Bucks end season on 5-3 loss to Stingers

Matthew James (Illinois) led Waterloo in the defeat as the Bucks finished the 2015 season with a record of 31-41.

Box Score

By: Matt Gruemmer, Waterloo Bucks

WILLMAR, Minn. – In the final contest of the 2015 campaign, the Waterloo Bucks (31-41/13-23) fell, 5-3, to the Willmar Stingers (47-24/24-13) Sunday night at Bill Taunton Stadium. Matthew James (Illinois) had a dominating performance, collecting two of the Bucks’ four total hits, including an RBI-double, and a run scored to go along with three strikeouts on the mound in the loss.

Strong starting pitching opened the contest as Frank Rubio (Florida) for Waterloo and Tyler Heitmann (1-3) (Bethel) for Willmar each surrendered just one hit and one run through the first four frames. Heitmann struck out seven and yielded just one hit and two walks over six innings to help the Stingers set a new franchise mark for wins in a regular season with 47.

Nathan Spielvogel (1-6) (Merrimack) took the loss after he allowed four runs in the bottom of the sixth in his lone inning of work. The Bucks’ bullpen was helped by scoreless frames from Eric Brown (Gettysburg), Andrew Muehlberger (Coffeyville CC) and Matthew James.

After a two-out walk in the top of the second, Jonah Bride (Neosho County CC) was doubled in by James to deep right-center field for the only Waterloo lead of the night, 1-0.

Willmar tied the score, 1-1, in the bottom of the third when Sean Beesley (Illinois St.) grounded in Dylan Alexander (Cal. St. Northridge) to second base. Alexander singled to start the frame and was aided into scoring position on an error and pass ball.

The Stingers opened the decisive damage in the bottom of the sixth to make it a 5-1 game. Beesley began the rally with a one-out double and scored two at-bats later when a fielder’s choice throw from Mikal Hill (Winston-Salem St.) went wide into right field as an error. Eddie Estrada (Minnesota), then, sent a three-run home run to left field to give Willmar the deciding advantage.

Zach Fricke (Iowa) and James led-off the top of the eighth with singles to propel Waterloo into the scoring column, 5-3. Tyler Selesky (Florida Gulf Coast) singled in James with one out while a wild pitch brought in Fricke to limit the advantage to two runs, but the offense failed to produce in the ninth.

The Bucks would like to thank all fans for their support of Waterloo Bucks’ baseball in 2015.

Riverfront Stadium will host Global Force Wrestling on Friday, September 4, as a part of MiLB Grand Slam Tour with the bell sounding off at 7:05 p.m. More information can be found on

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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