Sunday, August 06, 2006

Baby Bombers Rally Falls Short, Drop Debut Series To Massachusetts Rivals

STATEN ISLAND, NY -The Baby Bombers late rally came up short in a 9-6 loss to Lowell (22-23) before 2,466 at Richmond County Ball Park Sunday to drop the rubber match of a three-game set in the debut series against their Massachusetts rivals.

Trailing 9-1 entering their half of the seventh, Staten Island pushed across two to cut it to six. They got even closer with two more to cut it to 9-5 in the eighth when right fielder Wilkins De La Rosa reached on Lowell second baseman Michael Chambers' error which allowed Colin Curtis and Kevin Smith to come around and score. But with two runners on and two out, Lowell's Terry Large got Wilmer Pino to pop out to end the inning.

After reliever Edgar Omana tossed his second consecutive scoreless inning, things got even more interesting in the Bombers' final at bat.

Seth Fortenberry ledoff with a single and advanced to second on right fielder Jeff Vincent's error. Ironically, Vincent was spectacular earlier in the game robbing Curtis and Kyle Larsen of sure hits four innings apart. But now, Staten Island had something cooking and when Fortenberry came into score on a Large wild pitch with one out, suddenly it was a three-run game.

When Larsen singled to center, the Bombers were one man short of the tying run. ut none of that mattered when Large induced Curtis into a game ending 4-6-3 double play to finally salt away the Spinners' second victory in three.

"It was a good win. Anytime you come to Staten Island and play the Yankees- being a Red Sock it's a big win. I mean it's bigger than beating any other team," Vincent said after finishing with three hits, a run scored, an RBI and two defensive gems which took away sure hits. Both were similar with the right fielder covering a lot of territory to make two running catches on the warning track facing the fence. The second was even more spectacular as he dove to rob Larsen of an extra base hit to end the sixth.

"Alan Moss has been working with us on going back on the ball and I just turned around my head, ran as fast as I could and looked up and made the ball and I stuck my glove out and caught it."

After threatening in the first, Lowell stranded runners on second and third with nobody out allowing S.I. starter Francisco Castillo to escape a jam.

But in the second, they jumped in front quickly when first baseman Manny Arambarris turned on Castillo's first offering and deposited it over the left field wall for his first home run of the season. Castillo then lost control of the plate by hitting a batter and walking two more to load the bases with no one out. Despite that, the Spinners managed just one more run on a Paul Smyth RBI fielder's choice. Castillo stranded two more runners by fanning Zach Daeges.

For all Castillo's troubles, he allowed just the two runs in 3.2 innings while striking out six but took the loss to fall to 3-2.

Staten Island cut it to 2-1 in the fourth when third baseman Mitch Hilligoss reached on a Chambers miscue allowing Pino to score from third. Hilligoss was credited with an RBI because Pino would've scored anyway due to Lowell playing the infield back.

Up a run, the Spinners broke the game open with a five-run sixth. After the first three batters reached base, Vincent's RBI single made it 3-1 to knock out reliever Tyler Addison. After Paul Patterson fanned Paul Smyth, Daeges laced a two-run single and Jonathan Still followed with an RBI double to make it 7-1.

"We've been struggling a little bit. We went through a little phase where we weren't couldn't score any runs. So it's nice to get the offense going," Daeges said after driving in two on the day.

"It was a lot closer than it should've been. They only had five hits but we gave up six runs. We made a few mistakes and walked a few guys but we got the win. So that's the most important thing."

In the Spinners' seventh, Chambers crushed a two-run homer to increase the lead to eight, which would prove big before Staten Island rallied to make it much closer.

Notes: Lowell starter Brian Steinocher tossed 4.2 innings without allowing a hit before giving way to Felix Ventura, who recorded a strikeout against the only batter he faced to improve to 3-3. ... Fortenberry's bunt single off Dustin Richardson with one out in the sixth was the Baby Bombers' first hit of the game. ... Before the game, former Red Sox slugger Jim Rice was on hand signing autographs for fans as part of Jim Rice Autograph Day. He also tossed out the third ceremonial pitch to cheers. ... Combined with Brooklyn's win over Tri-City, Staten Island (27-19) fell a game out of first entering a pivotal home-and-home series against the Cyclones the next two nights with it concluding at St. George Tuesday.

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