Today was opener for the Gulf Coast League, today was also the day the Yankees would put on an outstanding defensive performance against the visiting Braves. The first inning began with Jonathan Loaisiga as the starter on the mound in which he retired the side in 1,2,3 style while also fanning one batter. Going into the second, Loaisiga was quickly replaced by LHP Dietrich Enns, who was in on a rehab assignment from the Railriders.
Enns started out the game with strong consistency, where he threw 20 strikes and just 2 balls with 4 strikeouts. He also allowed just one hit during his first two innings on the mound in the second and third. Don’t get me wrong, the Braves were making great contact off of Enns’ pitching, but the dynamic never changed as the Yankees backfield locked in and helped their pitcher.
Headed into the 4th, Enns’ only continued his dominance as he pitched a 1,2,3 inning and collected his fifth strikeout. It was at this point that the Yankees offense woke up, started by a Steven Sensley walk and a pair of singles by Jonathan Amundaray and Canaan Smith. With the bases loaded and finding himself down in the count, Lisandro Blanco rocketed an RBI sac Fly to left center that would bring Sensley home and put the Yankees on the board.
From here, Enns’ and the Yankees defense only became more powerful throughout the next three innings. Dietrich left the game and the hands of the Braves empty after the seventh while collecting 8 strikeouts and only allowing 2 hits with no earned runs. Going into the bottom of the 8th, Lisandro Blanco came through again with a big at bat. This time crushing a solo shot over the right field wall to give the Yankees a secure lead to send them into the ninth, where they were just 3 outs away from a successful shut out on opening day.
The Yankees closed the deal on their shutout win in the 9th with Edward Paredes and Chad Martin as the closers for Enns’ stellar performance. This GCL East team really showed their colors as a defensive powerhouse, all led by great pitching. It’ll be exciting to see how the rest of the season pans out for this club.