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Published On: July 1st, 2019

Blake Wagenseller (3-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI) served as a one-man wrecking crew in the Waterloo Bucks’ (19-16) comeback 9-7 win over the Thunder Bay Border Cats (14-20) on Monday afternoon. The win moves Waterloo’s magic number to one, with a Great Plains-East first half championship one Bucks win or one Eau Claire Express loss away.

Thunder Bay began Canada Day with a two-spot in the first. Blake Berry (2-5, R, 2 2B) belted a ground-rule double to lead off the second, one-hopping a smash over the right-center fence. A pair of strikeouts seemed to have the Bucks’ comeback at bay, but R.J. Teijeiro (2-3, BB, 2 R, RBI, SB) laced an RBI single to left, cutting the deficit in half. Wagenseller followed with a ground-rule double that nestled between the right field wall and a sign attached to the fence. However, both Teijeiro and Wagenseller were stranded on base, keeping the Border Cats’ lead at one.

Patrick Ferguson (2-4, BB, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI) led off the Bucks’ third with a moonshot solo home run that sailed over Port Arthur Stadium’s video board, tying the game at two. Starter Adam Ketelsen threw up another pair of zeros until the fifth, where the Border Cats retook the lead on a single. Ketelsen did not factor in the decision, throwing 5.0 innings of four-hit, three-walk work. The lefthander allowed three runs, two earned while striking out four.

Waterloo handed the ball off to Jimmy Smiley, who fired scoreless frames in the sixth, seventh and eighth.

Just one day after the seventh inning became a nightmare, the Bucks reversed their luck with a four-run half prior to the stretch. Teijeiro opened the frame by drawing a walk. Wagenseller smoldered a single to right that scampered under the glove of the Border Cats’ Andrew Shebloski, allowing Teijeiro to score. With Wagenseller moving to second on the same error, Bryce Wooldridge (0-4, R) laid down a sacrifice bunt try up the third base line. Oddly, Thunder Bay’s pitcher threw to third, well behind Wagenseller’s arrival at the bag. With runners on the corners, Ferguson cracked an RBI single to right, then found himself in a rundown between first and second. The home side’s first baseman misfired and hit Ferguson in the leg on a throw, allowing him to reach second as Wooldridge alertly dashed home. Following a Bennett Hostetler (2-5) bunt single, Alonzo Rubalcaba (1-5, SB) brought home Ferguson on a ground-ball double play.

Up 6-3 in the eighth, Mike Nyisztor (1-4, R, SB) and Teijeiro smacked back-to-back singles. Not yet finished with his destruction of Border Cat pitching, Wagenseller hammered a three-run homer to left.

Jimmy Smiley earned the win in relief with 3.2 innings of five-hit baseball, allowing four runs, three earned while walking one and striking out a pair. Dylan Phillips cleaned up a messy ninth by retiring the lone batter he faced, notching his first save of the summer.

Waterloo and Thunder Bay conclude both their series and the first half with a 6:05 p.m. CST start in Thunder Bay on the Bucks Radio Network powered by 1650 The Fan.

Box Score