COVINGTON - When two very talented teams confront each other in any sport, at any level, you can be assured your emotions will take you on the roller coaster ride of your life.
Such was the case Saturday when the Major League Yankees outlasted the Braves, 4-3, in a nine-inning battle at City Pond.
The Yankees (11-0) found the going a little tough against the up-start Braves. For the most part, it was a pitching duel between two of the most dominating pitchers in the league.
Yankees ace Devin McDonald and Braves hurler Ty Raynor put on a masterful display of sizzling tapestry for the better part of the game.
"Devin is one of the best pitchers in our league," said Braves coach Darryl Tanner, "but we've got a proven hurler as well with Ty, and he went pitch-for-pitch with Devin."
It was a fairly even matchup between the two with McDonald sending 16 Braves batters to the woodpile without surrendering any walks.
On the flip side, Raynor set down 12 Yankees and walked only six in a classic showing lasting nine innings, while McDonald lasted eight.
The Braves were first on the scoreboard, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning.
Leadoff hitter Robert Gahwiler drove a hard single to center field to get things started. James Heft doubled to plate Gahwiler for the first run of the game.
Evan Tanner followed with a sharp single to left, setting up an RBI opportunity for Jake Mitchell, who delivered with a single to right plating Heft.
And the scoring didn't stop there. Daniel Croom singled to the gap in right-center to plate Mitchell, giving the Braves a 3-0 lead entering the bottom half of the inning.
The Yankees responded with two of those runs of their own after leadoff batter Anthony Bell was hit by a pitch before McDonald hit an RBI single to the outfield gap. Jamal Bradley singled up the middle to score McDonald, pulling his team to within one run heading into the second frame.
Neither team scored again until the bottom of the sixth after McDonald singled to right and stole second and third to set up the RBI opportunity.
Justan Oates hit a shot to right for a double, plating McDonald to even the score, 3-3, entering the eighth.
However, the eighth inning proved scoreless for both teams, leaving them deadlocked to set up a dramatic finish.
McDonald drove a single to deep center to get things started. Avery Fuller, who had previously struck out in his first three trips to the plate, hit a shot to left plating McDonald and giving the Yanks the extra-inning victory.
"They played us tough," said Yankees coach Jesse Johnson, "but our kids never give up, and they proved it today."
Overall, the Yankees recorded six hits, while the Braves doubled that total with a total of 12.