Yard Gnomes Baseball

“Yard Gnomes Go Yard Twice In 11-5 Besting Of South Wake Shakes; Brannigan Wins Post-Game Home Run Derby”

June 22, 2024  |  3:37 AM
Written by: Corey Hodges (Play-By-Play/Communications, X: @The_CoreyHodges)


Greenville put the “boom” in “Boomer Night” on Friday at Guy Smith Stadium as the Yard Gnomes not only homered twice in-game but also homered a lot post-game in a special Home Run Derby following the seven-inning exhibition contest.

Following a 2-1 win over the Wilson Tobs (15-8) on Thursday night at Historic Fleming Stadium (a victory that snuffed out a five-game losing skid for the Yard Gnomes), Greenville was back home to start a three-game homestand against the South Wake Shakes (the alternate identity of the Holly Springs Salamanders for select games in 2024) and early on it looked like home was indeed where the heart was for the team from the 252 area code.

Entering the night as the squad with the sixth-fewest homers in the Coastal Plain League, Greenville got hooked on the long ball early as Will Maginnis (Georgia State, 1-4, three RBI) blasted a three-run shot over the left field fence in the 1st inning to put the Yard Gnomes up early over the Shakes.

After South Wake plated two runs in the 2nd, Greenville doubled their fun (or did they triple it?) with another three-run shot in the home portion of the 2nd inning as Jack Herring (Rollins College) went long to increase the Yard Gnomes’ lead over South Wake to 6-2 after the first two frames. While unofficial, the Herring big fly was his team-best fifth such effort of the season (exhibition and official combined).

The Shakes seemed determined to go toe-to-toe with Greenville in the early going of the exhibition game as three runs in the 4th momentarily trimmed South Wake’s deficit to just a run.

Greenville would add five more runs (two in the 4th and three in the 5th) to answer the South Wake response before a couple of first-time pitchers on the season made their way to the bump in the closing stages.

Sean Darnell (UNC Charlotte, 2-4, four RBI, two runs, walk) pitched in the 6th for South Wake in what was his first time doing so this summer in the Coastal Plain League, albeit in an exhibition affair. Joe Siervo (Western Kentucky, 1-2, run, walk) tossed for Greenville in the 7th after he worked the first six innings as the Yard Gnomes’ right fielder and shortstop.

The three-position night for Siervo saw him work a three up, three down inning on the mound as Greenville secured their second exhibition victory of the season following a 12-2 win over the Carolina Pirates on June 9th.

Other performers of note for Greenville in the win over the Shakes were Aden Howard (Dallas Baptist, 2-4, three RBI) and Nick Rodriguez (South Florida, 2-3, walk), both of whom compiled multi-hit games which included one double apiece.

RHP Ryan Lamar (Georgia State) started for Greenville and logged two innings with three strikeouts against three walks and two earned runs. Fellow righty Andres Camargo (East Georgia State), who punched out six Carolina Pirates on June 9th in three innings, continued his habit of impressive control against exhibition opponents for the Yard Gnomes as he relieved Lamar on Friday and struck out a team-best four South Wake batters in his two innings of work.

Southpaw Riley Marcotte (Louisiana Lafyette) made his debut appearance of any kind this season for Greenville against the Shakes and got credit for the exhibition win (1.0 IP, walk, two strikeouts).

Following the feel-good victory for the Yard Gnomes in seven innings of baseball against South Wake, a Home Run Derby was held which included a number of Yard Gnomes players (and a fan from the stands) who all got turns launching baseballs out of hitter-friendly Guy Smith Stadium.

Western Kentucky University teammates Zayd Brannigan and Carlos Vasquez advanced to a swing-off following the first round with the former topping the latter 12 homers to 11 to win the first ever Greenville Yard Gnomes Home Run Derby.

Despite it being a night of good fun all around, the Derby actually had a controversial finish: Vasquez sent a swing-off-tying ball over the centerfield fence as the final seconds of time were announced by Greenville General Manager Michael Villafana but it was ruled that the homer would not count as time had indeed expired before the ball left the bat.

Vasquez’s long face proved to be the only one on display at night’s end in Greenville as perhaps more than anything his reaction to the nail-biting Derby finish proved just how competitive these Yard Gnomes are at anything, whether it counts or not.

Greenville’s homestand continues on Saturday at Guy Smith Stadium as the Peninsula Pilots (15-8) will return to face the Yard Gnomes for meeting number six of the summer between two of the Coastal Plain League’s Eastern Division teams. Peninsula leads the season series 4-1. First pitch on “80s-90s Night” is scheduled for 6:30 PM.