The Northwoods League's North Division playoff race is going down to the wire. With three games remaining in the first half-season, the Waterloo Bucks and St. Cloud Rox remain tied at the top of the standings.

The Bucks (22-11) maintained a share of first-place with an 8-3 victory over the Eau Claire Express at Riverfront Stadium Saturday night (July 1, 2017). Waterloo took control of the game with a six-run first inning and never relinquished the lead.

Trailing 1-0, the momentum changed in the Bucks' favor on on swing of the bat. Ian Nelson blasted a two-run home run over the right center field wall, his first long ball of the season. Tyler Stover added to the Bucks lead with an RBI single to left field and Joe Genord followed with a run-scoring double to the left center field gap. Before the ended, Deion Thompson drove in a run with a single up the middle and John Cable connected for an RBI triple.

After the first inning, the Bucks were out in front 6-1 and they knocked the Express starting pitcher Ryan Zimmerman (1-2) out of the game quickly.

Stover knocked in his second run of the ballgame on an RBI sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second and in the bottom of the third inning, Nelson contributed again with a flare to right field that worked as an RBI single making it 8-1 Bucks after three innings.

The Express showed life in the top of the fourth on a solo home run by Justin Evans to left and Zach Ashford punched an RBI single up the middle in the fifth. That's all the Express (14-19) could muster though.

UP NEXT: The Bucks continue their first-half title quest at 2:05 p.m. Sunday (July 2), when they host the Express again at Riverfront Stadium in Waterloo.

Story Contributor: Danny Frey - Waterloo Bucks

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