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Huskies win game that spanned two countries

The Duluth Huskies beat the Thunder Bay Border Cats 7-4 on Wednesday in a Northwoods League baseball game that was played in two countries and took about 10 hours to complete.

The game started at 11 a.m. in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Duluth jumped to a 3-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning before heavy rains came down. Rather than wait out the storm, the teams traveled back to Wade Stadium in Duluth, where they were scheduled to play a second game as part of a day-night doubleheader. Duluth prevailed 7-4 and was leading the second game when this edition went to press.

Complicating matters was road construction on Highway 61, making the drive between the two Lake Superior cities take about 4½ hours. Duluth and Thunder Bay ate their “postgame meal” on the road and arrived at Wade Stadium at 5:45 p.m. and 5:55 p.m. respectively, just over a half-hour before the game resumed.

“The rain just added to the stress factor,” Huskies general manager Craig Smith said. “We had to weigh the logistics and the timing.”

Duluth beat Eau Claire 5-1 on Tuesday night in Duluth, meaning the Huskies didn’t get a whole lot of sleep before loading the bus at 5 a.m. the next day.

“A lot of them sleep on the way to the game, but if it’s not your bed, it’s not the same, that’s for sure,” Smith said.

With two nine-team divisions and 72 games, the split doubleheaders were the league’s attempt to balance the schedule. The scheduled dates for the home-and-away doubleheaders were June 30 and July 30. Instead of doing the split doubleheader in June, the teams played a doubleheader on June 24 in Duluth.

“We created a situation where we could fix that in June but we couldn’t do it in July because both teams were home,” Smith said.

There is speculation the league could add two teams as early as next season, making complaining about split doubleheaders a moot point.

The Huskies are scheduled to leave for their two-game series at the Mankato MoonDogs at 9:30 a.m. today.