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Published On: June 22nd, 2019

By Lance Jones

Ryne Edmondson’s (Houston Baptist) double into the gap in left-centre gave cause for the Thunder Bay Border Cats to mob him into the third base fence as the Cats walked off the Mankato MoonDogs in the tenth inning 3-2. Thunder Bay was behind 2-0 at one point late in the game but the only two extra base hits of the game for the Cats earned them the sweep of Mankato.

The MoonDogs wasted no time getting started. Leadoff hitter Cuba Bess (Grand Canyon CC) cracked a base hit into centre that barely got past Jakob Newton (Florida Tech) as he attempted to reel in the ball. With the ball past Newton, Bess chugged into third with a triple to start the game. Border Cats Starter Joe Moran (Anderson University) had a tough task ahead of him to keep him from scoring with none out. Josh Elvir (Angelo State) managed to score Bess on a ground out to spot the Dogs to a 1-0 lead.

Mankato Starter Jack Schneider (Grand Canyon CC) made that run hold up through most of the game. Anthony Galati (Sacramento City College) and Conor Allard (Nevada-Reno) hit back-to-back singles with one away in the second. However, a flyout and groundout later and Schneider was out of trouble.

Moran would start matching Schneider as the pitchers kept both offenses at sub-zero temperatures. Moran was hitting his targets with great accuracy but was not getting calls around the strike zone to go his way. It led to a very uncharacteristic six walk night, but he matched that with six punch outs in a no decision. He allowed just two earned runs on three hits in another gem of a start.

Schneider though was stifling the Border Cat offense with effective placement of his fastball and curve. He would get a few bats chasing on the way to whiffing nine batters of the 21 he faced He would allow two earned runs on just four hits and two walks.

Both pitchers were chased in the sixth. Nick Novak (Angelo State) would get a cheeky well placed bunt down the third base line that Thomas Grilli (Panola College) could only hope to see roll foul. It did not, and then Elvir hit one into the right centre gap for a doulbe. With one out Michael Perez (UCLA) would punch a sacrifice fly into centre that scored Novak. Back-to-back walks to load the bases signaled the end of Moran’s night. That brought in Lucas Reid (Sacramento City College) who got a fielder’s choice to end the threat.

Newton would walk to start the bottom half for Thunder Bay. With Port Arthur Stadium silent, Jake Engel (Dixie State) launched an asteroid into space for his third home run of the season which tied the game. That hit just tore the roof off the joint and got the fans back in it. And that was Schneider’s night as he would not fair in the decision either despite striking out the side in order twice in the ball game.

It was then Reid vs. Reece Calvert (Western Kentucky) out of the bullpen. Reid allowed a couple base runners in the seventh. But he would score a hat trick of strikeouts to end the frame. In the eighth Calvert pitched in two strikeouts of his own to get the top three in the Border Cat order three up three down.

Reid would finish up going 2 1/3 striking down four of nine hitters he faced with one walk.

Ryan Windham (Creighton University) and Calvert would clear through the six hitters in the ninth to set up free baseball.

With the new Northwoods League rule in effect which means the hitting team gets a runner on second to start the inning and no one out, Mankato could not capitalize. Windham allowed the first runner to first, then a strike out, fly out and fielder’s choice gave his team a chance to win it with one.

And the first batter Edmondson absolutely pasted a 3-2 fastball from Calvert into the alley to plate the free runner Allard from second.

Calvert (0-2) took a tough loss working 3 2/3 for Mankato with five strikeouts and only one hit surrendered.

Windham (1-0) for the second night in a row came into a tight situation and shut down Mankato. He tossed two innings of no hit ball with a base on balls and a strikeout.

The Border Cats will look to entertain the La Crosse Loggers for the weekend as the four game home stand continues. First pitch is set for 6:05pm from Port Arthur Stadium. It is Steak Saturday at the Stadium with Steak, Spud and A Sud for $35. It is also Little League Night#1 with free admission for all little league players with promotional ticket.