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Bucks clinch Great Plains-East Championship with 6-0 shutout of Duluth behind Davitt’s career outing

The Waterloo Bucks clinched the 2021 Great Plains-East Championship with a 6-0 Game Two shutout of the Duluth Huskies, sweeping the Subdivisional Series behind Duncan Davitt’s incredible performance on the bump and a host of timely hits by the bottom half of the lineup. Waterloo moves on to the Great Plains Championship Game held on either Tuesday or Wednesday against the winner of St. Cloud and Mankato in the Great Plains-West Subdivisional Series.

Davitt fired a collegiate career-best 7.1 scoreless innings to earn his fifth win of the summer, scattering five hits and two walks while striking out eight batters. The righthander worked at a 69.0% first-pitch strike rate and piled up 13 whiffs on 110 pitches, throwing 72 strikes. He rolled up ground balls at a 50.0% clip and allowed just four runners to reach second base.

The Bucks opened the scoring in the first as Jackson Lyon (1-for-3, R) smoked a one-out single up the middle and Max Jung-Goldberg (0-for-3, HBP, R) was hit by a pitch two batters later. Emi Gonzalez (3-for-4, 3 R, RBI) ripped an RBI single into center to plate Lyon with a throwing error that allowed MJG and Emi to both move into scoring position. Liam Critchett (2-for-4, R, HR, 4 RBI) laced a two-run single down the rightfield line, handing Waterloo a 3-0 lead.

Davitt proceeded to cruise with the lead the rest of the way, receiving a boost from his defense in the third as Luke Fennelly (2-for-3, BB) made an incredible shovel flip on to Jalen Smith to turn an inning-ending double play with runners on the corners.

Gonzalez began the sixth with a single and scooted to second on a wild pitch. Fennelly chased the starter by drawing a walk with one away, then Tavan Shahidi (2-for-4, RBI) welcomed Duluth’s closer to the game with an RBI single skipped over the Huskies’ second baseman to make it 4-0 Bucks.

The Huskies opened the eighth with a single, then Davitt struck out his final batter for the first out of the inning before issuing a walk. Aaron Treloar entered and walked a batter to load the bases, then induced an infield fly. Waterloo’s closer punched out the next hitter looking to end the inning and leave them loaded, electrifying the Cedar Valley crowd.

Critchett delivered the final knockout blow in the home half of eight, demolishing a two-run home run out to deep right field for his third long ball of the summer. Treloar finished off his second save by working around a walk and striking out one in the ninth, with Jung-Goldberg fielding a ground ball and stepping on first to seal the win.

Waterloo awaits the completion of the Great Plains-West Subdivisional Series to learn when and where they will play the Great Plains Championship Game.