The smile on Blair Veenema’s (Rochester) face said it all. The lefty struck out Mike Perkins (UNC-Charlotte) to retire the side in the seventh, and the Webster Yankees went on to defeat the Elmira Pioneers 8-4.
After a rocky start Veenema tamed the league’s top-hitting team.
Elmira entered the game with a team batting average of .288, and the Pioneers showed why as they banged out seven hits and four runs in the first two innings. From there Veenema settled into a brilliant pitching performance limiting the Pio’s to two singles over five innings. Elmira did not get a base runner beyond first after the second inning.
“Those first two innings were rough,” said Veenema. “I was getting everything up in the zone.”
The rough start prompted a visit to the mound from Coach Mike Kelly.
“He was honest in his assessment,” commented the Coach. “He knew they were hitting all of his pitches, but he obviously made the necessary adjustments.”
Veenema earned his fifth win of the season. “I got away with a couple in the third, but after that I got my legs under me and started picking my spots.”
Kelly went to his bullpen in the eighth, and they didn’t disappoint.
Jacob Bernath (Toledo) retired the heart of the Elmira lineup in order. Wade Gaynor(Western Kentucky), Philip Cahill (Siena), and Jake Wells (Western Kentucky) managed three routine ground balls in the frame.
Bryan Gardner (Ithaca) came on and slammed the door shut in the ninth for his fifth save of the season. Gardner struck out JJ Edwards and Mark Carlson (Lynchburg) before inducing a ground ball from David Valesente (St. Joseph’s).
Dan Bertolini (Mercyhurst) led a thirteen hit attack with a double, triple, two runs batted in, and a run scored. Bertolini’s two-out triple in the third gave the Yanks a lead they would not relinquish.
Joe McIntyre(NC A&T) ripped a one-out single in the stanza, and Josh Johnson (Toledo) followed with a walk. Marcus Nidiffer (Kentucky) followed one out later with his first of three hits on the evening. McIntyre scored on the hit. Bertolini kept the merry-go-round moving as Johnson and Nidiffer scored.
For the second week in a row McIntyre earned NYCBL Player-Of-The-Week honors. The native of Fuquay-Varina batted .533 last week with 5 RBI’s and four runs scored. With his two hits tonight McIntyre improved his average to .426. He leads the league with forty-six hits and twenty-four runs batted in.
Mark Stuckless (MCC) had two hits and a run scored.
Gary Helmick (Towson) went yard in the fourth for his second RBI of the game.
Nelson Santos (NC A&T) ripped two singles, stole a base, and scored a run.
Webster improves to thirteen wins and fifteen losses to stay in the thick of the NYCBL West race. The Yanks have beaten the second-place Pio’s in three of four meetings on the campaign.
The Yanks travel to Geneva to take on the Red Wings Friday. Game time is 730pm at McDonough Park. Josh Brown gets the ball for Webster.