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Oakland wins in first KO round against Yolo

    Oakland Ballers

June 7, 2024 – Pioneer League (PL)
Oakland Ballers news story

OAKLAND, CA – The Ballers earned their second win of the series in knockout fashion tonight against the High Wheelers, 2-1, after playing to an 8-8 tie after nine full innings.

Oakland opened game three with a bang, as Dondrei Hubbard fired a two-run bomb in the bottom of the first inning to start the scoring. It was Hubbard’s team-leading fourth home run of the season, and his second in the series against Yolo.

History was made on the mound for the Ballers as starting pitcher Kelsie Whitmore became the first woman to start a game in Pioneer League history. Whitmore got off to a strong start as she recorded a scoreless first frame and surrendered an unearned run in the top of the second inning. The Yolo offense would find its footing the second time around, as solo home runs from Bobby Lada and Braedon Blackford gave the High Wheelers a 3-2 lead.

Oakland responded quickly, pushing the tying run across in the bottom of the third inning as Myles Jefferson picked up his 14th RBI of the season and Payton Harden scored from 2nd base. Whitmore would leave the game without a decision and pass the ball to the bullpen, where Zach St. Pierre made his home debut for the Oakland faithful.

St. Pierre retired the first six batters he faced, as he and Yolo starter Brandon McPherson exchanged zeros on the scoreboard in the fourth inning. However, midway through the ballgame, Oakland would regain the lead, scoring two unearned runs in the bottom of the 5th inning thanks to a pair of fielding errors by the High Wheelers.

Leading 5-3, Oakland looked for St. Pierre to post a big shutdown inning, but the top of the 6th inning saw Yolo retake the lead as she put together a 5-run frame to jump out to an 8-5. benefit. Although Yolo had only three hits in the inning, and an untimely throwing error by pitcher Connor Richardson on what could have been an inning-ending double play extended the frame and allowed the High Wheelers to score some early insurance runs.

The Ballers would soon fire back as Noah Martinez led off the bottom of the inning with his second home run of the season, cutting the Yolo lead to just two runs. Oakland would continue the comeback attempt as Dan Covino tied the game just one inning later with his first professional home run. A 2-run blast from the Oakland second baseman tied the game at 8-8 heading into the final two innings.

Both sides threatened but neither scored as Reed Butz for the Ballers and Connor Langrell for the High Wheelers danced out of trouble to send this game into a knockout round.

In the knockout, both teams may choose one batter to compete against each other. Each player is given two minutes, or five outs, to hit as many home runs as possible. Justin Kirby was selected to the Yolo squad and only hit one home run before he was done. The Ballers sent out slugger Dondrei Hubbard, who wasted no time sending two baseballs deep into the Oakland night and securing the victory for his team. With the win, the Ballers improve to 9-6 on the season and are just three games back of first place in the Pioneer League. They face Yolo tomorrow night for game four of the series and will look to secure a win and move one step closer to a series win. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:35 PM PT and you can purchase your tickets at oaklandballers.com or listen live on 860AM The Answer.

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