The Yorkton Yankees have found themselves in a vicious fight for the 2014 SESBL Championship with the Willowbrook Royals.
After two games the series is tied at one, turning the Best-of-Five series into a Best-of-Three, with each team winning a game on their home field.
Pelham comes through
The Yankees escaped Game One with a 1-0 victory on just one hit; a Mark Pelham single in the bottom of the seventh that scored Jeremy Johnson from second to ruin an amazing performance by Willowbrook starting pitcher Tyson Nesbitt (6.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 13 K) and give Yorkton a 1-0 series lead.
And while the victory was great, Yankees player/manager Mark Jacobs felt that his team was fairly lucky to escape with the win. “I’ve played a lot of ball games and seen a lot of baseball on television and I can’t say I’ve ever seen a game won on just one hit,” recalled Jacobs. “I’m happy that it’s my team winning that game, but still.”
Jacobs then acknowledged the phenomenal pitching performance by Tyson Nesbitt, saying: “We knew he was a good pitcher going into the game. He didn’t go to college for baseball for nothing. He was keeping us off balance all night. He was working every single pitch he had, was hitting his spots, everything.
“He was on all game and made us look foolish a quite a few times.”
One player he didn’t quite fool, however, was Mark Pelham, who won the game for the Yankees and who Jacobs believes studied Nesbitt throughout his first two at-bats (both strikeouts). “His first two at-bats he kind of measured him up and I don’t know if he swung at any pitch those first two at-bats, he just measured him up to get a good look at that curveball,” offered Jacobs. “He sat on that during his last at-bat, recognized it and sent it to the right-centre gap and we were pretty happy after that.”
Yankees starter Logan Calanchie also had a brilliant game. Calanchie picked up the win scattering five hits over seven innings and striking out six.
Errors cost Yankees
While Game One was the definition of perfect defence and timely hitting, Game Two was anything but as the Yorkton Yankees looked like Swiss cheese in committing five errors over seven innings in a 4-3 loss in Willowbrook on Thursday, July 31.
The Royals took advantage of the sloppy Yankees defence early on, scoring all of their runs in the first three innings with a pair in the first and singles in the second and third. Yorkton, meanwhile, could only muster a single run in the second and a pair of runs in the fifth before Willowbrook’s Tanner Nesbitt came on for the save.
Yorkton’s defensive miscues also led to frustration, as evidence several times on the Yankees bench. But while it was evident on the bench, one incident in particular made it clear to everyone that errors, as well as the Royals, were getting to Yorkton. In the top of the second inning, Yorkton’s centrefielder Kurt Karcha was ejected from the game after deliberately colliding with (and forearming) Willowbrook second baseman Cole Denesowych. Luckily Denesowych was able to remain in the game after the collision while Karcha, who initiated the contact, was forced to watch the rest of the game from the stands.
Game One hero Mark Pelham started for the Yankees and picked up the loss, although it wasn’t his fault as only one of the four runs he surrendered was earned. “We like to pride ourselves on our defence and tonight that wasn’t the case. Our defence really let us down,” suggested player/coach Jacobs, adding that Willowbrook also took advantage of the situation by cashing in their runners with timely hits. “Every time you give a team four or five outs (an inning) they’ll hurt you. They definitely did tonight.”
The Yorkton Yankees hosted the Willowbrook Royals in Game Three of the Best-of-Five SESBL Championship Series last night, however results were unavailable at press time. Game Four and, if necessary, Game Five, have not yet been scheduled although Game Four will be in Willowbrook and Game Five (if necessary) will be in Yorkton.
The Yorkton Yankees will also be in action this weekend as they travel to Carlyle and Kenosee for the Senior ‘A’ Provincials.