BROOKLYN, NY – MCU Park was once the site of some of the Staten Island Yankees’ most memorable triumphs. Their twi-night doubleheader on Tuesday against the Brooklyn Cyclones was equally notable for successive one-run defeats and a sweep which leaves them trailing in the McNamara Division for the first time this season.
The first game of the twin bill began fortuitously for Staten Island with Taylor Widener striking out the side in the first inning. Widener, a 12th round pick by the Yankees out of South Carolina, struck out five in three scoreless innings in his first start of the season, using a mix of fastballs and sliders to keep Cyclones’ hitters off balance.
“The gameplan is always to keep these hitters off balance. If you go out there and throw the same pitches, these hitters will always adjust. I will never back down against anybody and give my best stuff,” Widener said.
In addition to his fastball and slider, Staten Island manager Dave Bialas believes Widener’s deception is key to his approach. “Widener has deception and his ball moves well. He has a good slider and he is working on a changeup, but a solid performance for him and he did a good job.”
The Baby Bombers supplied Widener with their lone run in the second on a sacrifice fly from Kendall Coleman. The Cyclones evened the ledger in the fourth on a Colby Woodmansee sac fly of his own against reliever Brian Trieglaff.
Facing Cyclones starter Erik Manoah (4-1), the Baby Bombers were held to six hits and one run in six innings and went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Woodmansee’s RBI double in the sixth inning off David Sosebee (0-1) gave Brooklyn a 2-1 lead and the Game 1 victory.
The Cyclones continued their success against Staten Island in the nightcap as Nick Sergakis knocked home Blake Tiberi on an RBI double to open the scoring against starter Jonathan Padilla, who allowed three hits and one run in five innings of work.
After scoring 23 runs in their previous series against the Tri-City ValleyCats, the Baby Bombers were held in check offensively against Raul Jacobson and had a stretch of 17 consecutive batters retired until Drew Bridges blooped a single to left field with one out in seventh inning.
“Their (Brooklyn’s) pitchers throw a lot of strikes. Their offspeed pitches are real good. Whenever you face multiple pitchers like that, it is hard to hit. I tried to stick my approach and put some extra work in and it helped out,” Bridges said.
Jacobson allowed just two hits in five shutout innings before Staten Island took the lead against reliever Gabriel Llamas (2-4) in the seventh on a triple by Timmy Robinson and a single from Dom Thompson-Williams.
The Baby Bombers were one out away from victory but allowed Brooklyn to tie the game after Angel Aguilar threw errantly to first base for their second error of the game. Peter Alonso completed the Brooklyn sweep in the eighth inning on a walk-off sacrifice fly off Brooks Kriske (0-2) for a 3-2 Brooklyn win.
With a record of 21-17, the Staten Island Yankees reach the halfway point of the New York-Penn League season trailing the Hudson Valley Renegades by one game in the McNamara Division. Although the Baby Bombers have struggled of late, they remain confident that they can revert to their early season dominance.
“These guys are battlers. We busted our butts all year long and we have just gone through a few spells where we haven’t swung the bats well. We have to be more consistent with the bats and the pitching has kept us in every game. That’s just baseball,” Bialas said.
Following an off-day on Wednesday, the Baby Bombers will begin a three-game series against the Renegades in Wappingers Falls with an opportunity to reclaim first place and overcome their recent miscues.