The Waterloo Bucks survived a late rally by Thunder Bay and held on for a 7-6 victory over the Border Cats at Riverfront Stadium Monday night (Aug. 8, 2016).

The Bucks took the opener of the two-game series against their Canadian rival, despite allowing four runs in the top of the ninth inning. The victory snapped a season-high six-game home losing streak for Waterloo and pulled the Bucks within four games of the fourth and final playoff spot in the Northwoods League's North Division with five game remaining in the regular season.

Waterloo (11-21, 33-34) took a 3-0 lead on Adam McGinnis' bases-clearing double in the bottom of the first. Alex Boxwell started the inning with a single to left and Zach Weatherford reached base on a bunt single. Lane Milligan then singled to left before McGinnis cleared the bases with a three-run double to right-center field. The three RBI leave McGinnis four short of tying the Bucks' single-season franchise record.

After Thunder Bay (13-19, 19-47) cut Waterloo's lead to 3-1 in the second inning, the Bucks put up another three-spot in the fourth. The home team extended its lead to 6-1 on a two-run home run by Boxwell and an RBI double by Milligan.

Waterloo tallied an unearned run in the sixth, making the score 7-1. Brody Weiss led off the inning with his third single of the night, then moved to second on Justin Beck’s groundout to the left side. Two batters later, Weatherford reached on a Thunder Bay fielding error, allowing Weiss to score from second.

The Border Cats made the game close by scoring five runs in the final two innings. They scored once with two-out in the eighth, then gave Waterloo a scare with a four-run ninth inning. After Brandon Downey struggled to retire batters, Derek Hendrixson (7) came on in relief and struck out the only batter he faced on three pitches to preserve the win and earn the save.

Bucks' starter Patrick Boyle (5-2) retired the last 12 he faced in a personal-best seven innings. The southpaw allowed just one run on four hits, walking one and striking out five.

The Bucks matched a season-high with six stolen bases while Boxwell, Weatherford and Weiss led the offense with three hits each.

UP NEXT: The entire Northwoods League takes Tuesday night (Aug. 9) off for the Big Dreams Showcase, an All-Star event being held in Madison, Wis. Waterloo concludes its two-game homestand on Wednesday (Aug. 10), hosting Thunder Bay in the series finale at 7:05 p.m.

Story Contributor: Jared Schlensky - Waterloo Bucks​