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Border Cats Win Wild One

By Lance Jones

A rollercoaster of emotions and tension rode the late innings as the Thunder Bay Border Cats came out on top of a 7-6 win over the La Crosse Loggers in walk off fashion. The Border Cats lost handle of a four run lead as the Loggers pushed to extras. However, La Crosse could not hold on to either one-run lead they gained in the tenth or twelfth inning.

The Cats got on the board in the first inning off of Loggers starter Matt Kennedy (St. Joseph’s). Jake Engel (Dixie St.) singled home Jakob Newton (Florida Tech) on a well hit ball to right. With the bases loaded Conor Allard (Nevada-Reno) was able to ground out to plate Nick Seamons (Nevada-Reno) as the Cats just stayed out of a double play.

Thunder Bay Starting Pitcher Tyler Hansen (GateWay C.C.) quietly put together a gem. He would allowed just one hit and two base runners in the first five innings.

Seamons and Engel would get back to work in the fifth. Seamons brought around Nate Soriano (Houston Baptist) who got aboard on a La Crosse error. It was one of four errors for the Loggers defense. Engel nailed a double into right centre that allowed Seamons to count a second time and spot Thunder Bay to a 4-0 lead.

Hansen would give up a couple runs in the sixth in controversial fashion. With two out, a fly ball which was bobbled and then hit the fence then was held on to by Newton in right field turned into a triple when Newton thought the inning was over. Brady Allen (South Carolina) picked up the run batted in that brought home Jacob English (South Carolina). Ryan Holgate (Arizona) would cut the deficit by bringing home Allen on a base hit through the infield to right.

Kennedy meanwhile would pitch a solid seven innings for the Loggers. He allowed four runs (two earned) on two walks and two strikeouts with five hits.

Hansen would run into trouble in the seventh. Trey Torain (George Washington) singled to centre. Cody Jefferis (San Diego) walked and that spelled the end of Hansen’s night. Hansen would be charged with four runs all earned on two walks and six strikeouts with six hits in his longest outing of the year. Brendan Cindric (Pepperdine) could not hold the runners as Allen would come through with a two-RBI hit to right to tie the game.

The Loggers would knock home the inherited runner in the tenth as Tony Bullard (Arizona) came through on a sacrifice fly to centre. Thunder Bay would notch one back on a fielder’s choice from Allard who picked up his second RBI.

Another tight call at the plate in the eleventh was close. With Levi Usher (Kirkwood CC) at third and one out a shallow fly to left was caught by Edmondson and the throw to the plate seen Usher called out.

Jack Filby (UCLA) put on a masterclass in how to get out of a pickle in the bottom half. The Loggers reliever would have felt hard done by after a sneaky perfect bunt by Soriano put runners on first and third. Then Soriano took second on defensive indifference. A ground out, a baserunning blunder and a strike out and Filby managed to push the game to the eleventh.

In the twelfth Jefferis scored after a sacrifice and an Aaron Kern wild pitch.

Fireworks would erupt in the bottom half for the home team. Seamons would score on a Filby wild pitch after sacrificed the given runner to third to tie it at 6-6. Edmondson walked on four pitches and Filby surrendered a single to Allard. A pitching change saw Lalo Porras into the game. Cue Anthony Galati (Sacramento City College) who’s shot into right centre scored Edmondson from second and the Cats victory.

The win went to Kern (1-2) who allowed one earned run on no hits and a strikeout. The loss was charged to Porras (0-1).

The Northwoods League has the night off on Monday night. The Cats are on their way to Joe Faber for the start of a four game road trip in St. Cloud. It’s the first meeting of the year between the Rox and Cats.