Sometimes, all you need is a little heart

Sports are a funny thing. Most of the time, the team with the most talent goes out on the field, does the work they are supposed to do and leaves with the win.

But not always.

Tuesday was a tough day for the Pulaski Yankees. Two more key players were called up to the next level. That’s a great thing for those two players, and I have no doubt that everyone in the Pulaski clubhouse wishes them all the best in Charleston.

But the facts are the facts, and those two players left what most would consider two big holes in the lineup. Two of the biggest power hitters were gone. Two of the top batting averages are no longer there.

Instead of seeing it as a negative, the Pulaski Yankee players stepped up to the challenge. They took advantage of the chance to be in the spotlight.

Eric Wagaman has shown promise of great things all season, but Tuesday his teammates needed somebody to take charge. How did he respond? He finished the game 3 for 5 with a double, two RBIs, two runs scored and a ninth-inning home run that tied the game.

The rest of the team picked up the pace as well. They finished the game with 10 hits and no errors. The lack of errors was a very pleasant surprise considering there were several players taking their first night at a position they haven’t played very much this season.

The crowd wasn’t huge Tuesday. The possibility of rain and slightly cooler temperatures kept some fans in the comfort of their homes listening to the game on the radio or online. Those who did come out, however, were rewarded with a great team effort by a team that stepped up to the plate (pun intended) and got the job done when they had to.

Usually about this point in the season is when some fans – and to be completely honest, that includes me – start moving away from spending so much time with baseball to start getting focused on football. We still hit the occasional game just to keep up with the finish, but football is big news in this part of the world.

I believe I may have been convinced Tuesday to stick around just a little bit longer.

Heart, grit, effort, “want to” or whatever else you may call it still mean a lot to some people, myself included.

The Pulaski Yankees have 29 games remaining in the regular season. They have a current record of 26 wins and 12 losses. To make it into the playoffs, they need to finish in the top two spots in the Appalachian League East Division. The top two teams, Bluefield and Pulaski, are separated by just half a game. Danville is in third, 6.5 games back.

Considering the top two teams in the league face off tonight at historic Calfee Park, I can think of nowhere else I would rather be. Come on out to the ballpark, eat a hot dog and cheer on the home team.

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