Waterloo outlasted Rochester to even the season-series rivalry, 4-4.
By: Matt Gruemmer, Waterloo Bucks
WATERLOO, Iowa – In the final contest at Riverfront Stadium in 2015, the Waterloo Bucks (31-39/13-21) held on to a 3-2 lead late to overtake the Rochester Honkers (38-32/18-18) Friday night in front of their home fans. Taylor Gilson (1-0) (Wartburg) picked up right where starting pitcher Brian Drapeau (Long Island) left off in the sixth inning, taking the victory on 3 2/3 scoreless frames out of the bullpen as the Bucks claimed a share of the 2015 SCHEELS Highway 63 Cup.
Tyler Selesky (Florida Gulf Coast) took the first pitch he saw off of Matt Fiedler (2-5) (Minnesota) to deep right field in the bottom of the first to give Waterloo a 1-0 lead. The solo blast marked Selesky’s team-leading fifth home run of the season along with his third to start a game for the Bucks in the first inning. Fiedler took the loss for Rochester over six innings of three-run ball where he allowed five hits, walked three and struck out one.
The Bucks used another quality start from Drapeau as he held the Honkers to two runs, one earned, on six hits along with one walk and four strikeouts. Drapeau was voted by the fans as the Waterloo Bucks Player of the Year in 2015 before the game got underway.
Rochester took a 2-1 lead with single runs in the third and fourth innings before the Bucks responded for two unanswered scores of their own. Miles Mastrobuoni (San Mateo) was hit by a pitch to start the third, and scored to tie the game, 1-1, when Joe DeRoche-Duffin (Connecticut) singled him in with one out.
Slade Heggen (Oregon) recorded one of his three singles to begin the fourth for the Honkers and gave the visiting team their only lead, 2-1, when he scored on a Ryan Summer (Louisville) sacrifice-fly to deep left field. Heggen was aided into scoring position on an errant throw by Daniel Perry (Iowa) at shortstop, and he scored as an unearned run in the fourth.
After a lead-off single, Taylor Lane (Florida) knotted things at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth when Jonah Bride (Neosho County CC) doubled him in to shallow right-center field. Matthew James (Illinois) was tagged out at home plate on a potential double-steal to end the inning and to keep the score tied heading into the fifth.
Gilson came on in the top of the sixth with a runner at first base and escaped the inning with a strikeout and a man caught stealing by Matthew Stemper (Minnesota). The right-hander took the win in relief as he surrendered just one hit and struck out four the rest of way through the remaining three innings.
Iowa native Chris Kelly (DMACC) sent a pitch to the wall in right-center field to open the bottom of the sixth and utilized his foot speed to leg out a double. Following a Zach McKinstry (Central Michigan) single, Kelly crossed the plate as the winning run when Lane sent a double-play grounder to shortstop in the inning.
The Bucks close the 2015 regular-season with 7:05 p.m. starts on the road against the first-half winning Willmar Stingers on both Saturday and Sunday.
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.