Waterloo Bucks Win Minnesota-Iowa Region Championship with 17-6 Finale
The Waterloo Bucks (28-14) won the Minnesota-Iowa Region Championship with a 17-6 season-finale drubbing of the Mankato MoonDogs (17-25) on August 20, 2020. Waterloo pounded out 20 hits in the victory, including a four-hit night from Jalen Smith (4-4, 2 BB, 4 R, 3 SB), as each starter recorded at least one base knock while Ryan Guardino (2-3, HBP, 2 R, 2B, 5 RBI) earned Northwoods League Player of the Night honors with a five-RBI performance. The St. Cloud Rox fell 9-3 at the hands of the Willmar Stingers shortly after Waterloo’s win, clinching the Bucks’ title.
Mankato opened the scoring in the first with a two-run homer off the bat of Drew Stahl. Looking to respond in the second, Tyler Snep (3-4, BB, 2B, 2 RBI) and Nathan Bandy (1-4, R, RBI) led off with back-to-back singles. After Snep was picked off, Zach Button (1-4, HBP, 2 R) was hit by a pitch and Kevin Lyons (1-5, R, 2B) reached on a hit-by-pitch to load the bases. Jake Hilmer (2-5, 3 R, 2B, RBI) brought home Bandy with a fielder’s choice, a wild pitch plated Button then Smith and Peyton Williams (3-5, BB, 2 R, 2 RBI) walked to load the bases. A Guardino hit-by-pitch scored Hilmer, then Smith tallied on a run during an inning-ending pickoff play.
Following a MoonDog run in the third, Waterloo’s bats went quiet in the third and fourth. Still leading 4-3 in the fifth, Smith led off with a walk and was brought home on a Guardino RBI double. The latter scored on an ensuing Charley Hesse (3-6, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI) single, then Snep reached on an error that allowed Hesse to cross home and give the Bucks a 7-3 advantage.
Waterloo added four more in both the sixth and seventh, and finished their scoring with a pair in the eighth. All in all, Waterloo’s one-through-five hitters went a combined 15-22 with 10 runs scored and 11 RBI.
Duncan Davitt earned his third win of the summer with 5.o innings of three-run baseball, scattering five hits and a walk while striking out two. Jack Radford (2.0 ip, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K) struck out a pair in two innings of work, then Will Christophersen (1.1 ip, BB, 2 K) and Button (0.2 ip, BB, K) combined for two scoreless frames to finish off Mankato.
1,037 fans were in attendance for the final game of the Bucks’ 2020 season. Peyton Williams finished the summer with 13 home runs, tying Waterloo’s single-season record.