Saturday, April 8th, 2017. Buenos Aires, Argentina. Despite an 80% chance of rain and 99% humidity, players and fans boarded the Shankee bus from the team’s clubhouse in Palermo. One hour and some minutes later, the traffic-weary group arrived to the beautiful Estadio Nacional de Beisbol in Ezeiza and to the revitalizing site of baseball being played in Buenos Aires.
First off the bus was Coach Jay Bartelli, who according to Shankees President, Paul Perry, has done a great job leading the team to a 5-0 record and is an intricate part of the Shankees success puzzle. “Bartelli’s done a fine job taking the Shankees to where they are now. We are playing phenomenal baseball, and that’s thanks to his dedication and effort,” States Perry, on hand to witness another epic battle between these two ball clubs, whose history dates back to the 2009 season and their first final.
The Shankees got it going in the first inning with two outs courtesy of aggressive base running by Jeret Adair and Sammy Carter, and timely hitting by Sean Stevens and Mariano Boccardo. The Cubans battled back in the bottom first and scored a few runs of their own courtesy of a rare pair of Shankee errors perhaps due to a case of Cuban jitters. Nevertheless, the Shankees were set out to give it their all. Starting pitcher Fabian Placencia led the way with his 140 pitches as his defense helped keep the Cuban heavy hitters in check through nine. Starting catcher Lucas Boccardo had a solid day behind the dish, throwing out a pair of Cubans trying for second. The Shankees had a two-run lead going into the bottom of the third thanks to a booming triple into deep left-center by Sammy Carter followed by an RBI sac fly by Mariano Boccardo, who had a 3 rbi day. The Cubans tied the game at five in the bottom sixth but the Shankees defense stepped up and manager Jay Bartelli pulled his offensive strings. Cesar Bracho reached first and quickly stole second. Gabriel Di Sabatino laid down a beautiful bunt along the first base line, causing the Cuban pitcher to overthrow the first baseman allowing Bracho to round third base undeterred as the ball rolled into the vastness of foul territory. Sammy Carter managed to reach third again and tagged up to score off Mariano Boccardo’s second sac-fly, which gave the Shankees the decisive late inning lead. With the Shankees up 7-5 in the bottom of the ninth and its defense clicking, the Cubans chances of a comeback were as slim as the sun breaking through the dark clouds rolling in. The game ended on a controversial call at first base; just before the heavy rains began to fall.
“I’m really happy with what I saw here today. I’ve always felt that success on the field comes from finding the right players and matching them with the right coach. I still find it hard to believe that barely four months ago, the Shankees only consisted of three players. There are now over twenty Shankees on our roster, and all of them got the skills we’re eager to welcome,” stated Perry. Manager Jay Bartelli, for his part, has done what no other Shankee manager before him has been able to; defeat the Cubans twice in a row. The snappy veteran coach from Jersey is boasting the division’s best record and looks poised to lead the Shankees to the pinnacle of Buenos Aires baseball.
At 6-0, the Shankees are atop the A2 division standings and have clinched home field advantage throughout the eminent playoffs. Not since the 2009 season have the Shankees held a 6-0 record, and with a win over the 1-5 Jupiter club next week, Bartelli can carve his name into the Shankee Scrolls of Success. Reporting for the Shankee Press – Jack Green