Cal Friedman, @friedman_cal
Waterloo, IOWA – Big time players make big time plays.
On a Friday night, where the lights shined brightest in the Hawkeye State, one Northwoods League All-Star would step up with a pair of RBI singles to win the day for his team.
Kristian Campbell’s two-RBI performance propelled the Duluth Huskies to a gritty 7-6 win against the Waterloo Bucks at Riverfront Stadium. The Huskies closed the 2022 season going 6-2 against the Bucks.
Waterloo starter Campbell Holt was rocked by the Huskies’ bats in game one, giving up nine runs in just three and a third innings. Marcus Morgan started for the Bucks in game two, instantly struggling for control with two hit batsmen in the first two innings.
Jared Mettam won Northwoods League Player of the Night in game one, and remained hot in game two. The rising freshman at St. Mary’s lofted an RBI single to right field to score Eddy Rosario, giving the Huskies a 1-0 lead in the second inning.
Duluth boosted the lead to three with a pair of bases-loaded walks by Cam Frederick and Peyton Powell, earning their 10th and 16th RBI of the season, respectively.
The Huskies (6-8, 25-22) gave right-hander Jake Schelonka his first start of the season. Schelonka pitched a season-long two and one-thirds innings in his last relief outing against Mankato, and made two starts at College of St. Scholastica in 2022.
After a shutout first inning by Schelonka, the Bucks were able to hit back in the second. Raphael Pelletier nailed a double inches fair down the first base line to make it 3-1, then Cameron Cromer placed another double down the first base line to score Pelletier to make it 3-2 going into the third.
Hurdle, who singled and scored in the second inning, made his mark in the third. Hurdle laced a double off the pitchers’ mound on a hit and run to score Rosario and Mettam to make it 5-2. Hurdle, playing with family in attendance, finished two-for-five with two RBI. Hurdle dominated the Bucks all season, finishing with eight RBI in seven games against Waterloo.
Immediately into the bottom of the third, the Bucks (2-12, 11-35) crept back into the deficit. Tai Walton lit up Riverfront Stadium with a bomb to left field off of Schelonka to make it 5-3 heading into the fourth.
Devin Dodson opened the fourth for Duluth, making his first appearance out of the bullpen this season. The Friends University product started strong, needing just seven pitches to set the Bucks down in order.
The score remained 5-3 until the bottom of the fifth. Karl Koerper hit the third RBI double of the game for Waterloo to bring two home to tie the game at five, then Ryan Grabosch slammed an RBI single into left center field to give the Bucks a 6-5 lead.
LHP Dylan Warda managed to throw a season-high three and a third innings for Waterloo, but couldn’t keep his composure in the sixth. Kristian Campbell planted an RBI single opposite way to score JD Rogers, instantly tying the game at six.
Isaac Rohde did an exceptional job to keep the score tied in the sixth, working out of a bases-loaded jam with a strikeout to Koerper. The southpaw remained strong in the seventh, keeping the Bucks off the board.
The Huskies were able to regain the lead in a rowdy eighth inning. Kristian Campbell singled home Jack Painter for his second RBI of the night to give Duluth a 7-6 lead.
Campbell finished with three hits in the win, moving up to a team-best 39 RBI this season in 45 appearances.
J.D. McReynolds kept the Bucks quiet in the ninth, setting up Nolan Lebamoff to try and record his second consecutive save. Koerper would double to the right field wall to set the Bucks up with the tying run at second.
With two on and two outs, Kristian Campbell would step up to close it. The shortstop snared a line drive by Mason Dobie to close up the win for the Huskies.
Isaac Rohde earned his second win of the season, advancing to 2-2 on the year. Cameron Hagan dropped to 0-2, while Nolan Lebamoff got that second save.
The Huskies return home for a two-game set starting tomorrow against the St. Cloud Rox, starting at 3:05 P.M. Joseph Brandon is the projected starter for the Rox, expected to oppose Jake Combs for the Huskies.