St. Thomas’ Steve Maher has pitched lights out in his four July appearances for the Waterloo Bucks of the summer wood bat Northwoods League.
Maher, who finishes his UST eligibility in 2014, has allowed just one hit or no runs over his last 10 innings, covering four appearances. Since July 1 he has limited opponents to a batting average of just .033 (1-for-30) and struck out five.
Only three of the 32 batters he’s faced this month have reached base: two on walks, and one via a single in the eighth inning of Sunday night’s 1-0 home win over Thunder Bay.
A right-handed set-up man and middle reliever for the first-place Bucks, Maher picked up one victory and save thus far in July. Despite facing primarily scholarship players, his season record is 2-0 with a save and a 2.14 earned-run average in 14 appearances (29.1 innings). He has a 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (19-to-10) and is limited opponents to a .168 batting clip.
Maher would rank in the Northwoods’ top 10 of in ERA but he sits a few innings short of the stat minimum of 0.8 of an inning pitched per team game played.
Waterloo has the best record in the 16-team league with a 35-11 record. The Bucks won the North Division first half by three games with a 24-10 finish, and in the process secured the club’s first playoff berth since 2002. They are off to an 11-1 start in the second half and are on pace to surpass the 1998 squad (46-17) for the best record in the Bucks 19-year history.
The Northwoods regular season ends Aug. 11 followed by a short playoff.
The Bucks’ 30-player roster has one Canadian and players from 18 different states.
A 2012 Division III All-America, Maher was 4-2 with a 2.53 ERA in 46.1 innings last spring with UST and repeated as All-MIAC. In two seasons with the Tommies, he’s pitched in 29 games (144 innings) and is 17-4 with five saves and a 2.69 ERA. He’s faced 577 batters and allowed just one home run, and has a 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (134-to-38).
In his four losses with the Tommies, twice the Toms were shutout in nine-inning postseason games and they scored a total of five runs in the other two games.
The Burnsville native and Holy Angels grad spent one redshirt season at Illinois State and played one season of junior-college baseball in Fort Dodge, Iowa before coming to UST in fall 2011.
Here’s a quick video interview with Maher with the Bucks’ radio announcer Scott Montesano: