Pelham, N. Y. - Keio visited Pelham on Monday at the aptly named Glover field as the bats stayed mostly silent en route to a 2-1 Keio victory.
Pelham sophomore David Wright went the distance and allowed only six hits but his outing was spoiled by a combination of Keio’s run-manufacturing and a masterful pitching performance from his counterpart, Takumi Yokoyama (seven IP, seven K’s, one ER). Both pitchers hurled a complete game without surrendering a walk.
“This is our game,” Keio coach Rocky Pasquale said of the grind-it-out victory. “Takumi threw an unbelievable game, without him we don’t win.”
Keio opened the scoring in the top of the third after left fielder Kei Kobayashi was hit by a pitch with one out. Two consecutive singles loaded the bases and shortstop Masatoshi Watanabe lifted a long fly ball to center field which was enough to get Kobayashi home on the sacrifice.
Keio struck again in the top of the sixth when catcher Yohei Fujimoto cracked a leadoff single to left field. A single and a sacrifice bunt later and he was on third base when first baseman Riku Kawada lifted what was sure to be a sacrifice fly but was scored an error after the Pelham centerfielder misplayed the ball.
All six of Keio’s hits were singles and the Unicorns took advantage by moving runners over and backing their pitcher up with solid defense.
Yokoyamo stifled the Pelham offense, allowing just three hits through the first five innings before running into trouble in the bottom of the sixth. Senior captain Dylan Tuttle punched one-out single through the left side and made it to second on a fielder’s choice.
Then, junior Joe Bitteto knocked a two-out, pinch-hit double to right-center that scored Tuttle from second and cut the Keio lead to 2-1, marking the only time in the game Yokoyama gave up multiple hits in an inning.
Unfortunately for the Pelicans, Bitteto was stranded on second and Yokoyama closed the door on Pelham in the bottom of the seventh.
In a game where neither team could muster much of an offensive attack, it was Keio’s willingness to play small ball that secured them the win, a trend that Coach Pasquale hopes to continue in the challenging weeks ahead.
“It’s a big win for us,” said Pasquale. “Now we have Fox Lane on Wednesday and Harrison on Thursday so it doesn’t get any easier.”
Keio (2-1) travels to Fox Lane while Pelham (2-2) will be looking to end a two-game losing streak when they host Dobbs Ferry on Tuesday.