STATEN ISLAND-The late Yogi Berra once said that it was “deja vu all over again”.
Despite playing two seemingly completely different games on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Staten Island Yankees lived out that quote it in the most important way possible.
For the second consecutive night, the Yankees topped the Aberdeen IronBirds in walk-off fashion, as DH Timmy Robinson’s RBI single in the bottom of the 9th scored two, giving Staten Island an 8-7 victory. The win follows Tuesday’s flair for the dramatics, where Kendall Coleman, ironically also serving as the team’s designated hitter that night, had a walk-off sacrifice fly to top the IronBirds 1-0.
“It was a great game,” said “Our games have been close all year. These guys have played some very good games against us. Every game is important in the stretch run. These guys are busting their butts every day. They can smell it, they want to get into the playoffs.”
It was part of a big night at the plate for Robinson, who went 3-for-4 with 3 RBI’s on the evening. Prior to his last inning heroics, Robinson crushed a Zach Muckenhin pitch over the left field wall in the bottom of the 5th, his 7th home run of the season. His trio of RBIs gives him 43 on the season, putting him back in the league lead alongside State College’s Vince Jackson.
With the win, Staten Island (36-27) not only secured a series victory over Aberdeen, but also established a small bit of breathing room in the New York-Penn League wild card chase. With both Connecticut and Williamsport losing, they now lead the race for the coveted lone wild card spot by a game and a half and three games respectively. Their magic number to clinch a playoff berth is 12. In addition, by picking up another win at Richmond County Bank Ballpark, the Yankees, at 22-11 are tied with Hudson Valley for the best home winning percentage in the NYPL.
It was almost a win that slipped away from them.
Whereas Tuesday’s walk-off win took a mere 2 hours and 19 minutes to complete, Wednesday’s win went just over 3 hours. In another contrast from Tuesday’s heroics, both teams struggled pitching-wise.
Staten Island jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the opening frame, two runs of which came on an RBI double by Kane Sweeney. The other runs came on Angel Aguilar’s RBI single that scored Ben Ruta, while Sweeney later scored on an error and Dalton Blaser came home on a wild pitch.
However, starting pitcher Austin DeCarr struggled against the Aberdeen (27-36) lineup, removed during a messy 3rd inning. DeCarr went 2 ⅔ innings, allowing 3 runs on hits, walking and striking out a couple each. He was relieved by Chad Martin, who was pitching for the first time in 10 days. After a solid start, Martin struggled as well, allowing three more runs over 3 ⅔ innings thrown. Claudio Custodio (3-0) eventually came in, allowing the go-ahead run, but mostly settling down the Aberdeen bats.
“We had to piggy-back tonight with DeCarr and (Martin),” said Bialas. “DeCarr wasn’t strong tonight, but he only had 60 pitches to work with so his pitch count was down. Martin hadn’t pitched in 10 days, he had a little something with his arm. Custodio came in there did a good job. The guys battled back.”
Now trailing 7-6, Staten Island immediately went to work. Nick Solak, pinch-hitting for Yancarlos Baez, led things off with a walk, and was moved to second on Ruta’s sacrifice bunt. It’d be the only out Aberdeen would tally in the frame, as Aguilar’s single moved Solak to third, before Drew Bridges walked, setting up Robinson’s bases loaded heroics.
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