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Nevada Yankees off to busy start

by Dave Price, Record-Courier News Service

It’s called amateur baseball, but the Nevada Yankees probably deserve some wages for the schedule they’re following these days.

The Gardnerville-based Yankees, who play a 5 p.m. doubleheader in Bend, Ore., are now in the middle of a stretch in which they’re playing 13 games in eight days.

After playing five games between Monday and Thursday in Bend, the Yankees return home, but only briefly, because they play back-to-back doubleheaders against the Sacramento Smokeys Saturday and Sunday in the California capital.

“This is our biggest week,” Yankees manager Dennis Young said with a chuckle. “I think it’s going to pay off. Hopefully, in another week or two we’ll be able to get something going.”

Young was encouraged even after the Yankees dropped both ends of their home Northern California Stan Musial doubleheader against the San Mateo Bulldogs this past Sunday in Gardnerville.

“I think the kids are already showing signs of improving and that they want to play ball,” he said. “When we have everybody together, we’re a good ball club.”

Even though San Mateo won four straight games on Saturday and Sunday at Lampe Park, the last two games came down to the wire as the Bulldogs won 12-11 and 8-5. San Mateo won twice on Saturday night, 13-9 and 9-4.

The Yankees battled right down to the wire in Sunday’s games.

“The kids had a great effort,” Young said. “We had a couple of chances late, we just couldn’t get the clutch hit.”

Down 9-1 after two innings in Sunday’s opener, the Yankees rallied back to within one run in the bottom of the seventh when Shane Cauley doubled and scored on Tyler Robinson’s single. Robinson reached second on Chris Cook’s sacrifice, but was left stranded by a game-ending strikeout.

Joel Kruger hit 3-for-5, including a two-run double in the sixth inning, and Robinson went 3-for-5 with two RBIs for the Yankees. Bryan Estes and Shane Cauley also had two hits each.

Trevor Crawford hit 2-for-3 and Cauley 2-for-2 with one RBI in the second game.

Cauley, who hit .375 as a sophomore on the Douglas High School varsity this spring, was solid all weekend for the Yankees.

“Shane has been tearing it up,” Young said. “He played great all weekend. He hit 4-for-6 and had four RBIs on Sunday, and he played great defense at shortstop.”

One of Cauley’s highlights came Saturday night when he came up with a backhanded shot of a laser hit into the hole at shortstop and proceeded to turn a 6-4-3 double play. Matt James was playing second base and Beau Kruger first base on the play.

Beau Kruger, Nick Soto, Bryan Estes and Cauley collected two hits each in Saturday’s opening game. Estes also slammed a three-run homer in the seventh inning and Kruger drove in two runs for the Yankees.

Errors hurt the Yankees in game two on Saturday, as San Mateo took advantage of three miscues to score eight runs in the third and fourth innings.

Chris Cook, Matt Staub and James collected two hits each to lead the Yankees offensively. Cook doubled home one run in the third inning.