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First-place Border Cats halt slide with extra-inning win

Thunder Bay scores four times in the 10th inning to put away last-place Rochester 9-5.
Lucas Terilli leads off for Thunder Bay on Friday, May 31, 2024 at Port Arthur Stadium. (Leith Dunick,

ROCHESTER, Minn. – The Thunder Bay Border Cats saved their best for last.

The Cats, mired in a mini two-game losing streak, made the most of a two-day break and rediscovered the win column on the road on Thursday night, scoring four times in the 10th inning to outlast the host Rochester Honkers 9-5.

Alex Urlaub tripled home Jacob Miller, who was placed on second to start the 10th inning, jumpstarting a Thunder Bay rally that saw them add three more runs in the inning.

With Urlaub on third, Duncan Matthew walked. Lucas Terilli followed with an RBI single and then, with two outs, Kyle Morrison stepped up the plated and promptly doubled to centre, scoring the two baserunners to put the game out of reach.

Max Ramirez IV, who entered the game in the ninth, retired the side in order in the bottom of the 10th to preserve win for the Border Cats, who improved to 11-4 on the season and have a 2.5-game lead in the Northwoods League’s Great Plains East Division.

Kansai Sugimoto got the start for thunder Bay on the mound, and lasted into the sixth inning, allowing three runs, two of them earned, on six hits and three walks.

Rochester took a 1-0 lead in the first, when Grant MacArthur drew a two-out, bases loaded walk.

Thunder Bay took its first lead of the night in the third, newcomer Brody Chrisman driving in one run on a ground out and Miller another with an RBI single. They added two more in the fifth. Zane Skansi came in on a passed ball and Cole Ketzner scored on a wild pitch, giving Thunder Bay a 4-1 lead.

Things started to go awry for Sugimoto and the Cats in the bottom of the sixth.

Mattie Thomas led off with a double. A Ty Brooks error put runners on the corner and Thomas quickly scored on a MacArthur fielder’s choice. Sugimoto got the second out, striking out Draven Nushida, before getting the hook.

On came Nick Vestlinovic, who gave up a one-strike single to Hunter Draymand and walked Noah Rodriguez to load the bases. Augustino Mungarrieta Lorenzo singled in one run and Dom Rodriguez singled in two more, the Honkers taking a 5-4 lead.

It stayed that way until the eighth when Terilli reached on an error, allowing Miller to score the tying run, ultimately sending the game to extra innings.

Guage Lockhart got the start for Rochester and tossed five innings, giving up four runs on four hits and four walks, while striking out five. Reliever Will Lavin took the loss, giving up four runs on three hits and a walk.

The Cats (11-4) and last[-place Honkers (2-15) meet again at Mayo Field on Friday night. Thunder Bay returns home for a key two-game set, starting on Saturday, against the Great Plains West-leading Wausau Woodchucks. Thunder Bay’s Jack Pineau will get the start for the Border Cats on Saturday.

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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