STATEN ISLAND-Caught in a tenacious chase for the sole wild card spot in the New York-Penn League playoffs, the Staten Island Yankees need to take care of business.
Facing trap games against the Aberdeen IronBirds, the last place team in the McNamara Division, they did so this week, capping off a three-game sweep with a 4-0 victory on Thursday night. Unlike the previous couple, walk-off heroics were not necessary, as Staten Island (37-27) took a 1st inning lead and never looked back.
“We’re working well as a team,” Staten Island manager Dave Bialas said. “Last night we weren’t pitching well, but we swung the bats well. Now tonight we got both.”
The Staten Island scoring was kickstarted by a familiar face, as Timmy Robinson, the hero of Wednesday night’s 8-7 thriller, built on his NYPL RBI lead with not just the opening score on an RBI single that scored Billy Fleming, which proved to be to be the early game-winning run, but also had an RBI double that scored Nick Solak in the 3rd. Robinson himself came around to score when Kane Sweeney drove him in with a RBI single.
It marked the first time since June 19-21, also against Aberdeen (27-37) that Staten Island swept a three-game set.
“We went up to Connecticut (and) scored two runs in 27 innings,” Bialas said. “Then we come here; we start swinging the bat. It’s the way baseball is. The pitching was there, but now the offense is coming together.”
Staten Island’s other run came in the 6th when Kendall Coleman hit his first triple of the season, which scored Sweeney, who went 3-for-3.
With the evening’s offense taken care of, Simon De La Rosa (6-3) took the hill and pitched a dominant 6 frames, lowering his ERA from 3.31 to 2.98. Allowing 4 hits, he let up no runs and struck out 7. Joe Harvey and David Sosebee combined for a trio of innings, ensuring the shutout, the second one in the series after Tuesday’s 1-0 thriller.
The lead in the wild card hunt lost after last weekend’s sweep at the hands of Connecticut, grew to 2 ½ games over the aforementioned Tigers with their loss to Hudson Valley in Wappingers Falls. They also gained a game on their next closest competition, Williamsport, who fell to West Virginia, leading the Crosscutters by four games.
They now head to Batavia to take on the Muckdogs in their lone meetings of the season, a three-game set against the NYPL’s worst team in the standings.
The Yankees, however, vow not to fall into the trap that awaits them in Genesee County.
“Anybody can beat you; I don’t care what their record is,” Bialas said. “I’ve seen it too many times. )But) we’re going to go out there and play our best baseball.”
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