By: Connor Wachtel
WATERLOO, Iowa – The Mankato MoonDogs (28-9) now lead the Great Plains West for the first time in several weeks after defeating the Waterloo Bucks (23-14) 11-8, Wednesday at Riverfront Stadium.
Adam Fogel (Hawaii) provided big at bats for the MoonDogs. He posted a 3-for-4 evening with a pair of runs scored and an RBI fly-out in the third inning. The sacrifice fly gave Mankato a lead which held up until the very end.
Waterloo kicked off the game with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the opening frame before Mankato responded by doubling up with four runs in the top half of the second. The Bucks added three runs in the bottom half to take back the lead, 5-4. The MoonDogs then immediately piled on three more runs in the third to go up 7-5 before adding four more in the fifth to take a commanding 11-5 lead.
The Bucks scored one more time in the eighth before rallying to score two and load the bases in the ninth. However, MoonDogs’ right-hander Luke Young (Midland College) led Mankato out of the jam when he got the final out by way of a strikeout which gave Mankato its sixth consecutive win and third straight against the Bucks, 11-8.
Hits concluded 14-9 in favor of the MoonDogs while the Bucks sported the only blemish with one error in the game which came in the fifth frame.
The win went to MoonDogs southpaw starting pitcher Owen Boerema (Northwestern – St. Paul) as he upped his summer record to 2-2. Despite a shaky first two innings, which saw Boerema allow five earned runs, he settled down to eat seven innings and tied his longest outing of the summer (June 5 @ Eau Claire). The southpaw was hit off seven times, walked two and struck out five along the way. In the ninth, Young took the mound needing one out to secure his first save of the summer. He did so successfully with one strikeout after hitting a batter with the bases loaded.
Waterloo’s starter Decker Stedman (Oregon) was handed the loss and fell to 0-1 in 2021 after pitching three innings and allowing seven runs on six hits. He walked a pair of MoonDogs hitters and never got a strikeout in his showing, Thursday.
The MoonDogs take on the Bucks again Friday in search of a four-game sweep. The first pitch at Riverfront Stadium is slated for 6:35 p.m.
The Mankato MoonDogs are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 27th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, over 230 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB All-Star Jordan Zimmermann (DET). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.mankatomoondogs.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the MoonDogs as your favorite team.