Panthers Pitchers Headed To Pan Am Games

KITCHENER — Jasvir Rakkar and Yoennis Yera are teammates on the Kitchener Panthers. But later this month, they'll be opponents playing for their separate countries.

Both pitchers have been selected to pitch in the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, on opposing teams — as Canada and Cuba face off in a division with Colombia and Argentina.

It's a familiar role for both hurlers, who are teammates for the first time this summer on the Intercounty Baseball League team.

Rakkar, a former Chicago Cubs prospect, was a member of the Canadian national team that won gold at the 2015 Pan Ams in Toronto.

Yera, an 11-year veteran with the Matanzas Crocodiles in Cuba's national league, pitched on the Cuban team that took bronze in that same tournament.

For the Panthers, it's tough to lose two of their top pitchers in the final week of the season. But the IBL club says it will be cheering them on.

"We are very proud of both Jas Rakkar and Yoennis Yera for being selected to pitch for their national teams in this important international tournament. This reflects very positively on the calibre of play in the IBL," said Panthers general manager Mike Boehmer.

Both players will join their national teams next week, and are expected to return to Kitchener in time for the IBL playoffs to begin. The club says it will lean on its depth from junior ranks in the meantime to replace Rakkar and Yera.

The Cuban lefty has already departed Kitchener, which hosts Guelph Friday night and slipped out of first place with a 1-0 loss to London Thursday night.

Rakkar is expected to join Team Canada in a few days.

The top two teams from each division will advance to the Pan Am "super round." Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Peru and Nicaragua will comprise the tournament's other division.

Canada and Cuba are scheduled to meet on July 30 — in a televised game that will have special meaning for their Panthers teammates back home.

Kitchener, which travels to Guelph Saturday night, hosts Welland at Jack Couch Park Sunday at 2 p.m.

Twitter: @MercerRecord

Story courtesy of Greg Mercer