Baby Bombers Rally Falls Short
Trailing by two runs against the New Jersey Cardinals in the ninth inning, the Staten Island Yankees last ditch effort to tie the game fell short Tuesday night in a 5-3 loss at Richmond County Ballpark. With the bases loaded and two outs, Kyle Larsen swung at Daniel Stevens' first offering, grounding out to second to end the game.
The Cardinals jumped out early plating two runs in the first against starter Dave Seccombe when Calvin Hayes singled home Daniel Nelson and a batter later, Aaron Rogers doubled in Hayes after he stole second.
Staten Island had a chance to tie it right away when they loaded the bases but with one out, Jon Poterson grounded into one of two inning ending double plays to kill the threat. This would be a common theme all night.
"We grounded into three double plays to end innings," noted skipper Andy Stankiewicz. "That's why usually when we do okay, we haven't done that that often. We hit some ground balls right at them which killed opportunities to get something going."
After Staten Island Yankee Player of the Year Brett Gardner got a run back with a second inning single, things got testy in the fourth when backup first baseman Felipe Garcia plowed over catcher Craig Newton to break up another potential inning-ending double play and tie the score. Newton was knocked out of the game replaced by Scott Madden, who had an RBI single later. After the inning, the New Jersey dugout was fuming.
Not willing to risk an injury in his ball club's final regular season game before the playoffs, Stankiewicz pulled Garcia out of the game subbing in Larsen.
"It was a play that he thought he had to do to score and that's fine but part of what we're trying to teach our fellows is professionalism," pointed out Stankiewicz. "You don't want to get up and taunt [opponent] in any way, be disrespectul or unprofessional."
"He's young, an aggressive kid and that's his mentality," said the manager regarding Garcia. "Part of the learning process is not only learning baseball skills but along with that comes professionalism as well."
With the game tied at two, lefty reliever Toni Lara struggled in the sixth and seventh allowing three runs to score. He took the loss to drop to 2-5.
"He was one of our starters earlier and we took him out of that rotation cause he struggled a little bit," Stankiewicz said. "We're trying to help him get his confidence back."
The baby Bombers had another threat in the seventh. Though Jon Poterson's RBI walk cut it to 5-3, Gardner struckout with the bases loaded to end the inning.
That was the kind of night it was.
Stankiewicz still liked his team's chances to bounceback in the postseason. They finished with the best record in the New York-Penn League at 51-23 and will have home field advantage at RCBB, where they finished a league best 29-9.
"We've played well here," he said. "The guys are comfortable here and have routines. So I think it would be to our advantage if we can play a couple of games here."
It should be an interesting ride.