STATEN ISLAND, NY – For the eleventh time in franchise history the Staten Island Yankees participated in postseason play as they began the New York-Penn League semifinals at home against the top-seeded State College Spikes. The Baby Bombers entered Game 1 with the best home record in the league at 26-12, but State College combined dominant pitching with timely hitting in a 3-0 shutout over Staten Island, who now sit one loss away from elimination.
After starting in the NYPL championship series against West Virginia a year ago, Kolton Mahoney opened a playoff series for Staten Island once again but fell behind quickly with three consecutive hits surrendered in the first inning and the first run coming on a Ryan McCarvel RBI single.
The Spikes entered the postseason with the fourth-best batting average in the league and continued their offensive success when they collected two more runs in the third inning on Andy Young‘s two-run home run to left field. Mahoney would settle down and throw a respectable five innings, allowing seven hits and three runs.
“Kolton left his fastball pretty much in the hitter’s hot spots early on, primarily on the two-run home run. He continued to battle from that point and threw some good innings for us and did a good job. State College hit balls in certain holes against us and took advantage,” Staten Island manager Dave Bialas said.
In Game 1, State College gave the ball to Franklinville, NJ native Bryan Dobzanski, who kept Staten Island out of the hit column until Dom Thompson-Williams reached base with two outs in the third to ignite a potential rally. Staten Island eventually loaded the bases for the league’s leading producer Timmy Robinson, who flew out to center field and allowed State College to escape the inning unharmed.
The Baby Bombers left two more runners on base and could not get into any offensive groove against Dobzanski despite four walks in his first five innings. Dobzanski collected his first postseason victory tossing 98 pitches in six shutout innings.
“We had a chance with the bases loaded in the third inning, but their starter pitched well out there for them tonight,” Bialas said. “It was simply a case of good pitching beating good hitting, and their pitching was able to shut us down, and we weren’t able to get back into the game.”
Dobzanski gave way to lefty reliever Jordan DeLorenzo in the seventh inning and provided a contrasting style on the mound. Working the final three innings for State College, DeLorenzo recorded the save with six strikeouts, including fanning the side in the ninth inning.
“We had all left-handers in the lineup when he came into the game. We have had some difficulties with left-handed pitching all year, but he was able to mix his pitches effectively. He had a good breaking ball out there, and he pitched extremely well the last three innings.”
Despite facing elimination after dropping the first game of the series, the Staten Island Yankees remain confident they can take the next two games on the road since the dropped the first game of a mid-August series to State College and rebounded to take two of three on the road. Bialas also sites the resiliency of his team during the final month of the season as a reminder of their potential facing adversity.
“It’s very important to establish a winning culture at this level. That’s what we have been doing all year. These guys know how to win. They have been down in a three-game series after losing the first game before. In these playoffs, it is about pitching, defense, and timely hitting. This is baseball. Anything can happen.”
The Staten Island Yankees will travel to State College for Game 2 on Thursday night and send Freicer Perez (2-4, 4.47 ERA) to the mound to stave off elimination against Texas native Jordan Hicks (6-2, 2.97 ERA). If the series extends to a third game on Friday, Simon De la Rosa (6-4, 3.38 ERA) will take the mound for the Baby Bombers opposed by right-hander Carson Cross (5-6, 3.24 ERA) in his second season with State College.