Yanks come up empty to start playoffs

MILROY – The third time is always the hardest.

The Milroy Yankees defeated Bird Island twice during the regular season, but the Bullfrogs got the upper hand in the second round of the Corn Belt League playoffs on Wednesday night, defeating the Yankees 9-2 in Milroy.

“We knew they were a good hitting team,” said Milroy manager Ryan Rohlik. “We knew the pitcher we were going to face wasn’t overpowering, but was a good, crafty left-hander. He showed that tonight.

“We left a lot of guys on and that seemed to be the tale of the game.”

Neither team was able to garner runs in the first two innings. Milroy hit into double plays to end threats in its first two innings at the plate.

“We hit into three, almost four double plays tonight,” Rohlik said. “That ended some huge threats for us. We left a ton of guys on base and you hit into a ton of double plays on top of it. It seemed like anything that could happen, did.”

The second time through the lineup, Bird Island strung together five two-out hits in the third inning, driving in three runs to take the lead 3-0.

“They were doing just enough to get the bat on the ball and drop it in front of our outfielders,” Rohlik said. “It’s a credit to them and their hitting.”

In the bottom of the third the Yankees took advantage of a hit and three walks to score their first run. With the bases loaded Eric Dolan drew a full count walk to push the first Milroy run across the plate.

“It was a point where I knew I couldn’t press too hard and try to hit the ball too hard,” Dolan said. “Once I got ahead 3-1 I wanted to be overly cautious. When it got to 3-2, I was looking for one spot and he hit low.”

A quiet fourth inning from both teams followed and the Bullfrogs extended their lead in the fifth, scoring two more runs. Elliot Serbus tried to score the third run, but a well-placed throw from Mahlon Zimmermann to Justin Schlemmer had him out at the plate, ending the inning with Bird Island leading 5-1.

In the bottom half of the fifth Dolan drove in his second run of the game, hitting a single that allowed Brian Dolan to score for the second time, making it a 5-2 game.

“He left a pitch up. I sat back pretty well and shot it through the hole,” Dolan said. “That one felt pretty good.”

The Bullfrogs weren’t done, adding four more runs in the sixth to make it a 9-2 game. The Yankees were unable to score again, despite having a runner in scoring position in the eighth, and lost to Bird Island 9-2.

The loss drops Milroy into the losers’ bracket of the Corn Belt League Playoffs. Their next game will be on Sunday when they face the winner of the Granite Falls/Raymond elimination game.

“We know who we’ll see more than likely, whichever team comes out of there,” Rohlik said. “There’s no secrets between the teams in this league. It’s a tough league.”