Highlight Reel Moments Lead to Cats Win
By Lance Jones
Ryne Edmondson (Houston Baptist), the Border Cat Left Fielder, hit a baseball that kept going and going all the way to Chandler, Arizona…or at least the right field fence. And the fence was good enough to score the winner in the tenth inning of a nail biter that seen both the Thunder Bay Border Cats and Duluth Huskies surrender leads in a tight and tense 3-2 game on Saturday night. Great pitching from DJ DePiero (Bradley University-IL) and Jordan Jackson (Nevada-Reno), and a massive play by Alexander “Papí” Hernandez (Nova Southeastern-FL) in the top of the inning led the way to the win.
Both Starting Pitchers had amazing starts. DePiero who threw his finest outing in the three summers, in a spot start was exchanging zeros on the board with Huskies Starter Keaton Carattini (Michigan).
DePiero walked one batter each in the second and third. But both of those walks were followed by two double plays to end each innings.
Carattini would slam down a game high six strikeouts but would exceed the pitch count in the third. Noah Reed (Lincoln Trail College-IL) smoked a shot past the third baseman to lead off the inning. He would run to second on a ground ball. A wild pitch moved Reed to third. Nate Soriano (Houston Baptist) walked then stole second. Anthony Galati (Radford University-VA) reached on a pop up that turned error from the shortstop and it loaded the bases because the runners could not move safely. Edmondson would come through on a great piece of two strike hitting driving a fastball into left to bring home Reed. Carattini would get a key pair of strikeouts, but his last pitch to Hernandez was the 35th and signaled the end of his night. Carattini would finish with just one run earned on a walk and two hits.
Duluth would erase any potential loss for Carattini on one swing of the bat in the fifth. DePiero would see a hard struck line drive with two outs just escape the left field fence for a home run off the bat of Niko Lima (Oxnard). Lima finished 2-for-3 and would play a big part toward the end.
DePiero who was 0-5 heading into the start would sadly stand to take the loss in the seventh. Max Guzman (Tennessee Weslayan) crushed a pitch to deep centre to get on as a head start to the inning. A wild pitch advanced Guzman down. Lima would single to left to put runner on the corners. Drew Downing (Sonoma State) gave the Huskies the lead on a sacrifice fly to left. Lima would then go on a crime spree. He stole second then two pitches later third. However, Duluth could not capitalize on the situation.
And the Cats bailed out DePiero. In the bottom of the eighth, against Designated Hitter turned Pitcher Justin Moore Jakob Newton (Florida Tech) struck a double that went off the glove of the left fielder. Papí Hernandez hit an infield single to short that moved Newton down. Jordan Larson (Northern Illinois) would answer the Downing sac fly with one of his own to deep left to count Newton. With Newton’s walk in the fifth, he now set the Northwoods League benchmark with 36 straight games on base, a record that cannot be taken away from them.
Jackson entered the game in the eighth. After Justin Moore (Stanford) let up the tying run, it was all on him and Jackson. Moore and Jackson threw down the bagels in the ninth to set up the dramatic tenth inning.
In the top half, Duluth got the Base Kleptomaniac, Lima, who had stolen two earlier to push himself to eight stolen in eight games as the free base runner in the tenth. So, the Huskies sent Lima. To be fair, on Lima’s two steals and Moore’s stolen base, no throws came from Papí behind the plate, who never had a chance to catch anyone even if he threw it. Well this time Papí unleashed the howitzer as Lima tried for third and caught him, erasing Duluth’s best chance in a major play in the game. Moore would help himself out with a two out walk, but nothing more came.
Enter Edmondson with the cape. Galati was the baserunner, no slouch on the speed factor himself. And Moore had Edmondson at 1-2 and the two strikes were both failed bunt attempts. Edmondson having just failed one job, took a deep breath. With the infield thinking bunt still, Edmondson struck a baseball deep to the fence and Galati was on the gallop home. Edmondson would take a bow around third and smile as the boys mobbed him and gave him the water bottle shower. The fans on hand treated to one perfect ending.
The last matchup of the Battle of Highway 61 takes place on Sunday afternoon with first pitch set for 1:35pm. It is Family Day Sunday with four tickets, four hot dogs, four popcorn and four pop for $44. It is also Team Photo Day with the first 250 Fans receiving a 2019 Border Cats Team Photo courtesy of Primary Foto Source and the last Season Ticket Redemption Night.