Yankees advance to divisional playoffs
The Nevada Yankees proved over the weekend what their manager has known all summer: When they have a full roster, the Yankees can play impressive baseball.
The Yankees won all three of their games in the first half of the 1998 U.S. Open Baseball Tournament played Friday through Sunday at Lampe Park to advance to the divisional playoffs Sunday.
“Things are starting to turn around,” Yankees manager Hal Wheeler said. “We spanked the ball pretty good.”
The Yankees opened the tournament with blowout wins over the Chico Bandits and the Yuba City Rebels. They pounded the Bandits, 15-5, on Friday and then hammered the Rebels, 17-4, on Saturday. Both games were ended after five innings by the 10-run rule.
On Sunday, the Yankees were forced to rally from four runs down to beat the Sparks Tribe, 10-9.
The Yankees will play the Sacramento A’s, who also won three games in the first half of the tournament, Sunday at 10 a.m. at Lampe Park in the divisional playoffs.
A championship game featuring the two division winners is scheduled for Sunday at 5 p.m. at Lampe Park.
Wheeler said his squad will face a tough test against the Sacramento A’s.
“They’re a real disciplined team and they’re mostly D-1 college kids,” Wheeler said. “They are very well coached and they are deep in pitching, which is important in tournament play.”
The Chico Bandits didn’t have a lot of depth when they took the field against the Yankees. Chico had only nine players in uniform on Friday.
“They didn’t have any pitching,” Wheeler said. “We’ve been in that position a few times this summer and it’s tough.”
Brian Shultz turned in a great pitching performance in the first three innings of the win over Yuba City. The Yankees scored seven runs in the first inning, which allowed Wheeler to pull Shultz from the game and save him for relief work in the final contest.
Wheeler’s move worked to perfection when Shultz was able to shut down the Sparks Tribe in the ninth inning Sunday night. Gavin Garrick pitched 623 innings of solid middle relief after starter Dave Reed allowed seven runs in 123 innings.
The second half of the tournament starts today and continues through Saturday at Lampe Park.
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