sal Taormina (Kean University).  Taormina led the New Jersey based school this past season, batting .339 in 49 games with one home run, 16 doubles and 38 runs batted in.

The Cats have also removed pitcher Mike Hanchar (Nicholls State University) from the roster.  The lefthander, who went 1-1 with a 2.07 ERA for the Cats last season, requires Tommy John elbow surgery.

The Cats opening four-game homestand includes a school day game, which is open to all fans, on Wednesday with a special start time of 11:05am against the Rox.  Thunder Bay will then host the Duluth Huskies on Thursday and Friday starting at 7:05pm both nights.  The stadium ticket office is open weekday mornings at 10 o'clock.  Fans can purchase single game tickets, season tickets and flex packs at the stadium or by calling 766-CATS.