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Waterloo slips in historic contest with Kalamazoo

Marking the largest comeback in Northwoods League history, Kalamazoo plated 11 runs in the bottom of the ninth to win their first-ever game against the Bucks.  

Box Score

By: Matt Gruemmer, Waterloo Bucks

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – After a nearly ninety-minute rain delay and an 11-1 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Waterloo Bucks (10-7) could not extinguish an 11-run debacle on the road in a 12-11 heartbreaking loss to the Kalamazoo Growlers (5-12) Thursday night at Homer Stryker Field. The loss marked the largest comeback by a team in the ninth inning in Northwoods League history while also giving Waterloo it’s first-ever loss to Kalamazoo over the five-game history. Two big innings offensively and first-of-the-year homeruns provided by both Adam McGinnis (Western Illinois) and Weston Hatten (Washington St.) proved to not be enough as the bullpen utilized three different pitchers during the ninth in the walk-off defeat.

The Bucks scored first in the ballgame in the top of the third with an outburst of five runs on three hits. Alex Bowell (Minnesota) singled in Luke Stratman (Lamar CC) and Taylor Boyd (St. Joseph’s) for the go-ahead runs. Then, McGinnis smacked a ground-rule double over the wall in right to plate Zach McKinstry (Central Michigan) to go up, 3-0. Mikal Hill (Winston-Salem St.) made it a 5-0 game with a double immediately after that to score both Boxwell and McGinnis.

When the final out was made in the bottom of the third, the skies opened up and drizzled a steady downpour on the field to force a rain delay. After nearly 1 1/2 hours, the game was resumed in the top of the fourth with the Bucks out in front, 5-0.

Sean Trimble’s (1-0) (Long Beach St.) first start of the season was halted by Mother Nature as he exited after the third frame. In his first start of the season, Trimble allowed just three hits and struck out three.

The delay didn’t slow down the Waterloo bats as they grabbed four additional runs in the top of the fourth. Boxwell put together another run-scoring at-bat in the frame, this time bringing in Stratman with a sacrifice fly to centerfield. Next, McGinnis crushed his first homerun of the season, a three-run blast to right field, to make it a 9-0 Waterloo lead.

Brent Jurceka (Evansville) worked through the seventh inning, coming in for the Bucks in the bottom of the fourth. The right-handed reliever walked one, struck out one and hit a batter with a pitch over four frames of scoreless pitching.

Weston Hatten followed with more offense in the top of the seventh when he homered in Hill on a shot over the wall in left. Hatten’s first round-tripper of the year pushed the Bucks in front by their widest margin, 11-0 heading into the seventh-inning stretch.

Dominic Reed (St. Thomas) made his Bucks-debut on the hill in the bottom of the eighth and exited with one out in the ninth. In his first outing, Reed allowed seven runs on seven hits while walking three on 1 1/3 innings pitched.

Kalamazoo’s Marquise Gill (Eastern Michigan) scored the home team’s first run in the bottom of the eighth on a Tyler Stevens (KVCC) one-out single.

The Growlers completed the unthinkable 11-run comeback in the bottom of the ninth. Kalamazoo sent 16 hitters to the plate, tallied 10 hits and 11 runs to cap off the rally and secure the series-opening victory.

Derringer Huff (South Dakota St.) quickly entered out of the bullpen with one out and two on in the bottom of the ninth to relieve Reed. Huff gave up two more runs on one hit and walk before exiting with one out still in the inning.

Nathan Spielvogel (0-3) (Marrimack) got the call from the bullpen with the bases loaded and the score in favor of Waterloo, 12-6. The right-hander took the loss on the night after yielding three runs on four hits and a walk.

Waterloo looks for revenge against Kalamazoo Friday and then travels to Battle Creek for contests on Saturday and Sunday before returning to Riverfront Stadium.

The Bucks play at home next on Monday, June 15, against the Mankato MoonDogs. Get your tickets now for another Monday: Buck Nights.

Every Monday home game, get regular hot dogs for just $1.50, plus 10 oz. draft beer, 12 oz. sodas, small popcorn, and ice cream sandwiches are just $1 each, sponsored by K98.5.

Tickets are available at waterloobucks.com. You can also visit the Bucks Ticket Office at Riverfront Stadium or call 319-232-5633.

Bucks games are broadcast live on waterloobucks.com.

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The Waterloo Bucks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 22nd season of summer collegiate baseball in 2015, 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 120 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (OAK). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website.  For more information, visit www.waterloobucks.com.