After technically playing 2-plus games in Brooklyn last night, the Staten Island Yankees could’ve been excused for being not fully up to task in their 2016 Richmond County Savings Bank Park season debut. And after starting pitcher Drew Finley hit one Brooklyn Cyclone to start the game and then walked another…with a wild pitch a few batters later scoring the first hitter…it appeared they were ready to crack after allowing a mere seven hits in a 20 inning thriller on Opening Night in Brooklyn.
Instead, no Cyclone struck first base for the rest of the evening.
Finley tossed six no-hit innings in his Staten Island debut, while St. George returnee Josh Roeder went four more, each of them perfect, in yet another overtime game, one the Baby Bombers took by a 2-1 final in 10 innings. It was Kane Sweeney who provided the winning offense, notching a walk-off RBI single that sent Staten Island into hysterics.
Following the tumultuous opening of the game, the Yankees went on to retire 30 consecutive Cyclones. The hitless duo combined for 15 strikeouts, with Roeder’s 10 coming after Finley retired 5 via strikes.
“It was an awesome game,” said Staten Island manager Dave Bialas after recording a win in his first SI home game. “Finley went out there and threw an excellent game. Roeder had 10 punchouts and was flawless. Both of them pitched real well. I’ve never seen anything like this! First a 20 inning game on opening night…and then to come back with a 10 inning no-hitter is really incredible!”
The historic combined no-hitter is the first of its kind in team history, and the second overall. It’s also the first one in Richmond County Savings Bank Ballpark history. Previously, Jason Arnold , in a 120 pitch performance, went the full distance in a 2001 hitless tilt in Vermont.
“I knew I had one job….to continue where Drew left off,” said Roeder afterwards. “As a pitcher you have one job…to throw strikes, to pound the zone and that’s what the focus was.”
Roeder stated that his slider was really working for him tonight.
“(The slider) was my strikeout pitch,” he said. “The two seam singer was working well. The location on the fastball was working tonight too. I came out, felt like I had command of all my pitches and it was working.”
Perhaps still shaking off the cobwebs from a 20 inning thriller in Brooklyn the night before, the Baby Bombers struggled in the early going, stuck in a 1-0 deficit until the 4th inning. In a two out rally, Sweeney, who would be involved in both instances of Staten Island offense, doubled into right. On the next at-bat, RF Timmy Robinson’s grounder got into left field for an RBI single that knotted things up at a run apiece. After Staten Island (2-0) briefly threatened in the 5th inning, neither team had a runner reach 2nd base until the Yankees’ overtime heroics in the 10th.
After a solid performance from starter Harol Gonzalez, who struck out six over five innings, Brooklyn (0-2) saw a no-hitter of their own, as Bryce Beeler threw four hitless frames in relief. In the 10th inning, Adrian Almeida (0-1) hit Dalton Blaser with a pitch, then walked Dom Thompson-Williams. After a wild pitch moved the runners up a base each, the stage was set for Sweeney’s walk-off heroics. On a 1-0 pitch, Sweeney grounded into left field, sent Blaser home, and the mostly crowded ballpark on the Hudson into hysterics.
“It’s exciting here!” said Bialas after remaining undefeated in his first couple of games as Staten Island skipper. “The crowd was very good tonight. To have a walk-off here is really exciting.”
This is the first time that the Baby Bombers have gone extras in their first two games, having played a whopping 30 innings in their first duo of games on the year. With the opening home-and-home with Brooklyn out of the way, the Yankees, even with the topsy-turvy ridiculousness in the first 30 innings, are 2-0 in the early going. The schedule gets a little bit more streamlined, with the Aberdeen Ironbirds coming to Staten Island for a set this week. The group is very excited for the road ahead.
“We’re off to a good start…two wins is two wins,” Roeder said. “We have to keep feeding off of it and keep seeing what we’re doing day in and day out. We got a very good group of guys. The runs are going to come. There’s going to be a day where we break out and get 20 hits. It’s going to come and I know it’s there.”
In either case, best be prepared for extras…and heroics.
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