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Cats felled by Loggers in extra innings

Clutch hits don't come as Thunder Bay drops third straight Northwoods League contest.

THUNDER BAY – It felt like a game maybe the Thunder Bay Border Cats should have won.

For starters, it was Canada Day.

But more importantly, they did almost everything right.

Their starter, Blaze Bohall, turned in a quality start, tossing six innings of six-hit ball while allowing just three earned runs and striking out seven.

The offence pounded out 11 hits against a trio of pitchers and threatened to do heavy damage against La Crosse Loggers starter Ryan Anderson in the first, loading the bases with no outs, only to emerge from the inning with just a single run.

The opening inning foreshadowed things to come.

The big hit, save for Colton Thomas’s game-tying solo shot in the sixth inning, never really came.

Take the eighth inning as a perfect example.

Deadlocked in a 3-3 tie with the Loggers, the Cats loaded the bases with one out against La Crosse reliever Joe Rosenstein.

But No. nine hitter Gabe Lozada struck out and leadoff batter Andy Weber was robbed when his sinking line drive was snared inches from the outfield grass by Loggers right-fielder Jeremy Ydens, preserving the tie.

Then in the 10th, down 5-3, the Border Cats first two runners reached, but the threat was all but erased when pinch hitter Brendan Dougherty grounded into a 4-6-3 double play that scored Jean-Francois Garon from third, but left the bases empty.

They’d go on to lose 5-4.

“We had our opportunities to win today. We hit some balls hard, we pitched really well. I just think we didn’t get those clutch hits late in the game and they did,” said Thomas, whose home run was his first of the season.

Kennie Taylor set the stage for the Loggers win in the top of the 10th, doubling to open the first extra frame.

He took third on Ydens’ sacrifice, then scored on Korey Lee’s sacrifice fly. Cameron Cannon followed with a double of his own, scoring Luke Rasmussen from first.

“We played well enough to win,” said Border Cats manager Mitch Feller. “We just didn’t execute when the time came to execute. We just couldn’t find the big hit to put the game in play for us.|

The good news is there is no quit in this squad.

The last-place Cats, dressed in their black Canada Day jerseys, jumped out in front with runs in each of the first two innings, Andy Weber scoring on a Kevin Biondic sacrifice fly in the first and driving home Mark Venice in the second.

But the Loggers struck for three in the fifth off Bohall Cameron Blake’s seeing-eye single sneakin through the Border Cats infield scoring a pair before Blake was called out in a rundown.

David Villar then singled home the go-ahead run, plating Ryan Mantle from third.

The two teams will play again on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m., Thunder Bay’s final home game before heading out on the road for eight.

Cat tracks: Attendance was 906.

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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