The Yorkton Yankees have been a dominant force over the past two SESBL seasons in which they have amassed a 35-3-2 combined record to go along with back-to-back SESBL regular season and playoff titles.
But with rumours circulating that key players from the 2012 and 2013 championship teams might not return for the 2014 season, one has to wonder: will the team still be as competitive?
Yankees assistant manager/player-coach Mark Jacobs, a key member of both championship runs, believes his team will be every bit as competitive with, or without, certain players. “I think that we’ll definitely put ourselves into a position to compete again this year and once you get to the playoffs it’s a whole different season,” offered Jacobs. “Our core for the most part will be back. Sure there are a couple of guys that we are still waiting to hear from like Dan Morari who might not be back, but we aren’t 100% sure.
“There are also a couple of guys away for school and some might be getting potential jobs in Saskatoon so it’ll be tough for them to come to games but, like I said, our core is returning.”
Jacobs then mentioned that, should Morari not return, his loss won’t be as significant due to the signing of two veteran baseball players, Darren and Dwayne Wandy, both of which spent time playing NAIA college baseball with North Dakota’s Valley City State Vikings in the early 2000’s. “Well as far as I know the Wandy brothers will be playing with us which is a good addition,” said Jacobs. “Both are great ball players and will bring a lot of experience to the team.”
The addition of the Wandy brothers comes, not only at a time when the veteran influence of Morari, as well as stalwart second baseman/outfielder MacKenzie Unyi, who has previously battled shoulder problems, is up in the air, but at a time when the rest of the SESBL is making significant strides in their own talent levels. The increase in talent league wide is something that Jacobs has not let slip by without recognizing. “It’ll be a tough year for sure. Canora keeps getting better, Willowbrook keeps getting better and more experienced and Langenburg will be a tough team again this year,” mentioned the assistant manager, continuing, “Our chances (at threepeating) are okay but with the league getting better and every team getting better and more experienced in 2014 it’ll be a dog fight.”
The season long dog fight starts when the Yankees host the SESBL’s newest team, the West Parkland Stars; a relatively unknown team yet extremely young team that Jacobs expects will surprise many teams in 2014. “I’m expecting them to be pretty competitive,” said Jacobs of the midget aged team based out of Roblin, MB. “They’ll have a lot of guys who can pitch, some young, fresh, lively arms and if they can get their bats going, which will be their biggest question, they’ll be tough.”
The game against the West Parkland Stars is set for Monday, May 12. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00p.m. at Jubilee Park.