It was an evening of rain delays and missed opportunities.
Twice the Thunder Bay Border Cats had runners on second and third with no outs. And twice the second-place Waterloo Bucks, who watched wet weather postpone the first two games of their five-game set at Port Arthur Stadium, stymied the Cats without a run in a 3-0 victory.
Micah Bryan, who departed after five innings and a 42-minute storm-inspired interruption, struck out Luke Willis and Omar Cotto in the third, then induced a ground ball out from Brett Kay to end the threat in the third, in a game shortened to seven innings as the first of a twi-night Northwoods League doubleheader.
In the sixth, Cotto reach before the skies opened. After the rain delay and Kellen Camus on the mound for the Bucks, Kay walked and both runners advanced 90 feet on a wild pitch.
But pinch-hitter Payden Cawley Lamb struck out swinging, Ryan Casillas struck out looking and Scott Donley popped out to shortstop Thomas Lindauer, who made an over-the-shoulder grab to preserve the shutout.
An inning later, with rains falling again, the Cats managed to load the bases with two outs, but Kay lined sharply to short to end the game.
“It happens. It’s baseball, but you’ve always got tomorrow, which is nice. Unfortunately tonight we were supposed to have a second game, but that didn’t work out,” said Cats manager Andy Judkins, whose team is facing back-to-back doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday after the field was ruled unplayable for Thursday’s second game.
“We’ll see how they respond tomorrow.”
At least the weather forecast appears to be in their favour, finally.
With sunshine on the horizon, it will be nice to finally get going again, Judkins said, frustrated at losing the momentum his 10-11 squad built on its most recent road trip, finishing with a pair of wins in Duluth. The Waterloo series was scheduled to begin Tuesday, and the team just couldn’t get back into the flow of things, the first-year manager said.
“We came up here and had to sit the two days and the guys got probably too much time off and you lose a little momentum and that’s what happened, I think,” Judkins said.
“They got and they work out, but unfortunately you can’t use the field or be outside. It’s kind of one of those things where you just rest up and hope for the best and the field dries and you get ready to go.”
Starter Kacy Kemmer looked anything but rusty through five innings, allowing three hits while shutting out the visiting Bucks.
It was the sixth that cost him the game.
With one out Benny Roberts slammed a shot deep over the wall in right for a 1-0 Waterloo lead. Two batters later, with two retired, Kevin Kaczmarksi, who leads the NWL with a whopping .489 batting average in 14 appearances, singled, then went to second on a Kemmer throwing error to first.
Sean Borman singled to right, and when Justin Higley couldn’t come up with it cleanly, a second run crossed the plate.
The Bucks (15-6), added an insurance run in the seventh on a Riley Good sacrifice fly, with Cats reliever Chad Richie on the mound.
Claw marks: The Border Cats have made several roster moves as recruits begin to make their way to the t
eam. Thunder Bay’s Kurtis McCallum, who went 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA and hit .200 in 20 at bats, was among the casualties. He’s headed to Weyburn, Sask. to play and requested his release, team officials said. Also heading home are Tony Viger, Brian Kraft and pitcher Will Kenny … The team announced UCLA pitcher Zach Ortiz (tendonitis) will not play summer ball this season … Dan Ludwig and Matt Cooper are the scheduled starters for Friday.
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