Saturday, August 19, 2006

Baby Bomber Pitchers Make Four Run Second Stand Up, Sweep Scrappers

STATEN ISLAND, NY -A four run second was good enough for the Baby Bombers to post their third straight victory over the Scrappers (30-27) 4-2 to sweep the series before 2,185 at Richmond County Ball Park Saturday night.

In a game which needed only two hours and 17 minutes to complete on an overcast night, Staten Island (34-22) moved two games up on Brooklyn (rained out) for the division lead entering a key home-and-home starting later today when the Bombers host their Verrazano rivals.

"It was good to get the sweep," center fielder Colin Curtis said after making a diving catch to rob Andrew Lytle of a leadoff hit in the ninth and help closer Nick Peterson get the Scrappers in order for his 12th save.

"Get a couple of games up on Brooklyn. We're gaining some games on them before we face them this weekend which is good for our team."

The offense was supplied in odd fashion during the second. After the first two batters were retired, Staten Island catcher Francisco Cervelli reached on Mahoning Valley shortstop Joshua Rodriguez' errant throw. It opened the door for them to get to losing starter William Delage (1-6).

After Jose Gil singled to put runners on the corners, Chris Kunda walked to load the bases for Wilkins De La Rosa. De La Rosa legged out an infield single to short but wound up with two RBI's because on the throw to first, Gil headed home and was able to sneak his hand around catcher Brent Lacy's tag with a nifty hook slide.

"I was going to avoid the tag no matter what. When I saw that [Lacy] came out for the ball, I went the other way and got my hand in," the DH pointed out after finishing with two hits. In the first S.I. win over Mahoning Valley Friday, Gil also was the hitting star with three hits including a three-run homer.

"I thank God for what's going on with my hitting. I work hard to get to this point."

With runners on the corners still, Seth Fortenberry knocked in the third run with a clean single to right. That's when De La Rosa took advantage of the Scrappers' second mistake. While he was going to third, right fielder Cirillo Cumberbatch overthrew the base which allowed De La Rosa to score Staten Island's fourth unearned run of the frame.

"It's a good feeling to get a sweep. Going in with a little momentum going into the Brooklyn series," Fortenberry said after his big base knock. "It's going to be a big day tomorrow. We got to come out ready to play and try to take the first one from Brooklyn and get ready to go play at their place."

Staked to a four-run lead, S.I. starter Tim Norton pitched six strong innings allowing just an unearned run in the fifth on a wild pitch while fanning eight to pickup his second victory.

"We're playing pretty well," manager Gaylen Pitts noted. "Our starting pitching is what's setting the tone. Our starters like Norton tonight, Conroy the night before and Kontos are giving us innings. Quality innings and if you score a few runs, it helps you win. It makes a difference."

"[Norton] is turning it on. He's had three real good quality starts here the last three starts. He's been more aggressive in the zone and going after guys. He's starting to throw a little slider. Tonight he had a pretty good forkball. He's getting ahead of hitters and being aggressive."

Also supplying solid relief work was Justin Keadle, who gave up just one unearned run in the eighth put went two solid innings striking out two before turning it over to Peterson.

"Keadle did an outstanding job. Came in threw strikes and kept the ball down," Pitts added. "I can't say enough about our bullpen. Our bullpen's been outstanding all year."

Notes: All six runs were unearned due to a combined five errors. Mahoning Valley finished with two while Staten Island had three. ... Third baseman Mitch Hilligoss sat out his second consecutive game with a sore lower back due to being hit there in Friday's win. Tim O'Brien manned the hot corner for the second game in a row and batted third, finishing hitless with a walk. ... Baby Bombers host Cyclones today at 4 PM to conclude the four-game homestand at St. George before heading to Brooklyn for one, Aberdeen for two and Hudson Valley next Thursday.

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