The Pulaski Yankees (28-12) defeated the Bluefield Blue Jays (27-14) in both games of a double header at historic Calfee Park Thursday to take over first place of the Appalachian League East Division in front of over 2,300 fans.
Game one of the double header started with the Yankees striking first in the bottom of the second. Eric Wagaman doubled to right field and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Frederick Cuevas. Yeison Corredera grounded out to the shortstop, but Wagaman crossed home to give the Yankees the lead.
Bluefield tied the game up in the top of the fourth. Antony Fuentes struck out swinging, but was able to make it to first on a passed ball. With Ryan Noda batting, Fuentes was caught stealing and thrown out by catcher Saul Torres. Nova walked and Brandon Grudzielanek singled to put runners on first and second. Ryan Gold singled to right field, allowing Noda to score. Samad Taylor walked to load the bases, bringing on a pitching change for the Yankees. Chad Martin came in to relieve Gilmael Troya, forcing a ground out into a double play to end the inning.
The Yankees took the lead in the bottom of the fifth for good. With one out on the board Andy Diaz walked and then Eduardo Torrealba was hit by a pitch. Evan Alexander grounded into a forced out at second, but Diaz crossed home to take the 2-1 lead.
Bluefield went went 3 and out in the sixth. Kaleb Ort came in to replace Chad Martin on the mound in the seventh, striking out 3 of 4 batters face to end the game.
Troya went 3.1 innings on the mound for Pulaski giving up 4 hits, 1 run and 2 walks while striking out 7 batters. Martin earned the win for Pulaski going 2.2 innings allowing no hits, no runs and no walks while striking out 4 batters. Ort earned the save in the final inning, striking out 3 with one walk.
The second game of the night was a bit more exciting, with a strong show of heart and determination in the fourth inning.
The Blue Jays took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third. Freddy Rodriguez singled to center field to start the inning. The next two batters struck out swinging, but Chavez Young connected on his next pitch to send the ball sailing over the right field wall.
After managing only 2 hits in the first 3 innings, the Yankees found life in the bottom of the fourth. Jesus Bastidas was hit by a pitch to start the inning. After a strike out for the first out, Victor Rey singled to left field, allowing Bastidas to move to third. Leobaldo Cabrera singled to center field to score Bastidas and move Rey to second. Another strike out left the inning in doubt, but Torrealba was able to reach first base on a fielding error to load the bases. Andy Diaz stepped in to the box and found a way to get it done, sending the ball sailing over the right center field fence for a grand slam and a 5-2 Yankee lead.
The Blue Jays added 2 runs in the top of the seventh. Noda started off with a walk. With two outs on the board Rodriguez hit a homer over the right field fence, but Yankee pitcher Dallas Martinez struck out the final batter to end the game.
Deivi Garcia earned the win for Pulaski, going 5 innings. He gave up 2 hits, 2 runs and 2 walks while striking out 8 batters. Martinez went the final 2 innings giving up 1 hit, 2 runs and 1 walk while striking out 3.
Pulaski ended the game with 5 hits and no errors. The Blue Jays had 3 hits and 1 error.
The two teams will tangle again Friday at Calfee Park. Gates open at 5:30 with first pitch set for 7 p.m.
Saturday will be the series finale and "Calfee Gives" night. Fans will be able to purchase a $5 bag of groceries to help support the Pulaski Daily Bread. Each bag purchased will enter fans into a drawing for $1,000 in the seventh inning from OneMain Financial.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.