Island Baseball: Ehlers Comes Up Big in Victory

The Staten Island Yankees may have gotten the kick start that they need on Tuesday night and it would come from first baseman, Cody Ehlers. The left handed first baseman smacked a game winning single in the bottom of the 11th inning. A little bit of drama? You bet it was. But, no one should have really been surprised with Ehlers' clutch hitting. He has already shown on a consistent basis this season that he has a knack for key situations. All this and more in this edition of Island Baseball.

It was another low scoring game between the Staten Island Yankees and the Williamsport Crosscutters but to the pleasure of the Baby Bombers, this is one that would swing in their favor. In fact, it took too impressive comebacks to get the victory though. Because, either way you cut it, this game did not have a lot of runs or hits involved in it. However, it started off much like the Home Opener did. The Crosscutters would end up clinging to a 1-0 lead until the bottom of the ninth inning.


The game started out much like Monday's game against the Crosscutters. The two starting pitchers for each team came out throwing the ball very well and for the most part held down the opposition. Actually, the Staten Island Yankees almost saw a complete repeat of their confrontation with Matt Guillory one night prior. Luis Munoz was on the mound for Williamsport and he shut down the Baby Bombers. Over six innings of work Munoz held the Yankees to only two hits as they couldn't manage to put a run on the scoreboard. The only two hits he gave up were in scattered fashion. Grant Plumley singled in the first inning and Rob Villanova singled in the sixth inning. At one point, Munoz sat down 12 Baby Bombers in a row until Villanova snapped that string in the sixth. However, the Yankees got a break when Munoz was lifted for the seventh inning, giving way to the bullpen.


But, hey, as Munoz was cruising along in this game, let's not forget the starting pitcher for Staten Island, left hander, Edgar Soto. This was Soto's first start of the season and he thrived for five strong innings. Soto gave up only one run, which was unearned. Anyone that has followed Staten Island over the past year, got an all too familiar feeling when Hector Zamora made a key error at 3b to eventually allow Crosscutters, Denny Nino to cross the plate. Last season, Zamora had a mass of struggles on defense in Staten Island and this continued last night. This could have been the game deciding run if not for clutch hitting by the Yankees in the late innings. So, some could say that Zamora was let of the hook, for now. Besides that one blemish on Soto's line that was not even to the fault of him, he did a fantastic job. He went five innings, yielding no earned runs on only three hits while walking one and striking out five. Despite the strong effort, yet another Staten Island starting pitcher has been victimized by a lack of run support. But, one must remember, this is league that averaged below a .250 league batting average last season. In other words, it is hard to blame a bunch of guys, most of whom have just come of using an aluminum bat.


We can discuss the starting pitch all day but how about the Staten Island bullpen work on Tuesday night. Combined as a unit, the Baby Bomber bullpen came in in a relief of Soto and tossed six innings of shutout baseball. Who was leading the charge yet again for Staten Island? Yes, it was 5th round draft pick, hard throwing Jesse Hoover. Hoover was fantastic in his first relief appearance of his season and was possibly even better on this night of work. Just to put it in perspective, Hoover has faced 16 batters this season. He has struck out eleven of them. If that is not dominance, what is? The flame throwing righthander entered the game for the eighth inning and took over the game. Hoover worked the eighth, ninth and tenth innings as he became the stopper for Staten Island. He was superb as he gave up no hits with only one walk and six strikeouts. He is working out of the bullpen now but if he continues to perform with outings like this, he could be in the starting rotation before you know it. But, it is a nice thing to see for a young and inexperienced baseball team to have a dependable and talented bullpen that they are able to turn to and one that can hold a lead or keep them in the ballgame.


Yes, the starting pitching kept them in the game and the bullpen kept it within striking distance but it was the late inning heroics by the Yankee lineup that won this contest. Despite all the pitching efforts of this game, Staten Island still found themselves trailing in this game 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth inning. The charge was led in the ninth inning by scrappy, leadoff hitting Rob Villanova. Villanova led of the ninth inning with a sharp single of Matt Bimeal. Then two batters later, Edwin Cabrera stepped to the plate after Villanova moved to third on two groundouts. One swing from Cabrera and all of a sudden, the Staten Island Yankees were back even at one apiece. That was all they would get at that time but two innings later, perhaps their most clutch hitter they've had this season stepped to the plate. Who is this? Mr. Cody Ehlers. Once again though, it was Rob Villanova that sparked the dramatic ending. He started off the inning with a patient at bat and drew a walk. After back to back walks to Hector Zamora and Edwin Cabrera, it was all up to the clutch Cody Ehlers. One swing, boom, the Yankees win it by the final of 2-1on an RBI single off the bat of Ehlers.


There is nothing better for any baseball team than an dramatic comeback victory, especially when you are a young baseball team. Many of the players are now starting to find there roles on this ball team. Many of them have also put a stranglehold on their starting positions which also tends to ease much of the pressure off of players that already have a lot to think about. The season continues on Wednesday night as the Staten Island Yankees will be taking the Oneonta at 7:35 p.m. at home.

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