The Yankees dropped the first game in a three game series with the Danville Braves by a score of 3-2 on Friday night. The Yankees and Braves faced off in special Star Wars themed jerseys in front of nearly 3,000 fans.
The weather looked like it might be an issue for those who arrived to Calfee Park when gates opened at 4:00 p.m. and the Calfee Park crew were working on getting the tarp on the field as the sky opened up for about a half hour or so and soaking the playing surface. Eventually the rain stopped and the playing surface was ready to go for our scheduled 6:30 p.m. start time.
The Braves got the scoring started in the top of the second inning when Braves first baseman Nick Vizcaino came around to score after being hit by a pitch. The Braves led 1-0 up until the bottom of the fifth inning when Yankees starting first baseman, Spencer Henson, hit his first home run of the season about 355’ off the bottom of the scoreboard in right center field.
Pulaski starting pitcher Randy Vasquez made his second appearance of the 2019 season and gave the Yankees 4.1 innings where he gave up just one run and struck out five while walking just two batters. He was replaced as soon as he hit 80 pitches for the game, making it seem like Yankees manager Luis Dorante had a plan for Vasquez to go five innings or 80 pitches, whatever came first.
The Braves regained their lead in the top of the seventh after Vizcaino doubled off Elvis Peguero who was the third pitcher of the game for Pulaski. A sacrifice bunt moved Vizcano to third and he would score two batters later after a double was hit to right field.
The Yankees answered right back in the bottom of the seventh after Ryder Green drew a lead off walk before Oliver Dunn followed him on base with a single. Henson then grounded into what appeared would be a routine double play for Danville. The second baseman touched second base for the force out of Dunn and then sent his throw to first sailing over the head of the first baseman and allowed Green to round third and score the tying run for the Yankees.
Things then got real weird in the top of the eighth inning.
The Braves once again got their lead off man aboard with a single to right field. A passed ball allowed him to advance to second. A ground out allowed him to move up to third. Then, a wild pitch by Peguero got all the to the backstop and got lodged for a split-second in one of the drainage holes along the backstop which allowed the runner to advance a base and brought in the game winning run for Danville.
By the letter of the law, a ball that gets lodged in the playing field on a ball in play allows for the runner(s) to advance. The weird wasn’t the rule, it was just how quick the ball must have been lodged for home plate umpire Chandler Durham to deem it as such. Saul Torres had the ball in his hand when he popped up behind the backstop and it appeared his hustle was able to save a run for the Yankees but it turned out to just be bad luck.
The Yankees still had a chance to tie the game in the later innings but went three-up and three-down in the eighth inning. Jackson Bertsch entered the game in the ninth inning to make sure Danville’s lead stayed at one, which he did by getting the lead off man to line out to center field before fanning the next two batters he faced.
The Yankees sent their 3-4-5 hitters to the plate in the bottom of the ninth but just could not muster any offense as they also were retired in order to seal the victory for Danville.
The teams will return to Calfee Park tomorrow when the Yankees celebrate our beloved groundskeeper Gary Martin with his very own bobblehead night. Calfee Park gates will open at 4:00 p.m. and the first 500 fans in the stadium will walk away with one of the most special bobbleheads in recent memory for the Yankees.
Gary has been an employee of Calfee Park for 50 seasons and has been instrumental in the success of baseball here at Calfee Park. The playing surface earned Appalachian League honors the last two seasons as the best Sports Turf in the league. Gary and his staff do a great job getting Calfee Park ready for games and we hope you can join us tomorrow night! Tickets are available at www.pulaskiyankees.net or by calling our front office (540) 980-1070