Positives for Border Cats and Rox in Doubleheader Split
Jakob Newton (Florida Tech) sparked the Thunder Bay Border Cats offense who provided the fireworks on route to a 7-3 win in game two to earn a split in a twi-night double header over the St. Cloud Rox, in front of a season high 1,525 fans on Saturday night. The Rox took game one riding a shut out performance from Starting Pitcher Garett Delano (Brown University) to a 4-0 win. The split earned the Rox a playoff spot, while the Border Cats sent the fans home happy before the final post game fireworks display of the summer. Both teams wrap up the regular season on Sunday afternoon. St. Cloud had to play as the home team in the second game due to it being a makeup game for a rain out in St. Cloud earlier this season.
It was the Border Cats who would get it cracking in game two.
Thunder Bay’s bats came alive in the second, off of Rox Starting Pitcher Trae Robertson (University of Minnesota). Joe Jimenez (Chapman University-CA) lashed a double to right to lead off the frame. Anthony Galati (Radford University-VA) would single into left to put runners on first and third. Alex Dafoe (Friends University-KS), Pitcher turned Designated Hitter took a two-strike fastball and cracked a double into right, that delighted the crowd and must have stunned his teammates, plating Jimenez and sending Galati to third. Nicholas Fazzari (Parkland College-IL) would drive home his first run of the season scoring Galati with a ground out. With two outs in the inning, the Cats were just getting started. JJ Rollon (Pima CC-AZ) earned a walk. Karsten Vasquez (College of San Mateo-CA) put a frozen rope into right to count Dafoe. Newton would clock a bouncing single through the middle of the infield to bring home Rollon and Vasquez and rocket the Cats to a 5-0 lead.
That would signal the end of the line for Robertson as Justin Wick (Creighton) took over. Robertson took the loss dropping to 2-3.
Newton would count a couple more in the fourth. Fazzari singled to centre on a solid swing to start it out. Rollon would leg out a double into the gap in left-centre which was cut off quickly but both he and Fazzari were thinking two bases off the bat and made it so. Newton clocked a double into left that saw Fazzari easily home and Rollon beat the throw from left. Newton, who had his Northwoods League high 41 game on-base streak snapped in game one, finished game two 2-for-2 at the plate, with two walks, a stolen base and four runs batted in.
Border Cat Starting Pitcher Peyton Burks (Arkansas-Pine Bluff) was looking for his first win, and had the run support he needed. Taking an 0-4 record, and in a thankless position, with very few arms available behind him, the senior pulled up strong. Burks rolled through the first four innings keeping one of the league’s best offenses silent the first two times up to the plate.
However, the third time unlocked Burks. In the fifth, Zack Elliott (University of Minnesota) got on with a leadoff single, one of his two in the game. Ben Carew (Kent State) knocked one all the way to the fence to put two on and none out. Gus Steiger (South Dakota State) checked in an RBI ground out to cut the deficit and score Elliott but leave Carew at second. Jordan Barth (Augustana University) picked up one of his two hits on the game to put runners at the corners. Delano joined the very exclusive 50-RBI club with a sacrifice fly to centre to easily count Carew. And Parker Smejkal (Nebraska-Omaha) counted Barth on a single to left to bring the deficit to four. It was as close as the Rox came.
Burks fought through the sixth, however a 10 pitch walk and another walk pretty much sealed up any chance of a complete game as he reached the 100 pitch count. He finished with three strikeouts, three runs allowed on two walks, spraying nine hits to earn the W. Tyler Hansen (Texas Southern) came on for his final appearance of the season, allowing two singles, but getting a double play and a ground out to secure the Cats first win over the Rox this season in seven meetings.
In game one of the double header it was Garett Delano’s world, we were all just living in it. The Rox offense secured a run in the first on a hit and three walks and it seemed all he would need to sign, seal and deliver a Rox win. He tossed a complete game three hitter, striking out five on the way to the Rox 4-0 victory.
Delano was backed in the game, by himself first, at the plate going 2-for-3 in the cleanup spot. Lenny Walker (St. Cloud State) chipped in a 2-for-4 game with an RBI and a run scored. Barth notched a run batted in on a sac fly in the fourth to make it 2-0. Luke Ira was 1-for-2 with a run batted in, in the seventh, where Walker notched his as well, to round out the scoring.
Border Cat Starter Brendan Cindric (Pepperdine University-CA), who has the makings of a future Starting Pitcher fought and scrapped his way through eight walks in his first start of the season. The freshman surrendering three hits and two runs to go with five strikeouts took the loss, twice battling out of bases loaded situations that could have been much worse. Anthony Galati, who got his first start this summer at first base, and first appearance on the mound allowed two runs on six hits, not a bad showing, against the top notch offense of the Rox. Galati also collected a hit, joining Triston Lundgren (Sacramento City College-CA) who picked up his second hit of the season and Jordan Larson (Northern Illinois) who managed his eighth double of the year.
In amidst the second half of the doubleheader, the Rox got the news that they were playoff bound as their win in game one, coupled with a Rochester Honkers 11-2 thrashing of the Mankato MoonDogs, sealed the Rox playoff tickets.
These two teams will wrap up the whole entire regular season on Sunday afternoon with first pitch slated for 1:35pm at Port Arthur Stadium. It is Family Day Sunday, 4 tickets, 4 hot dogs, 4 popcorn, 4 pop for $44. It is also Fan Appreciation Day.