WATERLOO, Iowa – History was made at Riverfront Stadium, but it didn’t go in the Bucks’ favor.
In front of a post-COVID record attendance crowd of 2,345 spectators, the Waterloo Bucks (5-16, 14-41) couldn’t handle the Mankato MoonDogs (12-9, 31-24) who jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, then 2-0 after the second, 4-0 after three and so on.
Mankato would score 12 runs heading into the bottom of the fifth inning where Waterloo would finally scratch a run across on the scoreboard when Clayton Gray hit into an RBI fielder’s choice to make it 12-1.
But Mankato didn’t slow down scoring four more in the top of the sixth to take a 15-run, 16-1 lead in a game that looked all but over.
However, the Bucks weren’t ones to go down without a fight, scoring five runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning the RBIs included a Mason Dobie RBI single, a wild pitch scoring Josh Patrick, another wild pitch scoring Liam Critchett, and a two-RBI double from Alex Crouch to bring the ballgame back within 10 runs at 16-6.
Yet again, nothing seemed to throw off the MoonDogs who scored another pair of runs in the top of the seventh off a hit and a Waterloo error.
But after the seventh inning stretch, things would change drastically for the Bucks. Taisei Yahiro, the MoonDogs reliever, came into the ballgame and would immediately pitch batting practice to the home team.
Seven batters reached safely to lead off the inning before Yahiro could finally record an out as the Bucks scored eight runs off six hits in the inning as Yahiro was relieved after recording just one out in the frame. Noah Meffert came into the ballgame immediately allowed a two-RBI double before getting out of the inning a couple batters later.
But eight runs do a lot for a 12-run ballgame as the Bucks, down 15 in the fifth, had cut the deficit to just four.
Again, it was Mankato scoring in the eighth as Charles McAdoo launched a solo shot to left field to bring him just a double shy of the cycle.
With Meffert still in the ballgame for Mankato, the Bucks would go three up, three down in the bottom of the eighth forcing them to go into the ninth with a five-run deficit. For the first time in the game the MoonDogs would go scoreless in an inning in the ninth after scoring in eight consecutive innings.
In the bottom of the ninth, Tai Walton would single with one out, but that’s all the Bucks would be able to get as they fell to the MoonDogs, 19-14.
In the highest scoring game this season for Northwoods League games, it also ties for fourth in most combined runs in a single game in Northwoods League history with 33 runs crossing the plate Saturday night.
Additionally, the 14-run losing effort by Waterloo is tied for the third most runs scored by a losing team in Northwoods League history.
The Bucks and MoonDogs wrap up their two-game series with each other on Sunday at 2:35 p.m. from Riverfront Stadium. You can still buy tickets to Sunday’s game at waterloobucks.com. If you can’t make it out to the ballpark, the game will be streamed on Watch NWL.