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Czaplak homers in debut to lead Cats to win over Mankato

Rookie shortstop helps power Cats to 4-2 second-half record.
Gunner Hellstrom had three hits and drove in a pair on Monday, July 9, 2018. (Michael Charlebois,

MANKATO, Minn. – You can’t keep a good team down for long.

And these days, the Thunder Bay Border Cats are looking like a pretty darn good baseball team.

Coming off a 14-2 loss the night before, the Northwoods League club rebounded on Monday evening to down the host Mankato MoonDogs 11-6 and improved to 4-2 in second-half play.

Shortstop Kyle Czaplak had an impressive debut for Thunder Bay, homering out of the lead-off spot, scoring twice and driving in a pair.

Second baseman Nick Conti crossed the plate three times and catcher Gunner Hellstrom was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI, while Billy Cook pounded his 13th double, second in the circuit behind Madison’s Jake Randa.

Connor Fabing was stellar on the mound for Thunder Bay for six innings, allowing six hits and just one run while striking out two and walking four.

Calvin Wood took over in the seventh and was touched for three runs, the MoonDogs putting four on the board to close the gap from 9-1 to 9-5.

Nick Belzer was chased in the fifth and took the loss, giving up eight earned runs on nine hits.

The Border Cats return home on Tuesday to take on the Bismarck Larks. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith has been the editor of Thunder Bay Source for 17 years and has served a similar role with since 2009. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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