Saturday February 25th, 2017 – On perhaps the hottest day of this long Buenos Aires summer, the Shankee bus languidly rumbled down the streets of Buenos Aires to take-on Japanese Club Nichia Gakuin at home in Bajo Flores.
Packed with power and speed, the Shankees jumped out to an early one-run lead by way of solid hitting and aggressive base-running, something characteristic of manager Jay Bartelli´s style of baseball, which set the tone of the game as the Shankees never looked back. Jeret Adair (4-5) led the way for the Shankee offense with three singles, a sac fly, and a solo-homerun over the monster wall in left center. Gabriel Di-Sabatino also had a huge day by going 3-4 with three singles and four runs scored, not to mention taking one for the team; twice. Fabian Placencia went 2-4 with two singles and three RBIs, while slugger Sammy Carter struggled to get in the groove. However, the big righty from Los Angeles hit a sharp single in the top of the ninth to drive-in a couple insurance runs.
Defensively, Fabian Placencia, who threw 116 pitches last week in a win over the Venezuelan Criollos, was back on the mound for the Shankees. Seemingly unfazed by the heat, Placencia revved-up in the fourth and dominated throughout eight innings with 9ks and zero runs allowed. Placencia also adjusted very well to the assortment of battery mates; Ivan Zapata, Marco Fonseca, and Iñaki Picco, all in their debut as Shankees. The former, Zapata from Venezuela, has all the makings of a superstar behind the dish.
Team Nichia Gakuin, deep in Argentine baseball history and consisting of mainly Japanese players, threatened to score on a few occasions. A lead-off single by Kogakenji (3-5 with two singles and a stolen base) and a walk by Kuda was followed by a pass ball that put both runners in scoring position. However, the Shankee infield, which ticked like a Swiss watch behind team captain, Mariano Boccardo, who made several phenomenal plays at short, third baseman Cesar Bracho, and second baseman, Gabriel Di-Santino, combined perfectly with Jeret Adair at first. Pitcher Angelo Martinez entered the game in the 8th in relief of Placencia and pitched superbly, while older brother, Wilfredo Martinez in left, Julio Bracho in right, and Sammy Carter in center, saw little action as few balls found their way into the outfield. It was Carter who had the most fun, throwing out a man at first from center and making a diving catch in the bottom of the ninth to seal the Shankees victory. Final Score: Shankees 14 – Nichia 3Next week the Shankees are once again at Daom to host the Japanese Association team from La Plata. Go Shankees!
Reporting for the Shankee Press, Jack Green.