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It really wasn’t worth the wait.
The Thunder Bay Border Cats, forced to play five games in three days after rain washed out Northwoods League competition earlier in the week, on Saturday ran out of gas.
After a valiant effort that saw them strand the winning run on base in the bottom of the seventh and final inning, the Cats dropped a 3-2 decision in the opener of a twi-night doubleheader to the visiting Waterloo Bucks Saturday night at Port Arthur Stadium.
The nightcap was no contest, a complete-game, four-hit shutout gem tossed by Waterloo’s Jake Power, the Bucks 7-0 win pulling them to within a game of front-running Mankato in the chase for first place in the North Division.
The Cats and starter Wes Parsons, who dropped his first decision of the season and only lasted four innings, were never really in the second contest.
Waterloo scored early and often, riding a three-RBI performance from lead-off hitter Peter Leonello to the victory.
The opener was a little more Cat-friendly, though once again they trailed early on and had to fight their way back into it.
Waterloo staked starter Derek Lamacchia to a 3-0 lead through four, with Austin Barrett and Sean Borman singling home runs in the third and Barrett adding another RBI in the fourth on a sacrifice fly.
But the Cats fought back in the sixth.
Thunder Bay loaded the bases after Reed Reilly took over from Lamacchia to start the inning, a Danny Bethea single sandwiched between walks to Ryan Casillas and Kyle Lombardo.
With one out, Matt Jones singled in Casillas and the next batter, Payden Cawley Lamb drove home Bethea.
But Reilly strike out Cory and Brett Kay to end the threat, the Bucks clinging to a 3-2 lead.
Coley Bruns, who settled the Bucks offense down after relieving Cats starter James Buckelew in the fourth, allowing just two hits, retired the side in the top of the seventh and the Cats did everything but make a winner out of him in their half of the inning.
Kellen Camus came on to save it for the Bucks (18-7) and promptly surrendered a double to Scott Donley and a single to Ryan Casillas to put runners on the corners.
But he settled down, striking out Bethea, Lombardo and Phillip Lyons to end the game.
The Cats fell to 11-14 with the loss, and won just one of five on their home-stand.
The Cats have a rare off day on Sunday and travel to St. Cloud on Monday for the first of two against the Rox.
Their next home game is Saturday when they host Rochester.
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