Thursday, August 17, 2006

Gil's Big Night Helps Baby Bombers Blast Scrappers

STATEN ISLAND, NY -Jose Gil's big night helped the Baby Bombers blast the Scrappers (30-25) 9-2 before 2,601 at Richmond County Ball Park Thursday night.

In their return to the field after the All Star break, Gil got the start behind the plate in place of All Star Francisco Cervelli and made the most of it by going 3-for-4 with a home run, three RBI's and two runs scored. The outburst was good enough to move Staten Island (32-22) a half game ahead of the Cyclones for first in the McNamara Division due to Brooklyn's 2-1 loss to Auburn.

"Offensively, yes," Gil remarked about his breakout game. "It was the first time I did that this year. That's my best game here ever."

"I did well in batting practice and I did well in the game."

In their first game back home in nine days, the Bombers got to Mahoning Valley starter David Huff (0-1) right away by pushing across three in the first. After Mitch Hilligoss singled, Seth Fortenberry came around to score the first run when center fielder Steven Douglas booted the ball, allowing Hilligoss to also take second. Consecutive two out runscoring hits by Colin Curtis and Wilmer Pino increased the lead to three.

"I don't know what it was but we were patient and squared up well," Curtis noted after also coming up with a splendid diving catch in center to rob Cirillo Cumberbatch of an extra base hit. "Maybe the couple of days off helped us but you never know. We just kind of came out, had a nice day and did a good job."

They tacked on another run in the second thanks to a Wilkins De La Rosa single up the middle which scored Gil, who ledoff with a base hit. The big blow came in the next frame. With one out and two men on base, the switch hitting Gil crushed relief pitcher Michael Eisenberg's offering over the right field fence to make it 7-0.

"I was just trying to hit the ball," he said after his second dinger of the season came from the left side. "I wasn't looking for that to happen. I just hit it and it went."

"I was glad to see it," skipper Gaylen Pitts pointed out. "That's what competition does. He sees the other guy doing well and he wants to get in the act too. He turned on that one ball. He hit the ball hard tonight and had a good game...That's what winning and competition does for you."

The seven runs were plenty for S.I. starter George Kontos, who improved to 7-2 by tossing five and two-thirds scoreless while fanning eight.

"We put some runs up on the board early. [Kontos] didn't have his best game but he pitched out of trouble," Pitts said. "That's the way you got to pitch when you have a lead."

A Pino sixth inning RBI double plated Kyle Larsen to make it 8-0. Scrappers' left fielder Kelly Edmundson broke up the shutout with a solo homer to left off reliever Luke Trubee in the seventh. Mahoning Valley also got their other run later in the frame before Pino closed out the scoring by delivering his fourth hit of the night- an RBI single to left.

Notes: Gil and Pino combined to go 7-for-9 with three runs scored, a HR and six RBI's (three each). ... Coming off an MVP performance in the All Star game Tuesday in Aberdeen, Hilligoss finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored. The third baseman was plunked in his final at bat in the back and was bandaged up afterwards. ... Every Bomber in the lineup reached base. ... The four-game homestand continues later tonight when Staten Island hosts Mahoning Valley in the second game of a three-game set which concludes Saturday. They then conclude the stand Sunday with a crucial home-and-home against Brooklyn.

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