Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bomber bats spring to life during win streak

STATEN ISLAND, NY- The offense is here. It had to happen eventually.

After a slow start in which they produced only four total runs in three straight losses to fall to 1-4, the Baby Bombers have finally got it going during a current three-game win streak in which they've outscored opponents 24-13.

That included an 8-5 victory at home last night over Hudson Valley to get back to .500. In the win, Staten Island produced its first two home runs of the season with second baseman Damon Sublett smacking a two-run line drive to right in the fifth and first baseman Chase Odenreider two innings later going deep to left with his own two-run shot which gave the ballclub some much needed insurance.

Especially when the Renegades' Henry Wrigley cameback with a two-run shot of his own an inning later which proved to be the final margin.

“It’s always big to keep adding runs. It gets them down and then if you look back, the kid hits a two-run homer, it’s a different game,” right fielder David Williams pointed out.

“I finally connected with one but I got to give it to our defense played well and our pitchers threw really well also," Odenreider added.

The offensive production was a welcome sight.

“We’re starting to come around a little bit. It’s a lot more fun winning and looking forward to the next few games,” the first baseman also said as his team got ready to leave for Hudson Valley. They'll attempt to complete a sweep later tonight before playing three at Aberdeen starting Thursday.

One of the things most agreed on was that getting adjusted at this level would take a little time because you had a lot of college players who used metal bats as compared to wood.

"I think with all the college kids coming from the aluminum bats over to the wood, it takes a little time adjusting," left fielder D.J. Hollingsworth eluded to. "They're really good players. So I think it's starting to click for them."

"Yeah. I think everybody is getting pretty comfortable now and we're getting lofty a little bit. This is going to be a good team. So hopefully, we can keep swinging it," Sublett noted after his first professional homer.

"I think it's just time to come around," Williams added after a two hit night. "A lot of us are coming out of college. We're using metal bats. Obviously, pitching is a step up and using the metal bat, there's always an adjustment. So I think probably a week, two weeks in, we're starting to get the hang of it. We're getting good pitches to hit."

The recent turnaround couldn't have come at a better time for first-year skipper Mike Gillespie.

“It’s giant. Giant," he explained. "I think guys are getting to know each other a little more. Getting a feel for what this level is all about. I’m very encouraged by what we’ve seen. Not just the wins. But by the way they’ve looked and the way they’ve handled themselves.”

One aspect the former USC manager has been encouraged by is that it's not just a couple of guys.

"It's the best nights we've had with the bats. And down through the lineup. Several guys. Guys that don't get to play all the time who haven't done a whole lot when they have played. The homerun by Odenreider was giant. Hollingsworth had a good night. Did a couple of things real well. Sublett has done a lot of good things for us. [Austin] Krum has come to life a little bit."

He also singled out one of his key role players who could be vital this summer to the team's success.

"[Justin] Snyder's a good player. He's a versatile player. He's a real valuable player. This summer, I wouldn't be surprised if he'll play six different positions," about the leadoff man who manned the hot corner Tuesday night and was on-base four different times (2 hits, 2 walks) with a run scored.

"He's got a good chance to be a real good professional utility player."

With three more players coming who Gillespie hinted should all see playing time, things are looking up for the Bombers.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Baby Bombers use long ball to power past Renegades

STATEN ISLAND, NY- The long ball helped the Baby Bombers win their third consecutive game. Behind two-run home runs by second baseman Damon Sublett and first baseman Chase Odenreider, the Staten Island Yankees got back to .500 (4-4) by posting an 8-5 win before 5,094 at Richmond County Bank Ballpark Tuesday night.

The homers were the team’s first of the season in the eighth game.

“It was big. We’ve kind of been up and down with how we’ve been playing and stuff like that. We’ve been trying to put it together. So these first two victories in this series have been pretty good for us,” expressed left fielder D.J. Hollingsworth after a productive two-for-four night which included an RBI single in the third to give his ballclub an early two-run lead.

Leading by two, the Bombers knocked knuckleballer Diego Echeverria (0-2) out of the game in the fifth. With third baseman Justin Snyder having led off the inning with a walk and a swipe of second, it set the stage for Sublett who came up against reliever Claudio Rodriguez after Echeverria got Luis Nunez to line out to left.

Rodriguez fell behind Sublett 3-1 and paid the price when the second baseman lined his first professional homer over the right field fence to double the Bombers’ lead.

“I got some pitches to hit today and I was actually able to do something with it instead of fouling it off like I’ve been doing the last week,” he said after two hits, two walks and a couple of runs scored to go with his first dinger. “[Rodriguez] threw the same pitch earlier in the at bat and so he came back with the same one and this time, I didn’t miss it this time.”

Of the long ball, he remarked, “Hopefully there will be a whole bunch more of those to come.”

Before the inning was out, they would add a run on a two out single by DH Chris Raber. In the sixth, a Nunez sacrifice fly scored Hollingsworth to put them up six after the speedy outfielder ledoff with a bunt single.

Trailing 6-0, the Renegades made things interesting against reliever Angel Reyes by batting around for three runs in the seventh.

Angel Fermin’s double to left was just out of a diving Hollingsworth’s reach to score a couple and break up the shutout. After Reyes got the second out, he didn’t retire another batter. The southpaw loaded the bases on a walk and single. He walked in the third run when he lost Shawn O’Malley to suddenly make it 6-3. But Jason Kiley came in to put out the fire by getting Greg Sexton swinging.

With their lead sliced in half, they responded thanks to Odenreider, who drove a Noah Booth pitch over the left field wall to score center fielder Austin Krum after he ledoff the seventh with a ground rule double. It put them back up five.

“We needed this boost. Our pitching is doing great,” a pleased Odenreider explained. “I finally connected with one but I got to give it to our defense played well and our pitchers threw really well also.”

“Definitely a big home run,” pointed out right fielder David Williams who was right in the middle of things with two hits of his own plus an RBI and run scored.

“It’s always big to keep adding runs. It gets them down and then if you look back, the kid hits a two-run homer, it’s a different game.”

Hudson Valley didn’t go away. The very next inning, Henry Wrigley went yard off Kiley to cut it to 8-5. But that was as close as they got.

Closer Nick Peterson worked around a one out double, fanning Sexton to end it for his second save.

“We’re starting to come around a little bit. It’s a lot more fun winning and looking forward to the next few games,” added Odenreider as his team gets ready for one more at Hudson Valley before a three-game trip to Aberdeen.

Notes: Somewhat lost in the shuffle of all the offense was a solid performance from victorious starter Ryan Zink, who permitted just one hit while walking two and striking out one over the first five to notch his first win.

“He’s awesome. Just like all our pitchers who are throwing strikes, getting people out and we’re starting to put runs up on the board. So they get wins,” Williams added. “They deserve it.”

“Tremendous,” skipper Mike Gillespie said. “I don’t know if we were all in the room the other day but we were talking about the program of number of innings and or number of pitches. I think after four, he threw 41 pitches. So he could’ve gone more. That’s the deal. We know it.”

The former USC manager was equally as impressed with how his players have responded to a tough start by stringing together the last three to get out of the basement in the McNamara Division:

“It’s giant. Giant. I think guys are getting to know each other a little more. Getting a feel for what this level is all about. I’m very encouraged by what we’ve seen. Not just the wins. But by the way they’ve looked and the way they’ve handled themselves.”

According to him, the club will be getting another catcher later today when Brian Baisley returns from Charleston. It’s expected that Brandon Ketron will move up. Baisley was on last year’s championship team and should provide some much needed experience.

Four S.I. Yanks had multi-hit games including Sublett, Hollingsworth, Williams and Snyder (2-for-3, 1 run).

The Baby Bombers don’t return home until Sunday for a matinee against Hudson Valley in another three-game set.