The Yorkton Yankees streak of consecutive SESBL titles was halted at two on Tuesday, August 12 in Willowbrook, as the host Royals took Game Four of the 2014 SESBL Final 2-1 to win the best-of-five series three games to one and clinch their first league championship in nearly 40 years.
Willowbrook’s Tyson Nesbitt tossed his second gem of the series, this time in a winning effort, while his brother Tanner scored the Royals’ second run of the game. The run, which also happened to be the winning tally, was generated when Tanner stole second after being hit by the pitch, before being sac-bunted over to third.
The younger Nesbitt crossed home plate on an Ambrose Allin walk off single to right-centre field in the bottom of the seventh inning to send the Royals bench into hysterics and the Yankees into disbelief.
But while the Allin single was key to the Royals first championship win in 39 years, after all it did win the game, it was actually the defence, according to Tyson, that really led Willowbrook to victory. “My defence really had my back,” suggested the winning pitcher of Game Four, who tossed a complete game for the victory. “As long as I just hit my spots and changed my speed I could really just rely on my defence and let them pull me through in a tight game.”
Yankees player/manager Mark Jacobs agreed with Tyson Nesbitt, admitting that the Royals defence played a big role in Willowbrook’s Game Four win. However Jacobs also felt that Nesbitt himself was the main reason the Royals walked away with the SESBL title. “He (Tyson) is a quality pitcher and he pitched college ball for a reason and tonight he showed it,” offered Jacobs, continuing, “He didn’t have the strikeouts he had last game (13 in Game One) but we didn’t hit him too hard tonight and he definitely helped them (win), that’s for sure.”
Jacobs then turned his attention to his own team’s season, saying, “Nobody likes to lose but it was a fun year, I had a lot of fun playing with the guys again and unfortunately we can’t win the league every year.”
For Yorkton the series loss was their first SESBL playoff series defeat in over three years, last falling victim to an SESBL opponent in a 2011 first round series against the Melville Bison two games to one. That same year many of the current Yankees won the SESBL Championship as members of the Yorkton Jr. Cardinals in a series sweep over Willowbrook.
The loss also comes on the heels of a Provincial final loss to Carlyle and, while the experience of losing back-to-back championship games is a painful one, all it does according to Jacobs, is fuel the team for next season. “It sucks right now losing two (championship games) in a row in back-to-back finals, Provincial and League,” mentioned the Yankees player/manager, adding, “but we’ve got to regroup and get ready for next year.
“We’ll be back.”