Yankees explode in series finale vs. Bluefield

It was a mixed bag for Leonardo Pestana who got his first start of the year Sunday night. At times he seemed to have all of his pitches working and struck out five Bluefield batters in the first three innings. Other times he couldn’t seem to deliver pitches over the strike zone and finished with six walks on the night. Despite the walks, he took a no-hitter into the fifth inning.

Pestana started the top of the fifth inning with a strikeout before giving up consecutive walks. The Blue Jays made him pay when they finally earned their first hit of the night and took a 2-0 lead off a double to left-center field. Another walk followed and that’s when the Yankees called on their bullpen.

Newly assigned RHP Hayden Wesneski, who was drafted in the 6th round of the 2019 draft and arrived in Pulaski last night came in to the game to make his first professional debut. He inherited a tough situation with runners on first and second and just one out. He gave up a single to the first batter he faced before eventually earning his first out via a swinging strikeout. Pair of singles would add to Bluefield’s lead before the inning ended to give the Blue Jays a 4-0 lead headed to the bottom of the fifth inning.

Oliver Dunn got the Yankees on the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning as he hit a single to scoreGustavo Campero who made it on base after he drew a lead off walk and advanced to second base on a fielders choice. The Blue Jays countered with one run of their own in the top of the sixth inning to regain their four run lead.

Ryder Green led off the inning and reached on a throwing error by the Blue Jays shortstop who threw the ball low and in the dirt where the first baseman wasn’t able to corral it. Anthony Garcia hit a double to deep left-center field to score Green and cut the lead down to just three runs at 5-2. The Yankees added another run when Garcia scored on a fielder’s choice and then Nelson Alvarez tied the game with a two run single to right field and the Yankees never looked back.

Oliver Dunn who made his debut last night must have shaken off all of those jitters as he gave the Yankees their first lead of the night with an absolute blast to right field that scored three runs. Two batters late, Ryder Green took his 0-1 pitch over the left field wall and put the Yankees up 9-5. All together it was an eight run inning for the Yankees helped by three errors by Bluefield’s defense.

Elvis Peguero, who replaced Wesneski in the top of the sixth inning, earned a three-up-three-down inning in the seventh inning, which allowed the Yankees to keep their momentum at the plate.Madison Santos broke his hitless streak for the series in the sixth inning with a single, added another single in the seventh inning to lead off the home half. Two quick outs later the Yankees went back to work.

Alvarez, who tied the game with a single in the bottom of the sixth, hit a RBI double. Another Bluefield error and a walk left two runners on when Ryder Green stepped back into the box. Just a double shy of the cycle, he dropped a ball in between the left fielder and shortstop who was on a dead sprint to the outfield and would not be denied of a career achievement as he hustled the entire way and beat the throw to the bag to earn his fourth hit of the night and cap off his cycle. Anthony Garcia added three more runs just four pitches later on his first home run of the season and brought the score to 15-5.

The Yankees added another three runs in the bottom half of the eighth inning thanks to an Oliver Dunn double and two other singles from Cabello and Madison Santos. All together the Yankees scored 17 unanswered runs over the last three innings and gave themselves the series win with two come from behind wins this weekend.

Elvis Peguero earned his first win of the season with 1.2 IP where he gave up one hit and no runs.Derek Craft pitched a three-strikeout inning in the top of the eighth and Jackson Bertsch pitched the ninth inning for Pulaski.

The Yankees and the rest of the Appalachian League will have the day off today, but the Yankees will head to Princeton on Tuesday for a two game series before heading back to Calfee Park for a seven game home-stand on Thursday night.

By Cory Hilborne / Pulaski Yankees