In the second game of their six-game homestand, the Staten Island Yankees (17-16) came back from a three-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning by scoring four runs en route to a 5-4 victory over the Williamsport Crosscutters (17-16).
Staten Island got the scoring started in the bottom of the second inning against Williamsport starter, Brandon Leibrandt. After a Christopher Breen and an Austin Aune double off the right field wall started the inning, shortstop Vicente Conde hit a RBI groundout to short that scored Breen and gave the Baby Bombers a 1-0 lead.
In addition to the RBI singles, Conde made three great defensive plays at shortstop. The ninth-round pick in this year’s draft out of Vanderbil off to a solid start in the New York-Penn League as he has driven in five runs in as many games.
"“He [Conde] has a very high baseball IQ, good baseball awareness. You can tell he has played in the big stage.”, said Staten Island manager Mario Garza, referring to Conde winning the College Series World Series with his school, Vanderbilt, this past June."
In the top of the fourth inning, the Crosscutters were finally able to get on the board against Staten Island’s starter, Jordan Foley (0-0, 1.59), who was the Yankees’ fifth round pick in this year’s draft. After getting just three hits thru the first 3.2 innings against Foley, catcher Deivi Grullon hit a ground-rule double to right field. One batter later, first baseman Rhys Hoskins would hit a two-run homer to dead center field to give Williamsport a 2-1 lead. It was Hoskins’ second home run of the season.
Other than the home run, Foley had his best performance of the season for the Baby Bombers on Thursday night. He gave up two runs on five hits, struck out seven hitters and did not walk a batter over 3.2 innings of work in his second start of the season. I talked to pitching coach, Tim Norton, after the game to get his thoughts on Foley’s outing:
"“His fastball (92-94 mph) jumps on guys. He’s really aggressive”, said pitching coach Tim Norton. “That slider (mid 80’s) was tight.”"
Garza would add that Foley “pounded the zone” and “it’s something we want to see.”
In the following inning, Williamsport would tack on another run against Staten Island pitcher Jonathan Holder, the Yankees’ sixth round selection in this year’s draft. The run scored via a RBI single to right field by shortstop Emmanuel Marrero that gave the Crosscutters a 3-1 lead. Marrero would later get another RBI single off of Holder in the seventh inning to extend the lead to 4-1.
Holder had a solid outing himself, giving up just the two RBI singles on four hits, striking out four batters and walking one. He would end up getting the win in his outing.
For six innings, the Staten Island offense could not get going against Leibrandt, who gave up just one run on three hits. He struck out seven batters and walked one in the no-decision. For the seventh, manager Shawn Williams brought in reliever Nathan Thornhill. That’s when Staten Island mounted their comeback.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Aune would hit a towering solo home run to left center field to cut the deficit to 4-2. It was the right fielder’s first home run of the season and only the second in his professional career. After back-to-back singles from Conde and Connor Spencer, Renzo Martini would draw a walk two batters later to load the bases. That set the stage for center fielder Devyn Bolasky, who would hit a two-run single to center field that would tie the game. On the next batter, Thornhill would throw a wild pitch, scoring Martini, which gave Staten Island a 5-4 lead.
Thornhill would pick up the loss, while reliever Conor Mullee came on in the ninth inning to get the save after Andury Acevedo pitched a scoreless eighth inning. For Mullee, it was his first save of the season and he struck out all three batters he faced in the inning, increasing his total to 18 strikeouts on the season.
Catcher Luis Torrens extended his hit streak to 14 games when he doubled to left field to lead off the fourth inning. He went 1-4 on the night.
The two teams will end their series on Friday night at 7:05 PM ET at Richmond County Bank Ballpark in St. George as the Staten Island Yankees will go for the sweep against Williamsport. David Palladino (3-2, 4.55 ERA) will get the start for Staten Island against Crosscutters’ pitcher, Chris Oliver (0-1, 5.79).