Thursday, July 05, 2007

Betances Shows Poise and Promise

STATEN ISLAND, NY - It's one thing to not allow a run when you have your best stuff but quite another when you're working your way through batters without it.

That's what Dellin Betances was able to do well enough in his fourth Penn League start against the Cyclones last night before a near packed house of 6,011 who celebrated part of their Independence Day by taking in an exciting 4-3 eleven inning Baby Bomber victory over the Cyclones at St. George.

Despite creating a couple of jams with a loss of control (six walks), Betances was able to pitch his way out of trouble by showing tremendous poise. One particular instance in the third inning saw the young 19 year-old hurler load the bases on three walks with two outs. He then went to a full count on Brooklyn first baseman Jason Jacobs before freezing him with an unhittable pitch which painted the outside corner to get out of it.

“I was glad to get that pitch cause I was kind of [upset] that I walked the bases loaded. So I was glad I got that last strike to strike [Jacobs] out,” Betances said after getting a no decision.

That kind of ability is what excites first-year skipper Mike Gillespie about his 19 year-old pupil who starred for Grand Street High School before being selected by the Yankees in last year's draft in the eighth round. Blessed with a fastball which can reach the mid-90's, he also possesses a wicked knuckle curve and changeup in his arsenal, giving Bronx Bomber fans plenty to get excited about. In 18 innings thus far, he had a 1-1 record with a 3.00 ERA and has whiffed 22.

“I liked the way he kept his poise and sort of pushed his way through it. I think he is a mature kid. I personally have been very impressed with his maturity beyond his years. I haven’t seen him be rattled," the manager noted as his team prepared for the second game of a three-game set scheduled for Thursday night at Keyspan Park.

Betances was pleased that he was able to get through four and two thirds without allowing a run despite unusual conditions on the Fourth of July.

"It was pretty hard just being that the rain and stuff but I managed through it and we actually got a win. So that was good," he pointed out.

If the weather wasn't ideal, then the plate umpire who passed on a couple of borderline strikes which led to walks probably didn't help in that regard either. However, Betances didn't seem to mind how it was called.

"It's alright. You just can't think about it too much cause you got more pitches to worry about. He was alright. The rain probably had an affect."

The lanky righty who's listed at 6-9 230 in the Staten Island Yankee program never buckled despite some gritty at bats by the Cyclones. He also got Jacob Eigsti to line out to short for a 6-5 inning ending double play in the fourth stranding two more runners at the corners.

Most encouraging for Betances was that he finished strong by getting Micah Schilling looking and Ender Chavez swinging before departing to a nice ovation after reaching his pitch count (89 pitches). He finished the night striking out six Cyclones.

"I was glad after that I was able to bounce back and get those two guys out but I reached my pitch count. So I had to come out. There was no way I could've thrown to that last guy."

"He can finish a hitter if he's at 85 and that's what happened with the previous hitter. But he couldn't start another new hitter," informed Gillespie who also lamented having to take his starter out.

"I dreaded that trip to the mound with one out to go and he did not want to come out. He wasn't thrilled. There was no issue over it but he wanted to stay in the game."

For the New York resident, he was excited to be able to pitch for the home club in such a great environment against their Verrazano rival.

"It's a great feeling. We had a lot of fans today. I was glad we got the win. So it's a great feeling just being here in front of the home fans. And there's nothing better than Yankee fans. I loved it."

He also talked about the importance of getting that first game against the Cyclones. Staten Island sliced Brooklyn's lead to two games.

"It's always good to get the first one. So get that out of the way. If we could win [Thursday] that would be great."

Despite pitching in the Gulf Coast League last Fall, he has noticed a difference in his first year in the Penn League and also knew he could improve on last night's outing.

"I did pitch Gulf Coast. It's different because there's more college hitters. Patient. Very good hitters. So you just got to throw strikes.I didn't really do that today but hopefully next time I come back.

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