The New York-Penn League All-Star Game takes place on August 16, and the Staten Island Yankees have three representatives as 2B Nick Solak, 3B Drew Bridges, and RHP Kolton Mahoney will partake in the festivities in Hudson Valley and play for the South All-Stars.
Solak, a second-round pick by the Yankees out of Louisville, currently ranks fifth in the league with a .402 on-base percentage and has three home runs, and 15 runs batted in during his first 39 games with Staten Island. In his last ten games, Solak has a .368 batting average and recorded his most recent home run on the club’s last homestand against the Lowell Spinners. Solak also proved adept in the field with a .981 fielding percentage and quick reflexes at second base.
“When you see the ball well, you try to put a good swing on a good pitch. You are always concentrating working on your swing and for me, it’s been about getting my work in with hitting coach Eric Duncan and being prepared to play. That’s all you can do,” Solak said.
Bridges, a 20th round pick in 2013 out of Carthage High School in Missouri, became an offensive force in his second season with Staten Island, posting a .297/.350/.455 slash line with four home runs, 20 RBI, and a career-high .804 OPS. Tied for the team lead in home runs with Timmy Robinson, Bridges is also stringing together hits in bunches, going 13-out of-37 with three multi-hit games since July 26, including a four- hit game against the Auburn Doubledays on July 31.
“I have been sticking with my approach. There are times where the ball looks like a beach ball up there. I have been putting in a lot of work broadening my pitch selection and getting more aggressive, and it has increased my hit total,” Bridges said.
Mahoney, a graduate of Brigham Young University in 2015, became one of the most consistent starters for the Staten Island Yankees in his second pro season, going 4-3 with a 2.42 ERA in eight games (five starts) and held opponents to a .260 batting average. On July 31, Mahoney pitched a complete game shutout against Auburn and the first complete game in team history since Nik Turley in 2010.
“It’s a real honor to be here,” Mahoney said. “I have been trying to be more consistent with all of my pitches. The good starts I have had are enjoyable. The Yankees are an incredible organization and are known throughout the world, and it’s an honor to represent them and wear the NY.”
With a record of 28-21, the Staten Island Yankees are the thick of the wild card race and for the McNamara Division. Solak, Bridges, and Mahoney are integral pieces in that effort and manager Dave Bialas credits their impact and their All-Star selections.
“They deserve it. They have played hard all year, and they produced. Bridges and Solak are hitting over .300 and driving in runs, and Mahoney had a 1.54 ERA before his last start and he was deserving,” Bialas said.