STATEN ISLAND, NY- Finally, they got going at the Ferry Terminal. There would be no rain this time.
However, that didn’t prevent the Renegades from spoiling the fun putting a damper on the Baby Bombers’ 2009 home opener- outpitching Staten Island (1-5) 3-1 before a disappointed packed house (7,171) at Richmond County Bank Ballpark in St. George Thursday night.
“It was nice. The fans did a good job of supporting us. It was nice to finally get a game at home but…would like to have had a different outcome but it’s early in the year,” Baby Bomber DH Luke Murton said.
The night began alright for losing starter Arodys Vizcaino, who retired the first six including an impressive five in a row by strikeout. However, the righty lost composure in a three-run (all unearned) Hudson Valley third. Given a one-run lead thanks to a wind aided two out second inning run scoring double by right fielder Zoilo Almonte, Vizcaino couldn’t handle prosperity committing a pair of costly errors that led to the only runs the Renegades scored.
Following a leadoff walk to Dustin Biell, a botched pickoff immediately put him in scoring position. Center fielder Chris Murrill followed up with an RBI single to left, tying it on Hudson Valley’s first hit of the night. A little disjointed in an otherwise sparkling debut, Vizcaino failed to field a sacrifice bunt and then loaded the bases with another walk. With nobody warming up, he got the next batter to pop out to short right and fanned Tyler Bortnick for the second out. But just one away from limiting the damage, he allowed a two-run base hit to Eli Sonoqui putting Staten Island behind for good.
That’s cause the Bombers had their hands full with Renegade starter Albert Suarez, whose only hiccup in four-plus came in the second. After Almonte’s RBI double, he retired the last nine batters before departing with two out in the fifth due to a leg injury which prevented him from getting the win. But Kyle Ayers came in and did a solid job tossing two and a third scoreless to pickup his first win.
“[Suarez] pitched well. He had good stuff. He threw a lot of his pitches for strikes. He did a good job but there were some times where maybe we could’ve done a better job swinging the bat as a team. But you gotta give their pitchers credit,” Murton added.
While their hitting shoes weren’t on held to a run on five hits, Staten Island certainly got inspired pitching from Vizcaino and a trio of relievers in Mike Solbach (2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 K’s), Gavin Brooks (1 IP, 0 HR, 0 R, BB, 2 K’s) and Ryan Flannery (2 IP, 2 K’s) with each giving them every opportunity for a comeback.
“I felt good today,” Solbach assessed while referencing a rough outing the day prior in a loss. “It was good to get back out there and throw the ball well.”
“The bullpen did a good job tonight keeping it at 3-1 like we’re supposed to do, trying to give the hitters a chance to come around. We’ll get it all figured out.”
While there weren’t a ton of chances, Staten Island twice brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh and eighth but couldn’t capitalize.
“We gotta stop stretching ourselves,” pointed out first baseman Rob Lyerly, who paced the home club with a pair of singles including a lead off hit to start the seventh before the next three went in order. “We’re still getting acclimated to everything around here. Especially to the curveball. So it’s a little bit of an adjustment here.
“We got a great team here. We just gotta start playing better.”
The Baby Bombers had one more chance after left fielder DeAngelo Mack’s double to start the eighth. But after being sacrificed to third by second baseman Hector Rabago, he was stranded there. Renegade closer Rich De Los Santos buckled down getting center fielder Francisco Santana to chase and shortstop Carmen Angelini to bounce into a 5-3 putout.
De Los Santos tossed a 1-2-3 ninth getting catcher Kyle Higashioka to bounce out to third, notching his third save.
New skipper Josh Paul emphasized how it’s the organization’s job to guide these kids along with many first-year players new to pro ball. The former veteran backstop has been around the block and understands what his pupils are going through.
“Exactly. That’s a perfect point,” he remarked to our insight about how pro ball gives players the chance to bounce back the next day. Something that’s not as prevalent in college. “Teams are gonna say, ‘Okay. That one’s over. Let’s move on.’ … The guys that succeed move on. So we got something to teach them.”
Notes: Vizcaino took the loss falling to 0-2 with all three unearned on three hits, walking a pair and fanning seven. In nine innings, Baby Bomber pitchers struckout 14 Renegades. … The start of the game was delayed nine minutes due to opening ceremonies. It took a manageable two hours and 27 minutes still finishing 15 minutes before 10. For one night at least despite hazy conditions, the rain held off.
… Following the game, traditional fireworks were set off lighting up the sky. They’ll also be on display later tonight when the same two teams get together. Cory Arbiso will get the start out of the pen and is on a 55 pitch count. … On this six-game opening homestand, the Bombers will host the Renegades twice more including Saturday before Aberdeen comes in for three starting Sunday afternoon at 4.