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Cooke homers three times, Cats split twinbill against Waterloo

Thunder Bay bounced back from a 12-9 loss to Waterloo earlier in the day to prevail 7-5 in Game 2.
Thunder Bay's Jackson Cooke gets set to take a cut on June 19, 2024. (Leith Dunick,

WATERLOO, Iowa – You win some, you lose some.

Hours after falling 12-9 to the Waterloo Bucks in the first game of a scheduled doubleheader on Wednesday, snapping a five-game winning streak, the Thunder Bay Border Cats bounced back to down their hosts 7-5 in the nightcap.

Designated hitter Jackson Cooke had the big bat in the second contest, bashing a pair of home runs and driving in four, adding to a three-run shot he hit earlier in the day.

It was the first two-homer games of the season by a Thunder Bay hitter.

Newcomer Keegan Garis, playing right-field for the Cats, was 2-for-3 at the plate, driving in one and scoring three times.

Thunder Bay built a 5-0 lead through five innings and re-established their five-run lead in the eighth with two more after the Bucks got to reliever Peter Fusek for a pair in the seventh, his fourth inning on the mound after taking over from starter Kobe Allen, making his Border Cats debut.

The Bucks did manage to make things interesting in the ninth, scoring three times on a bases-loaded Ben Wilmes double off Parker Burgess.

With one out, Sean Heppner took over with two on and shut down the Bucks comeback bid, retiring Luke Finn on a pop to first and struck out Ian Halvorsen to end the contest.

The opening game of the day did not go as well for Thunder Bay, despite a four-run second inning that gave them a 4-1 lead at the time.

The Bucks (3-6) chased starter Tanner Vaughn after two innings and four runs, on five hits and three walks, and weren’t much nicer to reliever Bode Gebbink, jumping on his for another four runs.

Carter Wall also gave up four runs over four innings of work.

Cooke hit a three-run shot in the second and Ty Hamilton, who was 4-for-4 with three runs scored, also went deep.

The Border Cats legged out 13 hits, the same number of hits their pitching staff allowed. Thunder Bay hurlers also walked eight and hit two.

Both teams made three errors apiece.  

With the split, Thunder Bay is now 7-2 in the second half (25-18 overall), tied for top spot in the Great Plains East with Rochester (6-1).

The Border Cats and Bucks meet again on Thursday night.

Thunder Bay returns home on Friday to host the first-half champion La Crosse Loggers, who are 2-5 in second-half play, at Port Arthur Stadium. Mason Lemons is the scheduled starter for Thunder Bay.

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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