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Border Cats settle for split against last-place Rochester

Max Ortega homered to lead off the fourth and the host Honkers took the lead for good.
Catcher Duncan Mathews gets set to round third on Thursday, June 6, 2024 against the Duluth Huskies. (Leith Dunick,

ROCHESTER, Minn. – The Rochester Honkers had but two wins heading into Friday night’s game against the Thunder Bay Border Cats.

All but out of the playoff race, they nonetheless took on the top-ranked team in the Northwoods League’s Great Plains East Division – a day after falling to the Border Cats in extra innings – and earned a two-game split.

Rochester’s Max Ortega homered off Thunder Bay starter Caleb Busch to open the fourth inning and the Honkers never trailed again, going on to down the Cats 5-2.

The bomb gave the Honkers a 2-1 lead at the time and came half an inning after Thunder Bay had battled back to even the score 1-1, Kyle Morrison doubling to open the top of the fourth and scoring on Brody Chrisman’s groundout to second.

Busch left after five innings, responsible for three runs on seven hits and a walk. He struck out five.

Rochester added two more against reliever Carter Wall in the sixth, both runs driven in on a one-out Augusto Lorenzo double.

The Honkers took a 5-1 lead into the ninth.

With two outs, Duncan Mathews hit a home run to centre, but Greg LaChance struck out to end the game and the Cats dropped their third game in their last four outings.

Cooper Marshall threw six innings of three-hit ball, walking four and allowing just one run to pick up thw win for Rochester.

Thunder Bay will return home on Saturday to host the Wausau Woodchucks, winners of five in a row and the team with the top record in the league, at 15-3.

Thunder Bay’s Jack Pineau will be on the mound for the Border Cats. Game time is 6:35 p.m.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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