Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Valley Cats Spoil Baby Bomber Party, Force Deciding Game For Championship

STATEN ISLAND, NY -They were ready to throw a party but the Valley Cats crashed it with a 9-2 rout of the Baby Bombers in Game 2 before 1,266 at Richmond County Ball Park Wednesday night to force a winner take all third game for all the marbles.

It's scheduled to take place Thursday night at St. George if it doesn't rain. As has been a recent trend, inclement weather could push the deciding game for the NY-Penn League Championship back to Friday or Saturday. Either way, they'll get it in eventually.

Aiming for a repeat after coming back to take Game 1 4-2 in Tri-City, not much went right for the Staten Island Yankees on this night. Right away, the Valley Cats got to losing starter Angel Reyes (0-1) by pushing across three to knock him out. When the southpaw missed badly on four straight pitches to walk leadoff hitter Greg Buchanan, trouble immediately arose. A couple batters later with two men on, Reyes lost the strike zone and consecutively walked Jordan Parraz and Jhon Florentino to give the Cats the lead.

It only got worse as Reyes' next delivery resulted in a wild pitch which allowed another run to score. When James Van Ostrand followed with an RBI single to right which scored Parraz to make it 3-0, Reyes' night was done. Edgar Soto limited the damage by retiring the final two batters on a strike out and a ground out.

With Soto keeping Tri-City scoreless the next three innings, it gave Staten Island a chance to get back into the game. They sliced the lead in half in the fourth to make things a little interesting.

With one man out, the Bombers strung together three consecutive hits which cut it to 4-1. After Colin Curtis and Francisco Cervelli singled, first baseman Kevin Smith drove in the first run with a single to center. With runners on the corners Tri-City starter Casey Hudspeth uncorked a wild pitch which allowed Cervelli to score and make it 4-2, moving Smith to second.

But a crucial play would be the turning point. Shortstop Chris Kunda lined out to Buchanan at second, who quickly doubled off Smith to turn it into an inning ending 4-6 twin killing.

Still trailing by two, right fielder Wilkins De La Rosa began the fifth with a single to end Hudspeth's night. Unfortunately for the Baby Bombers, it would pretty much end their chances of coming back. Tri-City reliever Douglas Arguello tossed the final five innings allowing just one hit, a walk while fanning four to pickup the win (1-0).

In fact, he retired the first six including K-ing those four before his teammates broke the close game open with a five-run seventh. Aaron Bulkley ledoff with a solo home run to left off Soto which increased Tri-City's lead to three. After Soto put three of the next four batters on including an intentional pass to Parraz, S.I. skipper Gaylen Pitts went to reliever Luke Trubee to get out of the jam. But after he got Florentino swinging, Van Ostrand delivered the big blow with a grand slam to erase any doubt.

Notes: The game lasted two hours and 33 minutes. ... In relief, Soto went six inning allowing five earned on four hits while walking four and striking out two. ... Staten Island's top four hitters Seth Fortenberry, Wilmer Pino, Mitch Hilligoss and Kyle Larsen were held to just one hit in 12 at bats while K-ing seven times. In sharp contrast, the final five batters Colin Curtis, Cervelli, Smith, Kunda and De La Rosa finished with six of the team's seven hits. ... The do-or-die game is set to take place Thursday night at 7 PM. George Kontos could get the start for the Baby Bombers.

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