The Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers made it two in a row — losses that is — as they fell 5-3 to the Thunder Bay Border Cats in a Northwoods League game Sunday afternoon at Mills Field.
The Border Cats were the first to score, getting three runs in the third off of Lunkers starting pitcher Kye Winter. Winter pitched six innings, striking out six, and gave up four runs on six hits, en route to taking his first loss of the season.
In the bottom of the fourth, with Dan Olinger on first base, Lunkers manager Ryan Levendoski called for the hit and run, and Steven Brault delivered an RBI double to left-center, scoring Olinger and making it a 3-1 game. Brault ended up going 2-for-4.
“We were trying to get things going offensively, put some guys in motion, and open up some holes,” said Levendoski. “Steve was able to get a good pitch and drive it to the gap and we got a run that way.”
Thunder Bay got the run back in the top of the fifth with a two-out rally.
The bottom of the fifth looked like it could be a big inning for Brainerd as it started with back-to back singles from Hunter Adrian and Tyler Wampler, followed by a well-placed bunt from Vince Bruno, which saw all runners safe, the bases loaded, and no outs. Adrian finished 3-4 for the Lunkers.
That’s when the game got interesting as Tommy Reyes flied out to right for out No. 1. Adrian did not tag initially but advanced home when an overthrown relay pulled the Border Cats catcher off of home plate, making it a 2-run ballgame.
The Lunkers’ next batter, Nick Hamilton, was called upon to bunt, with Wampler making a run for home. In what was the game’s key play, Wampler slid into home, knocking the ball out of the catcher’s mitt. When the dust settled Wampler and the Thunder Bay catcher turned to watch and wait for the home plate umpire’s call, but it wasn't until the catcher picked up the ball and tagged Wampler that the out call was made because Wampler apparently had never touched home plate.
After considerable debate between Levendoski and the umpire, the game continued. Dan Olinger struck out to end the inning and the rally.
“I am not sure what he (the umpire) had, no comment,” Levendoski said.
The Lunkers and Border Cats each went on to score once apiece in the ninth. Brainerd’s run came off of two fielding errors by Thunder Bay and a single from Vince Bruno, who finished the game 2-5.
“We have to play with a lot more enthusiasm, it took us getting down by three runs,” said Levendoski. “We have got to get back to playing with enthusiasm.”
Brainerd will host Thunder Bay Monday night at Mills Field as the Lunkers try to take one game in the series.
Thunder Bay 003 010 001 — 5 12 4
Brainerd 000 110 001 — 3 10 2
Thunder Bay: John Straka, Brad Delatte (7) and Matt Stevens.
Brainerd: Kye Winter, Shea Lukes (7) and Wade Wass.
W: Straka (4-1). L: Winter (3-1). Sv: Delatte (3).
2B: Brd-Steven Brault; TB-Cullen Mahoney, Casey Selsor
HP: Brd-Dan Olinger
RBIs: Brd-Brault; TB-Mahoney, Selsor, Ty Wosleger
DP: TB 1, Brd 2
LOB: TB 9, Brd 9
Thunder Bay 5, Lunkers 3
The Border Cats scored two unearned runs in the top of the ninth on their way to a 5-3 victory over the Lunkers Saturday at Mills Field.
A ground ball by Thunder Bay's Brett Kay got past Lunkers shortstop Tyler Wampler to score Ino Patron in the ninth. The Border Cats added another run in the inning on a passed ball.
Charlie Henderson started for the Lunkers and pitched seven innings, but took a no-decision. He gave up two runs and struck out three.
Paul Toboni went 2-for-2 and scored a run and Wampler had two hits and an RBI for the Lunkers. Andrew Letourneau was 2-for-5 for Brainerd.
Thunder Bay starter John Lally went 5.2 innings, giving up three runs and striking out six. Reid Rooney got the win. He came on in relief and pitched well in 2.1 innings. Joseph Koon picked up his first save in his first appearance for Thunder Bay.
Steven Brault took the loss for the Lunkers.
Thunder Bay 010 001 012 — 5 8 0
Brainerd 020 001 000 — 3 10 2
Thunder Bay: John Lally, Reid Rooney (6), Joseph Koon (9) and Evan Weibel.
Brainerd: Charlie Henderson, Steven Brault (8), Ray Black (9) and Wade Wass.
W: Rooney (2-1). L: Brault (0-1). Sv: Koon (1).
2B: TB-Brett Kay, Casey Selsor 2, Weibel; Brd-Andrew Letourneau, Tyler Wampler.
RBIs: TB-Cullen Mahoney, Brd-Ryan Abrahamson, Wampler.
S: TB-Ino Patron, Brd-Vince Bruno.
SB: Brd-Paul Toboni, Abrahamson.
LOB: TB 9, Brd 8.
DP: Brd 2.