PELHAM, N.Y. Before the season, Keio Baseball Coach Rocky Pasquale said that his team would play plenty of small ball throughout the year.
The Unicorns (2-1) earned a 2-1 victory at Pelham (2-2) on Monday largely because of that style and strategy. Takumi Yokoyamas complete game certainly helped, as well.
This is our game, Pasquale said of the low-scoring affair. Takumi just threw an unbelievable game today. Without him, we dont even come close to winning this game.
Yokoyama held Pelham, normally a potent hitting team, to just one run on five hits. He closed the door on the game in the bottom of the seventh with a runner on second base.
Seichiro Usui was behind the plate in that inning despite his limited experience in that role. So Pasquale gave his pitcher plenty of leeway and trust in crunch time.
We let Takumi call his own pitches in that last inning, Pasquale said. And you know what? Sometimes thats a good thing. I think sometimes we over coach a little too much and I want my pitchers throwing what theyre comfortable with, too, but we also want them to be smart.
Keio held a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, in which Pelham finally scratched across a run. In the bottom of the seventh with two outs, Spike Manning reached first base on an error. He stole second to get into scoring position, but a ground ball to the left side of the infield ended the potential rally and the game.
The Unicorns finished with two runs on six hits and committed two errors.
Pelham Coach Brian Leighton said that his team will have to learn how to win a game like this one, particularly with the switch to BBCOR bats.
This year, I feel like with these bats, were going to be in a lot of tight ballgames and we have some pretty good pitching ourselves, so I definitely see us in tight games, Leighton said.
He added that the team did all it could in the rally in the late innings but said the Pelicans needed to take advantage of opportunities earlier in the afternoon.
Earlier on, we had guys on first. We failed to sacrifice them over twice, and in a tight game, those are huge plays because you never know whats going to happen. You get the bunt down. They might throw it away, Leighton said. We just put ourselves in a hole.
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