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(May 27)–Zywicki, Honkers’ messy 3rd inning helps Bucks take game no. 1

Honkers gloves can’t catch up to their bats as the team loses its opener 8-6

The Honkers 2014 season began with a sloppy loss, but certainly with positives to take away. The Waterloo Bucks defeated the Honkers at Mayo Field in front of a crowd of nearly 600 people; the final score was 8-6. So, the Bucks take the first win the sponsored season series, the SCHEELS Highway 63 Cup.

Brandon Zywicki (Missouri Baptist), a Rochester, Minn., native, started for the Honkers but could not make it to the 4th inning in the game as his defense behind him and his own control kept building his pitch count higher and higher.

The Bucks opened the scoring the top of the first after third baseman Logan Sherer (UNC at Charlotte) singled in right fielder Patrick Fiala (Des Moines Area CC) who had previously walked. In the second, Zywicki was forced to begin the inning with a runner on first after an error by shortstop L.J. Brewster. The Bucks’s leadoff hitter, Mikal Hill (UNC at Charlotte), smacked a mammoth homerun on the first pitch of his at-bat, giving Waterloo a three-run lead in the 2nd inning.

Nick Veale (North Iowa Area CC), the Bucks’ opening day starter, breezed through the 1st inning but saw his share of troubles in the 2nd inning, too. Just activated onto the Honkers’ roster this morning, first baseman Travis Evanson (Winona State) hit a two-run homerun to right field to draw the Honkers within a single run early – and they wouldn’t stop there. The Honkers would bat around in the 2nd inning, sending all nine men to the plate, scoring a total of four runs.

But, the Bucks would answer the Honkers’ big inning with one of their own in the top of the 3rd inning. Four consecutive batters reached base for the Bucks to open the inning. Runners were helped along the basepaths by a three Honkers errors in the infield – two committed by Brewster. Five runs were scored (three earned), against Zywicki and that would be it for his evening.

Another returning Honker, Logan Spitzack (St. Cloud State), made an appearance for the team on Tuesday night. Spitzack relieved Zywicki and pitched phenomenally – giving up just one hit and one walk in his 6 innings of work. The Honkers scattered 11 hits in the game, and their biggest chance to complete a comeback came in the 7th inning when outfielder Alex Schultz (UN-Omaha) came to the plate with runners on first and third with only one out. Schultz skied a fly ball to center field as Karl Sorenson (St. Cloud State) prepared to score on the sacrifice fly, but an error on the basepaths for Tanner Buenting (Iowa Central CC) ended the inning’s scoring threat.

The Bucks would eventually send in their 2013 Northwoods League All-Star closer, Ryan Dian (Temple), to nail down the 9th inning and the Honkers would be sent down 1-2-3 to end the game.

Next, the Honkers will travel to Waterloo for a 6:35 p.m. first pitch tomorrow night against the Bucks and to Eau Claire on Thursday before returning home to play the Duluth Huskies on Friday for fireworks night at the ballpark. Friday’s game is slated for a start time of 7:05 p.m. Ticket information can be found at http://northwoodsleague.com/rochester-honkers/.

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The Rochester Honkers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 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, more than 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET), Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel.  For more information, visit www.rochesterhonkers.com.