Matt Poier did what every baseball player dreams of when they are younger: coming to bat, bases loaded, with a chance to drive in the winning run. Sure, it’s not the World Series, or even the SESBL playoffs, but every clutch player wants that opportunity; the chance to win the game. That walk-off hit.
And Poier, true to form, delivered, punching a single over the head of the Willowbrook Royals first baseman and into right field to drive in the winning run and send the Willowbrook Royals home in bitter defeat. “It felt good,” said the Yorkton Yankees shortstop immediately following his walk-off single. “Everybody likes to do that (when they can). It’s not going to happen every day but it’s nice to go up and put a good swing on it.”
A good swing is exactly what he put on it, reading the pitch out of the pitchers hand, adjusting and poking it safely into the green abyss beyond first base for the game winning base knock; something he admitted rarely, if ever, has happened to him before. “It’s been a long time since that happened (for me),” laughed Poier, continuing, “If not the first time to be honest.”
Poier can thank the Royals for what they did, however, in setting him up for his walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh. Never giving up, Willowbrook rallied and, down to their last strike, finally got the hit they were looking for when Ambrose Allin singled, scoring two runs to tie the game at three which, according to Yankees player/coach Mark Jacobs, set the table for Poier’s heroics. “Give them credit they battled back,” offered Jacobs. “They could just as easily have backed off and said whatever and faded into the sunset but they got guys on base and a clutch two-out hit from them to tie it up at three and then it was a wild and crazy seventh for both teams that ended with Poier’s walk-off single.”
And while Willowbrook’s two-run seventh tied the game and set the table for Poier’s walk-off single, it was their defensive lapse in the bottom of the seventh that brought the food to that table. Instead of turning a tailor-made 6-4-3 double play the Royals shortstop fired the ball high over the head of the second baseman and into centrefield. It was an error that came back to cost them. “Any team knows defensive mistakes are going to hurt you,” mentioned Jacobs. “Especially in the seventh inning like that. It’s unfortunate for them but obviously we’re going to take it.
“Not all the time you can capitalize on stuff like that so it’s definitely a positive that we found a way to win that game.”
Paddling the Padres
The Yorkton Yankees made quick work of the Parkland Padres on Wednesday, June 18 at Jubilee Park.
The Pinstripers scored 13 runs on 17 hits over seven innings to take a 13-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh where, due to lack of concentration, they allowed five meaningless runs before finally ending the game with a 13-5 victory.
Six Yankee players had multi-hit games with Sean Parkins leading the way going 3-for-5 with a double and three RBIs while Matt Poier also had three RBIs in a 2-for-4, one walk performance.
Seventeen-year-old rookie hurler Garrett Gross picked up the win in his Yankees pitching debut. The young southpaw went five innings, surrendering just two hits, both singles, while walking one and striking out two in an impressive first start for his new club after joining the team for their previous game. “He came out to our last game and it was his first one in two years,” said player/coach Mark Jacobs of his new pitcher. “He’s a midget aged kid who signed up for ball just a little bit late and missed the deadline to play midget so he’s playing with us. As for his start, he threw the ball well and threw strikes. That’s all you ask for from a guy like that and he did pretty well.”
Next home action
The Yankees will host the first place Swan River Reds (8-3) on Sunday, June 29 at Jubilee Park. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00pm.