THUNDER BAY, Ontario -- Back-to-back home runs by Hunter Dozier and Kenny Roberts capped off a five-run third inning to give the Willmar Stingers a 5-1 lead, but the Thunder Bay Border Cats came back with six runs in the next two frames to take a the lead en route to a 9-6 victory Sunday at Port Arthur Stadium.
Willmar's big inning began with a base hit by Forrestt Allday and an RBI-single by Max Kuhn. Kuhn finished the game 3-for-5 and now has nine RBIs in his last nine games.
Following a Dillon Haupt walk, Dozier lined a ball over the left-field fence with two outs for his sixth home run of the year, giving him 35 RBIs at the All-Star break. Roberts followed with a home run down the left-field line as well for his league-leading 13th roundtripper of the season. Roberts' 13 homers are tied for the fifth most in a single season in Northwoods League history.
Willmar held a 5-1 advantage at that point, but Thunder Bay scored two runs in the bottom of the inning to halve its deficit and plated four more in the fourth to take a 7-5 lead. The Border Cats led the rest of the way.
Willmar came within one in the seventh after a solo home run to right field by Corben Green made the score 7-6. Green's seventh homer gave him 30 RBIs in 27 games. As a team, the Stingers have now hit 50 home runs to rank eighth in Northwoods League history for a single season. Willmar continues to be on pace to set the all-time record, which is 59 by St. Cloud in 1997.
Roberts led the overall offensive attack for Willmar with four hits in the game to raise his batting average to .288. Dozier, Allday and Mitch Rowan each added two hits apiece.
Thunder Bay 5, Willmar 2
THUNDER BAY, Ontario -- The Thunder Bay Border Cats scored three runs on two hits in the bottom of the seventh inning to break a 2-2 tie, and claimed a 5-2 victory against the Willmar Stingers on Saturday night at Port Arthur Stadium.
Back-to-back singles by James Bonds and Brett Kay followed by a walk by Omar Cotto set the stage for the big inning when the Border Cats loaded the bases with nobody out. A sacrifice fly by Kyle Lombardo scored the go-ahead run, and Thunder Bay added two more in the frame to take a decisive three-run lead.
Willmar's only two runs came in the second inning when Corben Green hit a leadoff solo home run to right field. Two batters later, Dillon Haupt hit his third double of the series. He scored with two outs in the inning on an RBI double by Zach Benson.
Sean Becker shut down the Stingers offense for the rest of the evening. Making his first start of the year for the Border Cats, he finished the game with two runs allowed on eight hits. He struck out four and only walked two in eight innings. George Asmus received a no-decision for the Stingers after surrendering two runs on six hits in a five-inning start. Andre Wheeler took the loss after giving up three runs on three hits in 1.1 innings.
Michael Suchy and Haupt had the only multi-hit games for the Stingers. Suchy hit two doubles to increase his team-leading total to 12, while Haupt finished the game 2-for-4 with a double. Kenny Roberts added a double in the contest. Six of Willmar's eight hits went for extra bases, but the Stingers only had multiple base runners in an inning twice.