Bucks Close 2017 Season With Milestone Victory
The Waterloo Bucks closed their 2017 Northwoods League season with a milestone victory at Riverfront Stadium Sunday afternoon (Aug. 13). In the process, they completed a two-game series sweep of the visiting Duluth Huskies.
The Bucks (39-33, 15-21) recorded their 800th regular-season win when they beat Duluth 8-4. Since the franchise began in 1995, Waterloo has built a mark of 800-731. Rochester is the only other squad in the 20-team circuit to reach the 800-win plateau.
Duluth (31-41, 16-21) jumped on the Bucks early, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
Waterloo answered with a three-run third inning that began with a double by Keaton Presley. The Bucks left fielder later scored on a double by Zach Malis, who was recognized before the game as the team's fan-voted most valuable player. An infield ground out by Jay Schuyler and a single by Jake Viaene also scored runs, as Waterloo built a 3-1 advantage heading into the fourth inning.
The Huskies narrowed the deficit to 3-2 in the fourth when they scored on a wild pitch. The Bucks also scored on a wild pitch in the fifth inning.
Leading 4-2, Waterloo added a pair of runs in the sixth. One scored on a sacrifice fly by Presley. The Bucks tallied the other run when Nicola Mislinski doubled off the wall in left-center field.
After Duluth scored two runs in the seventh, Waterloo sealed the victory in the eighth. The Bucks increased their lead to 7-4 when they scored on a wild pitch, then Anthony Warneke put the final run of the season on the scoreboard when he stole home plate.
Ending the season with a milestone victory was a good reward for a Waterloo team that learned a few hours later it barely missed the playoffs, despite being a contender all season. The Bucks ended their 72-game schedule in a fourth-place tie with Eau Claire (39-33) in the overall North Division standings, but the Express earned the league's final playoff spot by winning the second-half championship.
Waterloo would have made the playoffs had the Express lost on Sunday. Instead, Eau Claire earned a post-season spot by shutting out first half-season champion St. Cloud, 7-0.