Playoff Hopes Fading Away For Struggling Bucks
When the week began, the Waterloo Bucks were solidly in the hunt for a Northwoods League playoff berth. While it's still possible to make the eight-team field, their post-season hopes have dimmed dramatically the past three days.
The Bucks (9-17, 31-30) dropped their fourth-straight game, falling at St. Cloud, 9-5, Tuesday night (Aug. 2, 2016). They've been outscored 33-11 during the losing streak, which matches a season-high.
Waterloo managed just three base-runners and had only two hits through the first seven innings, during which time the Rox built a 9-0 advantage.
St. Cloud (17-7, 41-18) scored an unearned run in the second inning and doubled its lead with a two-out run in the third. The Rox extended their edge to 7-0 with a five-run sixth before adding their final two runs in the seventh.
Waterloo scored all five of its runs in the eighth, cutting the St. Cloud lead to 9-5. Robert Neustrom started the inning with a single, Luke Barry was hit with a pitch, and Alex Boxwell singled to load the bases. Kyle Crowl then brought Neustrom home with an RBI single to right and Barry scored on Zach Weatherford's sacrifice fly to center. Zach Fricke followed with a two-run double to right-center before scoring on a wild pitch for the final run of the evening.
On the mound, Steven Baker (1-6) suffered his fifth-straight loss. He allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits while striking out five batters and walking three.
The loss dropped the Bucks further behind in the race for the North Division's fourth and final playoff spot. On Sunday, they were in a fourth-place tie with Willmar in the overall standings. Following Tuesday's loss, Waterloo sits in sixth-place, two games behind the Stingers and 1.5 games behind La Crosse with 11 remaining in the regular season.
UP NEXT: The Bucks conclude their two-game series at St. Cloud on Wednesday (Aug. 3). They return home on Thursday for the first of two games they host against Eau Claire.
Story Contributor: Jared Schlensky - Waterloo Bucks