Cats Squander Two Leads to Loggers
By Lance Jones
The Thunder Bay Border Cats surrendered two leads and La Crosse finally took a lead in the final inning of a 4-3 game on Saturday night. It was tight and tense between the Great Plains East Division foes and it took Ryan Holgate’s (Arizona) pinch hit double off the fence in right to make the difference in the game.
The Cats put on their base stealing shoes early in the game. Conor Allard (Nevada-Reno) got aboard in first inning on an early walk issued by Loggers Starting Pitcher Nick Eaton (Butler). Allard would swipe second for his first steal of the year. The throw from Matthew Stinebiser (Duke) was well wide of second base allowing Allard to third. Ryne Edmondson (Houston Baptist) would give the Cats the lead on a sharp hit line drive to left.
As the Cats were stealing bases, their defense was doing their best robbery detective impressions throughout the game. Burks in his first start of the season for the Cats picked off Levi Usher (Kirkwood CC) on first base to end the second.
Nick Seamons (Nevada-Reno) put on a base running show in the third. After earning the free pass from Eaton, Seamons swiped second, beating a pickoff move. Jake Engel (Dixie State) would ground into a routine out at second that seen Seamons go flying in like a missle on a mission to home. Seamons earned Engel the run batted in as he caught the Loggers defensively unprepared of the surprise score attempt.
The Loggers would make comeback number one in the fourth inning. Four straight base hits including back to back RBI singles by Tony Bullard (Arizona) and Stinebiser tied the game. Burks buckled down to get three outs in a row to keep it tied. For Burks though it was the end of the line as he went four innings allowing the two runs on three strikeouts and six singles allowed in a no decision.
Eaton settled in for the Loggers after the third. He ran off eight batters in a row including one man who reached on an error before the sixth inning. Edmond son led off with a double and Eaton who’d run out of gas allowed a single and a walk to load the bases. Nate Soriano struck a fly ball to the left field corner against Andrew Zimmerman (Johnson County CC) to score Edmondson and retake the lead.
Carlos Lequerica (Bethune-Cookman) spelled relief for Burks. He came in and no hit the Loggers in the fifth through seventh innings. He managed to notch three strikeouts before the lumbermen came for him in the eighth. A leadoff single by Jacob English (South Carolina) on the first pitch delivered got him on. JT Schwartz (UCLA) clubbed his second hit of the game into right to bring English to third. And comeback number two was completed by Brady Allen (South Carolina) with a sac fly to left.
The Cats could not get much started against Tyler Shingledecker (Penn State). The Loggers reliever allowed a single and a walk in the seventh but a key strike out seen him out of trouble. He would retire the Cats in order in the eighth.
That keyed the Loggers run into the win column in the ninth. With two out Border Cats reliever Aaron Kern(0-2) (Minot State) walked Usher. That set the billing for the hero Holgate who smashed a double to pot home what turned out to be the game winning run.
Shingledecker (1-1) would get the Cats three up and three down in the bottom half to seal the win.
The Cats will wrap up the four game home stand as these two teams do battle on Sunday at 1:35pm. Tyler Hansen (0-2 4.00 ERA) (GateWay CC) is set to take the bump for the Cats while Matt Kennedy (1-0 6.30) (St. Joseph’s) will start it out for the Loggers. Sunday is Family Day at the ball park as $44 gets you 4 tickets, 4 hot dogs 4 popcorn and 4 pop every Sunday game at Port Arthur Stadium. It is also Season Ticket Redemption Day.