Rain throughout the Appalachian League postponed several games including the Pulaski Yankees first game of the season leading to a doubleheader on Friday. However, the Yankees will begin the 2016 campaign with a pair of losses after losing to the Danville Braves 14-6 and 2-1.
Game one began Thursday night with Danville plating five runs in the third innings. Pulaski had just started gaining momentum in the fourth inning. Isaiah Gilliam singled to left before moving to second on a wild pitch. Kevin Cornelius then hit a towering home run over the wall in right centerfield to make it 5-2. One out later, Dermis Garcia hit a solo shot to the same spot beyond the wall. Ben Ruta then drew a walk but that would be the last player to come to the plate. As the Braves looked to make a pitching change, the skies opened and a torrential downpour postponed the game.
The game resumed on Friday night at the exact spot where it was postponed: with Ruta on first with one out. In the fifth, a strange series of events led to a run after Welfrin Mateo was hit with a pitch, made it all the way to third on a throwing error, and scored on a wild pitch. In the next innings, Pulaski took its first lead of the season. Leonardo Molina and Dermis Garcia drew back-to-back walks before Ruta singled to load the bases. A sac fly from Mateo scored Molina to tie the game while an RBI double from Estevan Florial made it 6-5. Danville looked to keep things interesting by tying the game at six in the eighth but its offense exploded in the ninth plating eight runs and ultimately riding away with a 14-6 win.
Game two was a quicker affair since it was only seven innings. Danville jumped ahead quickly scoring twice in the first inning and a solid pitching performance from its starter Luis Gamez made it hard for Pulaski to land a hit. The Yankees first hit of the game came in the fifth inning with Ruta leading the inning off with a single up the middle to break up the no-hit bid before stealing second. Dermis Garcia then singled deep down the right field corner to score Ruta. A passed ball moved Garcia up but a fly out and two ground outs ended the inning.
The Yankees definitely kept the drama alive in the ninth inning as the club had two runners on base with two outs and Virginia native Josh Gardiner at the plate. The fans were definitely agitated at some of the umpire’s calls and ultimately a strikeout ended the rally.
Both teams square off in the opening series finale tonight at 7 p.m.