Photo Captured by Dylan Engel (Mankato MoonDogs)
Written by Connor Wachtel
MANKATO, Minn. – The Mankato MoonDogs came from behind to defeat the Waterloo Bucks, 6-4, in a Northwoods League baseball game played at ISG Field, Wednesday night.
After picking up their third-consecutive win, the MoonDogs improved 17-14 on the season grabbed a three-games-to-zero lead in the four-game series against the Bucks, who now stand at 7-22 on the season.
Brendan Hord (Evansville) opened the scoring for the MoonDogs when he hit a grounder in the second inning to second for an RBI as it scored Kai Roberts (Utah) to make it a 1-0 ballgame. He led the MoonDogs with three RBI on the evening.
The Bucks grabbed the lead with one swing from Kyle Huckstorf (Iowa) in the top of the fourth inning to make it 2-1. Huckstorf’s go-ahead blast also scored Aaron Ujimori (Hawaii) after he reached first in the previous at bat on a walk. The MoonDogs tied the game, 2-2, in the bottom of the fourth on a chopper hit to third by Hord that allowed Roberts to score again from third.
In the sixth inning, Colin Kasperbauer (Ohio) tripled over the head of the MoonDogs’ leftfielder to score a pair of runs, which gave the Bucks a 4-2 lead. Hord helped the MoonDogs close the gap to one in the bottom half when he tripled off the wall in left before scoring in the next at bat on an infield RBI single to the left side by Orlando Salinas (Kansas State).
Justin DeCriscio (San Diego) tied the game by drawing a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh inning. Hord followed suit with a free pass in the following at bat to give Mankato a 5-4 lead after seven innings at ISG Field.
In his first game as a MoonDog, Simon Scherry (Evansville) scored an insurance run when he singled to right with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Tyson Neighbors (Kansas State) entered the game out of the pen as the MoonDogs’ closer in the ninth. Behind an efficient 1-2-3 showing that clinched a 6-4 victory, Neighbors earned his sixth save of the summer (T-3rd in NWL) and pitched his 12th scoreless inning of the season to maintain his perfect ERA.
Starting on the mound for the MoonDogs, Weston Lombard (San Francisco) threw six innings of four-run baseball with five hits against. He walked one opposing hitter and struck out seven others. Luke Young (Oklahoma State) went to work in relief for the seventh and eighth innings to eventually improve his record to 2-0 on the season. He was perfect along the way and had three strikeouts.
The MoonDogs rematch the Bucks Thursday night at ISG Field. Corey Sanchez (San Jose State) is scheduled to deliver the game’s first pitch at 6:35 p.m. as Mankato’s probable pitcher.
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’ 28th 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 280 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 (NYM), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist 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 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove winner and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TEX). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. League games are viewable live at watchnwl.com. 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.