When Ernie Banks coined the phrase "Let's Play Two", the Chicago Cubs' late, great Hall-of-Famer was referring to a doubleheader and not back-to-back nights of marathon baseball.

The Waterloo Bucks and Rochester Honkers played the second-longest game (by time) in Northwoods League (NWL) history Wednesday night (June 15, 2016), a six-hour, 10-minute contest that Rochester won 7-6 in 17 innings. The marathon began at 7:06 p.m. and ended at 1:16 a.m. on Thursday when Waterloo reliever Andy Muehlberger (0-1) was called for a balk, which allowed the game-winning run to cross the plate.

Wednesday's game at Mayo Field in Rochester, Minn., ranks as the third-longest (by inning) in NWL history, tying four other 17-inning games. The number of innings also broke the Bucks' franchise record, surpassing a 16-inning game against Mankato that Waterloo won, 2-1, on June 10, 2006, at Riverfront Stadium in Waterloo.

The Bucks and Honkers also endured a long night of baseball in Waterloo on Tuesday, when their series opener was suspended by league curfew at 12:53 a.m. on Wednesday after eight-innings of play. The teams endured a pair of rain delays totaling three hours, 21 minutes.

The short turnaround from the end of Tuesday's game to the start of Wednesday's game had no effect on how Waterloo played early on.

The Bucks (11-4) brought a season-high 10 batters to the plate in the top of the first inning and scored all six of their runs in the frame. Alex Boxwell started the night with a solo home run. Lane Milligan, Brody Weiss, and Daniel Perry also hit RBI singles in the inning, giving the Bucks a 6-0 lead.

Rochester (5-10) cut the Bucks’ lead to four courtesy of Mark Contreras’ two-run home run in the bottom of the first. Chris Scalisi’s RBI single in the second made it a three-run game before a passed ball brought in Keaton Weisz, trimming Waterloo’s lead to 6-4.

Jackson Thoresen trimmed the Bucks’ lead to 6-5 with a lead-off home run in the third inning, then tied the game at 6-all with another solo home run in the fifth inning.

Neither team would score again until the 17th inning. Contreras started the bottom of the frame for Rochester with a one-out walk and later advanced to third base on Thoreson’s two-out single to left field. Then, with Jacob Thomas at the plate facing an 0-2 count, Muehlberger was called for the balk that decided the game.

Muehlberger allowed one run on three hits in a season-high 2 2/3 innings of relief, striking out two and walking three. Hunter Spencer, Nate Spielvogel, Jonathan Buckley and Brandon Downey combined for 9 1/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen for Waterloo. Starting pitcher Jared Crescentini earned a no-decision in his team-leading fourth start of the year.

Every Bucks hitter reached base at least once during the game, while Weiss and Milligan each finished with three hits on the night.

UP NEXT: Waterloo opens a two-game road series against the La Crosse Loggers, starting Thursday night (June 16). First pitch from Copeland Park is scheduled at 7:05 p.m.

Story Contributor: Jared Schlensky - Waterloo Bucks​


* NORTHWOODS LEAGUE - LENGTH OF GAME RECORDS

Longest Games (By Innings)
07/12/13 Madison @ Lakeshore 21 innings
07/19/05 St. Cloud @ Duluth 18 innings
08/03/04 Madison @ St. Cloud 18 innings
07/28/07 Brainerd @ La Crosse 17 innings
08/05/02 Alexandria @ Brainerd 17 innings
06/17/98 Austin @ Kenosha 17 innings Game 2
07/22/13 Mankato @ Willmar 17 innings
06/15/16 Waterloo @ Rochester 17 innings  
Longest Games (By Time)
07/22/13 Mankato @ Willmar 6 hr, 28 min
06/15/16 Waterloo @ Rochester 6 hr, 10 min  
08/03/04 Madison @ St. Cloud 5 hr, 53 min
07/12/13 Madison @ Lakeshore 5 hr, 49 min
07/19/05 St. Cloud @ Duluth 5 hr, 47 min
06/17/98 Austin @ Kenosha 5 hr, 35 min Game 2
07/28/07 Brainerd @ La Crosse 5 hr, 24 min
08/05/02 Alexandria @ Brainerd 4 hr, 45 min