Burlington, NC – The Pulaski Yankees capped off the three game series against the Royals with a 3-0 win that clinched the Appalachian League East Division Championship and assured themselves home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
As has been the case this entire series, the pitchers showed up to play in this one. Randy Vasquez got the start on the mound for Pulaski and gave up just three hits over six innings and struck out six batters. The Royals didn’t have any of their three base runners make it past second base while Vasquez was on the mound.
The Yankees didn’t have much luck of their own at the plate and only managed two hits through the first four innings off Royals starter Delvin Capellan. Pulaski finally broke through in the top of the fifth inning when Jake Farrell led off the inning with a double. A walk followed before a sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position for Madison Santos who hit a triple to score both runs and put the Yanks up 2-0. Ryder Green then delivered a double to left field with two outs to score Santos and extend the Yanks lead to 3-0.
Vasquez remained consistent on the mound for the Yankees and didn’t allow a single base runner in his final two innings after his offense gave him the lead. Tyler Johnson replaced Vasquez in the top of the seventh and retired the side in order. Johnson walked the lead off batter in the bottom of the eighth inning and gave up a one out single that put runners on first and second and sent the tying run to the plate. A ground ball advanced the lead runner to third as the Yankees got the runner out at second base before Johnson struck out the next batter and sent the game into the ninth inning.
After going down in order in the top of the ninth, Pulaski brought in Kevin Milam to pitch the bottom of the inning and try and close the door on Burlington. He gave up a lead off double and then a walk before pitching to one of the hottest hitters in the Appalachian League in Vinnie Pasquantino. Milam got him to ground out to third baseman Chad Bell but still moved two runners into scoring position. Milam then walked the pinch hitter to load the bases with one away in the bottom of the ninth before the Yankees called on the bullpen once again.
This time it was Hayden Wesneski who came in and got the first batter he faced to pop out in foul territory behind third base and then struck out Burle Dixon to seal the game and shutout for the Yankees as they clinched the east division championship. It is the first division championship for Pulaski since they did it in 2015, the first year as a Yankees affiliate and 15th overall division title for Pulaski baseball.
The Yankees will conclude their regular season with a split three game series against the Princeton Rays beginning tonight at Calfee Park. The Yankees will play the next two nights at home before ending the regular season with a trip to Princeton to finish the series. Tonight will be World Heritage night at the ballpark as the Yankees will celebrate the many cultures and heritages of this year’s roster. Gates will open at 4:00 p.m. with first pitch scheduled for 6:30. It will also be the first of two straight firework nights as the Yankees look to end the regular season home schedule with a bang.
Playoff tickets will go on sale today, Monday Aug. 26. The Yankees will play game one on the road back in Burlington next Friday night (Aug. 30) before returning home to play game two on Saturday Aug, 31 and then game three (if necessary) on Sunday Sept. 1. All playoff games are scheduled to be at the regular 6:30 p.m. start time. For more information about playoff tickets or the final two regular-season home games, please visit www.pulaskiyankees.net or call the front office at (540) 980-1070.