With Solid Defense, Bucks Come Close To No-Hitter
Incredible defense and timely hitting propelled the Waterloo Bucks to their eighth-straight victory Sunday afternoon. They defeated the Rochester Honkers, 6-2, at Riverfront Stadium.
Those two elements of the game were critical for the Bucks (15-4), who were within three outs of having four pitchers combine for a Father's Day no-hitter. Rochester (9-10) broke up the attempt with a lead-off triple in the ninth inning, the only hit of the day for the Honkers.
Waterloo starting pitcher Nathan Walker (3-1) earned the win, despite struggling with his control. He managed to work out of several jams in the early innings, including the first when he walked the bases loaded. Walker issued four consecutive walks with two out in the fourth inning, allowing the Honkers to take a 1-0 lead.
The Bucks reponded quickly, scoring three runs in the bottom of the fourth. John Cable brought in the tying run with an infield base hit, then Josh Elvir lined a single to left field for a 2-1 advantage. The next batter, Drew Greenwood, drove Cable home with a sacrifice fly to right. He tagged up and crossed the plate before Elvir was doubled up at first base, ending the inning with Waterloo up 3-1.
The play of the day for Waterloo happened with two out in the top of the fifth inning, when right fielder Jay Schuyler made a highlight-reel, full-extension diving catch while back-peddling toward the wall. His acrobatic play robbed Rochester's Weston Hatten of an extra base hit with a runner on base and kept the Bucks' no-hitter intact. The play was among the top 10 of the day on ESPN's SportsCenter.
When Schuyler came up to bat in the bottom of the frame, he promptly lined an RBI single to left field adding to the Bucks' advantage.
Walker departed after five innings of work on the mound and a solid effort from bullpen pitchers Alec Hernandez, Tyler Booth and Ryan Dunne allowed Walker to earn the victory.
Elvir delivered another run-scoring single in the bottom of the sixth inning. In the eighth, Dalton Hurd lined a double to left field as the Bucks took a 6-1 lead into the ninth inning.
The Honkers remained hitless until their final at-bat. Jordan Hart led off the ninth inning with a high fly ball that went over the head of Bucks' center fielder Keaton Presley to break up the combined no-hit attempt. Chris Ceballos plated Hart with a sacrifice fly, which set the final score at 6-2.
The victory allowed Waterloo to increase its lead to two-and-a-half games in the Northwoods League's North Division after LaCrosse beat second-place St. Cloud later in the day.
UP NEXT: The Bucks continue their five-game home stand Monday (June 19) when they open a two-game series against the Thunder Bay Border Cats. First pitch is scheduled at 6:35 p.m. at Riverfront Stadium.
Story Contributor: Danny Frey - Waterloo Bucks