The Bucks perfect start to the season ends in their eighth game as they drop their first game of the season, 13-8. This loss puts them at 7-1 for the year as the Willmar Stingers win their third straight after starting 0-5, putting them at 3-5 on the season. The Bucks offense was effective at times on the night but they needed to be near perfect to keep up with the suddenly hot Stingers.
The Bucks were first on the board in this one when Austin Barrett drove in Benny Roberts to give the Bucks a 1-0 lead. The Stingers scored two in the bottom of the inning to take the lead and never looked back, scoring five in the bottom of the fourth. By the end of sixth inning, the score was 13-2 before the Bucks managed to get the offense going in the last few innings to make it a more respectable 13-8 finish.
The Bucks pitchers fell victim to what their own offense had been dishing out this season, walking 13 Stinger batters, five apiece by starter Micah Bryan and reliever Justin Grijalva. Bryan was only able to go 3.1 innings where he was charged with five earned runs and nine hits. Grijalva came in next and lasted just 1.2 innings, giving up six earned runs on just two hits. This was Grijalva’s first appearance after arriving yesterday and a variety of walks, wild pitches, and passed balls made it a rough one. Connor Cline was the lone bright spot in the pitching staff, having a very solid outing by going three innings and giving up no runs on just one hit.
The Bucks offense actually did well at times, drawing 11 walks themselves and recording nine hits, though scoring six of their runs after they were already down 13-2. The 3-4-5 spot in the order of Leonello, Roberts, and Barrett carried the load of the offense, going 7 for 13 with six RBIs. The Bucks actually made the game interesting in the top of the ninth, having the bases loaded with two outs, but Austin Barrett struck out to end the game. The Bucks also left 14 runners stranded on base.
The Bucks will need to shake this one off quickly as these Willmar Stingers have a lot of confidence right now and the Bucks don’t want to get into a losing streak, especially with the Moondogs just a game back.
The Bucks play the Stingers again Thursday night with a 7:05 starting time in the second game of a three game series. Be sure to listen to Chris Kleinhans-Schulz on 1650 The Fan and to check out waterloobucks.com for all your latest Bucks information.