THUNDER BAY -- The lone Canadian team in the Northwoods League could not find any walk-off magic on American Independence Day.
Facing a one-run deficit the Thunder Bay Border Cats stranded a runner at third in the bottom of the 11th, falling 5-4 to the first half North Division champion Willmar Stingers at Port Arthur Stadium on Friday night.
The game was a pitchers’ duel early on, as Border Cats starter Ryan Powers and Stingers starter AJ Puckett held the bats scoreless through the first four and a half innings.
Thunder Bay opened the scoring in the bottom half of the fifth, getting to Willmar reliever Garrett Anderson. Tyler Rolland drove in a pair of runs with a single and then came home in the next at-bat, a hit by Nick Studer, leading to the Border Cats putting a three-spot on the board.
Willmar chipped at the lead in the next half inning, scoring the lone run Powers would yield over his six frames of work.
The visitors took the lead in the seventh, putting up a trio of runs of their own off reliever Nathan Aultman.
Rolland tied the game in the bottom half, hitting a run-scoring single for his third run driven in of the contest.
That score held until the top of the 11th when Jack Ross hit a bases loaded groundout out to first that was enough to break the deadlock.
The Border Cats threatened to extend the game as Adam Collins reached third after a one out single from Christian Correa but Correa got caught in a rundown trying to advance to second after a throw to the plate was cut off.
That brought Jacob Robson to the plate with two outs and the tying run only 90 feet away but he grounded out to second to end the game.
The two teams play again on Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 p.m.
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