Dom Thompson-Williams Builds Momentum in Pro Ball

Dom Thompson-Williams singles on a fly ball to right field (Robert M. Pimpsner)

There are few positions in sports, which hold both the reverence and importance of playing centerfield for the New York Yankees. The names that held the position were iconic in stature and maintained a deep place in the team’s illustrious history. 27 miles away in Staten Island is where Dom Thompson-Williams, the Yankees fifth round pick in the 2016 draft begins his professional career.

In his hometown of Sioux City, Iowa, Thompson-Williams had a number of athletic pursuits available to him during his senior season of high school. As a star wide receiver and defensive back, Thompson-Williams received offers to play football at the collegiate level, but after winning Gatorade Player of the Year honors in 2013, he chose to attend Iowa Western Community College with the hopes of becoming a professional baseball player.

“I could have gone to Iowa, Iowa State, or Nebraska for football, but I wanted to play both baseball and football. They did not want a two-sport athlete. People do not know this, but I signed to play both sports in junior college. After a week, I thought it through, and I did not want to hurt myself playing football, so I told the coach to raise my scholarship to play baseball full-time,” Thompson-Williams said.

Thompson-Williams quickly established himself during his two seasons at Iowa Western and led his team to consecutive appearances in the NJCAA World Series. During his freshman season, he batted .407/.465/.623 with 20 stolen bases and became the 19th round selection of the St. Louis Cardinals that spring. By the time he completed his tenure at Iowa Western, Thompson-Williams was a national commodity ranked in the top 100 among collegiate players.

Dom Thompson Williams collected 2 hits in his first professional playoff game. (Robert M. Pimpsner)
Dom Thompson-Williams collected two hits in his first professional playoff game. (Robert M. Pimpsner)

“A big thing that they preached at Iowa Western was to teach you how to become a baseball player on the field and they teach you to become a man off the field,” Thompson-Williams explains. “Junior college wasn’t the fastest route, but made me the man who I am today and I would not take back those days and the decision I made to attend school there.”

After two productive junior college seasons, the South Carolina Gamecocks recruited Thompson-Williams last spring and became teammates and fast friends with Gene Cone and Taylor Widener, who later began their pro careers with Thompson-Williams in the New York-Penn League.

“My dream out of high school was to play in the SEC, period. That was my main dream. At Iowa Western, we ended up winning the national championship, and that opened a lot of doors for me,” Thompson-Williams said. “Gene Cone was our leadoff hitter, and he had a hell of a year at South Carolina and those types of players push you to become better.”

“Dom was supposed to make a major impact coming into South Carolina,” Cone said. “He played center and left predominantly for us and was a big factor in the success we had last spring. Everybody liked him as a teammate, and we hung out together both on and off the field.”

With the help of head coach Chad Holbrook, Thompson-Williams hit .315 with eight home runs and 41 RBI in 240 at-bats. Earlier in the spring, South Carolina alum and current Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. visited the campus and made an impression on the student athletes.

“South Carolina had the academics and the best resources in the country. They called me out of the blue and gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse. It was heaven all over. Jackie is the man. He sat down with me, and we talked about baseball and the off the field matters. He was so down to earth that you would never know he’s a big leaguer. It’s pretty awesome to know somebody of that caliber.”

Proving he could play successfully at any level as an amateur, Thompson-Williams felt ready to accept the challenges of professional baseball and quickly signed a contract with the Yankees just before the start of the New York-Penn League season. Assigned to the Staten Island Yankees as a fifth-round pick, Thompson-Williams batted in the leadoff spot for the first time and faced the struggles that typify the transition from college baseball.

“I guess the biggest transition for me was switching from aluminum to the wood bats. I am still trying to figure that out, and the key is making adjustments. I came out of the gates striking out a lot and not doing too well. I just had to tell myself that baseball is a game and that everybody has ups and downs, even if they are in the big leagues. Eventually, things turn around,” Thompson-Williams said.

Dom Thompson-Williams scores sliding into homeplate on a single by Angel Aguilar. (Robert M. Pimpsner)
Dom Thompson-Williams scores sliding into homeplate on a single by Angel Aguilar. (Robert M. Pimpsner)

By midseason, Thompson-Williams rediscovered his form, and his difficulties began subsiding. Dating back to a two-hit performance against the Lowell Spinners on August 8, Thompson-Williams was hitting .333 in 33 at-bats and boosted his on-base percentage to a season-best .366 by month’s end with Staten Island in contention for a postseason berth.

“I think he is started to get accustomed to using the wooden bats by now,” Staten Island manager Dave Bialas said. “He was down for about 11 to 12 days with a bruised hand and now is beginning to swing the bat well for us. He adds a lot to our club in the outfield and plays a good centerfield. Also, he can steal bags out of the leadoff spot and contributes well to this club.”

Staten Island Forces Game Three Match-Up with Extra Inning Win

Drew Bridges hit a solo home run in the tenth inning to lead the Yankees to victory. (Robert M. Pimpsner)

The Staten Island Yankees will be around for at least one more game as they have defeated the State College Spikes in game two of the New York-Penn League Semi-Finals.  The win came in the tenth inning thanks to a solo home run by Drew Bridges.

Staten Island got off to an early lead in the first inning after Dom Thompson-Williams lined a single to left and advanced to second on a throwing error.  That allowed him to move to third base on a ground out by Drew Bridges and score on a ground out by Timmy Robinson.

The Yankees added a second run in the top of the sixth inning. Timmy Robinson doubled to left, moved to third on a single by Dalton Blaser and then got thrown out at home when Jerry Seitz hit into a fielder’s choice.  Blaser went to second on the play.  Nathan Mikolas walked to load the bases and after a pop out in foul territory to the third baseman Ben Ruta would walk to force home a run.

That is where the scoring would stay until the bottom of the ninth inning.  Josh Roeder came into the game in relief.  He allowed a leadoff single to Danny Hudzina then a wild pitch to move him to second.  Roeder then walked Yariel Gonzalez.  A fly out to center field moved up both runners, putting them in the position to score on a single by Tommy Edman.

Drew Bridges came up big with his solo shot in the top of the tenth inning, giving Staten Island the lead once again.

The lead was in jeopardy as State College loaded the bases with one-out in the bottom of the tenth inning after Ricardo Bautista singled, Elier Rodriguez reached on a throwing error, and Danny Hudzina walked.  But the Yankees had some luck as Yariel Gonzalez grounded into a double play to second baseman Nick Solak to Angel Aguilar at the bag and finally to Dalton Blaser at first base to end the game.

Freicer Perez pitched five innings, allowing four walks and three hits and striking out only two batters.  He was followed by David Sosebee who pitched three great innings in relief, striking out three batters and allowing a hit and walk.  Josh Roeder got the win but allowed 2 runs on two hits and a walk.  Trevor Lane earned the save with a scoreless inning.

Tomorrow the Staten Island Yankees will look to try to make it to the next round of the playoffs with Simon De la Rosa on the mound.  If the Yankees win, they will face off against the Hudson Valley Renegades in the championship round.

Staten Island Yankees Announce Team Name Finalists

StatenIslandYankees

Earlier this season the Staten Island Yankees announced that they would be undergoing a rebranding at the conclusion of the 2016 season.  The Baby Bombers asked fans to submit their suggestions on what the team should be called and after narrowing down they have come up with the top five finalists.

Here are the top five finalists according to the team’s press release.

Bridge Trolls

Bridge Trolls commemorates the iconic bridges that connect Staten Island, while embracing the kind of wacky names Minor League Baseball is known for.

Heroes

The Heroes honors the civil servants and military personnel of Staten Island and New York who work tirelessly to uphold our American values.

Killer Bees

Killer Bees pays tribute to Staten Island’s musical and cultural impact. Fans will be “buzzing” over our bee-themed promotions!

Pizza Rats

Like Staten Islanders and New Yorkers, these natives are tenacious, enterprising and know where to find the best food in the city.

Rock Pigeons

Another animal synonymous with the city, the Rock Pigeons celebrates Staten Island – known by locals as “The Rock.”

 

Pinstriped Performances – Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Trenton Thunder’s Dante Bichette Jr. before Game 1 of the Divisional Series of the Eastern League Playoffs against the Reading Fightin Phils in at ARM & HAMMER Park in Trenton on Wednesday, September 7, 2016. Photo by Martin Griff

Check out the top performances across the New York Yankees farm system in the latest edition of Pinstriped Performances.

Mason Williams, CF, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple A): Williams drove in the only two runs for the RailRiders in their 2-0 playoff opening victory over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. He went 3-4 with a two-run go-ahead home run in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Jordan Montgomery, SP, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple A): Montgomery spun a gem, pitching seven scoreless innings. Jordan’s performance earned the win as he struck out five, walked three, permitted three hits and induced six ground-outs to nine fly-outs. He threw 65 of 102 pitches for strikes.

Mark Payton, LF, Trenton Thunder (Double A): Payton went 2-3 with a double, triple, run scored and RBI in Trenton’s playoff series opening 3-2 win over the Reading Phillies.

Dante Bichette, 1B, Trenton Thunder (Double A): Bichette went 1-2 with a double, walk, run scored and a run batted in.

Kevin Cornelius, DH, Tampa Yankees (Single A Advanced): Cornelius went 3-5 with two doubles, and a walk in Tampa’s 15-inning 8-4 loss to the Dunedin Blue Jays (the playoff series is now tied 1-1).

Rashad Crawford, CF, Tampa Yankees (Single A Advanced): Crawford went 2-7 with a two-run home run in the bottom of the second inning.

Estevan Florial, CF, Charleston RiverDogs (Single A): Florial went 2-4 with a double and run scored in Charleston’s 3-1 playoff opening loss to the Rome Braves.

Dom Thompson-Williams, CF, Staten Island Yankees (Single A Short Season): Thompson-Williams went 2-3 with a walk in Staten Island’s 3-0 playoff opening loss to the State College Spikes.

Spencer Mahoney, RP, Staten Island Yankees (Single A Short Season): Mahoney tossed three perfect innings of relief. He struck out three, and threw 26 of 35 pitches for strikes.

Staten Island Shut out in Playoff Opener against State College; Face Elimination

Dom Thompson Williams collected 2 hits in his first professional playoff game. (Robert M. Pimpsner)

STATEN ISLAND, NY – For the eleventh time in franchise history the Staten Island Yankees participated in postseason play as they began the New York-Penn League semifinals at home against the top-seeded State College Spikes. The Baby Bombers entered Game 1 with the best home record in the league at 26-12, but State College combined dominant pitching with timely hitting in a 3-0 shutout over Staten Island, who now sit one loss away from elimination.

After starting in the NYPL championship series against West Virginia a year ago, Kolton Mahoney opened a playoff series for Staten Island once again but fell behind quickly with three consecutive hits surrendered in the first inning and the first run coming on a Ryan McCarvel RBI single.

The Spikes entered the postseason with the fourth-best batting average in the league and continued their offensive success when they collected two more runs in the third inning on Andy Young‘s two-run home run to left field. Mahoney would settle down and throw a respectable five innings, allowing seven hits and three runs.

“Kolton left his fastball pretty much in the hitter’s hot spots early on, primarily on the two-run home run. He continued to battle from that point and threw some good innings for us and did a good job. State College hit balls in certain holes against us and took advantage,” Staten Island manager Dave Bialas said.

In Game 1, State College gave the ball to Franklinville, NJ native Bryan Dobzanski, who kept Staten Island out of the hit column until Dom Thompson-Williams reached base with two outs in the third to ignite a potential rally. Staten Island eventually loaded the bases for the league’s leading producer Timmy Robinson, who flew out to center field and allowed State College to escape the inning unharmed.

The Baby Bombers left two more runners on base and could not get into any offensive groove against Dobzanski despite four walks in his first five innings. Dobzanski collected his first postseason victory tossing 98 pitches in six shutout innings.

“We had a chance with the bases loaded in the third inning, but their starter pitched well out there for them tonight,” Bialas said. “It was simply a case of good pitching beating good hitting, and their pitching was able to shut us down, and we weren’t able to get back into the game.”

Dobzanski gave way to lefty reliever Jordan DeLorenzo in the seventh inning and provided a contrasting style on the mound. Working the final three innings for State College, DeLorenzo recorded the save with six strikeouts, including fanning the side in the ninth inning.

“We had all left-handers in the lineup when he came into the game. We have had some difficulties with left-handed pitching all year, but he was able to mix his pitches effectively. He had a good breaking ball out there, and he pitched extremely well the last three innings.”

Despite facing elimination after dropping the first game of the series, the Staten Island Yankees remain confident they can take the next two games on the road since the dropped the first game of a mid-August series to State College and rebounded to take two of three on the road. Bialas also sites the resiliency of his team during the final month of the season as a reminder of their potential facing adversity.

“It’s very important to establish a winning culture at this level. That’s what we have been doing all year. These guys know how to win. They have been down in a three-game series after losing the first game before. In these playoffs, it is about pitching, defense, and timely hitting. This is baseball. Anything can happen.”

The Staten Island Yankees will travel to State College for Game 2 on Thursday night and send Freicer Perez (2-4, 4.47 ERA) to the mound to stave off elimination against Texas native Jordan Hicks (6-2, 2.97 ERA). If the series extends to a third game on Friday, Simon De la Rosa (6-4, 3.38 ERA) will take the mound for the Baby Bombers opposed by right-hander Carson Cross (5-6, 3.24 ERA) in his second season with State College.

Staten Island Yankees Take Aim at Seventh NYPL Title Against Spikes

Kolton Mahoney will start the first game of the 2016 playoffs for the Staten Island Yankees (Robert M. Pimpsner)

For the eleventh time in their history, the Staten Island Yankees will be making an appearance in the New York – Penn League playoffs.  It is the third time that the Baby Bombers are heading to the postseason as the wild card.  But it will also be the final time they do so under the “Yankees” name.

On Wednesday, September 7 the Yankees will suit in their home pinstripes and take the field at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark to face off with the State College Spikes who ended the regular season with the best record in the league at 50-26.  Staten Island will send out one of their top starters in the person of Kolton Mahoney to make the start in game one.

Mahoney, 24, ended the regular season with a 4-4 record and a 2.92 ERA over 12 games, eight starts.  He struck out 47 batters over 61 2/3 innings and will be making his second career start in the postseason.  Last year he made one start for the Staten Island Yankees in the League Championship Series against the West Virginia Black Bears, in that game he allowed three runs over three innings on 62 pitches.

This year against the Spikes he did not allow a run in the two innings he pitched against them on August 12.  In that game, he allowed just one hit on 23 pitches.

On the mound for State College in game, one will be Bryan Dobzanski.  The 21-year old right-hander had a 4-6 record with a 3.93 ER with 37 strikeouts over 71 innings pitched.  Opponents hit .286 against him on the season.  The Yankees hit .333 against them in their lone game, scoring three runs on six hits.

Starting game two for the Staten Island Yankees will be Freicer Perez.  The right-handed pitcher has impressed many this year, reaching as high as #30 on the New York Yankees mid-season prospect ranking by MLB Pipeline.  The 20-year old has a 2-4 record for the Yankees in the regular season, earning a 4.47 ERA with 49 strikeouts over 52 1/3 innings pitched.  He has yet to face State College in a game.

Jordan Hicks will pitch for the Spikes in game two; the 20-year old has a 1.76 ERA in 6 games for State College this year.  He has earned a 4-1 record with 22 strike outs over 30 2/3 innings.  He faced the Yankees on August 13, allowing four runs over 4 1/3 innings and taking the loss.

If the series goes to a game three, the Baby Bombers will be starting Simon De la Rosa.  The 23-year old has started 13 games for the Yankees, striking out 76 batters in 69 1/3 innings and has a 3.38 ERA.  He faced the State College Spikes on August 12 where he allowed four runs on four hits and a walk over five innings.  Two of the four hits he allowed in that game were home runs.

For State College Carson Cross would get the ball in game three.  The 24-year old had a 5-6 record during the regular season with a 3.24 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 80 2/3 innings.  The Yankees faced him on August 14, where he took the loss allowing six runs, 3 earned, on seven hit over five innings.

The Staten Island Yankees pitching staff ended the season a 2.82 team era in 75 games.  Yankees pitchers struck out 644 players over 677 1/3 innings.

State College finished the season with a 3.06 team ERA with 522 strikeouts over 678 2/3 innings.

The Spikes were fourth in the league at the plate, with a combined .254 batting average.  As a team they led the league in RBIs with 334, runs scored with 378, and walks with 283.

Catcher Jeremy Martinez leads State College all season with a .325 batting average in 57 games. 14 doubles, triples and one home run.  Against Staten Island he hit .429 in 7 at-bat but did not face any of the three starters the Yankees will send out in this series.  First baseman Ryan McCarvel and LF Vince Jackson each drove in 45 runs.

Staten Island, on the other hand, had a combined .239 team batting average.  They are the lightest hitting team in the playoffs.  The Yankees ended the season with 277 walks, good for fourth in the league.  They were lead to the play by Nick Solak who ended his first professional season with a .321 batting average, good for fourth in the league.   Outfielder Timmy Robinson leads the entire league with 52 RBIs.

The Staten Island Yankees have history against them going into this series.  They have yet to get out of the semi-finals when they enter the postseason as the wild card team.

 

 

Pinstriped Performances – Monday, September 5, 2016

Dom Thompson-Williams singles on a fly ball to right field, earning an RBI as Drew Bridges scores. (Robert M. Pimpsner)

Check out the top performances across the New York Yankees farm system in the latest edition of Pinstriped Performances.

Giovanny Gallegos, RP, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple A): Gallegos pitched 2.1 perfect innings in Scranton’s 4-3 victory over the Syracuse Chiefs. He struck out three, induced two ground-outs and two fly-outs.

Miguel Andujar, 3B, Trenton Thunder (Double A): Andujar went 3-5 in Trenton’s 11-6 loss to the Reading Phillies. He fell a triple shy of the cycle, scored a run, and collected an RBI.

Dante Bichette, 1B, Trenton Thunder (Double A): Bichette went 2-5 with a three-run home run. He finished the contest with two runs scored and three runs batted in.

Mandy Alvarez, 3B, Charleston RiverDogs (Single A): Alvarez went 4-6 in Charleston’s 14-2 rout of the Columbia Fireflies. He hit a double, scored two runs and drove in two.

Hoy Jun Park, 2B, Charleston RiverDogs (Single A): Park went 2-3 with a triple. He walked twice, scored a run and collected four RBI’s.

Dom Thompson-Williams, DH, Staten Island Yankees (Single A Short Season): Thompson-Williams went 2-4 in Staten Island’s 5-2 win over the Brooklyn Cyclones. He hit a home run, double, scored two runs and drove in one.

Pinstriped Performances – Sunday, September 4, 2016

Timmy Robinson went 3-for-5, including a home run. (Robert M. Pimpsner)

Check out the top performances across the New York Yankees farm system in the latest edition of Pinstriped Performances.

Caleb Smith, SP, Trenton Thunder (Double A): Smith tossed six innings of one hit baseball in Trenton’s 4-0 win over the Reading Phillies. He earned the win (3-5), struck out eight and walked one. Caleb induced four ground-outs to zero fly-outs and threw 57 of 88 pitches for strikes.

Thairo Estrada, 3B, Tampa Yankees (Single A Advanced): In game two of a doubleheader, Estrada went a perfect 4-4 with three doubles, and an RBI in Tampa’s 6-4 loss to the Lakeland Flying Tigers.

Caleb Frare, RP, Tampa Yankees (Single A Advanced): Frare tossed a perfect inning of relief by striking out each of the three batters that he faced in game two of the Tampa Yankees doubleheader.

Taylor Widener, SP, Charleston RiverDogs (Single A): Widener tossed four innings of one hit baseball in his start in game two of a doubleheader against the Columbia Fireflies. He struck out seven and walked one.

Timmy Robinson, RF, Staten Island Yankees (Single A Short Season): Robinson went 3-5 with a home run in Staten Island’s 5-0 shutout of the Brooklyn Cyclones. He scored a run and collected an RBI.

Staten Island Blanks Brooklyn 5-0 in Road Finale

Timmy Robinson went 3-for-5, including a home run. (Robert M. Pimpsner)

BROOKLYN, NY – Following a night of joy and celebration from clinching a postseason berth in Tri-City, the Staten Island Yankees closed out the road portion of their schedule at MCU Park against the rival Brooklyn Cyclones in the first of a two-game series and asserted their dominance with a 5-0 shutout victory.

Jordan Humphreys, an 18th round draft pick by the New York Mets out of Hillsborough Community College, made his Cyclones’ debut replacing the recently traded Erik Manoah and fell behind in the second inning. With two outs, outfielder Nathan Mikolas popped a fly ball beyond the pitcher’s mound, dropping between three fielders.

Nathan Mikolas watching as the ball goes high in the sky, he would make it to second base with an infield double. (Robert M. Pimpsner)
Nathan Mikolas watching as the ball goes high in the sky, he would make it to second base with an infield double. (Robert M. Pimpsner)

Mikolas earned a gift double on the play and came around to score on an Angel Aguilar RBI single. Humphreys kept Staten Island off the scoreboard for the remainder of his outing, as he went six innings, allowing seven hits and struck out nine in a losing effort.

“I don’t think I have ever seen an infield double before,” Staten Island manager Dave Bialas said. “It is a communication thing. That’s what we work on, and every organization works on. Communication and priority drills. There was a mix-up in the coverage there on Brooklyn’s end.”

“I was just trying to contribute in any way I can,” Mikolas added. “I hit the ball high in the air, so I was just wanted to get on second base, and I was lucky that it fell where it did and was able to get in there successfully. Plays like that don’t normally happen.”

Simon De la Rosa got the start, in his final appearance of the regular season. (Robert M. Pimpsner)
Simon De la Rosa got the start, in his final appearance of the regular season. (Robert M. Pimpsner)

Coming off six-run defeat on Tuesday against Connecticut, Simon De la Rosa had a strong bounce back outing with one of his most complete performances of the season. De la Rosa utilized the bottom portion of the strike zone and avoided high-stress innings early.

Brooklyn’s first scoring chance came in the third inning with runners on second and third with nobody out, but De la Rosa recorded consecutive strikeouts and a fly out to escape without harm. In the fourth inning, he showed fortitude by stranding the bases loaded and frustrating Brooklyn hitters. In four scoreless innings, De la Rosa allowed three hits and struck out four to finish the regular season with a 3.38 ERA.

“He’s pitched well for all year,” Bialas said. “He’s been able to work his way out of jams with quality pitches. Today he went just four innings. We are limiting his amount of pitches because he is going to be pitching in the playoffs for us and we want to keep him fresh.”

Evan Rutckyj earned the win in his first rehab appearance for the Staten Island Yankees. (Robert M. Pimpsner)
Evan Rutckyj earned the win in his first rehab appearance for the Staten Island Yankees. (Robert M. Pimpsner)

Evan Rutckyj came on in relief in his first minor league rehab appearance with Staten Island and tossed two scoreless innings to record the victory. Rutckyi, a native of Windsor, Ontario, is currently rehabbing from bone spurs and bone chips in his elbow. The Trenton Thunder initially placed Rutckyj on the disabled list with elbow soreness on April 22, 2016, and returned to action in the Gulf Coast League in August.

“The last time I pitched on a mound was last Tuesday in the GCL,” Rutckyi said. “I did not try to do too much out there. I threw all of my pitches for strikes and tried to get ahead with my breaking ball. I had two bone chips and two bone spurs in my elbow. I was feeling it all spring training, and I couldn’t straighten my arm at one point.”

Clinging to a 1-0 lead for much of the afternoon, the Baby Bombers’ bats exploded in successive innings. Timmy Robinson clubbed his team-leading eighth home run of the season with two outs in the eighth inning off reliever Gregorix Estevez to double the lead. Staten Island took advantage of a Gabriel Feliz error in the ninth inning when Welfin Mateo emptied the bases with a three-run triple and secure Staten Island’s final victory on the road for the 2016 season.

Welfrin Mateo was 2-for-5 with 3 RBI's in his first game for the Staten Island Yankees. (Robert M. Pimpsner)
Welfrin Mateo was 2-for-5 with 3 RBI’s in his first game for the Staten Island Yankees. (Robert M. Pimpsner)

“We had Welfrin Mateo up from Pulaski. This was his first game with us at Staten Island,” Bialas explained. He came through for us today and did a good job at Pulaski, and he gave us an opportunity to give Bridges a break and he a couple of hits a three RBIs. He did a good job.”

The Staten Island Yankees will close the 2016 New York-Penn League regular season at home with Jonathan Padilla on the mound facing Brooklyn’s Justin Dunn on Monday before opening the postseason on Wednesday. The Cyclones will attempt to avoid finishing below .500 for the second consecutive season and end their year on a high note.

Staten Island Yankees Punch NYPL Playoff Ticket

Chad Martin (Robert M. Pimpsner)

TROY, NY-The Staten Island Yankees came into the night looking to punch their ticket and join the New York-Penn League playoffs with a wild card birth.

Staten Island would begin the game by going down in order in the top half of the first inning, against Tri-City ValleyCats starter Carlos Sanabria. Not to be outdone, Chad Martin took the hill for the Yankees and fired a 1-2-3 inning of his own in the bottom of the first.

2016 draftee Timmy Robinson, the starting right fielder, would get the offense going in the second with a triple to centerfield. First baseman Dalton Blaser would ground out to first, scoring Robinson from third for the inning’s only run. Martin, issued a walk to ValleyCats catcher Chuckie Robinson, before making quick work of the ‘Cats lineup in the bottom of the second.

Catcher Eduardo Navas stepped to the plate and began the inning with a single to right field. Second base prospect Nick Solak would reach base on a throwing error by ‘Cats third baseman Connor Goedert. That error would come back to haunt the home team as Baby Bombers third baseman Drew Bridges would drive Navas home in the very next at-bat. Blaser would knock in Solak with a ground ball to right field, putting Staten Island up by a score of 3-0. Martin would continue to mow through the opposing lineup, surrendering only a single to Bryan De La Cruz.

Shortstop Angel Aguilar would add another run to the Yankees’ ledger, as he led the inning off with a solo homer over the left field fence. Navas would drive a single to center field, prompting a pitching change by ValleyCats manager Lamarr Rogers. Solak once again played a part in the offense as he doubled, scoring Navas, and knocking in the team’s final run of the game. Martin who was cruising through the first three innings would run into issues in the bottom of the fourth.  He would issue a wild pitch, walk, and a hit batsman, but would get out of the inning without giving up a run.

After a quiet fifth inning, the ValleyCats would stage a rally against Martin who, up until this point, had only given up two hits. Carmen Benedetti would start the rally with a single to center field. Chuckie Robinson would follow up with a single of his own, advancing Benedetti to second base. A fielding error by first baseman Dalton Blaser would allow Ronnie Dawson to reach first base and Benedetti to score the first run of the game for the ‘Cats. Yankees manager Dave Bialas would pull Martin after 5.1 innings and turn the game over to Claudio Custodio. Custodio came in quickly allowed a single to Taylor Jones, scoring the two runners that he inherited from Martin. De La Cruz would ground out scoring Jones, which would be the final run of the game.

With the 5-4 victory over the ValleyCats, the Staten Island Yankees return to the playoffs, looking to win their seventh New York-Penn League Championship. Before doing so, they will finish their regular season with a home-and-home series against the Brooklyn Cyclones. First pitch Sunday, is scheduled for four p.m., with Simon De La Rosa taking the bump for the Yankees.